Thursday, April 10, 2014

dennis: A BENEFIT OF LEARNING TO SERVE - WORSHIPPING KATHERINE (Pt. 1)

Learning to serve not only provided me the basis for a satisfying lifestyle within the family, but gave skills that had immediate practical value.

When i returned to college after a particularly grueling weekend under Joan’s tutelage, i noticed an ad for wait staff at an upscale country club near campus. The country club had a reputation for paying staff well and for well-to-do members who generously tipped for good service. i put a brief resume together, highlighting my college work, extracurricular activities, and many of the skills i’d learned from Joan.

The next day, dressed in a black jacket, white shirt with cuff links, and a red bow tie—Joan’s influence again—i personally visited the country club and engaged the well-dressed, middle-aged receptionist.

“Excuse me Ma’am, i’d like to express my interest in the wait staff position,” i said, offering Her my resume while noting some of my skills. i expected to simply introduce myself and leave my resume, but She told me to wait. Shortly another Woman came and took over the receptionist's desk, freeing the Woman who’d been perusing my resume.

It turned out that the “receptionist” i first encountered was the Woman in charge of hiring for the position! She’d only been sitting in for the Woman who normally staffed the front desk and was appalled at the disheveled, poorly motivated students who’d come to the desk before me to ask for an application or to leave off a poorly written resume. She liked my “Excuse me, Ma'am” much more than the “Hey, Lady” She'd received from other applicants. Others thought they were dealing with administrative staff that they could talk down to; Joan and Sue had taught me that all Women deserved respect, no matter their position, and that a Woman is NEVER talked down to! EVER!

After glancing at me and my resume, She granted me an immediate interview, leading me into Her large, well-appointed office. She introduced Herself as Katherine Hobs (not her real name). She was immediately familiar to me as a Woman who regularly appeared in the society pages with Her well-to-do, but boorish-looking attorney husband. She invited me to call Her Katherine, but i would have none of it. i was in the presence of a Goddess and wanted to address Her accordingly, telling Her that i felt more comfortable addressing Her as Mrs. Hobs. She smiled and nodded Her approval, but i'd only use “Mrs.” for a few more minutes. When Her Feminism became obvious, i suggested that, in lieu of “Mrs.” i address Her as “Ms. Hobs.” She agreed. i call Her “Ms. Hobs” or “Ms. Katherine” to this day.

She motioned me to sit down on a low chair without arms next to Her desk. Perhaps the low chair was coincidence, but i suspected—and now know—that this Woman knew something about power and the impact of a low chair on the person sitting in it; i had learned of the power exchange that takes place in such a situation from Joan and Sue.

“Before we get started,” Ms. Hobs said, “may I serve you a cup of coffee or tea?” I rose and said,“I would enjoy some coffee, Ma’am, but only if I may serve myself and You as well!”

With a surprised smile, She agreed, again turning Her attention to my resume. She had a beautiful sterling silver coffee service on the credenza. Taking a clean cup and saucer, i poured coffee and placed the cup and saucer and cream and sugar on a small, but ornate tray. Placing a linen napkin over my wrist, i returned to Her desk where I added cream and sugar as She directed. i placed a linen napkin on Her desk and then the cup of coffee.

“Here you are, Ma’am, please enjoy!” i said to the stunned Woman who responded, “Our head waiter could not have done a more elegant job!”

“My pleasure, Ma’am,” I said, while thinking “Your head waiter likely wasn’t trained by an impatient Goddess with a quick temper and a leather slapper!”


Ms. Hobs motioned me to sit while She completed Her review of my resume.
When She was done She rolled Her chair in front of me and crossed Her legs. Ah, the power of shapely Female legs in a skirt, heels, and pantyhose! She was indeed intimidating;  looking down at me, She began Her questioning.

Ms. Hobs asked about my experience serving and where I had acquired it. “Working as both a servant and housekeeper for a private family,” i told Her, adding, “i can get references” – well, I hoped Joan and Sue would give me a reference! I’d included my Feminist activities on my resume, and She seemed very interested in them, asking many questions. She considered Herself a Feminist and commented that too few men were in the Movement; i agreed. She later admitted that She had been very skeptical about this part of my resume, but my being conversant on the topic quickly convinced Her otherwise. We discussed a variety of Feminist issues, our must-read Feminist books, and expressed an abhorrence of Patriarchy and a desire to see more Women ascend to leadership positions, both agreeing this would have positive impacts on society.

