Thursday, March 15, 2007

Then Again...

So I've been stuck on Roadkill's parting words to me when he dropped me off after we had dinner together...

"You're never going to be happy in an egalitarian relationship. You're too dominant and controlling. You should find yourself a slave."

Earlier at dinner, we had talked about the difference between having a boy and having a slave. Roadkill's opinion of having a boy can be summed up as: "What the hell would be the point of that?"

And I get that. True enough, I enjoy fleeting relationships with boys. I have naught but fond memories of my sanding table boys at Wuperior Soodcraft. Being a boy is transitory. So eventually, the boy is gonna leave his Sir behind.

But a slave...

Now that is an attractive proposition, right? What's not to look about owning a slave?

And yeah, I'm shallow enough that I'd want a total trophy slave. So when I'd be hanging with buddies of mine and one of them would say, "Damn! Look at the shelf on that boy," and I'd get to be all like, "Yeah, and I own title to that."

Sweet, right?

But the day after I had dinner with Roadkill, I was running this all by Alpha.

"Imagine!" I said, "I could get a backrub whenever I wanted!"

Alpha threw a little cold water on my piping hot reverie: "Y'know, when you own a slave, you have to keep your slave sexually satisfied. Otherwise, you're going to have a very unhappy slave. And that's a recipe for misery."

Oh.

I hadn't thought of that.

So since then--and it's been like three weeks now--I've still been thinking about the possibilities of a non-egalitarian relationship.

Next Sunday, on Sunday, March 25th, I'm discussing the intersection of SM and Spirituality for Masters And slaves Together (MAsT) up in NYC.

Here's a draft of the blurb...

Masters And slaves Together:NYC
Sunday, March 25, 2007
3 to 6 pm at The Center, 208 W. 13th St., Manhattan
Men only
$5 donation (or whatever you can afford)

EVERYDAY HEROES
How Masters/Tops and bottoms/slaves Become Who We Are

Joseph Campbell is best known for his analysis of world mythologies in terms of an archetypal "hero's journey," in which an everyday person undergoes a series of extraordinary experiences that enable him to be someone others can look up to and be inspired by. The early "Star Wars" movies, for instance, drew heavily on this archetype.

Drew Kramer likes cigars, hot tubs, chains, minimalism, church, leather, cooking, softball, and whipping men until they bleed. He is a past president of GMSMA and an Associate Member of the Chicago Hellfire Club and the New York boys of Leather. He thinks that many of our careers in s/m and Mastery/slavery can be understood spiritually through the archetype of the hero's journey. How do ordinary kinky guys become the kind of exemplary leathermen that others seek out and look up to? What makes a Master worthy of loyal, self-sacrificing, obedient service? What makes a slave worth taking control of and responsibility for? How do we become who we want to be?

What is the relation between spirituality and s/m anyway? Do you compartmentalize them in your own life, or does one enhance and intertwine with the other? As you get deeper into s/m or Mastery/slavery, do you find yourself getting growing spiritually as well? And what do we mean by that?

Drew has been thinking and writing about these questions for several years while pursuing his own journey in becoming a whipping and bondage master as well as a boy. At our meeting, he'll share some of his answers -- as well as his spectacular tattoo of a body-wrapping chain -- and he's interested in hearing yours.

Don't miss this very special MAsT presentation!


(That slave david stein can sure write some mean copy, huh?)

(Although he forgot to mention that by popular demand, I'm going to be doing my presentation wearing only a jockstrap and boots.)

Anyway, I'm trying not to let my pondering get in the way of a slamdunk on the SM/Spirituality presentation. But maybe afterwards, if some of the MAsT guys want to go to dinner with me, I'll raise it.

6 comments:

sebastian said...

I hate to contradict Roadkill or Alpha, both of whom are better men than I ever hope to be, but the problem is one of time. All three of you are analyzing the relationship in snapshot.

You say: "Being a boy is transitory. So eventually, the boy is gonna leave his Sir behind"

Being a 'boy' in the sense we use it here is no more or less transitory than anything about a person's nature and character. I am more boy than many things, and that may or may not change as time goes on. Change in relationships is inevitable, the question is what do you do with it, are the changes bringing you together or driving you apart, and what do the changes mean to you.

However you want to think about the differences between a boy and a slave, one of the differences is NOT that the boy will grow up while the slave will stay ever the same in his relationship with you. That isn't how human beings operate--at least not anyone who would be worthy of serving you.

You may find a boy who will feed and nourish your soul so much that you grow better with him than without him, and that growth keeps you far enough ahead to remain his SIR.

You may find a slave you love to own, who five years later has to make decisions on his own.

The future brings many things, and our reactions to the changes are what make us good or bad human beings.

--boy sebastian

Drew said...

Thanks for the thoughtful response, sebastian.

Let me try to elaborate on the distinction. I would love to be Sir to a boy. To my mind, that involves giving of myself, wanting what's best for the boy. Offering him support, guidance, love, and what's known among psychotherapists as "unconditional positive regard." Basking in U.P.R., a boy can explore, grow, take risks, be open to new experiences.

On the other hand, owning a slave is all about getting, as opposed to giving. I'm not interested in my slave "growing as a person," I'm interested in how well he keeps my boots. I want service and devotion. And what do I offer in return?

Simple: security like he'll never know anywhere else, and a deep down sense of belonging, and the great gift of knowing his place in the world. (Namely, on the floor, at my boots.)

Despite the fact that in real terms, my owning a slave would be based on a contract, and the slave could extricate himself (I wouldn't dismiss a slave, even for major infractions), to my mind, it's for good. He will always be my slave.

But that's not the same approach I'd take to collaring a boy. It would be my (fatherly) hope and expectation that my boy would outgrow his need for me, go out into the wide world (when he feels he's ready to do that), and put to the test what he's learned from me. He would always be special to me, and he'd always have my heart, but I would feel I'd failed in some way if he didn't go out and put to use the gifts that I'd given him.

I don't doubt that having a boy would feed my soul as you say, but a lot of that would be about leaving him a better man than he was when I found him. That's not my purpose in seeking to own a slave. That's all about having my tea made the way I like it and getting backrubs whenever I want.

See what I'm getting at?

-Drew

sebastian said...

Okay, this is interesting SIR, let me engage in thinking aloud.

First, I'm not really of a slave mindset (nor MASTER) so it is always possible that I just don't get it, if so please forgive me for botching things.

"On the other hand, owning a slave is all about getting, as opposed to giving. I'm not interested in my slave "growing as a person," I'm interested in how well he keeps my boots. I want service and devotion. And what do I offer in return?"

I think what you are about to say next is probably correct. But look at it even thus far. You aren't saying that you aren't offering anything in return. You are saying that you aren't offering the same thing in return as you would offer a boy.

"Simple: security like he'll never know anywhere else, and a deep down sense of belonging, and the great gift of knowing his place in the world. (Namely, on the floor, at my boots.)"

Okay, this fits well with what many people talk about in the Master/slave relationship. But it has a fragile sense of timing. "Knowing his place in the world" is now. "Security" is for the future. You are offering something strong and powerful of yourself NOW, but the offer is really about the future. You instinctively know this as:

"Despite the fact that in real terms, my owning a slave would be based on a contract, and the slave could extricate himself (I wouldn't dismiss a slave, even for major infractions), to my mind, it's for good. He will always be my slave."

Right, and this is why people analogize the relationship to a marriage. But there is a tricky time element here too. The present you doesn't know what the future you is going to want. Technically the same is true of the slave's desires, but stylistically we ignore that. But even ignoring the slave's desires you can't really offer the security you say you are offering. You may want a slave to do certain things for you, and the slave may deeply desire to do those things for you. But what happens five years from now if your desires change? Ten? Theoretically your slave adapts to your will, but what if your desire is now for something else? Note I didn't say 'someone' else. Even if we presume that you are still interested in him, you may want something very different from your slave then than you do now. The slave's 'sense of belonging' is a tricky thing to manage deep into the future.

The slaves I know sidestep this by focusing very very much on the present, which works for them in the now. But I'm not sure you can do that as the MASTER and expect it to all work out.

But as I said, it may very well be that I'm not understanding the slave mindset properly from the outside.

