Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Topsy-Turvy World


The other day, dining out with my wife, I was surprised when the server set the bill down in front of me, instead of my wife across the table. In fact, I was every bit as surprised as, say, a 1950s’ housewife would have been to have a restaurant check presented to her instead of to her husband.

Just for a moment, my world had turned upside down.

So firmly entrenched is our matrimonial role reversal as we go about our activities that most restaurant servers and hotel clerks and salespeople automatically gravitate to my wife and give her all the appropriate attention and deference. When we walk in to a store, or sit down at a table, it’s like I don’t exist. They always address their questions to her, as they should. I assist them in their perceptions of power, I’m sure, by default. I emit absolutely no pay-attention-to-me, head-of-household, decision-maker vibes. This is not by design, but by long practice. It simply never occurs to me. I don’t look up expectantly at approaching waiters or waitresses. If they look at me or address me, I’m not impolite, but rather than respond directly, I defer to her. Without thinking. It is almost automatic that I look at my wife when a question is asked of me.

Occasionally, if I’m feeling frisky, I may answer, proudly and cheerfully, “My wife makes the decisions.”

Frankly, I don’t think of the way we are as role-reversal or topsy-turvy. I used to, but not for years now. I think in terms of normalcy, the way things are and ought to be. Where the woman rules and the man obeys. I can’t imagine it otherwise.

And it is comforting when the world agrees with my reality, as it so often does. When she is addressed with deference, and I am ignored, all is right with my world.

It would be even more pleasing, someday, if I could experience the same harmonious feedback among married couple friends, at dinner parties and barbecues, say, or soccer games. Automatic subservience to the wives by all the husbands, with the men keeping silent but attentive when the women were talking among themselves, but always ready to respond supportively when prompted.

In fact, it is always jarring to me in social settings to see a husband question his wife’s authority, or make some macho remark, to dare to contradict her or to sound off on any subject whatever. Or actually to put her down. And I don’t need to tell you, all this happens frequently.

And when it does, it’s like being instantly transported to an alternate universe, where males are allowed to act like grown-up hooligans, much like the “Pleasure Island’ sequence in Walt Disney’s Pinocchio. I find myself looking at the wife and wondering, “Why do you put up with that moron?”

What used to seem normal now seems like Mondo Bizarro. “Curioser and curioser,” as Alice described the obvious absurdities of Wonderland.

In other words, to me it’s a life NOT lived under fully acknowledged female authority that constitutes the real role reversal, the real topsy-turvydom.

I can only take so much of this before I’m desperate to get back to reality—and my well-ordered, normal, natural, female-led and female-centric life.

Making role-reversal into the default dynamic of a marriage, of course, takes time and determination. But the reward for achieving it is the happy-ever-aftering of the storybook romance.

Ms. Lynda (of Spouseclub renown) was determined to settle for nothing less. And, so, she delighted in private and public displays of her role-reversal relationship with her fiancĂ© (later her husband), whom she inevitably addressed and referred to as “Mr. Lynda.”

As more and more women take an active role in family leadership, she felt there should and would be more and more traditions to demonstrate women in charge. Her desire was to set an example, with appropriate public displays, of just how “woman-focused a marriage can be.”

“Has [your wife] ever made you call her Ma'am or such in public?” she asked a male Spousechatter. “I want to do that to Mr. Lynda during our [honeymoon] cruise so that everyone will know who the boss is at our house… As you know, it is often necessary for a woman to humiliate her man so he is reminded of who is in charge.”

She did exactly that, as she later recounts:

“On our honeymoon, we had some ‘antique’ pictures taken. In olden times, you could tell that the man was in charge because he was always seated. His wife stood behind or beside him. My husband and I reversed it. I sat and he stood. It is a subtle thing, but, it was not missed on us and some of our friends.

