What did YOU bring ME?

Recently, I was getting to know a guy on Fetlife. He approached me respectfully and when I asked what brought him to my inbox, he said he liked my pics and my profile.

Okay. Cool.

I asked what he liked about my profile. He gave me a few items that were from my profile (and weren’t right next to each other, so there’s no c/p action going on) so it felt like knew he’d actually read it.

It was going fairly well, if not a little slowly.

Then this happened:

“What do you do for work? For fun? I know it probably says in your profile but I’m asking anyway lol.”

Duuuuude. Why? Why would you waste a message asking me something you admit to knowing you might could find the answer to and then throw an “lol” after it? Like, a lack of effort is funny to you? What the hell?

I’m tired of a lack of effort. I’m a service-oriented submissive to my core, part of which means I adore and feel personally fulfilled putting effort into the people I care about. But I’m also a switch. I know both sides of the slash, and I know damn well that both sides take effort.

Any relationship, whether we’re talking blood, friendly, romantic, sexual, kinky, aro, ace, or professional takes consistent effort from both sides. And effort is attractive as hell. There’s something intoxicating in knowing that someone chose to take time from their life to invest in yours. That they want to make time to let you know you’re important, attractive, intelligent, awesome, witty, etc.

And let me tell ya, I have less and less patience with people who don’t make some kind of effort. Because why should I stick around if I’m the only one doing the heavy lifting? Or, not even heavy lifting. If I’m the only one bringing something to the table at all, or 99% of the time? That’s too much for me. I want to know I matter. It’s taken me too damn long to get even close to thinking that I do matter, and now that I have…it’s not so easy to shut that off. And why the fuck should I?

Maybe people will tell me I’m a bad submissive or switch or I just don’t understand how to be Dominant. I probably won’t play well with those people because, damnit, after nearly 20 years in the scene, I have learned some things. At the very least, I’ve learned a fuckton about myself.

I spent way too much time living on crumbs. I need more than that. I need vibrant, evolving relationships that all parties are invested in. I welcome change and growth and learning from my partners, friends, family, colleagues. I crave to be challenged, surprised, delighted. I ask for constructive criticism in both my professional and my personal life.

In turn, I try to give do and give these things to the people I love and be responsive and attentive to the things they’re looking for. One of the best things in the world is when someone mentions something that they like or want and then, sometime in the future, doing or giving them that thing. I’ve seen people’s eyes light up because they can’t believe I remembered what they consider a throw away comment they made months ago. But it’s all…information that I store about people I care about. I mean, we do it if someone is allergic to something.

It’s hella important to remember that Jane will, y’know, die if she has shellfish so I’m not going to serve her shellfish. And to me, it’s a natural extension to think that if Jane mentioned one day that orange gatorade is the best aftercare drink for her, that if Jane and I play, I’m gonna do my best to have some orange gatorade at the ready. Things like that matter and they mean a lot to the person receiving them. I’ve been on both the giving and receiving end of that and it just…builds good things. I don’t understand why it’s difficult to pay attention and act accordingly to someone you’re interested in or someone you care about.

Another part of this, in my mind, comes up in the book that Jeff Mach wrote. There’s a section in Give: some explorations on submission called “What did you bring me?” which asks many questions of the theoretical submissive. The crux of this section is to challenge the submissive to think about what qualities they bring to the relationship beyond a body and their own fantasies. There are questions like:

  • What skills do you bring?
  • What knowledge?
  • What are you prepared to teach me?
  • Have you brought me a mind, the ability to make choices and judge circumstances?

For some people, this is revolutionary. Like, you mean a submissive or slave doesn’t exist to solely obey? In fact, Jeff wrote about that misconception yesterday in his post on Fetlife called “‘I ain’t payin’ you to think’: a fallacy of slavery”. And I’m glad for this type of post. I’m glad he asked the questions he did in his book. Hell, I’m glad he wrote the book.

But I’ve always had another thought when reading this section…

What will the Dom/Top/Master/other person bring to the relationship? I’ve spent years trying to understand, embrace, hone, expand, and articulate the skills, knowledge, interests, etc that I bring to a relationship and this email from this new guy hit me like a bucket of cold water. Like, not only did he say he likely knew where to find answers, but he couldn’t be bothered to check. Oh, and let’s throw an “lol” after.

No, I don’t find it funny that you don’t want to put the effort in to make real conversation. I don’t think it bodes well that you’re not going to pay attention to things that are already in front of you. And I sure as hell am not going to waste my time repeating what I’ve already taken time to say when you’re dismissing it with an “lol”. I’ve already listed some of the things I bring. What exactly are YOU bringing to ME in this regard, especially since you’re the one who approached me?

So far, not nearly enough.

It’s National “Don’t Be Nice To Me” Day

Title and idea shamelessly stolen (with encouragement!) from Ferrett Steinmetz.

Full text of his original post in case you don’t like clicking links:

Yesterday, I posted a sad status that said:

Feeling isolated and alone today. Nobody did anything wrong. I just woke up this morning wreathed in failure. #brainweasels

And I was beswarmed in kind comments. Something like twenty people replied, others sent kind messages, and still others texted me to send love. Which is all wonderful, and I appreciate that, but…

I’ve got a good support system. I have my bad days, but when I have them, I also have thousands of people on my social networks who are willing to sympathize.

Others don’t.

So I am declaring today “National ‘Don’t Be Nice To Me’ Day – and what I’d like you to do today is to reach out to someone who doesn’t necessarily have a great support network and tell them you’re thinking of them. Or reach out to someone who’s having a hard time and hasn’t, for whatever reason, been able to post online to get the support they deserve.

Basically, take the kindness you were willing to show to me yesterday and use that to surprise someone else with love. Don’t tell ’em why you did it, don’t explain what today is – just text them or @ them or DM them to tell them “Hey, you know what? I’m here for you.”

And if you feel like posting this elsewhere on your blog/social media/whatever, thus converting the latent kindness people feel for you into active kindness for other people? Awesome.

Because any excuse to be nice to someone else is a great excuse.

Don’t be nice to me today.

Be great to someone else.

I wholeheartedly support this idea. I have a pretty darn good support network looking after me and helping me. So any support you or kindness you were gonna throw my way, throw it to someone else today. Just love people, ‘kay? And show them that you love them. Effort and affection and support mean a lot.

As a great philosopher once said, “Be excellent to each other.”