Then the interview got back to practical topics associated with serving. Ms. Hobs delved into the specifics of setting a table, serving drinks, presenting a wine, clearing a table, courtesies when serving Women, and so on. She was particularly interested in my serving Women since the country club had numerous Female members and spouses; at lunch two thirds of the tables were all Female. Knowing that She had problems with some of Her male wait staff when it came to serving Women, i assured Her She'd have no such issues with me.

She wanted to know specifics and mentioned a number of things i might do to show deference to Women and make Their dining experience a good one:

·         Express a willingness to serve Women, “How may i serve You Ladies?” And always follow up with good service.
·         Always use proper honorifics—Ma'am, Madame, Ladies, etc. Shockingly some of the current staff was remiss here!
·         Pull out chairs for the Ladies—basic chivalry but often not done by some current staff!
·         Engage in polite dialogue with Female diners, making suggestions, paying appropriate compliments.
·         Otherwise speak only when spoken to or when necessary to provide excellent service.
·         Look in on Female diners more regularly since many Women tended to not ask for help.
·         Serve Women first and then male diners; actually i'd never served a man before since men simply weren't served in Nancy's family.
·         Suggest that a Female guest select and approve the wine, a traditionally male undertaking.
·         Place the check in front of the Women as opposed to assuming that the male would be paying; that is, not making an erroneous assumption that Women were less able to pay.
·         Help Women after the bill was paid by doing things like getting their coats from the coat check and helping them put them on, as opposed to sending Female guests on to coat check to fend for themselves; i add a bit of unexpected service!
·         Order their car from the valet while they sipped a last cup of coffee.

And i made a suggestion that may benefit Female diners—the bell Protocol i learned in Nancy's family. i suggested that since Women were conditioned not to gesture or raise their voices that a small, elegant dinner bell be placed at all-female tables as a discreet and feminine way of summoning immediate service. Ms. Hobs loved the idea and would put it into practice.

After nearly two hours we parted with Her promising i'd hear from Her soon. In fact, when i returned to my dorm there was a message waiting, asking me to come in for an “in-service interview” in two days. i'd be serving Ms. Hobs and three of Her friends.

“Do well and the job is yours” Her message said. And i was instructed to visit the country club ahead of time to get fitted for a proper uniform—a tie and tux.


(Next: dennis appears for his in-service interview with Goddess Katherine.)

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

dennis: ARE THESE NOT SIGNS OF LOVE?

Regular reader and FLR blogger I’m-Hers (you can see his blog here) comments on dennis’ MORE PROTOCOLS—A GUIDE TO PROPER MALE BEHAVIOR):


Dennis, I struggle with your posts, especially in light of the fact that Mark’s posts have been filled with the understanding that male submission was for the express purpose of a better way to love the woman in one’s life. The protocols, the discipline, the expectations, the rules that you have expounded upon in this and previous posts fascinate me, but what I have failed to see with your and with Nancy’s posts in the past is “love” being a part of the equation. I’m sure you can respond and tell me that you love one another, and I do believe you must for your relationship to continue, but I sure wish for those of us that read that you’d incorporate that amongst the rules, bows, curtsies, and second-place status that males within your household reside. I don’t mean to criticize but I needed to express. Thanks

 
dennis responds:

Love is indeed in our relationship, and that relationship is a mutually fulfilling one with both of us fully accepting the roles and responsibilities we have. Doing as one is told and living for one’s Wife—is not that a sign of love? Is supporting Her career not a sign of love? Is serving Her and making Her the center of my attention, are these not signs of love? Is relieving Her of domestic duties so She can pursue a diversity of interests not a sign of love? Is sharing the many outside interests and causes we have not a sign of love? Is helping other couples who admire what we have and want to emulate our relationship not a sign of love?

