Vanilla man, or no?

I overthink everything. It can get very boring, even to me.

The other day I met a vanilla man who somehow appealed to me. He bought the place next to my dad’s house (over an hour away from me): We had a chat when I visited and I asked for a tour of his as-yet-incomplete house. We had an easy rapport, he was somehow very open with me (he’s recently divorced, talked about his work, was showing off a bit about an article in the newspaper about him). The interaction was nothing special but he’s still on my mind.

A salt-of-the-earth type, a tradie (tradesman) who’s moved on from that work somewhat. I guess he’s a bit younger than me, seems quite conventional, but with an earring, which is not to my taste, frankly, but that belies a conservative bent.

Apparently after meeting me he joked with my dad that he couldn’t believe that such a ‘young and beautiful’ woman was his daughter (and yes, my dad rang me JUST to tell me that because he thought it was tell-worthy *laugh*. So cute).

I have his number, not because he gave it to me (he didn’t), but because he gave his contact details to my dad: He’ll be working on the house and wanted to be sure my dad could raise any issues about noise or disruption (so apart from that meaning I have his number, it also means that he seems like a good man).



I’m thinking about it: Probably a text inviting him to come down here for a drink with the lesser obligation and millenialist mindset that that approach implies.


I haven’t pulled the trigger because I’m trying to let go of that vague feeling of ‘ugh, it’s pointless and you’re going to have to deal with the fallout so why bother’ that crowds my brain with too many thoughts.

I hate socialising (serious introvert here), I hate meeting people (see previous), I hate dating (see previous and previous-previous), so I only do it when I can clearly see the potential return for that investment (so mercenary!).

I’d have to cycle up a load of social energy just to see this guy, and I really only do that when I think there’s a very good chance something is going to come of it. Which is why I spend so much time vetting submissive men online before I agree to meet the very few I DO meet (well, except for that one little abortive attempt I had where I decided to meet ‘anyone who was vaguely passable as human’ and it… did not glean positive results. It was indeed a waste of energy and time, plus I had to have those awkward ‘no thanks’ chats with the experimentees. So yeah).


He’s vanilla.

And yes, he could coincidentally be the subbiest sub who ever subbed, but that’s hugely unlikely. And no, I do not believe that I can ‘convert a vanilla man’ or that latent submissive men of the kind I like are somehow secretly roaming lost the vanilla world.

I can get to a certain level with a vanilla man and my experience has been that it can be wonderful with the right vanilla submissive, but it’s difficult to avoid eventually getting to a place of resentment for both of us in the longer term. So I’m trying to decide if it’s unfair to even try and go there when the attempt is not a fun experience for me (if it WAS fun to ‘just give it a go’, it would be different, but it’s really really not).

I’m also trying to imagine any conversations about what I spend my time doing and once you cut out all the F/m stuff, it’s actually pretty thin:


  • I write an award-winning blog that’s been in the top 100 for years
  • I create a Q&A type advice podcast
  • I’m a published author
  • I’ve written a successful erotica book
  • I’ve published three other non-fiction guides
  • I edited a book that I got into the best seller’s list on Amazon
  • I’m trying my hand at a fiction novel now
  • I run the biggest discussion group in the world in my niche
  • I discuss all of that and more with my people on social media


  • Eh, not much.

And yet, it would be SO nice to just go on a fucking date with someone I’ve already met and with whom I clearly felt some kind of little spark. You know, like people used to do ‘in the old days’: Have some drinks, flirt, banter, make eyes over the table, hold hands, do some kissing, all of that.

So yeah, overthinking like an overthinky Domme.

And this, Dave, is why I’m single*…


*this is my new catchphrase inspired by this post *laugh*

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  1. You could try introducing him into the lifestyle ????. It’s obvious that you’d be successful. Perhaps he doesn’t know the joy and what it means to be yours.

    1. I think that’s hugely optimistic, and I mean, good on you for being so optimistic, but ‘nah’.

      To reiterate: “I do not believe that I can ‘convert a vanilla man’ or that latent submissive men of the kind I like are somehow secretly roaming lost the vanilla world.”

      What I want is inherently unfair, and while good vanilla men in love will do pretty much anything I want, my biggest kink is obedience, and after NRE wears off, they ain’t havin’ it. People quite reasonably rail against unfairness: I don’t blame them one bit.


      1. On the other hand, I think a lot of men present as vanilla but are secretly deeply kinky, even if they can’t quite articulate what they want. Divorced implies some incompatibility, so just maybe…

        If a friend had this dilemma about somebody who *wasn’t* their parent’s neighbour, and happened to ask my advice – which you didn’t but I’m assuming it’s OK to talk around this to test ideas for the benefit of others – I might tentatively suggest two possibly strategies: if appropriate, probe as to why the marriage failed; and flirt until he makes a move, then be really honest.

