Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Do you really want to be 'Master'?

Go on many bdsm-related social networking sites and chatrooms, and you'll find guys there who call themselves 'Master' So-and-so. I've never been convinced that a dominant should give themselves that title: I've always seen it as something others give.

I don't think I'm alone in this.

I know a sub who's often online in chatrooms and chatted up by men whose online names are 'Master' something or other. Her usual line is to ask politely on what basis they call themselves 'Master'.

This can lead to quite long exchanges in which she establishes they have no MA or MSc qualification; are not a master in a vocational sense (e.g. master baker, which is a recognised title), and are not recognised within their bdsm community as being a 'bondage master' or whatever.

She then points out that the other use of the term 'master' is an honorific title for young boys who have not yet reached the age at which they can be called 'mister' - and asks whether, in that case, they'd still like her to call them 'master'...

Personally I've always preferred to hear 'Ouch!' and 'You bastard!' rather than 'Please Master!' but maybe that's just me.

(Sorry about the lack of posts, I've been away for a few days but normal service is now resumed.)


  1. Ba ha ha! I like "you bastard," too!

    It's funny, but the people who might have grown to earn such a title from their respective communities (being acknowledged as a master at bondage, flogging, figging, bear shaving, etc...) are always the least likely to want to use them. Hm... maybe it's a Zen thing?

  2. Hi Madeline, thanks for the comment! Yes, I guess it is a sort of Zen thing. People who work hard at developing skill and technique in my experience don't assume they'll be 'Master' (or, for that matter, Mistress) as of right, but will be seen as such when they've achieved a level of competence. That was certainly my take on it when I started out doing rope bondage. I have been called a rope master before now, but I think my skills are probably a little rusty...

  3. The more we learn, the more we realize we don't know! All the better, since what fun would it be if we ever had nothing left to learn?

  4. Absolutely. I'm still learning, and will be until I'm old and senile. Well. senile anyway... There's never enough time to fit in all the stuff I want to find out more about.

  5. Young boys' title - I love it! That's got to be the best retort to this nonsense I've heard. Thanks for the chuckle.

    Absolutely, the people who most deserve the title almost invariably completely reject both the honorific and the concept that they are in fact masters, in my experience.

    There's a current thread going on on Fetlife at http://fetlife.com/groups/5179/group_posts/1126433 about this in which one person (who capitalizes both "dom" and "master" in the abstract) claims that mastery is about self-mastery and how much work one does on one's own stuff.

    Well, yes, certainly, that's part of what a real master of anything does - but it's not like that's the whole thing, or as if it really has anything at all to do with what we mean by the term in the BDSM subculture, never mind how it differentiates what a "master" is from what a "dominant" is, as the poster claims.

    I've posted my most recent rant on the whole subject on my own blog at http://kinkylittlegirl.wordpress.com/2011/01/23/master-who-gets-to-decide/

  6. Yes, read your rant and loved it. You have a cool blog.