Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Battle of Sexes Over -- She Wins!

"We're both more comfortable now in our proper roles." --a husband newly converted to the female-led lifestyle

That might sound like an odd comment about an extremely unconventional, role-reversal lifestyle, but it's true. Certainly for me and my wife, and I bet for many, many others. As my wife and I internalize more and more aspects of our FLR, I find that, despite the usual daily quota of conflicts, our interactions become easier. And we become more contented and "comfortable in our proper roles," just like the guy says up there. There is less friction, less rivalry, more mutual enjoyment.

Last night, for instance, in between bugging our son to do, and then keep doing his homework, I took a few minutes to leave him at the dining room table and sit down next to my wife in the living room, where she was catching up on office work while watching our daughter practice music.

She looked around to see what I wanted. I just smiled at her, a kind of goofy smile. It took her only a second to realize why I was there. Just because I wanted to be close to her, if even briefly. We had a romantic moment in that eye contact, stolen from the kids and our hectic routines.

My wife knows how I feel about her, and it's always there between us, a calm, emotional undertone. I know she feels the same way... well, not quite the same, because her love now has a special quality of accepting my devotion and worship, our special little secret.

Like that memorable exchange between Han Solo and Princess Leia from The Empire Strikes Back, just before he's dragged into the freezing chamber:

HAN: I love you.
LEIA: I know.

And that dialogue works for us. In fact, we've duplicated it, without meaning to quote. It comes from who we are to each other.

So, yes, far from being weird or alternative, I find that my wife and I really can be ourselves in an female-led relationship. We're much more comfortable than we were even a few years ago, when we were still trying to balance the tricky dynamics of who decides what, with occasional flareups and temper tantrums (mostly on my part).

For most couples, even long-married ones, the battle of the sexes is never quite over. It percolates at some level, maybe with half-humorous, sitcom-type gibes, trading insults and quips in front of friends. But not at our house. At our house, in our marriage, the battle of the sexes is over, and we've got a declared winner.

It's my wife. And me? I'm the lucky loser!

When the wife takes over, and the husband let himself be lovingly led, the benefits are substantial and mutual. One wife puts it this way:

"Surprisingly, I found that my taking over the reins smoothed out some of the rough edges in our relationship and stopped some of the bickering we used to engage in. It certainly calmed [my husband] down. This led to more control in our sexual relationship, which has had even more positive results."

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

What Have You Done for Her LATELY?

My bachelor pad was a pigsty. Do people still use that word? It’s more descriptive, I think, than pigpen. No, I didn’t use empty pizza boxes as room dividers, but there were archaeological layers of clutter, and the kitchen floor and ceiling and walls and appliances were all coated with fried hamburger grease.

Flash forward a couple decades, and you’ll find me sweeping floors, vacuuming, spraying 409 on every visible surface, making beds, ironing, picking up junk, folding my wife’s nightgown and lovely unmentionables, as well as after the kids, endlessly, scraping sugary goo off the coffee table. I don’t do much dusting, but maybe I’ll get there.

What worked the one-eighty change in me, from domestic slob to would-be Mr. Clean?

Wife worship worked the miracle, of course. It didn’t happen overnight, but after a few years of effort, it’s pretty much crystallized from intention into daily habit, even when I’m not actively thinking about helping my wife, or making her life easier. I could do much more, and intend to, but I’ll give myself an attaboy for how far I’ve come. And my wife “brags on me,” too, as Au876 used to say.

“The more you do for your wife, the more you want to do,” says one devoted husband, “and the more you want to do, the more you discover things you can do. It just grows.” (Quoted in Chapter 5, “Pampering & Pitching In,” of my book.)

That’s not all that grows on these domestically devoted husbands. As A876, wrote: “I may be ironing her clothes, cleaning the bathrooms, preparing dinner, washing dishes -- you name it. And I realize I have an erection. She may not even be at home and yet I have become excited just knowing I am serving her in some fashion.”

Is that kinky or what? And yet, this benignly delusional behavior results in a clean house and a happier wife. My advice to husbands just taking up the renewed courtship of their wives?

Go thou and do likewise.

Ask your wife for how-to hints and helps. Or check out FlyLady.Net or Jeff Campbell’s Speed Cleaning. And start slaying her domestic dragons on a daily basis.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Fuller Is Better

“Our devotion to our wonderful wives doesn't come with dress-size limits.”
— pseudonymous wife-worshipper

It’s true, dear wives, so true! We worship you “just the way you are,” as Billy Joel famously sang.