These certainly are signs of love to my Wife and to me. It may seem that the rules and rituals are somehow overpowering, but you are viewing these things from the outside. From the inside i can tell you they are not overpowering—much to the contrary!  i can tell you that having some rules to follow that spell out Her expectations is a great way to ensure a tranquil household. We have gone down the path of life together and together we have gradually molded the lifestyle we have and love what we have made together. With each little thing i do for Her, with each new rule, we love each other just that much more. It is amusing to us that others question—and criticize—our lifestyle, and yet, in so many cases, our unconventional relationship endures and theirs does not.
 

What i am learning here is something that Nancy told me months ago, which is that i shouldn’t share too much of our personal relationship and interaction, instead limiting this to the close friends we do have. As always, Nancy is right.


—d

Saturday, March 29, 2014

dennis: MORE PROTOCOLS—A GUIDE TO PROPER MALE BEHAVIOR


As noted in several recent posts, we have a set of rules within Nancy’s family that governs how men are to behave. The list originated with Nancy’s Grandmother, Mother and Aunts, who were all heads of household and wanted to make it clear to their men what was acceptable behavior. The basis is that women deserve respect and courtesy. The resultant list of rules, known as “The Protocols,” has grown considerably both as a result of the Women seeing the need for new rules and the men themselves making suggestions. Many outside of Female led relationships don’t understand, but men love the structure that rules provide in a relationship. Things are spelled out and as long as men toe the line, there are no issues. The Protocols are rather broad and include, but are not limited to, the following:

The Primary Protocols

·         The Protocols are the written embodiment of Female authority and are to be followed to the letter! There is no excuse for noncompliance.
·         Only Women can establish, alter, or negate The Protocols.
·         Women make the rules; men follow them.
·         men are permitted to suggest additional rules they feel would better improve their performance; women can accept, reject, or modify these as they see fit. If seen fit, the new rule becomes part of The Protocols and is extended family-wide as a means of ensuring consistent male behavior.
·         Through the journals they are required to keep, men can suggest new Protocols or enhancements to existing ones, but men are not allowed to petition for the removal or easing of any Protocol; doing so is a cause for discipline.
·         men questioning the validity of a Protocol are subject to discipline.
·         men will maintain a listing in a dedicated book of all Protocols for their reference; entries will be in ink using cursive writing.
·         The Book of Protocols will be kept in a place of honor where it is readily available; Women, of course, can consult the Book of Protocols.

·         When a new Protocol is established, men will be informed and receive appropriate instruction; they are required to enter this new Protocol into their dedicated book as well as into their daily journal. Doing this indicates they recognize their obligations under the new Protocol.
·         New Protocols will be communicated to the Women of the Family for incorporation into their Protocol Book.
·         men are expected to know The Protocols and can be questioned on them at any time.
·         men are required to understand that The Protocols are for their benefit and are to be committed to following them.
·         men are required to support other men in upholding The Protocols and correct them when necessary. A Protocol failure on the part of one man is the fault of all present and appropriate punishment or loss of privileges may follow for all
·         Women have the right and obligation to correct, reprimand, and/or administer discipline to any man violating The Protocols even if that violation is unintentional.
·         If men observe another man violating The Protocols, being disrespectful to Women, holding any of the Protocols in contempt, or behaving in any way that would be contrary to the wishes of the Women, he is obligated to bring this to the attention of the Women, whether or not the Women are family members
·         men are forbidden to discuss the personal lives, behaviors, etc., of any Woman.
·         men are obligated to discuss the personal lives, behaviors, etc., of any man to his Wife; She will determine the appropriate dissemination of information provided by Her husband
·         men are required to support other men in upholding The Protocols and to correct them when necessary. A Protocol failure on the part of one man is the fault of all present and appropriate punishment or loss of privileges will follow for all.
 
