Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Whispering the “P” Word, Part 1
In “Worshipping Your Wife,” both book and blog, I have tiptoed around the theory and practice of punishment in female-led relationships. I’ve touched on it in this blog, but you can search the book in vain for the word “discipline” or “spanking” or “punishment.”
My purpose, as I’ve explained, has been to emphasize the romantic, courtship nature of female- and wife-led relationships and loving female authority.
This is the appeal that I made initially, and continue to make, to my own wife in regard to this lifestyle, ignoring any practices that might put her off. Like spanking or paddling hubby, standing him in the corner, and so forth. (I’ll fill in some of the blanks lower down.)
And yet, the “P” word won’t go away. Clearly, “Loving Female Authority” presumes a Loving Female vested with the Authority to enforce her will on her guy. Likewise, a Female- or Wife-Led relationship requires a male who follows the woman’s lead. As in any leadership structure, there must be incentives for good performance and disincentives for poor performance, for not following directives. And, in an FLR, it is she who must be empowered to administer those “disincentives,” i.e., penalties or punishments.
So, despite all previous resolutions, I am going to devote the next several postings here to an informal survey of some penalties and punishments currently employed to guide and enhance female-led coupling. FLR message boards are teeming with examples, of course, but I’m going to steer well clear of the kinkier sort, in favor of those trending more to the playful and provocative.
For example, as befits Lady Misato’s paradigm of knightly courtship, picture a brawny knight, stripped of his armor for whatever infraction or shortcoming, being toyed with by a delicate damsel, no longer distressed but perhaps doing a bit of the distressing.
I’m going to let others do most of the talking, as my own wife does not paddle or punish me physically. Indeed, it is hard to imagine her doing this (although, believe me, I’ve tried!). She explained her reluctance this way, after one of my abject failures to carry out her wishes: “You’re an adult, and I won’t punish you.” (You’ll find more about this objection to disciplining the adult male later on in this series of postings.)
But I did not get off scot-free. My wife expressed her disappointment with me very clearly at that time, and I felt it keenly, as I was meant to. She consigned me to the doghouse, just not literally (as in this delightful video from J.C. Penney’s jewelry departments). Such wifely disapproval, as any husband can attest, can be very powerful, all the more so because it just seethes and simmers for excruciating hours without boiling over.
And my wife’s full-spectrum emotions are powerful. Positive or negative, they permeate the entire household, me and the kids. I am helplessly attuned to whatever vibe she is putting out.
As the old saying goes, “When Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!” And right here is the first good argument to be made for the “P” word, or maybe “CP”—corporal punishment within the safe and consensual framework of a female-led relationship: A paddling allows angry wife and errant hubby a convenient catharsis, an intimate and effective ritual for remorse and reorientation.
This husband, a long-standing member of the self-explanatory Disciplinary Wives Club, puts it more plainly: “We have never gone to bed mad. My wife knows that I have paid for anything I have done that displeases her or for having a generally bad attitude.”
Another husband offers a similar salute to his own wife’s strong right arm: "You must admit that her method for settling arguments, spanking, was much better than getting the cold treatment for days."
Lady Misato, creator of Real Women Don’t Do Housework, states the case with eloquent and elegant simplicity:
“One of the advantages of female-led relationships over conventional relationships, [an advantage] which promotes harmony and ends hostilities, is that they have an additional tool for solving disputes, which has to do with penance. Instead of storing up resentments and dissatisfactions, the wife is allowed to discharge them by imposing penance.”
Misato continues, addressing wives and compressing an entire essay into two sentences: “Penance provides you with a means to overcome your anger, pain, and frustration at your husband. Penance provides your husband with an opportunity to express his love and remorse by enduring the punishment you have selected.”
In the same vein, Loving Female Authoritarian Elise Sutton instructs a husband that he should be grateful to his wife for taking appropriate corrective measures: “Your wife is a wise woman. She is using her feminine power to bring peace and harmony to your marriage and she is defusing arguments.”
Such corrective measures, Misato points out, need not be restricted to physical punishment or discipline:
“Ideally, you should always have a punishment available for any given wrong. Thus there is always a means for restoring the marriage to a state of mutual respect and love. Indeed, a husband's transgressions become an opportunity to have some great fun. In practice you may find that there are some wrongs that are not so easily set right and which try your patience. “
Among the penalties Misato suggests are “extra chores, either constructive, like washing your car, or valueless, like writing sentences.”
A great many wives prefer to correct their husbands shortcomings with such alternate means—a stern look, a weekly reminder session or evaluation, a quick scolding. Others prefer schoolmarmish remedies such as assigning corner time, the writing of repetitive lines, or denial of certain privileges, such as watching sports or going out with the boys or computer time. One wife prefers to give her husband a sharp thwack on the top of his head. He knows what it means.
Exile from milady’s bed or bedchamber is another frequent chastisement, a variation of the doghouse. As this husband comments: “I find that sleeping on the floor next to her is very humbling and help keeps me in the proper frame of mind.”
And a wife adds this: “I have used it as a punishment on several occasions in the past. I allow him a 2-inch thick foam pad and a blanket. As for the kids, daddy has a sore back and sleeping on the mat helps it feel better.”
Writing lines is a very effective method, according to the oft-quoted Au876. Once, on a trip, Au was forced to stay up all night in a motel lobby writing lines after he had neglected to bring along his wife’s favorite toenail polish. I kid you not.
In the morning, after his hand-cramping all-nighter, he took her the stack of papers along with some coffee to her bedside: “She asked if I got any sleep – no. Were my hands tired --- very. Should she count the sentences --- no, I had numbered them for her. She took the stack of papers and thumbed through them. She asked if I thought I would ever forget her polish again. I haven't and I won't. She has used the same type punishment several times since. It is very effective, takes none of her time and I assure you it works.”
Washing hubby’s mouth out with soap for bad language or talking back also smacks of the schoolmistress, of course, and works. A recent example appeared on the She Makes The Rules message board, concerning a husband who used profanity in front of a neighbor. He detailed the immediate and humiliating consequences: “My wife not only washed my mouth out with a softened bar of clear soap but afterward marched over to the woman’s place, made me apologize, and offer to make amends.”
The husband complained about what he considered his wife’s unfairness – imposing a lot of extra chores—but got zero sympathy from other posters on the female-led message board: “Show your wife - and the neighbour - this post of yours,” one husband shot back. “Bet you will get another dose of discipline and it will be deserved! Be grateful for the discipline you get and don't whine.”
“Admit you made a mistake,” advised another. “Take your punishment. Tell them both how really sorry you are. And don't repeat the behavior.”
A no-nonsense wife provided the summing-up: “One of my standard lines that I am sure my husband gets sick of hearing is, ‘You wanted a wife led marriage and now you have one!’ I think that is the biggest problem - making the man see that this is now what life is. Take your punishment and be thankful it’s not worse.”
“Minor offences are handled with a loss of privileges,” another wife confides. “My husband is a huge sports fan. You name it and he watches it or plays it. If he does not do his chores on schedule or does them poorly, he is not allowed to watch TV. If it happens more than once or twice in a week, he will lose tennis or golf with his buddies. No exceptions are allowed.”
All very effective penalties, none requiring the wife to lay a finger on her guy. But what about the wifely right to bear arms? Or bare arms? I’ll delve more deeply in the next posting on this topic.
End Part One