"Secondly, we took a busy and full bus into a resort town off the cruise ship. I made him sit. As head of the family, I must protect him and his honor. This reversal was noticed by several people. Finally, all reservations are made in my name and I produce the credit card. This is not so unusual because women carry purses. However, several hosts remarked on the reservation being made in my name. My husband was only too happy to inform them that I was head of the family, the breadwinner, and that he had taken my name in marriage. I do not know what they thought or said behind our backs, but they all treated us with respect and said our decision was cool.”

Some additional glimpses into Ms. and Mr. Lynda’s domestic arrangements:

“I do not lift a finger at home. I lounge around while Mr. Lynda does all the work. For the fun of it, I have had him serve me while he was completely naked. He is so handsome. A naked man can be a real turn-on. I love to see him grovel before me, kiss my feet and other parts of my body. It makes me feel so powerful.”

“I never want to hurt or abuse him, but, I do enjoy letting other people know that I am the boss. Is it wrong to want people to know that Mr. Lynda took my name in marriage? Of all the lovely things Mr. Lynda has done for me, this is the greatest because it tells the world that he sees me as the head.”

She counseled “Charles,” who described his own matriarchal marriage, to change his name to “Mr. Lisa,” then (with Ms. Lisa’s permission, of course) to order stationery reflecting the change:, “Ms. and Mr. Lisa Lastname.” Which he promptly did.

“I always love when my boyfriend does something that makes a very public statement of his subservience to me. I love to walk with him when he is wearing one of his matriarchal t-shirts. He has one that says, ‘I Belong to Her,’ and another that says, ‘Don't ask me. She's the Boss.’”

“It would be a real learning experience for men to have to live in a woman's world for just a few hours. It might truly change some minds if men had to identify themselves only by their wife's name (‘This is Mr. Susan Brown’).”

“My husband will be allowed to keep his masculine name forever. However, I do intend to always address him as Mr. Lynda in public. Someone must begin to set some new standards.”

A playful, fun-loving vixen, Ms. Lynda. Also a true believer and passionate advocate, who never backed down an inch from her strong views. As she signed one of her postings, in all caps like waving a banner at the barricades, “LONG LIVE THE SISTERHOOD OF WOMEN IN CHARGE!”

My question is, How is it with you? Does it seem jarring and discordant when you see husbands acting like it was 1955? Or wives deferring to them, or putting up with secondary status? Like me, are you slightly taken aback when you hear a wife respond to an invitation with “Of course, I’ll have to ask Bob.” On the other hand, my response of “I’ll have to ask my wife” is taken for granted. So much so, in fact, that friends rarely ask my consent or opinion; they know to bypass me and ask her. And they know that her powers are plenipotentiary powers, that she never has to say, “I’ll check with Mark first.”

Anyway, this is the blessed matriarchal universe that I inhabit, which completely encompasses my thoughts and feelings, hopes and dreams, and She is the radiant and powerful sun around whom I and the kids orbit, day and night. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

18 comments:

ALL HERS said...

Another great post Mark! My wife and I also feel the same as you about some moron treating his wife like she is beneath him. Last month at a friends bar-b-que we met a couple for the first time. After about five minutes we couldn't get away from this wanna be macho clown. His sweetheart of a wife was standing next to him, and he was putting her down. He was complaining about her career, grocery shopping and what she watches on tv. All of this in about five minutes. Then the kicker, telling his wife to go and get him another glass of wine. I had to say something I was so annoyed. When she returned, very nicely I said to him it would be a pleasant surprise for his wife to have him wait on her tonight. He looked at me like like I had two heads.

My wife and I both agreed that he could use six months in a chastity device, and have him do the grocery shopping as well as all of the housework. But it would have done no good to get his wife on the side and explain a WLM to her. Morons like that will not change. Too bad, they don't know what they are missing. But if we see them again we will pass on this post to her and maybe she will try to change him a little.

Tamara said...

"The other day, dining out with my wife, I was surprised when the server set the bill down in front of me, instead of my wife across the table."

He probably thought that you were her money slave and therefore had to pay the bill.