Everyday Protocols

·         men are to speak only when spoken to or when asked for a comment.
·         men must address women with appropriate courtesy—“Yes, Ma am!” or in whatever way a woman prefers, “Yes, Aunt Jane,” “No, Mrs. Smith,” “Madame!”
·         men must respond immediately when summoned by a Woman and present themselves for service with a “Yes, Ma am” and a stoop and bow.
·         men must wear an apron when doing housework and at any time they are serving women.
·         men must learn how each Woman wants Her tea, coffee, or whatever Her preferred drink and always be prepared to serve it to Her whether She is in residence or visiting.
·         men must serve tea, coffee, and drinks using the established formal method; casual service is not appropriate and will not be tolerated.
·         men must learn the proper way of lighting a cigarette for a Woman.
·         men must maintain, at their own expense, an ample supply of the preferred cigarettes for the Women in the household and for Female family visitors and friends.
·         men are permitted to smoke only when given express permission by a Woman; men cannot ask permission to smoke no matter the circumstances; it is a privilege that must be unilaterally extended by a Woman.
·         men are permitted to drink only when given express permission by a Woman; men cannot ask permission to drink no matter the circumstances; it is a privilege that must be unilaterally extended by a Woman.
·         Since men have a primary duty of service, their drinking is restricted to personal time when specifically permitted.
·         men are expected to send, at their own expense, personalized birthday and holiday cards to Women within the family.
·         men are not permitted to answer the phone, as this detracts from their domestic duties; if a Woman answers the phone and determines that a man can take a call, she will direct him to a phone and has the option of staying on the line to monitor that call. In no circumstance should a man be on the phone for more than five minutes, no matter the reason.
·         Housework is the responsibility of the man and he will perform it to the satisfaction of the Women on the schedule they establish.
·         Women manage the finances and control the money.
·         men should keep a diary of their activities, suggestions, Protocol changes, and of key dates, anniversaries, names of boyfriends, cigarette, drink, perfume, preferences, etc.; diaries are not private and can be read by the Women at any time.

Again, this is not a complete list but representative of The Protocols in place in Nancy’s family; these may be used as a model for a similar effort by others.

–dennis

Monday, March 24, 2014

dennis: JOAN & THE PROTOCOLS—THE TRAY, ESSENTIAL TO SERVICE

Looking back, I can see that my second day with Joan was much tougher than my first. There were many more skills to master and not much time. Bu the much tougher day was also a reflection of Joan’s quickly running out of patience with me. By Her own admission, She’d been too easy the day before and was going to accelerate the pace. There were no formalities, no chat, just work and lots of it.

The Tray, Essential to Her Service

Joan gave me a fantastic gift, a sterling silver serving tray. “you’ll use this for the rest of your life.” She said, adding that “everything is served and removed from a tray.” The tray and its use have spawned numerous protocols, many of which i learned and practiced that magical first day:

§  It was mandatory that my tray be cleaned and polished every day; a tarnished tray was unacceptable.

§  My tray travels with me on any trip where I might expect to serve the Women of the family.

§  Everything was served from and removed to my tray; even something as small as a pack of cigarettes or a book of matches required a tray.

§  The tray was to have a linen napkin placed on it; only a dry, clean napkin was acceptable.

§  The tray was to be carried elevated above my head using my left hand; i could use two hands only when loading the tray in the kitchen; when serving from the tray or placing items on it, the tray had to be chest high.

§  Having a tray was not an excuse for slow service; i was expected to master the tray to the point where i moved competently and quickly. The benefit of wearing suede-soled ballet slippers was now obvious.

§  Making multiple trips to the Women being served was not permitted; all of a table’s requests had to be delivered on one tray, at one time, so as not to leave any of the Women without being served.

§  Carrying the tray was mandatory anytime i was serving or when initially approaching Female guests. The tray was always to have something on it—practical items such as ashtrays, linen napkins, silverware, matches, cigarettes, and so on. i might also include a mixed drink if, for example, i was serving [my Mother-in-law) Sue and a Woman friend and was aware of the friend’s preferences. Having these items allowed me to anticipate needs and provide more efficient service. Note that while service was expected, the Women also demanded that it be as unobtrusive as possible, thus the need for me to be as efficient as possible.

§  Upon reaching the entrance to the room i was to present myself with proper decorum. This meant that i was to stand in such a way that the Women could see me, but far enough away that i wouldn’t be seen as intruding. I was to wait until one of the Women granted permission with nod or a gesture, so I had to pay attention. When and only when given permission was i to enter the room. When i did, i would have my tray overhead, stoop, and slightly extend my apron with the right hand and greet the Women: “Good afternoon, Ladies! How may i serve You?”

