His introductory email was thoughtful and articulate. He’d not only read my profile, but he had also looked through my many Q&A responses and his note referenced both.
He was 6’2, a little younger than me, no photos.
I suggested we meet after a few exchanges. This must be a new record for me. My new strategy: ‘Dating immersion’. I didn’t ask for a photo. To be honest, I forgot.
He was nervous he said (I do love it when they say that out loud, I do), and half an hour before our date he texted that he was going to be about 15 minutes late: “Pls wait for me?”
I was liking him more and more.
I knew he was tall, had a beard, blue eyes, that his hair needed a trim. He described his body type as ‘average’.
I was worried that I didn’t know how to do vanilla dating any more. “Go and get me some water please” is not the flirty request to vanilla men that it is to submissive men. I vaguely worried about how we would connect.
I was there first, sent him a photo to show him what I was wearing so he could find me more easily. When he approached me, the first thing I saw was his beard. I’m not one for beards, and he had said in an email that he didn’t like his beard and was intending to remove it. I had expected that someone who didn’t like his beard would have maybe a month’s growth. But no, it was a *serious* beard. 8 months worth, he told me later. He suggested it was like the beard of a pirate, or bush ranger (as a note, I thought this photo was a hoax: nope. Checkit: Ned Kelly, the original hipster). The latter. definitely the latter. He had pretty eyes though, bright blue.
We spent 3 hours together and despite the discovery that we had both worked for the same small software company way back when, and had work acquaintances in common, I struggled to make a connection with him. His eyes skittered away when I was talking, he didn’t laugh or smile at things I thought were funny, and if I was quiet to see if he would pick up the conversation, he didn’t. I don’t think it’s because he wasn’t engaged and trying, he was just shy and awkward.
In short: it was hard work.
It was clear that he liked me, that he was trying. But it was also clear that we were struggling.
In the last half hour, I brought up D/s. He’d seen my references to dominance in my online profile only that morning, he said. I’ve not had much experience explaining it to vanilla men, but I used ‘selfishness’ to explain it. I could have gone many ways, but I didn’t want to ‘sell’ the idea to him. If anything, I wanted to scare him off. It’s too easy to present it in a hot-sexy-romantic light, but the harsh reality is that I want to be selfish and for my partner to appreciate that I expect to get my way and to enjoy taking opportunities to make me happy. ‘Selfishness’ and ‘unfairness’ are the easiest ways to explain that.
He started to say ‘Oh, that’s why my previous partners…’ which broke my heart a little. I was insistent that it wasn’t the same thing. That being selfish in a vanilla relationship where nothing is agreed is just being an arsehole.
He was curious, surprised that there was more than ‘bedroom stuff’. Not turned off, but also not really getting it (of course not!). But after we talked about it, he seemed contemplative in a ‘maybe I could’ kind of way. But to be honest, my experience is that men who like me will say things like that. Soon after, he went to a lot of trouble to get a chair for me to put my bag on because it was getting wet where it was. “To show you I can do it,” he said. He’s sweet.
Before we parted ways, I grabbed him by the beard and pulled him towards me across the table. He resisted.
I said, “Come here.”
I kissed him. Drew him forward twice more with his beard in my clenched fist. Soft, exploratory kisses, lightly dancing tongues. He smiled at me. He has a lovely smile.
“I’m going to go,” I said.
He stood up to follow me out.
The first time I got to see his height. I was wearing wedge heels. He was still a bit taller than me. I do love that.
Outside we looked at each other. I grabbed his beard again, twisted it, pulled his face to me. More kissing. Holding him back by his beard when he reached for me. His slight confusion when I did this was lovely. He reached to pull my body against him. I like it when men do that. It’s instinct, that desire for more contact. Makes me feel snake-like and fluid.
He sent me a sweet text about an hour after he left (seriously, polite boys: so good!). In part it said:
“I have this great picture you sent (I think you’re gorgeous) and pleasant memory of the too short/few kisses… Let me know if you want to meet again, post beard, or wish to give me casual instruction in your lifestyle ;)”
So, all up, I liked him well enough, I think he *would* be cute underneath his beard, he was a lovely kisser, and he’s willing to consider D/s. BUT (there’s always a ‘but’) he’s only one month out of his last relationship, I don’t *really* think D/s is going to be for him, and we didn’t have that easy conversational banter that makes for connection.
I’m tempted to suggest a kissing date because his kissing had promise, and you know I’m a complete sucker for kissing. I’ll have a think about that.