        1. “Divorced implies some incompatibility, so just maybe…”

          Orrrr… maybe she’s the domliest domme who ever dommed and he went ‘aw hell no’ :P. If we’re talking possibilities, it’s just as likely really.

          I live an hour away, so any ‘gentle probing’ or ‘casual flirting’ isn’t a thing I can do.

          It’s either ‘invite’ or ‘nothing’.


        2. Yes. However, the divorce implies… the possibility of extremes? Of longed for new horizons?

          Logically, his marriage is more likely to have been conventional than unconventional. Since the marriage didn’t work out, it follows that there’s a good but not 100% chance he needs something unconventional.

          If he’s attracted to you, perhaps he picked up a domme vibe.

          I guess we’ll find out.

  2. I would offer that you may not be overthinking things as much as you are very risk averse. There is uncertainty about how this might turn out. You seem to put a lot more weight (in terms of how much you speak about it) on the costs (expending social energy as an introvert) and possibilities of not finding what you want in a relationship, than you do in benefits (getting to date) and the possibility of finding the type of relationship you want.

    How much risk one is willing to take is totally personal, I do not see it as good or bad, just that person’s risk tolerance. But it may help to think in terms of how much risk you are willing to take as you sort this out to make a decision. Struggling with uncertainty is not easy, and often risky. Sometimes it may be worth it, sometimes not.

    1. I was unclear. I know at the end I made a date sound awesome. But I HATE dating.

      “benefits (getting to date)”

      So yeah, that’s NOT actually a benefit here.

      I think it’s ‘doing-something-I-don’t-enjoy-for-dubious-return’ averse *laugh*.

      So if that’s how we’re defining ‘risk’, then yes. I am totally risk averse.


  3. Everyone has their own level of risk tolerance but maybe have a little fun with it; invite him over for drinks and “accidentally” leave something kinky in plain view and watch his reaction. Go for subtle like one of your books on the coffee table or just lay all your cards down and leave a flogger and strap-on in the bathroom just to see him blush when he comes back out again. What do you have to lose?

    1. *laugh* Ahh, but I suspect you already know that men will totally get on board with kinky sex. That’s the easy part.

      The D/s part, the obedience, the unfairness, the ‘just do what I want’-edness. Now we’re talking about something else. Vanilla men will do a lot of that (especially in the beginning), but unless it taps something deep in them for that wonderful positive feedback loop, they will get resentful about it pretty quick.


  4. Isn’t that what we all go through; wondering how much we’re willing to reveal in hope there’s an opening where we can spill our guts and be rewarded?

    As my domme puts it: what’s the worst that can happen?

    1. I’m not really thinking about it like that, as being hesitant to ‘reveal’ (I honestly am not thinking that far ahead: That will come for sure though).

      The worst? Is that I do unenjoyable time-wasting socialising that I hate, and then have to extricate myself from a situation that I created on purpose even though I had all the facts, and then have to deal with someone else’s hurt feelings, and in the aftermath I will kick myself forever because ‘you knew that would happen, you idiot, FFS!’

      *melodramatic sigh*


  5. Ask him out. Nothing to lose, everything to gain. I’ve been married for 28 years to a vanilla woman. (Truth be told, she’s bossy and demanding) At times I feel alone and lonely with my kinks, but then there’s so much more to life. We laugh alot, share many other interests. Best friends.

  6. I can definitely see how this could be frustrating. I imagine a vanilla relationship would amount to you putting your own happiness aside for other people. Wanting a compatible partner is not the bad kind of selfish, but the kind where you protect yourself from inevitable hurt. Are you certain he is vanilla, however, or are you just assuming he is because you met in a vanilla way?

    Perhaps you could try a date to feel him out (metaphorically!!)? You know, be subtle about your relationship needs and see if he bites. It’s *possible* he is a submissive and not open about it (hardly a unique situation). Sure, more than likely he is not, but plan something with a built-in exit plan. Meet up for a drink, for example. You could meet for 20-30 minutes while remaining polite. If things are going well, get a second drink and some snacks to draw it out for an hour or more.

    1. I’m not certain at all, no, just… the law of averages and all that.

      Of course, a date is FOR feeling people out. If I liked dating, this would be a no-brainer.

      I just hate all of it. If I text him the first thing he’s going to do is ring me (he does NOT strike me as a texter). And I HATE talking on the phone. Hate it. And I will have to be super nice and charming and pretend I like talking on the phone because that’s what you have to do, and there it starts…

      Also we are over an hour apart, so it’s a bigger deal than just ‘hey want to pop down the road for a quick coffee’. It’s 2.5 hours of travel to get together. I mean, I’m totally worth it, but yeah :).


