Wow! It’s been a while since I’ve written one of these, and I’m thrilled with the response to the other AMAs I’ve posted about BDSM and the life of a submissive. That’s what inspired me to start thinking about what else I could share, and so today’s #AskMeAnything is on a topic I’ve had a lot of people chat with me about. Curious what the #AskMeAnything is? Check out the official AMA page on my site over here. Enjoy!
Q: How can you be submissive in public (without blowing your cover)?
A: Well, lovelies, like always I want to be honest that ^this^ question wasn’t directly asked to me, it’s more pulled from a variety of discussions I’ve had with people who are active in the lifestyle, and those who want to be or used to be. A lot of those questions spawned from the comments I made on Facebook, and in the AMA post about how much control to give your Dom (over here) where I talked about how nervous I was to make my Dom’s coffee for him in public when we first started seeing each other, and then how I came to be comfortable with it.
To recap that, I feel like the first “test” my Dom gave me was the task of making his coffee for him at a local lunch spot. The first time we went out to eat in public was weeks, possibly a month or two, after we started seeing each other. Since he was so dominant, and affected me so strongly as a sub, I always felt like everyone in the proximity could pick up on it and would “figure us out”. By that time I knew how he liked his coffee, because he’d directed me to make it at his house a few times and so by then I knew it by heart. Still, that moment when he nudged his coffee cup towards me on the table and told me to prepare it… it sent my head spiraling.
I’d never done something like this with a Dom before.
There was an immediate, very clear, very urgent instinct to tell him, “No! Fuck no! Don’t you see all of these VANILLA PEOPLE HERE?!”. But I also really liked playing with him, and so I verrrryyyy subtly pulled his coffee cup towards me, made it the way he liked with my face aimed down toward the table, and then inched it back to the middle while simultaneously pleading with the universe that no one would notice. For some reason, I really thought everyone would notice (even though I rarely pay attention to wtf other diners are doing when I’m out to eat), but no one commented. No one even gave a side-eye, despite my rampant blushing.
And then, it became a thing.
Whenever we were out together, when my Dom would order coffee at the end of the meal (which could be a European thing, or an “I don’t want to drive tipsy” thing) I would make his coffee. Slowly, and over time, over months and months, I grew comfortable with it. I actually expected it. When the time came for him to order me an after-dinner-drink and himself a coffee, I was mentally prepared to make the coffee the way he liked. A little cream, a little sugar substitute (stevia or splenda), stirred until the color looked right, and then presented off the table with one hand underneath and the handle facing towards him.
It just felt… normal.
I honestly cannot remember the moment where it transcended from uncomfortable paranoia, to comfortable normality, but I can tell you that it did reach that point. It became an expectation from my end. If he reached for his coffee first, I snatched it away, because it was my job to prep his coffee, and over the last 2-3 years there have been very few times when he has made his own coffee with me present. Now, I even take it straight from the waiter, even when they try to hand it to him. He really likes it when I do that. ^_^
Okay, so how do I do this shit in public without feeling like a spotlight shines on me?
Let’s be honest here, most of us don’t want to advertise to the vanilla public that we’re in the BDSM community, and that our chosen partner is our dominant. It’s fucking awkward. It’s basically begging for some kind of chastisement… be it an eyeroll, hushed whispers, or rumors spread about us. There are a lot of public displays that we wouldn’t want our peers (whatever the environment) to look at too closely and then make decisions about who we are as people. Just because we choose to submit to SOMEONE, doesn’t mean we submit to everyone (see my AMA on being Type-A and Submissive). This can make it really hard to do public displays of submission, even if those public displays are simply making a cup of coffee and presenting it.
But let me share a few insights I’ve found over the past few years.
First, and foremost, if someone is vanilla they usually have no fucking idea what they’re looking at. I always point this out whenever I talk about making my Dom’s coffee in public, because it usually occurs in restaurants where the waitstaff and other patrons have the opportunity to observe. But, I have to tell you, in three years… no one has said a word. Or even made an awkward comment, or a rude gesture / display. I’m the first to admit that this surprised me, especially since my Dom and I live in Texas, I expected something, but… nada. Zilch. Zip. In three years of showing CLEARLY (to me) submissive behavior in public, we have NEVER been ostracized, scorned, or commented on. Even when it’s at the bar, directly in front of a bartender over and over and over.
Trust me, I’m as shocked as you are.
Second, there are times when things look completely normal to other people, but within our dynamic they take on a completely different purpose / reason. The perfect example of this is really the purpose of this post. My Dom and I love going to Shakespeare in the Park. We catch at least one show of each play, and we get the luxurious opportunity to sit on a manicured lawn while we watch actors from around Dallas play out Shakespeare or other popular plays on the stage. Everyone brings wine, food, snacks, and we do too.
But, for BDSM couples, those public situations can be different.
And ^that^ is really the crux of this post. Sure, I was fine making my Dom’s coffee in restaurants after a while, but pouring him wine and making us both plates of food in public, when I’m literally in front of others and three or four feet from the next person watching the play… it’s different. It’s more intense, but the best part of it is that for a submissive that makes the submission all the more intense, and that’s really what I want to talk about in today’s AMA.
After two years of this, we have it down to a science. No matter who does the shopping, when we end up at the event I set out my picnic blanket (with the nylon side to keep out the moisture on the ground), the Dom brings his low-profile camp chairs, and we both contribute to my portable cooler full of food and wine.