As I remind husbands in my book (Chapter 2, “Making Her Your Fantasy,” p. 18-19): “…this is another gift you can give your wife: Be adoring, be accepting, be the safe haven where she can be totally and comfortably herself. Because you accept her just the way she is, it’s easier for her to accept herself. This can have a healing effect on her psyche—particularly if she's dissatisfied with her body or her looks—and provide a well-deserved boost for her ego.”

Alas, too many women are dissatisfied with their looks (in fact, a majority of them, according to surveys), and too many strive to be shed pounds and curves that only enhance their desirability in the eyes of their worshipful husbands.

But here’s one woman who profoundly gets it, female supremacist Paige Harrison. She writes on her website: “My husband absolutely loves my body. he worships my goddess belly, savors my round bottom, and adores my big breasts and full thighs. Also, my hips look great in a tight pair of jeans… I am a big girl now and love it and feel fantastic about my size 14/16 body. “

This husband emphatically agrees: “I do truly love my wife’s rounder figure, fuller breasts and more shapely behind. In my view, fuller is better, and these skeletons that are supposed to represent fashion are on the way out. The Dove ads teach us to accept all women in all of their glorious manifestations, and I think that is a valuable lesson to all of us males.”

Let me give the last word to my wife-worshipping blog-colleague, fdhousehusband, who writes on her househusband's life:

“It is funny how my taste in Womyn has matured over the years. There was a time when i was so much taken with society's vision of perfect, thin Womyn. Yet, over the years, as my Wife has enjoyed the fruits of Her career success, She has put on some weight and now would be considered to be overweight by society. To me, however, my Wife seems more Beautiful than ever and i find myself being turned on more and more by such Rubinesque Womyn.”

As eye-candy, you’ll find a luscious sampling of Peter Paul Rubens’ brushstrokes at the top of this posting. But artists have always prized abundant pulchritude. Witness these wide-screen idealizations of femininity from Colombian artist Francisco Botero (left) and Japanese femdom-illustrator Namio Hurakawa:

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Pecked & Whipped

My father would have loved my wonderful wife, whom he never lived to see (along with his grandchildren, alas). And he would have been greatly relieved to see his younger son so well married and happy. Relieved and perhaps envious, for his troubled marriage to my mother ended in separation and bitter recrimination.

But I can’t help thinking, also, at how dismayed he would be, were he still around, if he could somehow witness the secret dynamics of my marriage. The idea of a Wife-Led Marriage would have been inconceivable to a man of his generation, which accepted all the assumptions of male chauvinism as divinely ordained. That a man would have not only accepted secondary status in a marriage, but actually fostered and campaigned for that status, would be beyond his imagining.

“Henpecked and pussywhipped” might be two of the more acceptable labels he could apply to my conjugal status. Imagine a husband turning over complete financial control to his wife, indeed, abdicating the entire decision-making process in her favor! And surrendering control in the bedroom, as well! So that she decides all, and her voice is final in all matters. How could a self-respecting man let himself be reduced to such a wimpish, childlike state?

If he could see me, kneeling each night at the foot of our bed, blissfully rubbing lotion into her feet as she reads or watches TV, then kissing her feet as a concluding gesture of devotion, he would appalled. Or what if he saw me giving her a pedicure, the painstaking care with which it is necessary to apply especially that first coat of color! What a lackey his son had been reduced to!

But then, again, might he not experience a pang of jealousy? For he might also see the complete absence of dispute between his son and his beautiful daughter-in-law, as I acquiesce to her wishes, and even hints, in all matters. Would he not see that ours is a blissful union compared to his own?

Had he yielded to my mother, or even been susceptible to her advice, we would have held onto a particular house that went on to appreciate by many hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years that it no longer belonged to us. We would not have dissipated our family savings. My mother was frugal, my father improvident. Would we not have prospered vastly with her in control of finances? Of course we would.

And had he deferred to her, been ruled by her in all matters of disputes, our family would have stayed together.

But there are consolations, as I think back on these matters. Both my brother and I have had long and happy marriages. I don’t know all the dynamics of his, so I wouldn’t venture to say that his is wife-led, but I suspect that, in many areas, his wife has the deciding vote.

As well she should. Evidently my brother and I both learned a great lesson from our parents’ unhappy marriage. In my case, I will say without reservation that being henpecked and pussywhipped is a good thing for a husband to be.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Who Made YOU an Expert?

Most of the comments I get from readers of the Worshipping Your Wife website, I'm happy to report, are truly appreciative. Which is why I went ahead and finished the darned book.

But, in the world's largest idea mall, you can’t please everybody. So, every now and then I get contentious emails. Asking, like, Who made you an expert? What are your credentials? Do you have a degree in psych, behavioral science, sociology, anthropology? In anything?