  7. Oh, Ferns. You know we are going to tell you to do it. Even though your rational assessment of the situation sounds completely on point. So … do you want us to tell you to do it? Or do you just feel compelled to disclose all the D/s news in your life? You don’t strike me as a compulsive over-sharer (I’m not being sarcastic! Really! Not a brat!) so … is your gut telling you this particular vanilla submissive might be fun? I remember you’ve mentioned that you have good instincts!

    Me, I would go for it and mention the D/s stuff casually over the second date. Or as casually as possible, anyway. Because I don’t like wasting time with vanillas either. But you have a lot more experience than I do, so I’m sure your methodology will be sound and evidence-based. I await future developments with pricked ears. :)

    1. Thank you (and yes, I just told people on Twitter to just tell me to do it because ‘oh FFS, me!’ :)).

      I am totally not a sharer, much less an over-sharer :). You would NEVER be a brat: NEVAARRR!

      My gut tells me he’s not even a vanilla submissive (but obviously I don’t know): I get the feeling he might be ‘old school gentlemanly’ type (which is cool, but with that usually comes some ‘traditional gender norms’ which… yeah).

      Also I need to write a post on why telling vanilla dudes who want to fuck me about BDSM or D/s or F/m doesn’t work (preview: They will all be interested and intrigued because ‘phwoar, hot kinky sex!’ and… that’s seriously not the bit that’s going to be problematic).

      Thank you so much for all of that :).


  8. If you don’t enjoy him you wasted your time.

    If you do enjoy him you wasted your time.

    I don’t see an upside in dating him.


  9. Hi Ferns!
    First, I want to say I share your affliction for overthinking everything. In my overthinking brain, I know that if I didn’t at least give things a bit of a try, I would still be wondering ‘what-if’ a year or more later. Second, your openness about yourself and your feelings is wonderful, and your internal struggle… well, I wish I could hive you a big hug. I guess my only question would be, how can you be so sure he’s as vanilla as you think he is? I say this because I am a very gentlemanly-type, but far from vanilla, and far from viewing the world in stereotypical gender roles.
    As someone who has been rejected numerous times when I bring up my non-vanilla interests, I understand the hesitation. As I said though, if you overthink the way I do, you’ll still be wondering about him for a long time to come.

    1. We overthinkers have to stick together! :)

      Thank you for the kindness and the hugs. I appreciate both.

      I’m not sure he’s vanilla at all. But as I said above: Law of averages and all that.

      I’m not afraid of rejection. I just hate everything about dating and generally have to have solid reasons for doing it anyway (mostly it’s ‘he’s submissive, we’ve communicated online for long enough that I like him, there is actual potential, let’s do this thing!’). In this ‘met a vanilla man out in the wild’ scenario I have no solid reason to put myself through something I hate, and a few strikes against.

      The only reason I’m considering it is because there was a little ‘something’ about him that appealed to me.


  10. I would imagine that the problematic part is when the vanilla men discover what the lower case “m” in F/m means.

  11. BTW, Ferns, I have been reviewing posts in which Romantic Femdom is described.

    I find particularly charming the idea that a Domme’s take charge attitude is an expression of love.

    Thank you for your efforts.

    I wish that I could give you a hug.

    1. *smile* You’re so welcome for my efforts and thank you for the hugs offer.

      Re “Romantic Femdom”: The niches confuse me tbh.

      “Romantic Femdom” sounds very much like “relationship femdom” which is just “femdom with a certain flavour”. I suspect the niches are to combat the idea that ‘femdom’ is the porn version, which is an idea that is fast catching on and I’m fighting it pretty hard.

      FEMale DOMinant
      FEMale DOMination

      It’s a simple and easy shortened version of the entire thing. Grrrr!

      Anyway, dominance and submission BOTH as expressions of love makes perfect sense to me.


  12. Hi Ferns,

    I didn’t know, I had a twin-sister in Australia, there are so many things in your personality and your (dis-) likings that remind me of myself.

    Frankly, go with your gut instincts and when they tell you he’s vanilla then forget about it. If they say, there might be a chance he’s submissive, then give it a chance.

    Find out why you are interested in him at all and why the question of dating him bothers you so much. Did he just flatter you or does something about him ring the dominant bell inside you?

    Good luck

    P.s.: Hopefully this all makes sense, English is obviously not my mother tongue.

    1. Hello twin sis! :)

      There is nothing there with him except a small spark of interest that has lingered, and that’s rare for me. There is no real reason for it. I don’t know anything about the guy. We had a casual conversation, that’s all.

