Rules of service
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When a dominant is trying to devise rules for their submissive, particularly at the beginning of a relationship, it can be a nightmare. Many dominants will want to lay down the law in fine detail and say things like, "You will always call me 'Sir'. You will aways have a journal entry ready for me to read by midnight every day. You will always be naked when I get home." And so the list goes on.
The problem with this level of detail is that there will frequently be situations where your submissive simply can't obey. For example, your inlaws may arrive unexpectedly and all four of you end up in the same room before you've had a chance to relax the "Sir" requirement. Your submissive might arrive home very late for some entirely legitimate reason and not be able to write their journal entry before midnight. Or the above mentioned inlaws might arrive just before you get home and your submissive can't be naked for your arrival.
Now some dominants recognise this and will modify these absolute commands of, "You will do XYZ", by adding exceptions or by saying, "Do your best." I don't like this because it makes orders rather rubbery. In my experience many submissives and slaves want and need to be bound by the orders they receive. They need to have the mindset that the orders are firm and are to be obeyed, not that orders possibly maybe should be obeyed if nothing gets in the way. By rubberising orders it makes obedience the exception rather than the rule.
On the other hand, some submissives and some dominants actually like it this rubbery way because disobedience can bring a reward. A slave may fail to obey an order for some trivial reason and say, "I am sooooo sorry, master. Let me bend over and pull down my panties so that you can spank me very, very hard!" Being able to slip up in the obedience department may be desirable so that there are excuses to engage in play punishment scenes.
This may work for some submissives and dominants. For service-oriented folk it's not going to be so successful. It weakens the experience for the submissive and can make it unsatisfying and unrewarding. The dominant can just find it frustrating.
Rather than focus on developing a finely-tuned set of absolute rules of behaviour which contain exceptions to handle every possible situation or difficulty I like the following five rules. Throw away any others rules you might have. Forget about ordering your submissive or slave to be naked when you get home. Discard telling them that they should always call you "Sir", "Master", "Lord", or whatever. With these five rules instead, a submissive should be able to work out what to do in most any situation:
- You are serving me, not yourself. If your attention wavers or you neglect your service, I will frown upon this (where "frown" means apply some form of correction, possibly painful correction),
- If an issue arises which affects, or has the potential to affect, the level of service I receive from you, bring it to my attention as soon as possible. If you do not, and particularly if the issue actually starts to affect your level of service, then I will frown upon this,
- Communicate freely with me, but respectfully. Do not waste my time. Do not burden me with things which are not mine to bear. If you waste my time or burden me unnecessarily, I will frown upon this.
- However, bring all issues which do require my attention to me promptly. Frowning will be the consequence if you do not. Not being sure whether something requires my attention is not an excuse (see next rule).
- Learn. If you do not, I will frown upon this shortcoming. In particular, saying, "But I didn't know", when you could have asked is a very reliable way to earn a frowning.
The above rules are based on the idea that your submissive has a brain and is able to use it. I like these rules in part because they give your submissive an amount of responsibility for getting things right. Rather than having to memorise a detailed list of what to do and when, they can work it out themselves.
You can add detail where you feel it appropriate as a sort of addendum. For example, if you'd like a little bit more "Master" and less "Sir", you can say so and these fit into the operation of rule 5.
Instead of needing to order them to be naked when you come home, all you need to do is say that it pleases you when they are naked when you come home. Rule 1 comes into play here because in the ordinary course of events they'll be naked when you get home because that's the best service. If inlaws show up then it's obviously not serving you if your submissive strips off in front of them so they won't do it.
With only five short rules it's very simple, and simple is good.