If nothing else, putting a profile up on a vanilla dating site allows me the luxury of realising that online dating is online dating and the ratio of ‘oh FFS’ to ‘well, hello!’ in my inbox is probably going to be much the same as kink sites at about 1000 to 1.
I’ve not put anything about D/s in my profile, though there is a hint there for someone who might pick it up, but the site has Q&A for their matching algorithm and I’ve been completely forthright in the very explicit questions that are asked there (e.g. “Would you consider a master/slave relationship” is one of the questions).
I have a relatively short profile in which I *specifically* state that I’m not going to reply to one liners because the lack of creativity is an excellent indicator that we aren’t going to be compatible. Also, life’s too short.
Unsurprisingly, my inbox is still a hotbed of one liners from men throwing mindless words into the void to see what sticks: Men in their early twenties interested in casual hookups (at least they’re up-front about it), and more mature men who apparently can’t read. Allow me to share some of them for your reading pleasure.
“G’day I’m James how are you?”
“Good morning there how are you”
“hiiiii good morning :)”
“What’s up beautiful you into young men?”
“Let’s hook up”
“Hi how are you in John x”
“love your photos”
“Hi how u going on here?”
“interested in casual encounters with someone younger?”
I’m playing a game on twitter at the moment to amuse myself. I call it “Guess his age”. I post the one line messages and invite people to guess how old the author is. I’m surprisingly bad at it and clearly make the mistake of assuming that age increases a man’s ability to initiate a conversation.
I’ve sent out one note to a younger man who has cute photos, a really funny profile and a good match percentage, and I have exchanged a few emails with another more mature man who read both my profile and my Q&A and sent a really thoughtful first email.
So not throwing in the towel on this experiment just yet, just sorting the chaff from the wheat.
There are a number of vanilla blogs* I read, written by women of 40+ who are single and dating. Sex bloggers. Good ones. And by that I mean that they write well, are smart, funny, open, honest and raw.
There is a hugely stark contrast between all of them and me in that they are all prolific daters, are on multiple dating sites, are very sex-focussed, are delighted to have casual sex/open to late night booty calls/will happily have sex with men at first meeting.
I am envious of their freedom and their enjoyment of sex just for the physical pleasure of it. I often wish I was wired differently and could do the same.
There are three reasons I can’t.
The first is obvious: My introversion means that dating is a trial to be endured, so it’s not fun for me. That means that each time I agree to meet someone, it’s a Big Deal, and I don’t do it unless I think there’s something worth pursuing.
The second is that my sexual response is difficult to trigger. I don’t seem to have a drive or need for sex that operates independent of external stimulus: that is, when I’m not aiming my sexual energy at someone in particular, it essentially goes into hibernation. What works for me is to have a target who inspires that feeling, who hits my buttons just right. And how that fires up is complex and touchy and takes real connection.
The third is that casual sex with random men leaves me feeling used and devalued. It relates to both of the above since it’s ‘work’ to meet someone in the first place, and he’s unlikely to be able to press the buttons that rev me up unless we have developed a strong connection first. My (limited) experience with casual sex has been dissatisfying both on the ‘sex’ part and on the ‘how I feel about it/myself/him afterwards’ part.
I think a lot of this comes from the tediousness of being an object of desire in my younger years (the emphasis there is on ‘object’): I learnt very early that most men’s primary objective in any interaction with me was to get into my pants. Having sex never felt like something wonderful that was about our mutual pleasure, it felt like ‘giving in’ (because men would be angling at it from the start): it felt horrible and dehumanising and I would NEVER ‘give in’.
My dominant roots, I think, were in realising the power of saying ‘no’. Rather than turning men off, denial made them more interested, compliant, and eager to please. Go figure.
But what it means for *now* is that I’ve internalised all of those things, so dating for ‘fun’ and casual sex as ‘even more fun’ are completely foreign concepts in my mind. This is true even though I now have the confidence and maturity to make sure that I get what I want in casual encounters (and no doubt most mature men genuinely WANT to give their partner pleasure).
I’m tempted to move WAY outside my comfort zone, post a vanilla profile on a vanilla dating site and force myself to go on dates with nice vanilla men who seem lovely ‘just for fun’ (okay, fine, it wouldn’t be fun exactly, but maybe I would learn to see it as less of a trial). I doubt that casual sex is ever going to be on the cards for me, but I’m curious whether immersion in dating can get me over my aversion. Also who knows what amazing gems I might find. Yes, even in the vanilla world.
*There are many, but the sex blogs I was thinking of specifically are these:
And that’s it for beautiful lingerie-type things.
