Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Proud to Serve

I hope my readers have been having, and are continuing to have, restful and rewarding holiday times. Okay, I just wrote “restful” because it’s alliterative, but what could I be thinking? “Hectic but happy” is more like it for most of us.

I haven’t had time to post, or do much else, with all the last-minute shopping and returning and light-stringing (we go nuts) and cruising for the last &%$#! mall parking place. But I’d better post something before you all wander off—especially since the blog counter not long ago rolled over to 200,000 page views.

So here are a few words about what “john,” a female-worshipping blog colleague, calls “submissive pride.” As he succinctly puts it:

“Men who are submissive—and proud of it—should be free to identify themselves as such and not worry about what others think. I’m a strong secure submissive man who thinks bowing to the authority and command of a strong dominant woman makes sense and is the right choice for me.”

The first time I encountered a husband openly boasting of his devoted and submissive service to his wife was about ten years ago, on Lady Misato’s original Wife Worship husbands’ forum. The mainstay of that forum, Au876, wrote often of how proud he was to cater to his wife’s wishes, even in front of others, as in this example:

“We went to visit some of my wife's girlfriends at a lake cabin a couple of years ago. We had to take our own sheets and etc. One of the first things I did after getting the car unloaded was to make up our bed and put her clothes away. Later we were all sitting around talking. My wife asked me ‘Have you made up my bed yet?’ One of the ladies started to laugh like that was a stupid thing to expect of a man. But I quickly responded telling her yes and I had hung up all of clothes too…
“My wife was real proud of me. The lady who laughed made some sort of comment about what a good husband I was, and my wife responded saying something like, ‘He knows what is expected of him.’
“I was not embarrassed. I was proud of myself. I had done what I was supposed to do. The fact my wife asked me was a sure sign she did not intend to keep my status a secret from them. The fact I had already done it was a sure sign to her I was not ashamed of my status… Even when others notice, I am proud to treat my wife as my Queen.”

Has the social stigma of appearing henpecked and pussy-whipped lessened any over the past decade? Maybe not. But certainly more and more guys in the FLR lifestyle are speaking out proudly, like this:

“I used to be ashamed or would hide it. If I was ironing, I would act like it wasn't me ironing. The same with laundry or cleaning. I've since grown up and said ‘you know what, I should be proud of helping out’ and I've stopped worrying about what others think. I beam with pride when someone makes a comment about how great my wife is treated. “

“Some people may look at our lifestyle and say we are henpecked. As for myself, I'm proud to serve and please my wife. I also think it’s great to have a sense of humor about these things…”

“I felt really good doing the housework. I felt happy knowing how pleased my wife would be, and I felt kind of proud of myself for being so productive.”

Here, from the Spouseclub Archives, is a young guy bursting with pride over his upcoming marriage to “a very high-powered partner in a large law firm.” She proposed to him, natch, and he still sounds giddy about being swept up in her orbit and at his impending role as her devoted househubby:

“I am so proud of her and her accomplishments and I would do anything to make sure that her needs are taken care of and that our lives run smoothly… I read in a post here about the husband taking the wife’s name… I would be so proud to have her name.”

A female Spousechatter strongly seconds that idea: “Today a man who takes his wife's name can do so with pride and respect for his wife's status and accomplishments.”

For all these guys, accepting and openly acknowledging their innately submissive side constitutes an “out-of-closet” experience, a first step toward psychological liberation that needs and deserves to be encouraged.

“You were probably born with the trait of submissiveness,” writes the female webmaster at Caring Domination to a submissive male seeking her advice. “You want to please others. That's good. You probably submit to a higher moral code, which is very good… Be proud of your submissiveness. You are a caring person who could make a wonderful husband.”

For a few men, “submissive pride” seems to come naturally. An example is this guy, who brags about being raised in a strongly matriarchal home: “I am proud to say that I have been Female Led my entire life. My Mother (a strong beautiful woman) made sure I respected women and understood a woman's powers and that I was accepting of female leadership.”

But for most men to accept their own submissiveness is not an easy step, and to “out” themselves proudly before others is harder still. Often it takes the strong, helping hand of a Loving Female Authoritarian to facilitate this important psychological rite of passage. Understandably. As Kathy, who writes the Femdom 101 blog, explains. “Many of the submissive men who blog, or email to me feel ashamed of their status,” she writes.

“A woman needs to learn to build up her man,” she advises, “to praise him for things he does good, to encourage him to be a better servant.”

She praises one of her female commenters for doing exactly this: “It sounds like Bella is perfect at this. Her husband still has an ego, but the source of his male pride has been changed. A quick little comment from Bella about what a good servant her husband is, and he beams with pride. It is especially pleasing since she made the remark in front of female friends. Bella's husband may be a slave, but she still managed to put him on a pedestal.”

Kathy’s observation about changing the source of a male’s pride by praising him in front of “female friends” for being “a good servant” is the precise tactic recommended in a recent article on the DreamLover Labs site by Kathrin Cohen.