I really can’t explain why I feel comfortable serving my Dom his wine from the blanket, while he sits in the chair. I can’t explain the mental gymnastics I may have completed to feel not just comfortable, but good in making plates of food for my Dom and I while we wait for the play to start.
It came on so casually, so easily, that I couldn’t tell you the trick to it even if I tried. For that, I’m sorry.
All I can say is that making our meal, and serving it to my Dom, makes me happy.
I’m always preaching on my website, and in my books, that personal happiness is really the only thing we’re seeking. There’s no chance in fucking hell that we’re going to convince the rest of the world to do whatever it is we do to make our BDSM relationships work, but we still want them – and that means we need to be okay with them.
I get an intense feeling of mental quiet when I’m sitting on the picnic blanket, while my Dom is in the chair, and I pour him wine, make him food, serve it to him above my head with my head bowed. That is undeniable. I relish it. I appreciate it. I’m fucking grateful for it, because I have a Dom who wants and expects these types of things from me and he respects and pampers the hell out of me in return. Fulfilling his needs, gives me more satisfaction than I can adequately describe (which should say a lot, since I’m apparently an author).
If you’ve followed me at all, you know the craziness I’ve dealt with in the last year or two. A mom dying of cancer, a kid dealing with being too young to understand it all, a day job that only gets more intense, and an author job that gets both more satisfying and more difficult the more popular my books become……….. it’s rough.
But, and this is what I want you to take away, lovelies – submission helps.
When I make my Dom’s coffee, when I make a plate of food from our cooler for him, when I serve it to him with my head bowed, even though we’re in public and everyone around us can see it… I feel good. I feel like I’ve done something hard, to make someone I value feel good. If that isn’t the summary of being submissive, I don’t know what it is, but I can tell you that the weeks we’ve gone to Shakespeare in the Park have been some of the hardest for me (like some cosmic joke) but that when I focus in on what I can control, on how I can serve, on how I can make my Dom feel good so that I feel that sense of satisfaction… that is when I feel amazing. Powerful. Influential. In control. Perfect. Sexy. Wonderful. Wanted.
All of the good fucking adjectives you want to feel.
And I know that was a terrible run-on sentence above, but I don’t care. It was necessary. Just like it’s necessary in my life to do the tiny submissive gestures that work within the dynamic that me and my Dom have developed.
The most important thing to remember is that whatever works for you – it’s right.
Acting submissive in public feels like a scary concept the first time you do it. Actually, that’s a lie, it probably feels scary the first TEN times you do it, but the good news is that the more often you perform submissive acts in public, the more confident you’ll become in them. Obviously, I’m not talking about public sex acts (which can still be super fun) or wearing public displays of submission (like a collar, which can be thrilling and scary at the same time), but I want you all to know that serving in public, no matter how small the action, can take on a HUGE personal meaning for you and your Dom. And that’s all that matters.
You and your Dom. You and your Master. You and your Daddy. You and your… etcetera. That’s all that matters.
What you value, what they deem important, that’s the gist.
Choosing to submit, to perform those acts in public… it’s a gift.
A gift you can give your Dominant, your Master, your Daddy, etc. No matter what you choose to call your partner in this exhilarating BDSM landscape, you have an amazing opportunity to display teensy little blips of that submission in public which will do so much for you.
What will it do for you to display submission in public?
It can strengthen your bond, your relationship, your submission. It can give you that extended mental break from reality where you don’t have to stress or worry or think about anything else except for what your Dom wants (no matter their title). I can say from personal experience that with all of the personal and professional stress I’ve been under… those mental breaks of being submissive at the Shakespeare in the Park plays have been the most effective escapes I’ve found. It clears my head, they let me breathe, let me think, let me relax with the confidence that my Dom will always pick me up at the end of it. Even if I knelt on the picnic blanket at his feet for an hour, just because it’s what I needed. (I do sit in the chair after a while with his permission)
There is no right or wrong answer here.
I’ve said that before, in fact I’ve ranted about it when it comes to BDSM (over here), but what I want you to know are a few clear facts that I’ve observed in my years of playing, and my years of performing small acts of submission in public:
- A) Vanilla people have no idea what they’re looking at, and pretty much always assume the most comfortable reason.
- B) Things that seem INCREDIBLY meaningful to you, just look logical or easier to everyone else.
- C) No matter what, if it makes YOU or your Dominant, feel good… who cares?
That’s really the purpose of this post. Do I know 100% if the people who have observed my acts of public submission really knew what they were observing? Of course not. I wouldn’t dare to make that assumption for myself, much less all of you, lovelies. But I will say that I know a lot of people who perform and attend the local Dallas performances of Shakespeare in the Park, and no matter how many times they’ve chatted with me afterward – and thanked me for attending – not once has anyone commented on my public displays.
So what is the answer?
The answer is that you should pursue whatever your dynamic suggests. Should you perform some kind of public submission? Should you go to your knees? Should you make their drink? Should you make their plate? Should you serve them from a lower position? Should you call them “Sir” in front of others? Should you ask permission to sit? Should you …. whatever?
You’re the only one that can decide that. I know where my limits are, and so does my Dom, and we’ve talked through them, and sometimes he pushes them a little to challenge me. But, it works for us. These small public acts of submission ground me, make us stronger in our relationship, and do more for us than the tiny risk that a complete stranger may give me the side-eye for serving my Dom his coffee.
Do what makes you happy, lovelies. That’s all I ask.