§  If i was taking an order, i was always to start with the Matriarch, continue with the Women of the family, and then their guests. This was rarely more than six Women, thankfully, since i had to commit the Women’s orders to memory; writing anything down was forbidden. As Joan said, “you are a servant, not a car hop!” It was also helpful that i kept a mandatory journal—subject of an older post—since it contained many preferences for most of the Women i’d be serving. Before leaving to fill the Women’s orders, i was to check to see if anything i had on my tray was needed—an ashtray, perhaps. If so, only then could i lower the tray to chest height and remove and place the object on my tray. As will be noted below, there was a proper way to place and remove and ashtray.

That first day with my tray was a very busy and painful one as Joan had me moving about the house properly holding my tray. She had me place a variety of items on it, including glasses of water, to allow me to practice loading, holding, balancing, and serving from the tray. Joan followed me as I moved with my tray between the kitchen and living room, encouraging me to avoid mistakes and increase my speed.

Joan had me doing dress rehearsals into the evening. She sat in the living room and summoned me using a bell. i was to imagine that Joan, Sue, Judy, and Jane were there and each needed to be served; a tent card with each name was on the table. Joan ordered for each Woman, sometime changing orders to keep me on my toes—which i already was, physically speaking. When i went off to fill the order, She would rearrange the tent cards, inhibiting my associating orders with a seat at the table; I was to associate them with the Woman. i made a lot of mistakes—painful ones! Joan was demanding and not at all patient; Her slapper was indeed busy! i served drinks and Hors d'oeuvres, removed glasses and dishes, placed ashtrays, and lit cigarettes. Over and over I practiced the essential skills of service, often with Joan's brand of motivation.

Gradually, with all the practice, i improved. Finally, late in the evening Joan asked that I prepare two smoked salmon salads, bring Her cigarettes, and make two rum and Cokes. Of course I did Her bidding, and was shocked when She invited me to sit with Her; the seconds of everything were mine! It was indeed a privilege! It was a rare treat to enjoy a drink and a cigarette with Her; my smoking was usually done outside, not in the presence of the family Matriarch! But i had established a rapport of sorts with Joan; i think She sensed i genuinely adored Her—and i did!

Serving the Women

Having learned the basics, it was time to put my newfound knowledge into practice. Once the drinks are mixed and orders filled, it’s time to serve the Women. The Protocols and my training ensured that i’d get it right!

i was to approach the group, slightly bow in their presence and begin serving. The tray was to be held high until i was in position ready to serve; only then could i lower it, but only to chest height.

The Matriarch is to be served first, no matter where She is seated; if this is the first time serving Her on that particular day, She is accorded a slight bow. Then stoop when serving and, slightly above a whisper, use an honorific courtesy such as “my pleasure, Madame!” Then serve the other Women in order of their rank within the family. Serve drinks to each Woman and quietly announce the drink while doing so—“Rum and Coke, Madame!” Knowing a Woman’s rank, drink preference and the like is obviously important; again we see the necessity of a progressive gentleman’s keeping a journal.

Once the Women were served, i was to remove any extraneous items and return to the kitchen; men were not to intrude on the Women’s space! But first, it was my habit to leave a bell on the table for the Women to summon me if anything were needed; we earlier made a post here about this, “I Hear Bells.” While of course i look in on the Women from time to time, the bell allows my periodic visits to be less frequent while still maintaining a high level of service. The bell Protocol makes me more efficient and less intrusive to the Women.

Other Useful Reminders for Serving the Women:

Serve with appropriate decorum: serve from the right, take from the left; serve the Matriarch first, then female guests; men are NEVER served and should be serving, not seated with the Women.

After removing or placing items, the table is always touched up with a linen napkin; the napkin is used only once; I am expected to have napkins on my tray or person at all times; those deep apron pockets are so handy!

In the event of a spill, the Women are to be quickly relocated to another table and served; only then is the cleanup addressed. The Women come first!