The article is humorously couched in psychological jargon, titled “Identity Reframing: Pride and Shame as Powerful Means of Behavior Control.” But the author loses no time in getting down to brass tacks. “Make him proud to serve,” Ms. Cohen tells her female readers, “make it clear to your male that his submission is bettering him and is something to be proud of”:
“It goes without saying that, given the many beneficial effects, you should aim at letting everyone know about your male's obedience. Create a formidable reputation which he will be afraid of ruining by being rude or uppity. Present him as the most helpful, well mannered man you have ever met.
“As the male learns to fight to preserve his reputation as the ‘most obedient,’ ‘most attentive’ husband, or the ‘boyfriend who never ever talks back to you,’ something important will happen. The male will begin to associate his sense of pride to the quality of his service, which is key to long-lasting obedience.”

Ms. Cohen concludes her article: “You are sending a clear message to your male's subconscious that: serving females is good; everyone thinks so; you love him for it; people expect it of him; he's good at it; so he should be very proud of it.”

Think no guy would allow himself to be so nakedly manipulated by women for their own ends? You’d be wrong. Here’s one guy, for instance, who takes the manipulative bait, hook, line and sinker: “My willingness to obey and do any chore [for my girlfriend, her sister and daughter] to increase their time together relaxing, has earned me the title of being well trained, which I love to hear. Just a few words of encouragement from these superior females and I feel rewarded and refreshed.”

Ms. Barbara, who moderates a provocative FLR group on Yahoo!, is another enthusiastic proponent of Identity Reframing—transforming male submissive shame into male submissive pride. As she writes:

“I want [my husband] to be proud to be a trained pussy eater and worshipper. Pride and submissiveness are no contradiction. He manages to make me happy and I think that he's got a right to be proud of that. That is the kind of pride every man should strive for, i.e., making a woman happy, first and foremost, before his own satisfaction and pleasure.”

A wife wishing to show off her man’s dutiful status, as Ms. Cohen recommends, but lacking a female confidante may urge hubby to reveal his submissiveness online, as in this note to Elise Sutton:

“Ms Sutton, my wife is thrilled with the changes in our marriage. She is proud of what she has accomplished and she wanted me to share our story.” One suspects this husband shares his wife’s pride in his accomplishments and has bought into the new self-image she has helped to shape.

But is it really that simple? By acting proud of her devoted male, even bragging about him to her girlfriends, can a clever wife really transform her man’s embarrassment and shame to submissive pride, and a resolve to be even more devoted to her service?

The answer seems to be yes. The oft-quoted Au876 swells with pride whenever his wife “brags on him” to her girlfriends. For him there is no greater reward. “I am proud to be known to do her bidding,” he states flatly. “There is no dishonor in making the bed, cleaning the house, shopping for groceries, cooking the meals, washing the clothes. That is the way a husband should be.” Likewise, on the Spouseclub Archives, Charles (aka Mr. Lisa), confides to Ms. Lynda that every day one of his main motivations is to do everything he can to “make Lisa proud of me.”

“I want my wife to be proud of me in my service and devotion to her,” echoes another worshipful husband.

But what of the wife? Is bragging about a submissive husband merely a clever manipulative tactic to “reframe his identity”? Can a wife truly be proud of a husband who grovels before her on a daily basis, seeking only to do her bidding?

The answer, again according to Mistress Kathy, is emphatically yes.

Women often ask her how she can be proud of her husband, when his status in the marriage and the household is so drastically reduced. The answer, she asserts, “is that I am proud of him for all the sacrifices he makes for me. I am proud of him for living his life according to my rules and priorities. This is not easy for a man, but he does a wonderful job of it… He may not be a man's man in the John Wayne tradition, but he is every bit a man.”

Or, as Au876 once put it, he is every bit “her man.”

Seen in this light, the groveling husband becomes his wife’s loyal and loving knight, bending his knee to signal his devoted service. This aspect of male submission service as romantic gallantry is also touched on by Kathrin Cohen in her semi-playful article on “Identity Reframing”: “Though concepts of chivalry are by some considered obsolete, they still resonate strongly with most males.”

“Men are capable of tremendous service and sacrifice when we are truly committed to a goal,” wrote an anonymous and extremely articulate wife-worshipper years ago. “We are most content when we have a great adventure before us. We have that cause at the feet of our Goddesses. To lift them to their rightful roles as the divine inspiration to our otherwise sad and empty lives. To give our bodies, our minds and our lives to serve and defend these brave, beautiful, nurturing, challenging, life-giving, playful, wondrous women. With their guidance, our lives once again become real and connected to the natural world.”

Amen, brother!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Men at Work

Q: I get the “perpetual courtship” thing—treating the wife like a queen, flowers, chocolates, love notes, etc. And getting down on my knees to give her footrubs, even pedicures, can be a real turn-on. But I don’t buy into the courtship angle of doing more and more of the housework, even including dusting and ironing according to some of photos I’ve seen here. You can call it “domestic dragon-slaying” if you like, but that doesn’t make it manly.

A: Well, you certainly sound more macho than I am. And in my much younger, studlier days, the only apron I wore was a leather nail apron and as a rough-framing carpenter (or carpenter’s helper). But these days, yes, in my daily romantic service to my wife, I make the bed, fold her nightgown, iron her blouses (along with my shirts), and, yes, even dust knickknacks. I’ve even surrendered the remote (though I sometimes do my domestic chores listening to baseball, football and basketball on a headset radio).

