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Note: this is the fourth part of a five part entry, posted in five daily parts. It's strongly suggested you start with the first, here, and read from there. Further parts of the entries may be further edited based on comments, and are also still being copy-edited, but if you would like to read it all-at-once, it's available here (although it has since exceeded the max length on LJ so only contains the unposted portions). Note that single-spaced, it comes out to nine pages in OpenOffice, so the daily breaks are for both digestibility as well as readability. On the same note, I think I may get more useful comments and feedback with multiple parts. This notice will appear on each entry.

Welcome again. In our first entry, we focused on introducing the people in my "circle", those that I've chosen to keep close to me, to share my style of thinking and my rather uniqe kink-biased-but-not-required viewpoints. In the second entry, I described how I generally tend to measure people, generally judging them on their merits and achievements, and on my perceptions as a person, and what I perceive of a person when I decide to offer them a deeper, more intimate level of trust. In yesterday's post, I detailed some mistakes, misconceptions, and problems that had come up with one friend.

In this entry, I would simply like to focus on the criteria I think that should be determined clearly, as a common denominator. This entry is going to be a little different, a list of lists, so to speak, but that's the format it takes best to.

Put another way, this is like saying: I know the people in part 1, I've come to see them a certain way based on criteria in part 2, and while I'm offering assistance in various ways it doesn't mean I see them as terrible or weak people. Because of some things that happened in part 3, I'd like the people in part 1 to read, understand, and comment on the stuff in part 4, here. This is where it all starts to come together. As always, comments are appreciated.

Part 4: What a collar means to me

What submission means to me is simple: ultimate trust. "I submit to you" == "I put my life in your hands". What that requires, and means, is a bit more complicated. Some of these may sound a bit Asimovian.

What I want for all my friends, collars or no:

  • I want them to be happy. Doesn't mean I want to help make them so, but I don't like seeing anyone unhappy, and if I see a person unhappy for an extended period, I might not want to see them so much.
  • I don't like hearing my friends use words like "stupid", "ugly" or "fat" to describe themselves.
  • Along the same lines, I often take offense at the words "just" and "only". As in "I am just a..."

What I will do if you are given my collar:

  • It means that I pledge to help you in any way I can, if it is within my means to do so and if it does not endanger me or others in my charge.
  • It means that I will try as hard as I can to be honest with you, and to tell you what I believe to be true. This hasn't in the past meant outright full-disclosure, but that may change soon.
  • It means that I genuinely care about things that are going on in your life, and that affect you: your career, your love life, your emotions, your rage.
  • It means that I will try and meet your needs. They may not always be what you ask for. If I feel you need to talk and are shelling, that means I may try to draw things out. If it means you're drunk and need to not drink any more, it means I'll see you safely to bed and give you a warm blanket.
  • It means that I will listen to you. If you say you can't handle a particular method, means, or approach of working with you: I may explain myself, but I won't force it on you.
  • It means that unless you ask, I may discuss your problems with other people in the circle, to be sure my advice and approach are fair and well-grounded and are in your best interest.
  • It means, outright, that you will not intentionally hurt or damage yourself, and that I will not be tolerant of you hurting yourself.
  • I will ask you about your long term goals, where you want to be in life, where you see yourself going. It means I'll ask how realistic you feel those directions are, and how I can help.
  • I will work with you to set longer and shorter-term goals for yourself, and I'll keep tabs on you as often as we agree is comfortable.

What a collar does not (necessarily) mean, unless we discuss and arrive at these together:

  • It does not necessarily mean I have the right to simply use you as I see fit.
  • Doesn't necessarily mean I have the right to take you away from other aspects in your life: family, friends, religion.
  • Nor does it necessarily mean I expect you to be romantic, or sexual, or BDSM-involved with me. I have at least one person on the list above who I don't think I've so much as hugged.
  • It doesn't mean I have the right to discipline you like you may have read about the monkey having in this journal.
  • It does not mean I can make you do anything you do not want to do.

What I expect you to do if you wear a collar:

  • I expect you to be honest with me. I don't want full-disclosure or radical honesty (see the next section) from everyone, but I at the very least expect not to be lied to. If there's something you don't want to tell me, then say that: I'll respect it far more than a lie.
  • I expect you to tell me about any problems you may be having. Much like my friend in the previous section, I'm fine with "I'm having problem X, but I've got it under control".
  • I expect that if I'm offering advice, that you listen to it. Feel free to rebut it, but listen to it all the way through. I'm verbose if you give me a chance, I give details behind my logic, and will explain things to the nth degree. Once I'm done, feel free to tell me you don't think it works for you, optionally tell me why. But please listen. If I feel after offering it repeatedly that it's not the right kind of advice for you, I can work to change what I offer. If I am simply cut off before having that conversation, I cannot.
  • I expect that if I'm making you uncomfortable, you tell me. If a situation I've put you in is making you uncomfortable, tell me. You can use the standard BDSM "yellow" or "red", or you can casually take me aside, or you can simply say "you're hitting a comfort limit here".
  • I expect along the same line as above that if I'm asking a line of questions that are awkward, seem to personal, or that you outright feel are none of my business, you will tell me. In a perfect world, no subjects are taboo, but that can be a level of trust that can take years or longer to build, and I feel it would be unfair (except in life-threatening situations) to require that level of disclosure outright.
  • Finally, if I am in a sexual relationship with you (and this is not at all a requirement, note the "if"), it is imperative that you let me know of any risks you may be putting me, and the other people I relate with, at by sharing that level of intimacy with you. If you have a new partner who doesn't believe in being tested or who you are unsure of, it's my right to know that if you're going to continue that with me. Note of course that if you're in such a relationship, you're putting yourself at risk at well, but in this case, I need to protect the others by insisting on this.