      The question of DATING as a thing bothers me *laugh*. The hesitation is purely return-on-investment. It’s a total crap shoot and I hate playing craps.

      Your English is excellent and it did all make perfect sense, thank you :).


  13. Don’t start by inviting him for a drink. Too serious. Drop by your dad’s and if you see this man outside, strike up a conversation. If not, drop by with a small house-warming present – maybe a piece of cake. I don’t buy the idea of “conversion” as an absolute. For many people there is a vanilla-kink continuum and you don’t know where he is on it. For that matter, he might not know. You might not “convert” him but you might bring out parts of him or he might find pleasure in giving you pleasure. When a dominant speaks about pushing limits, isn’t that about bringing out or developing needs in a submissive that he or she did not previously have? It certainly has been that way for me.

    1. Thanks Richard, but my dad lives over an hour away, so the ‘popping by’ thing isn’t an option. The cake idea is really sweet though :).

      You are absolutely right about the vanilla-kink continuum. If I had simple bedroom kinks, I could get that from most vanilla men, but that’s not where my D/s lives, so it’s a little trickier.

      Also ‘pushing limits’ is something very different and honestly, you may as well suggest that he ‘push my limits’ to get me to be a nice vanilla partner. That’s just… not how it works.

      I really appreciate your thoughts, thank you.


  14. OK,so… I’ve already tweeted my opinion but I figured that I would take a few minutes to tell you how I arrived at that conclusion… It’s a little lengthy so I hope you don’t mind.

    I met “K” while she was working in the bakery department at a local food store. I would go there a couple of times a week for bread and so forth and we just hit it off wonderfully. We seemed to have a lot of common interests… From liberal leaning politics, science fiction, and history, to the dangers of global warming and parrots, we always had an abundance of things to discuss whenever I showed up. Of course, it also didn’t hurt that she was a college junior, in her mid 20s, and with a marvellous personality, pixie cut hair and killer smile. Needless to say those visits to the bakery were always a bright spot in an otherwise long work day. This went on for several months.

    An abrupt schedule, and location change took me out of the area so we didn’t cross paths again for about a month. Finally getting back there, I was amazed and terribly flattered when she said: “Where have you been? I’ve missed you!”. At that point, she also told me she was changing jobs and asked me to drop by there to see her. Of course, I replied. (I really meant it too)

    Logistically, it was going to be a problem coordinating our schedules but we were eventually able to meet up at her new job. While things went well enough, I remember having a sense of relief after getting the visit over with back to my van to continue on my day. It had been just another “thing” that I had to do on a frighteningly busy day, and it got me to thinking. I was now having to step into that whole “socialising” realm and wondered if it would be worth it.

    Who was I trying to kid? It wasn’t like there was ever going to be any serious relationship happen between me and a college kid who was half my age. Idle chatter with someone in a grocery store is one thing. Trying to fire up a social relationship of any kind is completely another, and so I let it go… For about three weeks. By the time I went back to see how she was doing, she had already left that job and had moved on. As we had never traded phone numbers or anything else, we lost contact.

    You know, I found that I missed that idle chatter and the way she actually looked forward to seeing me. It brightened my days and it made me happy that it made her happy. My big mistake was in allowing doubts and misgivings blind me to possibilities. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not like it was a major disappointment or anything but I think that a lack of imagination, and perhaps a bit of laziness led me to prematurely extinguish what could have been an interesting new experience.

    This is only my opinion and probably has little in common with your particular circumstance but my point is this: If I had it to do again, rather than just let it go, I would go forward choose to imagine the possibilities.

    1. Aww, this is so cute and I do 100% understand this. Thank you so much for sharing.

      It’s a “You only regret the things you didn’t do” cautionary tale…



  15. You could errr just go right ahead on the first date turn up in a leather catsuit and whip on your hip. It totally worked in this film I saw! I mean WHAT could go wrong there?

  16. No, no, no. You think you COULDN’T convert him??? I didn’t even know that not being sub in your presence was an option. I have to assume you’re converting maybe a dozen men a day just by your presence. Otherwise you seriously need to take offense at how stupid the local men are. What, they got something better to do than serving a beautiful Goddess with established collection of floggers and short stories? Don’t think so!

  17. You could invite him for coffee being strict about the parameters upfront: that it would be on your turf, at a place of your choosing, for no longer than X time, and that no he would not be going back to your place afterwards.

    You could recognize that being this directive is a little unusual and explain that you are dominant in your relationships with men. You expect obedience and service. Not that you are asking him to be your sub right off the bat, just… if he’s interested in coffee with you, he needs to know who he’s having coffee with.

    That is, give him the disagreeable bits of kinky dating to start. If he declines, excellent! If the disagreeable bits turn his crank, on the other hand…

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