Candles

Nancy and Sue love scented candles, and it’s one of the requirements of service to have them available and place them as the Protocols prescribe:

§  Scented candles are to be placed on the table at which the Women are being served. The size of the table dictates how many scented candles are needed; the larger the table, the more candles needed. A small table requires only one candle, a coffee table, two, and a larger table, three. The man serving is required to enter the room once the Women are seated and light the candles. The lighter is brought to the room on his tray.

§  Should a candle burn out, it is to be immediately replaced.

§  After the Women leave, candles are to be extinguished and discarded. Candles are not to be reused.

§  As housekeeper, i am to ensure that an adequate supply of scented candles is on hand at all times. i make it a point to have a variety of scents on hand and try and determine a Woman’s preference to incorporate in my journal. When She visits, i will use Her favorite scented candle.

§  Scented candles are to be used only for informal gatherings. For formal dinners, full-sized candles are to be used as prescribed elsewhere in the Protocols.

§  The candle protocol has been adopted by a few of our female acquaintances in FLRs. It used to be rare to see men in candle shops, but not anymore. Progressive gentlemen are not only fulfilling a duty, but learning to appreciate another Feminine thing typically looked down on by men.

Ashtrays

While it sounds like a trivial task, removing and placing ashtrays has appropriate formality attached to it:

Ashtrays are to be kept clean; an ashtray is to be removed if it has three or more butts in it. Anytime i serve the Women i look at the state of the ashtrays and remove them if appropriate.

If multiple Women are smoking, additional ashtrays are to be placed for their convenience.

There is only one type and style of ashtray in the home; all have the same diameter and all interlock.

Removing an ashtray involves a total of three ashtrays and two steps, removal and placement. The Protocols dictate that I have two ashtrays on my tray; one is placed over the used ashtray and covers it as it is taken off the table and placed on my tray; this covering ashtray is identical to all the others and interlocks with them. The clean ashtray can now be placed on the table.

If an ashtray had more than three butts, it must be removed; failure to do so comes with consequences.

Lighting a Cigarette

§  Lighting a cigarette for a Woman should be a common courtesy that all men engage in; in our family it is a time-honored ritual. There is a proper way to light a cigarette.

§  i always carry a silver lighter in case the opportunity to light a Ladies cigarette arises. A cheap plastic lighter is NOT acceptable.

§  If a man sees a Woman pull out a cigarette, he may ask for the privilege of lighting it: “Madame, May i?” Or She may motion him to light Her cigarette. In either case i am to bow to her, striking the lighter as i do, placing the lighter to the end of the cigarette, then withdrawing my lighter and remaining bowed while She takes Her first inhalation and exhales. Since my own smoking is limited, I love Her exhalation, which gives me just a bit of tobacco thrill.

While all these serving skills paid dividends within the family, i was to find that they also had numerous benefits outside our home.

—d

Saturday, March 15, 2014

dennis: TWO QUESTIONS ON MALE PROTOCOL IN A MATRIARCHAL HOME

(Note from Mark Remond: Here’s another reader comment followed by dennis’ response, not published before. This Q&A deals with some of the finer points of Joan’s Protocols of concerning male etiquette and female privilege which dennis has been sharing here.)

Dear dennis:
Concerning your post "Dennis: Meeting Joan & Learning of ‘The Protocols" : Women have always hated housework but it was their role and they did it. Here we have a behavior control situation where the men are taught to love housework and talk about its joys with other men. I love it. Here are two questions among many:
  1. Are the men permitted to sit during meals with the Ladies or do they serve and eat elsewhere after clean-up?
  2. Are they permitted to sit on chairs ever in the presence of any Lady?

dennis responds:

The answer to your first question is a resounding “it depends!”

For a small group of two or three Women, such as a weekday dinner then, yes, after the Ladies are served, i am welcome to sit at the table and enjoy dinner with them—and even participate in their conversation if invited. Afterward, the Women retire to the living room for desserts and drinks, and i go about cleaning up. The Women will, on occasion, ask me to join them, but most times i have to excuse myself as i have other tasks to accomplish; they understand. An even rarer treat is to be invited to share a cigarette or drink; a rare privilege that takes little time but which i greatly appreciate.

