I often hear people describe behaviours that they consider to be indicative of a great submissive, but when I think about it for a moment, they often aren’t. What they are describing is often the behaviour of a wonderful, quality man. Perhaps a man in love, or in lust, or infatuated, or one who is trying to impress a date or one who is simply one of those lovely creatures who likes doing things for a woman he enjoys and respects.
How is it that ‘doing things for someone to make them happy’ is suddenly submission and not the pretty normal behaviour of someone in a relationship (or on the way there)? Where is that line anyway?
Since learning about BDSM and looking back, I coined the term ‘vanilla submissives’ to describe those vanilla men I was in relationships with who would go out of their way to make me happy, not because they identified as submissive, but because they genuinely wanted me to be happy. I had relationships with those men without us ever discussing any ‘rules of behaviour’ or ‘authority’ or ‘obedience’ or any of that D/s stuff. They were vanilla, but in many ways their behaviour *looked* very much like that of the very best of submissives… consideration, anticipatory service, making my life easier, deferring to my decisions, loving my lead in the bedroom. In many ways, my ‘vanilla submissives’ would put many actual self identified submissives to shame.
I recently went away for a long weekend with my last vanilla ex, who has remained a wonderful friend and who is the very definition of awesome vanilla submissive.
The way he is with me, and was with me throughout our relationship, makes me wonder where the line is between love and submission. He is an incredibly giving and considerate man, the kind of vanilla man I have managed to find and fall in love with more than once, and he is that way with genuine sincerity, because it gives him pleasure to see me happy.
To illustrate, for our few days away, he:
- did the research, planned the details and booked accommodation and wineries
- offered to drive both ways (eight hours in total)
- insisted that I choose the bedroom I wanted in the house we stayed at
- brought my favourite champagne
- brought food that I like so that he could cook meals if I didn’t want to go out
- brought snacks that he knows I enjoy
- was the designated driver the entire time we were there despite my offers (wineries, people, *wineries*!)
- researched restaurants and then asked which I preferred for dinner
- rented Spartacus series 1 to watch, even though he had already seen it, because I had said I loved the second series
- offered to let me start the fire every night, even though I know he really loves doing that also
- offered foot massages
- served me champagne, snacks, wine etc., and consistently checked to make sure I had what I wanted
In short, he knows what I like and he delivered it with grace and charm and no expectations. I would add (for the cynical!) that he does not behave this way in order to ‘win me back’, this is what he is like with all of the women in his life who he enjoys and respects.
This is pretty much how I expect men in my relationships to behave, submissive or not. This is not just what submissive men look like, this is what wonderful men look like, isn’t it?