Everything else is negotiable. Absolutely everything. Note that I mention clauses above that apply IF we are intimate, but there's no real protocols or standards defined. Just some very light, base expectations. On the actual protocol level, and slightly more infuencing of day-to-day behavior:

What I would LIKE to expect of you if you wear a collar:

  • As of now, four of the people above have made up HTML forms that they are required to submit to me, daily, with it being a requirement for a fourth person by next Wednesday. These forms detail how they've served me, and served themselves; how they've made progress on issues they're tackling, and what they're working with. In all cases, I asked them to come up with the entries on the forms, as it's an important factor to me what they feel is important. (That may be cheating, mentioning that). I'd like everyone to be submitting daily or at most weekly reports to me. It takes only a minute, and it's a good self-checking exercise.
  • It's completely optional, but I give collars to be worn. I tend to discuss it with people beforehand, what they'd like or not. Some people keep them close, some wear them around wrists or ankles. Sometimes there's a symbolic representation, like a body piercing (but not a tattoo). While I'm normally scientific, I'm slightly pagan in the concept that I believe you can draw strength from me by wearing an object linked to me, and I see myself as a strong person. I'd like it if they are worn at least:
    • in my presence when I'm at home.
    • optionally in my presence in public.
    • optionally when you're on your own, either at home or out.
    • I also like knowing that you're wearing it when addressing me from a distance, either online talk, or when filling out your daily report.
    • When you need to be reminded of your place, or you need (as above) to draw strength.
    • If my relationship with you is sexual, then perhaps while masturbating, or even while having sex with others.
    • Alternatively, some other ritual, like holding it for a minute, warming it with your hands, kissing it, polishing it, saying my name while holding it. In short: I want it to be a significant object that you show respect to in a certain way. You can even opt not to tell me what that way is.
  • In deference to the above, if you're an actual slave-type collared person, then I will probably dictate that you wear the thing all the time, and will make sure to buy you something shower-able, comfortable, and lock it on all the time. But even then, it's a negotiable thing. The monkey has worn his almost a year. It's titanium. And apparently only sets off airport metal detectors if we're at threat level orange or greater.
  • For submissives and people with a sexual relationship, I tend to like body shaving. Whether or not you do this if you are only trying out that kind of play is up for discussion.
  • I expect you to be at least comfortable with the concepts of bondage. That is to say, comfortable with the monkey wearing his collar and cuffs out in public.
  • I'd like you to be open-minded. Trying new foods, trying new experiences. Yes, some of this may involve trust exercises. It may mean wearing a blindfold to try new foods, for example, which some people would consider kinky, but which I would just say is defeating a visual bias (and puts more focus on taste and texture). It may mean, if you've done something wrong, even if you're not into BDSM, trying a punishment I'd use with a submissive; which can be writing assignments (either self-exploratory, or repetitious), being made to stand in a corner, or even outright physical punishment (which we would discuss beforehand, and which would not under any circumstance be compulsory). It's not required, but I'd like you to be able to say you tried it.
  • I'd like you to be drug free. If you do things recreationally, we can discuss that. (And with at least one of the people above, I am now somewhat in control of that). I would like to know that decisions you and I will make together are done without any external influences. This generally includes being a non-smoker as well (see above statement about hurting yourself). It also means telling me when you've done what if anything.
  • I'd like to be able to influence your learning process. This may mean being given books to read, and it may mean doing book reports after. It may mean learning skills common to mine, so we have a shared base of understanding. I'd like all my subs to learn at least HTML, as well as one programming language, for example.
  • I'd like you to have a standard way of addressing me. "Sir", "Sensei", "[my name]-sama", or even another name that doesn't imply anything like that: just something that shows you are to see me in a different light than how others see me, and that you call me by a name you call no other by.
  • While this normally implies to people in the sexual/submissive frame of mind, I have a certain attachment with hair: while it grows back quickly, I took both the Monkey's, and another slavegirls's early in their relationships. I contemplate that I'd like to require a certain commonality to hairstyles: at the moment, I simply feel buzzing down an inch or two of hair at the nape of the neck, even when a collar is first given, would be a nice thing, something that everyone who had a collar would have in common (it's also something I like the feel of under my fingers, and as the neck, especially the back, is a good control point, it's a nice place to have one's hand anyway). But again, this is in no way compulsory; simply a nice thought.

It's a long list. And before giving such a wearable to anyone, now that the list is out and formalized, I want to be able to have people go over it, to agree to a common set of terms and protocols and expectations; to decide on anything they can't handle (or may not be able to handle initially but want to be led toward; or things listed here that they want). I don't want to draw this out like a credit card contract, or a cell phone agreement: to be weaponized and to give me a number of ways in which you can breach the rules later, but simply because I'd like my relationship with you (and yours with me) to be one where you know what to expect. That doesn't mean it will be boring, nor does it mean it will be draconian, or like a bad porno. I enjoy my life, and I want to enjoy it with other people. I just want to have a set of expectations about the people I am closest to.

In our final entry, I will detail one other interesting aspect of myself I'm trying to explore: a way to completely clear the air. If you have been reading the meta-post on this, most of the final entry needs to be fleshed out a bit more, based on recent experiences.


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October 2012

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