C’mon. Do we really want to live in a regimented, regulated world where only approved and sanctioned “experts” are allowed to have an opinion, only highly credentialed pundits can pontificate? No, we don’t. At least I don’t. That’s what’s so refreshing and liberating about the Web. It lets me, like so many other unqualified, unwashed folk, speak my piece and call 'em as I see 'em, in the free marketplace of ideas.

I’m reminded of the Jma ‘el Fna, this huge square of beaten earth in the center of Marrakesh. It’s a meeting of ancient caravan routes, a legendary Arab-Berber swapmeet, little changed over the centuries. You can still wander the stalls, feasting on roasted mutton, and find snake charmers and guys who will pull a bad tooth with pliers or write you a love letter, side by side with sellers of pirated designer jeans and DVDs and junk jewelry. You pays your money and takes your choice. The Internet is like that.

Or there’s the Speakers’ Corner in London’s Hyde Park, where the would-be orators line up every few feet, sounding off on every topic under the sun (as long as they're not too inciteful). It’s kind of like the blogosphere, which allows anyone with a cyber-soapbox to speak his or her mind. Wanderers-by can linger and listen, or just move on.

Who made me an expert on men and women, on marriage, or wife worship? Nobody. I’m just a guy who found something that worked miracles in his own marriage, then discovered from some other guys the same formula had worked miracles in their marriages.

So now I’m shouting the good news from the housetops… or trying.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Power Transfer

Those involved in “alternate lifestyles” sometimes refer to a “power transfer”—the process of imbalancing or tipping the relationship dynamics in favor of one partner over the other.

In FLRs, or female-led relationships, the transfer is done in favor of the woman. And, since we’re clearly talking about consensual relationships, that means the man has voluntarily ceded some of his power or authority over to the woman, to create an imbalance that both partners may find stimulating.

“Right now I am really feeling her power over me.”

The quote is from Au876, one of the mainstays of Lady Misato’s original husbands’ forum on Yahoo. He goes on: “Guess I better go iron her blouse and maybe find some surprise chore to complete that she will notice.”

This shows the kind of provocative imbalance that can exist between worshipped wife and worshipping husband, another aspect of the queen-knight paradigm. The queen has merely to enter the room and her knight-courtier is instantly alert to serve her in some way.

But Au876 was quite clear that he had, at some point, given that power to his wife. And just as clear that he liked it that way, and didn’t want it back.

“Our relationship just sorta evolved,” he explained. “At one time my wife did everything and I did nothing. I am not even sure how it evolved, but today it is almost completely reversed. It really makes me feel good to be, say, fixing her dinner while she is watching TV or napping or reading the paper. The doing of it makes me feel good, and the fact that I am doing it for her makes me feel good.”

But why would that be?

Why wouldn’t a husband prefer to sit back, watch the Game on TV and have his wife cater to him?

Why not indeed?

Because Au was endlessly courting his wife, day after day. That was the life he lived, and chose to live. The Power Exchange makes little sense without that. With the added element of daily courtship, it makes perfect sense.

The suitor grants the object of his affections power over him, awaits her verdict on his feverish hopes and dreams. He is perfectly transparent to her in his adoration, while she is veiled in regal mystery. While he awaits her verdict, he does everything he can to please her, to cater to her and curry favor.

Courtship is Power Exchange, instilling a kind of giddy daily bliss in certain men, a courtship that never ends.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Male Cluelessness

“Women generally want men ‘to just know’ without having to be told.” The quote is from radio talk-show host Dennis Prager, and it resonates with me as true. Prager goes on (as quoted on p. 58 of my book): “But the vast majority of men do not ‘just know.’ We rarely have a clue. That is why women often think of their man as ‘clueless.’ But cluelessness in this area is not a male fault; it is a male trait.”

This works as a generalization, I think, applicable to almost every aspect of male-female relations. But, for the sake of blog-post brevity, let’s narrow the focus a bit. Guys rarely detect the next emotional land mine in the terrain ahead until they step on it and are blown sky-high.

How many times, especially in the bad old days before I launched my wife-worship campaign, did I find myself blindsided by such a domestic detonation? Here was my darling, out of the blue angry or tearful or deeply troubled over something that completely eluded me” And I, by omission or commission, was somehow the cause.

And I was, of course, completely clueless.

Okay, it still happens, I confess. Despite my efforts at vigilance, keeping a lookout ahead posted for the slightest squall in her emotional weather, I still find myself occasionally unprepared. But the frequency of serious blowups is much less, and my wife is much more apt to give me credit for daily diligent attention to her needs and moods and consistent attempts to keep the courtship going.

That’s why I prescribe perpetual courtship. A husband dare not define the status of his marriage as safely “quo” and his bride permanently wooed and won. Far better to treat marriage like one of those emergency preparedness drills, in which the husband must go through a daily checklist of essential tasks, with his wife’s happiness ever before him as the objective to be secured.

What can he do today to further that objective? What ought he not to do?

Is that overdoing things? No, it isn’t. Male cluelessness is endemic and insidious. And marriage is a daily crisis. Define it otherwise and a husband is asking for the next crisis to fall on his clueless head.

A final word, from the Introduction of my book: “Courtship and reconciliation are clearly defined crises in a man’s life. He will do anything to win the woman of his dreams; should he lose her, he will do anything to win her back. Why, then, is he not willing to do anything, on a daily basis, to keep her contented? Because husbands don't perceive that a wife can be lost if never again wooed or won, that marriage is also a crisis, deserving of extreme efforts. This is not punishment, but reward: His wife is more than worthy of the very best he can give.”

Thursday, April 17, 2008

A Tribute to Lady ‘M’

In my book I celebrate the rise of FLRs, female-led relationships, and LFA, loving female authority:

“…a new type of female empowerment—not to be confused with female domination or female supremacy. In fact, the proponents of this new empowerment generally dismiss the world of ‘femdom,’ with its bizarre rituals and iconography, as a kind of male-oriented fantasy-land, in which women are ultimately devalued.” (Worshipping Your Wife, p. 84)

I don’t know who coined FLR and LFA, but the acronyms seem to have caught on, especially FLR, helping to destigmatize and advance the cause of women as loving leaders in marriages and romantic relationships.

They’ve accomplished this largely by replacing all the mondo bizarro imagery associated with femdom—B&D, S&M, et al. Instead of a whip-wielding, vinyl-sheathed dominatrix lording it over a groveling lump of naked male flesh, we may now envision something akin to the radiant image that graces Lady Misato’s website, Real Women Don’t Do Housework—and also the cover of my book.

“The Accolade” (1901) by Edmund Leighton depicts a lovely queen or princess, standing statuesque in a shaft of light as she confers knighthood with a longsword on a kneeling, unhelmeted warrior, head bent. Googling will yield many similar images from Leighton, along with those by his fellow historical painters in the English Pre-Raphaelite school, John William Waterhouse and Sir Edward Burne-Jones.

Yes, submissive men can be viewed as heroic knights, and their dominant damsels may be transfigured as radiant and fully empowered queens. This is not just the storybook romance model, but the courtship model, which Lady Misato converted into a working blueprint for contemporary wife-worship (or “wifedom,” as she also calls it), and which I subsequently made the cornerstone of my book.

I acknowledge my considerable debt to Fumika Misato, not just for inspiring my book, but also for helping to save my marriage—and many other marriages, I’m sure. Perhaps she did not originate the terms “Loving Female Authority” (that may have been Elise Sutton, softening her own website a bit) and “Female Led Relationship,” but “Wife Worship” is almost certainly Lady Misato’s inspired coinage. And I regard her as the prime creatrix of the new FLR movement, which is rapidly gaining mainstream acceptance.

For me, and many other men I have discussed these matters with, it was Real Women Don’t Do Housework that showed us that our longings to serve a woman are not necessarily twisted or perverse, but are at the very pulsing heart of romantic longing, even of heroic courtship. They can be proclaimed proudly, not hidden away or denied. Instead of leading us into masturbatory fantasies over kinky images, these longings can lead us right back into our marriages and back to our wonderful wives. We have only to embrace our wives as loving leaders, to treat them as the queens and goddesses they truly are.

Or, to cite my favorite motto: “If you want your wife to be a goddess, worship her.” — Clairette de Longvilliers

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Going Public With Wife-Worship

One of the obvious points of getting married is formalizing the relationship commitment in front of family, friends, and surrounding society, including its institutions. A commitment that enfolds and protects the nascent family, which is the basic unit of a culture, a civilization.

Which, of course, is because the family protects and nurtures children, and launches them into responsible adulthood. As author George Gilder put it in his book, Men and Marriage (quoted on p. 6 of my book): “Women manipulate male sexual desire in order to teach men the long-term cycles of female sexuality and biology on which civilization is based.”

In some primitive tribes, the man is required to pick up the child he has sired and acknowledge paternity and his commitment to support the child. Without that tightly woven social bond, connecting ejaculation with fatherhood, virile young males remain rogues, functioning as tribal gangs, outside the social compact.

For men and women in wife-worship or wife-led marriages, “going public” can be extremely difficult and socially risky. Most often there is no surrounding social structure of friends, family, and sympathetic institutions to sanction a role-reversal union, a lack that is sorely lamented by most FLR couples.

As Au876 wrote on Lady Misato’s original Wife Worship forum several years back, “Deep down (and maybe not so deep) I think all of us want others to know about our devotion to our wives. That is why we like this forum, we are free to tell someone else. It excites us to have others know. Maybe someday it will become a more accepted lifestyle.” Indeed, most of us are proud of serving our wonderful wives and wish we could tell the world of the joy and fulfillment this lifestyle brings us.

To take baby steps in that direction, more and more FLR couples seem to be renewing their marriage vows, this time with the wife pledging to “love, cherish and guide” and the husband to “love, honor, worship and obey,” or variations thereof. While these marriage renewals are often intimate, private ceremonies, many of the participants would welcome an opportunity to make their affirmations as public declarations, with pride and joy and appropriate fanfare.

And some are doing exactly that.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Becoming President of Her Fan Club

Are you the president of your wife’s fan club? Is she the radiant center of your universe? Does she leave you star-struck, blinded by her luminescence? Do you, like ardent Curly in Oklahoma! collect treasured keepsakes from your beloved? (“Give me back my rose and my glove.”)

If this sounds romantically retarded, give it another think. Didn’t you once feel that way about her? Star-struck and lovestruck? When you were courting? So, in keeping with the perpetual courtship marriage, the kind of FLR I advocate in my book, why not act that way again?

A co-worker once told me about this sexy new temp in his office, a Latina bombshell who turned him into Jello. When she agreed to go out with him, he went binge-shopping–for chocolates (Godiva), roses (two-dozen red). When he’d called to ask her out, he’d even asked what her favorite perfume was and bought some of that, at like $40 an ounce (this was twenty years ago). The guy just couldn’t help himself.

“I don’t care if I go overboard,” he told me. “You know what Alicia told me on the phone? She gives this incredible throaty chuckle and tells me, ‘Oh, you’re going to be wonderful for my ego!’”

What higher compliment could a girl give her fan club president?

This story reminds me of another, this one a reminiscence by the famous Hollywood actor, Robert Taylor. He wasn’t famous, though, when he was cast opposite the great Greta Garbo in Camille. Handsome, yes, but almost unknown, and not much of an actor, to be candid. But Garbo liked his princely looks and got him the part. Then proceeded to cast her spell over him, exactly as her character, Marguerite Gautier, does to his character, Armand Duval, in the film.

During the course of filming, Taylor spent hours in her dressing room as her enchanted captive, listening to her husky voice, looking at the memorabilia of her fabulous career, hopelessly drunk with her. And Garbo not only seduced Taylor, but induced from the too-laid-back actor a compelling performance. It comes across on screen—but, of course, he wasn’t acting. He was madly in love.

Alas, when filming wrapped, Garbo dismissed him completely. But, he had been, at least for magical moment in time, the president of her fan club.

My turn to confide. I was a ninth grader in a high school art class, seated by blessed fate in the back row next to a glamorous senior girl, a regal beauty whom I will call LaDonna Dillon. She had, like that, a camera-ready name. She starred in school plays—in sophisticated, decadent Tennessee Williams’ plays, believe it or not. Like Orpheus Descending. In high school! She spoke in a theatrical whisper. She was magnificent. And I guess she thought I was… well, kind of cute, with my goggle glasses and crewcut and obvious puppypdog adoration of her.

One morning I arrived early at the art bungalow and found LaDonna there, alone, working on a project. I took my place right next to hers, and opened a book on Renoir, the artist I’d chosen for my book report. Next thing I knew, LaDonna had scooted her stool closer, was right there, a perfumed erotically charged presence, looking over my shoulder at Renoir’s succulent nudes. In fact, at one point LaDonna reached over my shoulder and began turning pages, asking me which ones I liked best. My head was spinning, and that was the least of my organic reactions!

I was ready to establish the LaDonna Dillon Fan Club and Goddess Worship Society right then and there. (As it was, she went on to have a minor Hollywood career without me, mostly in episodic TV.)

Let me exit from this overlong post with a quote from one of my wife-worship role models, Au876, who posted for several years on Lady Misato’s original Wife Worship forum. Here’s his encouraging advice on becoming your wife’s number-one fan:

“Never miss a chance to tell her how beautiful she is, how smart she is and how much you cherish her. Rub her feet at night. Give her pedicures, fold her night gown, clean her hair brush (daily), rub her back, tend her bath (for example a simple thing like bringing her a hot towel to dry off with is little trouble and yet very sweet)… Let your adoration spill over.”

Amen, Au. Rah! Rah! Rah!