"In olden times, you could tell that the man was in charge because he was always seated. His wife stood behind or beside him."

I did a quick Google research, and this is obviously not true. There are quite a number of photos from around 1900 with the woman sitting and the husband standing.

Mark Remond said...

Tamara --
"The other day, dining out with my wife, I was surprised when the server set the bill down in front of me, instead of my wife across the table."

"He probably thought that you were her money slave and therefore had to pay the bill."

--Very droll. By the way, I included an "antique" photo with the woman standing and the man seated, as a result of my own on-the-fly Google search. It might be interesting to do a more ambitious survey.

SometimesSpanked said...

Yes, a wonderful post.
I notice it, too... my Wife giving off "power" vibes and answering questions in restaurants.
She has her VISA, and makes all the plane and car reservations, while I stand there she gets the rental car. Of course, she usually drives it, too. :)
Love the pics of woman with phone, shhushing husband, and some others (ooh, the last one!) btw. Great job!

Mark Remond said...

Sometimes Spanked, Yes, this is certainly one of the FLR aspects that my wife was, and is, extremely comfortable with, namely exercising financial control and control over all practical decision-making. She is even at ease in letting it be known to others. This includes opening all the mail, asking me to endorse any check that happens to come in (a rebate or some such), making reservations, etc. Other aspects don't come so easy to her, but it's a delight when she takes the lead. She never even thinks about going back to the way it was... and, of course, she's right.

Kathy said...

Hello Mark,

It is very nice to see parts of my blog quoted. It is a sweet suprise on this wednesday morning.


Kathy

Mark Remond said...

Kathy, always an honor to have you drop by and leave your calling card. I am aware that I could improve the entertainment and authenticity of my blog by quoting you a great deal more than I do! I have to restrain myself from doing so. You are the Oracle.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed this post as this is what I aspire to in my own marriage. As it is, I always refer to my wife as our 'leader', so often times, our children will say, "I'll see if our leader says it's ok", I don't mind their seeming atempt to go over me as they are learning that my wife is truly the head of our family.

It has taken me some time to truly submit to my wife, but as I have progressed down this road, it seems more and more natural and it just feels right...What else can I say?

BOB said...

MR Remond I hope you dont mind me making an observation. Im in my mid 40s.And i dint really realse my submissive desires until my early thirties. But ive always tended to be the "helpful" type of person

Back in the late 80s whenever i would go to a [always casual]dinner party , i would offer to help clean up afterwards. The hostess would always be surprised, and would sometimes turn down my offer. By the 90s, i was never turned down.And the hostesses seemed less and less surprised by my offer. And so did the men at the party.

By the turn of the new century, the women seemed to take it for granted.And when i went back into the kitchen to clean up, the other men would often follow me. I think that a lot of that has to do with the fact that the different genders tend to stick together during these types of dinner parties.So if one man goes into the kitchen to clean up, others naturaly follow him

So i have two small points to make
1 if you want men to be more like yourself in how they treat thier wives, simply politly offer to clean up after the next dinner party that you go to. You can simply say"Hey guys .Lets clean up so the women can relax and chat in the other room" . Unless you live in a very old fashioned and conservative area, i doubt anyone would object or think that you are odd.

And my second point is that ive watched over the years as gender roles have changed. As i said, women went from being surised to being surprised and grateful, to finally just taking it for granted that a man or the men would clean up after dinner.

Thats just my personal anectdotal observations

BOB said...

MR Remond I hope that you dont mind one more anectdote. I once had a friend[who sadly moved away.But still keeps in touch]. And his wife was a banker who was hosting an informal " Women's networking event" for about 20 women in the banking business. He mentioned how he had a lot of cooking to do for it.So i offered to help out.

The night of the event,before everyone came, me and him cooked while his wife relaxed and told us where to put things. During the actual party, his wife acted as hostess, mingling and introdcuing people to each other and helping start conversations.