If we have a larger group of Women, then my duty, and my desire to serve, takes precedence. i'll serve dinner and hover near the dining room to tend to the group’s needs, but not so close as to be seen as listening in on the conversation. It's rare, but i may be extended the privilege of dining with the Women after they are served. As noted below, being allowed to dine with the Ladies does not convey the privilege of participating in their conversation.

After dinner the Ladies move to the living room for conversation and drinks. Once everyone has been served drinks and desserts, i'll eat and begin cleaning the dining room. Sue [Nancy’s mother] prefers that i minimally interrupt the living room conversation, so instead of looking in on the Ladies periodically, they will summon me by ringing a bell. The bells, which i've written about previously (“I Hear Bells”), are Nancy's Aunt's throwback to the Edwardian era, when servants were summoned by a bell and a light in their quarters, indicating that service was required and in what room. We don't have lights, but we do have different-sounding bells in each room. The bells allow me to efficiently take care of my kitchen clean-up while taking care of the Ladies without disrupting them.

The answer to your second question (“Are males ever permitted to sit on chairs in the presence of any Lady?”) is a resounding “yes,” but again with conditions.

A man's being invited to sit with the Women is indeed a compliment, not because Women think he has something to say, but rather because they likely feel he can learn something from the discussion. Remember the directive? Men should “Shut up and listen!” The Protocol for men speaking or participating in a conversation is to “speak when spoken to, to give a response when asked.” Men aren't allowed to hover near the conversation, even to listen; they must be invited in, at which time they take the seat offered, usually one in the back of the room. Often, to reinforce the man's status, he will be seated on a stool.

But, no, i don't have to sit on a stool, unless told to do so, although the wise male will take a stool periodically to demonstrate his deference. But men do have other Protocol-dictated restrictions on where they may sit. Men are not to sit in a chair with arms—EVER! In the dining room a chair with arms has traditionally been the “head of household” chair. In our home we have six such chairs, all reserved for Women in the family or Female guests. One is always reserved for Nancy and another for Her Mother, Sue. This Protocol extends to other rooms in the house. If there’s not a chair without arms available, the man stands. This Protocol also extends to outside establishments. such as restaurants where practical—and it usually is practical!

—d


Thursday, March 6, 2014

dennis: JOAN AND THE PROTOCOLS–LEARNING TO SERVE, Part 1

This is the second part of my recollections of Joan [Nancy’s Grandmother] and Her teaching me the Protocols. Affording personal service to the Women is one of the real privileges of a Female-led relationship. Joan infused the entire process of serving with rule and ritual, some of which are very private matters.

Learning to Serve

i arose early to prepare coffee and await Joan who promised a full day’s training—in what I wasn't exactly sure, but I had been assured that it would “make me a better man.” Absent Her training, all that i did that morning was wrong, but that would all soon be corrected. Joan would see to that! When She appeared, immaculate in casual attire, I knelt before Her and kissed Her extended hand as prescribed by the Protocols.

Joan got right to work; the Grandmotherly Woman of the night before gave way to a strict, in-my-face Disciplinarian who inspired fear. i'd wanted a Woman-in-charge situation, but now, for a fleeting moment , I was afraid, unsure. That feeling quickly passed, however, as i was swept up in Joan's Goddess-like aura, letting Her start to mold me into the submissive man i wanted so much to become. i needed to do what She wanted, when She wanted it, and how She wanted it done. She would give the orders; i would follow them. Fail to do so and there would be “consequences,” painful ones, i was to learn. My accelerated trip into the submissive lifestyle would begin with my learning to serve.

In Nancy's family, personal service has rules and rituals, mostly due to Joan's insistence. A student of social history, Joan patterned our rules for personal service after the servants of the Golden Age of opulence, the Edwardian period. In the Edwardian home one would find maids, butlers, and ladies in waiting all at the beck and call of their privileged employers. In our home, the men assume all these roles with all the proper protocol they entail as they serve the Women.

Attire

Before one could even start, there was the need for proper attire. That morning i appeared in a brand-new pair of casual slacks and a new golf shirt. Only shorts were acceptable, i was informed. She ordered me out of the slacks and cut the legs off them, using a pair of pinking sheers; now I had what can best be described as a pair of Daisy Dukes, but they complied with the Protocol. She also cut the sleeves off the golf shirt. “Shave those underarms before tomorrow,” Joan ordered. “You men are disgusting! Now let's get into something pretty,” she said, taking me into the kitchen where i learned another of the Protocols.

