Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Avoiding the ‘S’ Word — Part 1

In previous postings here and in my book, I describe the power imbalance in wife-worship marriages as a recreation of the classic rituals of courtship, where the suitor is figuratively, and often literally, on his knees before the object of his affection:

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. (Blogpost: “The Power Transfer,” April 23, 2008)

Yes, I know. There are many more obvious, and far-less-flattering labels that can be applied to “courtly” or “chivalrous” husbands. For example: “milquetoasts,” “wimps,” “wusses,” “pussywhipped” and “henpecked.” I attempted to deal with these and similar putdowns in my book and in a recent blogpost (“Pecked & Whipped,”April 26, 2008).

But I seem to have tiptoed around the worst slur of all, the “S” word—for “submissive.”

There’s good reason for that, of course. If the husband in a wife-worship marriage is nothing more than a thinly disguised “submissive,” that means the wife is just a plain old “dominant.” And suddenly we are right back in the old D/s world with “Dommes” and “subs,” only a sidestep away from B&D and S&M-Land, with all the whips and chains, leather and latex.

And the whole point of the recent acronymic upgrade to LFA, or Loving Female Authority, and FLR, or Female Led Relationships, was to escape that mondo bizarro ghetto, and to go mainstream with an ultra-romantic “female-led” dynamic.

And thus far, I’d say, the FLR/LFA repositioning has been amazingly successful.

So “submissive” is definitely not the noun or adjective of choice for us… well, us, uh, female-led but exceedingly macho guys.

On a message board identified with Barbara Abernathy’s Venus on Top Society, but now changed to the Women Leading the Way Message Board, some male posters seem to exude verbal testosterone. They brag that they are captains of industry, or retired Marines, black belts, cage-fighters, and so on. Anything but submissive.

They just like to, you know, cater to assertive women… behind closed doors, of course.

Even the above-quoted Au876, a passionate advocate of the wife worship lifestyle, could go to ludicrous lengths to escape the “S” label, as in this posting:

“Someone said we were submissive husbands. I do worship and adore my wife. I will do anything she tells me (she loves me so she doesn't make me do bad things). I do all the housework, all the cooking. I take care of her, perform personal chores for her, run her errands. I put her first in everything I do. I look for ways to serve her and to show her my devotion. Her word is the law. She has complete control over all our assets and is free to do as she pleases while I am only free to do as she pleases. But you know, if some one asked me ‘Are you submissive?’ I would tell them no. I don't feel submissive. I feel devoted. I don't feel bossed around, I feel honored. I don't feel controlled, I feel guided and loved. Are we submissive men? Or are we men who know our place in life and are lucky enough to have a wife who cherishes us as we fulfill that place?”

Doth he not protest way too much? If that’s not the life of a perfectly submissive husband he just described there, I don’t know what is.

But is he wrong, and are other guys (like me) wrong, in scrupulously avoiding being branded with the flaming “S” word? (Excuse the kinky metaphor.)

Comments solicited, but more thoughts will follow in the next posting.


Burnsie said...

I just wanted to let you know that, although I don't comment on each entry you write, I do read each entry with great interest. I find them insightful and helpful.
Best regards,

Mark Remond said...

Thank you, that's really the best comment of all... to know that folks are out there in the vast ethereal reaches, taking the time from busy lives to read what I posted.

Whipped One said...

Enjoying the dialog on the "S" word. Am I submissive? I don't know. What I do know is that when I put my wife's needs and wants above mine I am honoring and cherishing her like I promised to do in my wedding vows. I think the main problem with people accepting a FLR is that once again we try to make them be "one size fits all relationships" Every couple needs to be honest with themselves and their spouses and work out a dynamic that works for them. My wife does not want to be "in charge" all of the time so we are working out what she will take charge of and what she wants me to do. That is not called "submission" it is called cooperation. Husbands take the time to talk to and more importantly listen to your wives and what they are asking you for and then act on it. I will end by saying that even if we do not have a "FLR", me making my wife the #1 priority in my life absolutely cannot be negative in any way shape or form. So instead of worrying about defining rigid roles in the relationship I am going to choose to make her a priority, give her a massage and foot rub, do housework, run errands etc. simply because I love her and it is the right thing to do.

Mark Remond said...

W.O., I especially like your point about honoring and cherishing on a daily basis as a carrying out of the promises you made in your wedding vows. That's how I first gravitated into this lifestyle, as I realized how far I had let myself slip from those promises, how much I had turned the page on courtship and was taking my wife for granted... and that I wanted and needed to get back to that. That is how couples drift apart, and sometimes irreconcilably. Okay, female-led relationships, or wife-led marriages, may sound extreme, or go overboard at times, but they are heading in the right direction, in terms of courtship and romance. Love, courtship, is kind of an extreme setup anyway. It's hot, not lukewarm.