Me and my freind, kept quiet and in the background.We simply served hors d'ouevers and wine while the women chatted. It was a casual affair. Business casual really. He and i were dressed casually in buttoned shirt[no ties, thank goodness]and khakis. And as i recall, most of the women were dressed in the kind of casual skirts and sandals worn in many offices nowdays.

My point is that this wasnt a fetish party or anything like that.It was completly non-sexual.But to me it really was a display of female dominace. The women were the ones talking.Us men simply silently filled thier glasses and served them food.The women more or less took our presence for granted. My own girlfriend at the time wasnt a banker and was out oftown anyways.I was simply helping a friend out[ the male submissiveness aspect didnt occour to me until the party actaully started ]. But none of the women asked who i was. They just assumed that i must be a husband of one of the guests. Basicly , we men were invisible that evening. It wasnt rudeness on the women's part. It was simply a situation where we men were supposed to take a backstage role. It was a very natural thing

The party went quite well. Sadly they moved away a year later. The last time i talked to him, his wife was still abanker.And he was a semi-stay at home dad who telecommuted to work. I doubt whether he would ever have called his marriage a "wife Led Marriage.But thats what it pretty much was.And i doubt whether he would object to that label to much[ i think he would balk at a femdom label though]And i should state, that his wife was a wonderful woman, that wasnt "shrew like" at all. He wasnt henpecked by her.He genuinly liked supporting her in her career and in life in general.

I would think that this kind of party would appeal to many men like yourself. It was interesting to see these proffessional women and how confident they were.

Once upon a time, women would use a dinner party as an opportunity to socialise with thier female friends while cleaning up afterwards. I think that nowdays many men like me use parties like the one i just described, as a way to hang out with thier male friends. I think that this will become more and more common in the future

Mark Remond said...

BOB, I always enjoy your comments. They always remind me of the civilized, forward-looking, matriarchal world of Spousechat.

Mark Remond said...

And Anonymous, I couldn't agree more. As you say, "..as I have progressed down this road, it seems more and more natural and it just feels right...What else can I say?"

Anonymous said...

So beautiful and empowering.
My morning milkings and general debasement by my wife fill me with joy.

She is my Mistress and i am her vile servant, fit only to lick her clean (!!!).

Ric C said...

You ask/said: My question is, How is it with you? Does it seem jarring and discordant when you see husbands acting like it was 1955? Or wives deferring to them, or putting up with secondary status? Like me, are you slightly taken aback when you hear a wife respond to an invitation with “Of course, I’ll have to ask Bob.” On the other hand, my response of “I’ll have to ask my wife” is taken for granted. So much so, in fact, that friends rarely ask my consent or opinion; they know to bypass me and ask her. And they know that her powers are plenipotentiary powers, that she never has to say, “I’ll check with Mark first.”

As my wife is taking the lead as being the HOH and that we're introducing a FLR marriage we agreed to Rules to direct our marriage. And one important is to make discreetly public our commitment that I differ to her decision. (This is the link: http://mutualsubmission.blogspot.com/2011/12/our-mutual-submissions-agreement.html)

One of our conviction is that you must act what are your values/beliefs and it's the best way to educate others beginning with your kids.

Mark Remond said...

Ric -thanks for the comment. I have perused and subscribed to your excellent and informative blog. Your restart of your marriage according to Lady Misato's formula is inspirational! My wife rejected my first overture with a printout of Lady Misato's site (slightly edited by me)... but has since come to accept many parts of it. Congratulations.
And yes, I agree that we in this lifestyle do not to exemplify our values in our personal life. Our kids (now in their teens) certainly know that mom is the boss in every aspect of the marriage and that dad defers to her on all matters and is devoted. But more and more, in my contacts with a wider world, I try to take the opportunity to tell people that she is the CFO, and the CEO, that she is my Queen, etc. I don't think we can overdo this.

Anonymous said...

Haha. This blog is fricking hilarious!! Thanks for all the laughs! Love it!

A Real Man

Anonymous said...

What a sad sad story.

Anonymous said...

What a sad sad story.