The challenge remains, can a guy follow all the steps of wife worship, including “doing more and more the housework,” without sacrificing his masculinity and self-respect?

My answer is yes, unless he wants to be emasculated, or his wife wants him to be emasculated. Instances of this apparently abound—where men dress, or are dressed, in French maid costumes and go teetering about in high heels and makeup, feather duster in manicured hand.

But, judging by all the FLR accounts I’ve seen from husbands and wives over many years, this aspect of role reversal is definitely in a decided minority

I suggest that most wife-trained husbands perform their domestic duties in a no-frills, masculine fashion. As one of my favorite oracles, Au876, once wrote in Lady Misato's original Wife Worship Forum:

“Over the years my wife has pointed out that men are better suited for housework in a lot of different ways. Men are stronger (generally) and thus more able to move furniture so you can vacuum or sweep. Men have more upper body strength and thus are more suited to scrubbing, mopping and etc. Men are taller and can more easily reach up to clean high places… Men don't have to worry about breaking a nail or messing up nail polish while they are cleaning and are not nearly as concerned about how their hands look. She makes good points and I totally agree with her.”

Of course, Au adds that “the main reason I do all the housework is because she wants me to.”

Get the image of the hunky helpmate? One of the gurus of housework online, Jeff Campbell, seems to fit the manly matrix (oops, wrong term there!). On his website, Jeff sells a very manly looking apron, even if it doesn’t have belt loops for power equipment and a 20 oz. waffle-patterned framing hammer. “Professional cleaners dress for the job in comfortable, washable clothing designed for work,” Campbell writes. “Check out their supportive shoes and kneepads. Goggles and gloves protect against chemicals.”

And, yes, some of these henpecked, pussywhipped husbands “hoovering” the carpets and “swiffering” the linoleum are imposing dudes, well equipped for domestic dragon-slaying. Here’s a trio:

“My husband is a strong-willed man who enjoys much control and leadership in his field,” a wife brags on Lady Misato’s website. “He is 6'3" while I am barely 5'5", yet, I even dominate him physically as he does not resist my pushing and pulling on him… He is much happier and is often humming or singing around the house now.”

No. 2 sounds even more macho: “I am six feet four inches tall, I played college football, I can still bench press over 300 pounds, and I have a black belt in karate. I could kick most guys’ asses, if I were not such a loving and peaceful guy. My wife is a petite woman who weighs about one third of what I do and who is eight years younger than I. Yet, she rules my life to the maximum. She is the bossiest and most dominant female I have ever met and I am madly in love with her.”

Here’s our third tough guy: “In terms of my own manliness, I am a few months away from being a black belt in karate, I am the father of two almost grown children, own a successful business, and am in a romantic blissful relationship with a fantastic woman. I have given my Mistress Wife the reins to our relationship, not because I am a wimp, but out of a choice.”

Macho or even semi-macho, however, what about a fair division of household chores? As I wrote in Chapter 5, Pampering and Pitching In, of my book, “In today's two-income marriages, ought the woman be expected to tie on an apron the minute she parks her briefcase at the front door?... Shouldn’t the husband voluntarily turn off the Big Game du Jour and lend a hand? Of course he should. He should, in fact, let his work-weary wife log a few hours of her own in the La-Z-Boy with a magazine and a Merlot.”

There is knightly satisfaction in keeping Milady’s castle spotless, as this husband relates on Lady Misato’s site: “I do most of the housework now. I don't consider this a chore but a pleasure. I owe her so much and love her so much that I enjoy doing everything I can. I listen, respond, obey, and love every minute of it.”

He is also likely to be romantically rewarded for all his domestic drudgery, as this leading wife makes plain: “If you want to pamper a woman, do the housework for her. Do you think a woman likes to come home in the evening and do housework while her husband is watching tv and drinking beer? Having a husband who willingly does all the housework, laundry, etc., is a daily pampering. A woman loves to be pampered. Don't ever forget that.”

A CNN online article last June highlighted this issue, a familiar one in Wife-Led Marriags, in an article titled “Housework and sex: What's the connection?”

It begins: “Jen Simmons loves to watch her husband Danny tend to their two little boys, mop the floor or hang a picture. She also finds it sexy. Men do more housework than they used to, a study says, although they create more of it.” And goes on: “I am very turned on when he's doing housework," says the 36-year-old Camden, Delaware resident, a middle school teacher.”

Here are some supporting testimonials from houseworking hubbies:

“Before our FLR, we fought about housework constantly. Now I truly have learned to enjoy it. I enjoy pleasing Her. She especially loves it when I clean the toilets. It makes Her frisky. And I like a frisky Wife!”

Cautionary Note: Husbands shouldn’t expect a romantic payoff for substandard housework. As one Loving Female Authoritarian puts it, “I don't want to find panties or socks inside out or folded sloppy. Watch out if I do. I have become much more demanding as the relationship has grown.”

“It is a proven fact that most men cannot or will not clean as well as a woman,” another female head-of-house states, “but a little known fact is they can be taught!”