I used to love lingerie way back when, but at some point I lost interest. Not because I don’t think it’s pretty and sexy, but because somehow it just became… impractical and too expensive and hard to justify.
Which it is, really.
But still, it sounds (even to me) like a terrible shame.
Most beautiful lingerie is expensive and impossible under the type of clothes I typically wear. My strappy summer dresses, sarongs, tank tops, light floaty things demand invisible panty lines and cross-over bras that can be hidden under thin straps. So I can’t actually wear the beautiful things unless I’m specifically putting it on just for the sake of it, for effect, either for myself or for someone else. And while that can be really fun and awesome, I can come up with a lot more practical things to spend that kind of money on.
If I can put it on under something I’m actually wearing for it to be revealed sometime later, that absolutely works for me. But it really does mean that I can only do that in winter, when the secret pretty things can be worn under the full coverage of warm layers.
Nevertheless, the other day I went and tried on pretty bras: black (always black), all intricate lace and barely-there delicacy. So tempting, but oh so impractical.
The one pictured above was one of my favourites. I didn’t buy it for all of the reasons I’ve just talked about.
Perhaps I just need a lingerie slave so that expense and impracticality become irrelevant in the face of such gifts. Is there such a thing? Of course there is. Apply within.
It gets stated a lot and it’s perfectly true: dominants should not expect random submissives to submit to them right out of the gate simply because they’ve slapped a label on themselves. When a dominant oversteps, a common form of pushback sounds like “I may be submissive, but I’m not YOUR submissive”, and fair enough.
When I am corresponding with a submissive man, I don’t expect him to submit to me.
I’m a strong opinionated woman and I want things done my way. Even in the early stages. And if he can’t or won’t go along, I’m not interested in arguing about it. I’m done.
Because he’s showing me that he doesn’t care what I want at a point where he is allegedly interested in me and is presumably on his best behaviour. If he doesn’t care what I want at THAT point, then the idea that he will suddenly care later doesn’t ring true to me.
I know it sounds contradictory to say ‘I don’t expect him to submit, but I do expect him to do what I want’, but to me, it’s not.
Being interested in doing what I want, making sure I’m comfortable, taking things I say on board are not submissive behaviours. They are the behaviours of a man being courteous, considerate, and wanting to impress. In my experience, vanilla men will fall over themselves to accommodate me, and I expect no less from a submissive man.
I know the line is blurry, but the fact is that if a man is not doing those things BEFORE he’s ‘my submissive’, then I don’t see how he’s going to be comfortable doing them AFTER because it’s clearly not how he naturally relates to the woman he’s interested in. And my D/s relationship HAS to be based on the organic way that we relate or it’s going to become hard work for one or both of us.
In the early stages, I WILL say things like ‘don’t overuse emoticons’ or ‘I’m not ready to meet just yet, I’ll tell you when’ or ‘call me Ferns’ or ’email me in the morning’. Small things. And I AM watching to see how he reacts to these requests because I want to see what the foundation of our relationship is going to look like.
If he won’t do simple things because “I’m not YOUR submissive”, if he argues with me or ignores my preferences, then he’s clearly showing me how he’s going to treat me in a relationship, and obviously that doesn’t work for me.
I would go so far as to say that my experience is that submissive men digging in their heels and going out of their way to NOT do what I ask (because “I’m not YOUR submissive”) is much more common than the average vanilla man doing the same. Baffling.
I totally agree that nobody should expect submission from strangers, but by the same token we are each showing potential partners how we will behave in a relationship long before we ever get that far. It’s not like there’s an on/off switch between ‘don’t care about your preferences’ and ‘okay caring starts… NOW’. That’s not how people operate.
It makes no sense to me that someone will argue with me over my preferences right up to the point where we agree that they won’t any more. That’s not how personal interactions work, and the idea that someone is going to suddenly change their natural behaviour once they agree to ‘be my submissive’ doesn’t hold true.
So yeah, I don’t expect his submission in the early stages, but if he is interested in me, I DO expect him to behave like a man who wants to make me happy. Perhaps the line is blurry to some, but I see it clear as day.
To all of my fabulous readers and commenters, thank you for your support and loveliness over the past 12 months (and longer for many of you!). I hope that 2016 brings you and yours much joy and love.
I am emerging from several weeks spent with 24/7 family familyfamilyFAMILY. Given I’m an introvert and they are lovely but difficult people, I am mentally and emotionally depleted. When I got home yesterday, I blasted some music and danced around the house: bliss!
In lieu of a traditional end-of-year blog round up and graph porn, I shall leave you with my top 5 viewed posts in 2015: