The truth is that I am harsher with men in my vanilla interactions than I am with men in my D/s ones. It’s not conscious really, it’s instinctive, but it’s absolutely true.
With submissive men that I am interested in, I trust that their heart is in the right place, that they are genuinely trying, that any issues will be easily and quietly rectified if I say a word or raise an eyebrow. Because that’s the kind of relationship that we both want. I’m also very aware of not waving my dominance over them like it’s some big stick, hyper-aware of consent, abuse, all that.
By contrast, with vanilla men that I am interested in, I come down like a sledgehammer on behaviour I don’t like because I don’t necessarily believe any of that. It feels more like I’m aggressively ‘standing my ground’ in order to cut down any hint of behaviour I don’t like before they assume it’s acceptable. I’m staking out the boundaries and defending them with clubs and hand grenades.
The tedious feeling of ‘protecting my boundaries’ in the latter scenario is a reason why I don’t seek out vanilla men any more. At best, I can do all that up-front and be done. At worst, I have to do that *every day for the rest of the relationship* in small and big ways and that’s an exercise in tedious futility and not one I’m interested in taking on.
I feel like I have written about this before, but it’s such a stark example, that I’m repeating it.
My last long term vanilla man (who I talk about all the time on Twitter because he’s still a good friend and he is completely awesome) was in my group of friends when we started dating, so we all had a familiar, jokey way of ribbing each other. Early on when we started dating, we were out at a pub. A few of us were going to a concert afterwards. Someone asked him if he was coming and he threw out a thoughtless ‘lighthearted’ response:
“No, that bitch [indicating me] didn’t get me a ticket hurr hurr…”
I gave him a look, did not crack a smile, was not going to ‘go along’ with an accepting chuckle.
“Don’t EVER call me that.”
Everyone looked at me. THAT tone. He had the grace to look embarrassed, but it wasn’t enough.
I stepped into his space, hard faced and soft voiced. “I’m going to the bathroom now. YOU HAVE A THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU JUST SAID.”
It was uncomfortable for me, for him, for all of us. I didn’t care one bit.
Either he would sincerely apologise (he did) and never do that sort of thing again (he didn’t) or he would get defensive or otherwise challenge my reaction, and we’d be done.
I did this with all of my vanilla partners in various ways before I ever ‘discovered’ D/s, and they all either stepped up, or I was done. I wasn’t at all subtle about it, and *some* version of ‘casual disrespect’ (being late, not doing what he said he would, ‘jokey’ rudeness, thoughtless dismissal etc) would come up relatively early, and I’d smack him down so fast his head would spin. The reason I don’t seek vanilla men any more is because there are generally *so many* ridiculous little power struggles day by day that I end up getting exhausted by having to constantly push up against it to carve out my space.
Had that scenario happened in a D/s context with a potential submissive, firstly I would NEVER expect that kind of statement to leave his mouth because he should already know that that kind of behaviour is unacceptable, but IF it happened, I’d expect that a pretty subtle change in my demeanour, a raised eyebrow, an ‘I beg your pardon?’ would have him falling over himself to apologise and correct himself. I wouldn’t NEED to get guns out to establish those firm boundaries.
So in the final analysis, I’m actually much more stereotypically ‘domly’ with vanilla men than I am with submissive men. A fact which is rather amusing to me, and which makes me a poor match for any submissives who might wishfully swoon over that kind of strong-arming. It just doesn’t make me happy to behave that way, so I won’t be in a relationship where I have to do it.