Any time a man is doing housework or serving the Women, the Protocols dictate that he wear an apron—NO EXCEPTIONS! Joan made it clear that an apron would be chosen for me; it would be a long time before I was privileged to select my own. On the hook in the kitchen was the one i was to wear; if two are hanging, one is worn while the other is backup—a soiled apron is not permitted. Prim and proper is the rule. A decidedly Feminine black satin apron with white trim—embroidered with my name—was Joan's gift to me; I still have and revere it. It was a bit intimidating but i did as i was told, squaring its fit and tying it in back. “An apron is practical,” Joan said, “but it’s also very symbolic.” Yes, it is, there's no doubt as to who’s giving orders when the men are wearing aprons. “You won't see a Woman in an apron around here,” Joan said, “and you won't see a man without one!”

Next footwear. Proper attire according to the Protocols demands I wear a pair of ballet-style slippers in an appropriate color. These slippers are really quite practical. They are commonly available in the Women's hosiery/accessories department of any department store. They have a satin upper, a suede sole, a bit of decoration (bows or rhinestones) and are very comfortable; the Women love them, and so do progressive gentlemen. They fit snugly and provide excellent traction on the highly polished wood and ceramic floors that i soon would be racing across as i served the Women.

Stoop-and-Bow

Stoop-and-bow, as Joan called it, is an important show of respect that had to become second nature. The stoop-and-bow was a variation on the traditional curtsey that i had learned first. Joan had me put my left leg forward, my right leg back, bow my head, and then dip while holding both sides of my apron up and out. After about a second i rose and released my apron. Having to perform this time-honored ritual of respect was a major motivation for wearing an apron. My first tries were devoid of the graciousness She expected, so i did it over and over and over again. She added a bit of motivation with a small leather slapper that She used on my bare legs—OUCH! Joan said Her slapper helped learning; and i wasn't going to disagree! i spent two hours walking away  from Joan to the end of the living room and back, where I curtseyed to Her. The stoop-and-bow differed from the curtsey only in that i balanced a tray with my left hand so i could only use my right hand to raise my apron. The stoop-and-bow and serving from the tray were essential to personal service and had to be mastered; with Joan's tutelage and some help from Her slapper, they were. So ingrained has this ritual become that it’s second nature, and I often find myself doing it at work when I serve my boss, Carol, Her morning coffee—sans the ballet slippers and apron, of course!

Rising Up—My Tribute to Joan

Joan insisted that men serving Her do so while standing on the balls of the foot and extending upward, mimicking the position of a foot in a high-heeled shoe, but without the support a high heel would offer. It was difficult and painful learning experience, all the more so since She used Her slapper to enforce Her demand that i learn this movement. i had to wonder why, if She wanted me in this position, She just didn't have me wear high heels; i would have done so had She demanded it, of course. i asked Her this only to provoke Her anger—and receive four sharp slaps with Her leather
instrument of terror across the back of my bare legs. Lesson learned! It was a difficult movement, and surely that's why She liked it: requiring the males of the family not only to do this, but to master the movement, confirmed Her power over us.

One need not rise up constantly in moving about the house, but when serving the Women commenced, it was definitely time to rise up. i practiced this over and over that first day under her tutelage, and finally—perhaps ten days later—mastered what i regard as a very difficult and painful movement. Most of the Women never insisted on my rising up, but Joan did—always! And because She did, and because i still worship this departed Goddess, i perform this maneuver to this day just as though Joan is watching, slapper in hand for motivation. Sometimes when i think of Joan, i'll serve Nancy and Sue and rise up about five feet from them and keep doing so until leaving their presence; although it's not required, they understand, i think, that my doing so is a tribute to Joan.
 
Joan had me walk around in my uniform to practice what i'd learned and to get used to the slippers and the soft rustle of the satin apron. It was all so mesmerizing! If i ever had a “man-card,” i surrendered it to Joan in that instant. The road i was going down led to a submissive lifestyle, and it was a one-way street.

And for me, there would be no turning back!

--d