Also I'm not sure I wholly agree with you on the boy part.

"But that's not the same approach I'd take to collaring a boy. It would be my (fatherly) hope and expectation that my boy would outgrow his need for me, go out into the wide world (when he feels he's ready to do that), and put to the test what he's learned from me. He would always be special to me, and he'd always have my heart, but I would feel I'd failed in some way if he didn't go out and put to use the gifts that I'd given him."

I think you are selling yourself very short here. You can couch the SIR/boy relationship in "catch the wounded animal, heal him and set him free" mode, but that isn't the only possibility. (Which is not to say that it is a bad mode--it is a great thing to do. But there are a spectrum of SIR/boy relationships.)

In your explanation, there is no reason to believe that you are static. Why should you not continue to have things to share with the boy as he grows? Why should his success mean that he leaves? Why should he not have success and stay? Only if you allow yourself to stagnate is it inevitable that the man you are successful in empowering should leave. And I certainly wouldn't plan a relationship on you stagnating. The problem seems to be that you are being too binary about the relationship flow and you are treating different strands of it as if they were all the same. It is possible to create a relationship where you pour deeply into the boy and expect to see his success as your major return. But that isn't inevitable. Think of a squiring model. Sometimes a slightly lower ranking knight takes on a squire with the expectation that this boy will become a man of a higher station. Success is in moulding him into a success at that station. Now look at what happens when the king takes a squire. If he does a good job, this squire will grow up to be a strong and powerful knight in his own right--but is not expected to outreach the king. His strength will accrue back to the king and kingdom. This straddles the Master/slave SIR/boy divide somewhat. You are training him to be strong for the sake of the whole endeavour. And in my mind it gives you a lot more credit than you are currently giving yourself.

Which is not at all to say that the desire you are wrestling with is wrong--I'm just wondering if you are being too stylistic in the catagories.

And in a thought that I instinctively feel is related but I'm not sure I can articulate how: the hero's journey.

One of the limitations of the hero's journey framework of analyzing mythology (and it is in my mind a very American-style error) is to fail to properly appreciate the supporting cast. In most societies it isn't at all expected that everyone should identify with the hero. Many are expected to identify with the hero's faithful companions, or the healer that saves his life, the shield bearer, the merchant who shuffles him out the back door, the advisor who works his whole life so he can read the ancient map. Training someone to support the hero is a process that doesn't get taken very seriously. You seem to split the possibility of leather-relationships into "I'm the hero so I need a slave" and "I'll train the hero". What if you need to be the hero but you need to train someone to be strong to support you?

I raise all this not to provide answers--and I'm not at all experienced enough to pretend that I know I'm right about how these things 'ought' to work. It just seems to me that you are groping for something other than the easy catagories, and perhaps it is because you are allowing yourself to be channeled into the starker popular archetypes without looking at some less popular categories.

Drew said...

Hoo-eey. This is getting pretty wide ranging. I'm shallow as a teaspoon, boy! Damn you for making me do more than a gloss!

(Just kidding)

A few things.

First off, I don't see either Master/slave or Sir/boy relationships as being analagous to marriage. Marriage is egalitarian, so from the gitgo, there's a different dynamic. I also wouldn't want to confuse a Sir/boy relationship with a relationship between an older man and a younger man, even if the latter involves some Dom/sub roleplay. That's an egalitarian relationship, and the expectation for both parties is that they're gonna be together for a long, long time. And that the relationship will evolve and change and deepen over time, and that both men are going to change and grow.

There's growth in a Sir/boy relationship, too. But growth and development on the part of the boy in a non-egalitarian relationship will necessarily be growing apart from his Sir.

Which doesn't mean it's going to end as in "Goodbye and goodluck!" My phone conversations with my Sir start the same way: "Hey Sir! How goes it?" "Good here, boy! How are you?" But they're fairly infrequent. He'll always be my Sir, and I hope I'll always be his boy, but I've grown beyond the relationship; I don't need a Sir at this point.

sebastian said...

:) Interesting. I wish I could hear your speech, SIR.

Be well.

alterboy said...

although the more traditional brands of marriage look a lot more like the kind of master/slave reln you are looking for. (ducking and running and laughing hysterically)