During the assault one of the things the authorities did was to hammer on this idea of a "BDSM lifestyle". They did the usual stuff, it's sick, the women are just afraid they don't really want to live that way, blah blah. At one point I was asked what it meant that I said we had a BDSM lifestyle, and I actually answered by describing the ideas about commitment and dedication we share. But here's the thing, I DON'T say we have a BDSM lifestyle. As far as I can recall, I've never said that. The closest I can remember ever coming to that statement was to say that the lifestyle is not the play to people that seemed to wonder why the women weren't constantly prancing around on a leash wearing only a thong while displaying their pretty cane-striped asses. The prosecutors are who said we had a BDSM lifestyle. I should have asked them what they thought it meant.
In any event, for quite some time I've had a real issue with terminology. I avoid calling the Ladies submissive, I don't describe myself as dominant, and so on. I thought this discomfort was a residual effect of the assault, since we were very obviously targeted and punished more for our lifestyle as things went on than for anything else. At one point my attorney pointed out that the prosecutors case was rapidly falling apart and suggested that it simply be dismissed. The prosecutor responded "Either way, your client is a pretty fucked up guy, and we'll be going forward". Fucked up guy is an exact quote. In a blatant irony, immediately after I was arrested the lead detective informed Ginger that he'd been watching us and that I was much more affectionate to her than most husbands to their wives that he'd known. Further irony is that while friends reflect that feeling, a stranger has never walked up to comment on how close Ginger and I obviously are, and that happens to Mary Ann and I fairly often. People we've never met will approach us just to say how sweet we are together. It's nice, but a little weird! Oh, and is it any surprise that detective is divorced now? But I digress. I thought this was a residual from our experiences, and I still do think that's part of it. But I've also come to think it may be more.
I've been thinking lately that my real problem is that we hang out with BDSM people, we enjoy some aspects of BDSM "Play", and we are generally perceived to be BDSM lifestylers by others in "The scene", but we aren't really. The Ladies dress pretty much as they will. Time was I bought most of their clothes but only because I liked getting them gifts. They've never been forbidden to buy their own things and of late my mother, who loves to score a bargain and has lately bonded even more closely than ever to her two "Daughters in law" has absolutely stuffed their closets with jeans and tops and shoes and belts and just general stuff. They keep what they want and send the rest to goodwill or other friends or whatever, and I may or may not be consulted. And I'm fine with that. Each of the Ladies has at some point mentioned that they might like to have a rule that I must be called "Sir" like so many of our one time friends had, but to be blunt I don't care for that. Oh a friends woman or a stray self-identifying "Submissive" calling me sir is nice. It denotes a respect that I understand and appreciate being given. But it seems at the same time to be a bit cold. To maintain an emotional distance that I don't want between my Ladies and I. They call me by my name most of the time, though after the first couple of years together I found out that "Behind my back" as it were, they will occasionally call me Superman. They do this in the same way they lately tease me about "Mere mortals sleep EVERY night, not just every third night" since I have been pulling an all nighter about once or twice a week lately as well as shifting from third shift to first and then back every weekend. It's good natured and affectionate and not at all the strictly respectful and serious tone used by every "Slave and master" we've known. We are way to freewheeling and affectionate and interactive for that. We joke with each other and occasionally they are actually sarcastic with me. Ginger, for example, has told a couple of people who ask if I am jealous or not that we have no problem in that regard for the simple reason that I am much to arrogant to believe she would ever leave me for another man. She says it with a laugh, and I find it funny, but our "Lifestyle" friends seemed appalled that she would call me arrogant. We just don't fit the dom-sub definition. Or do we......
We very very rarely fight. In fact we fight much less than most other "Lifestyle" couples we've known. When we do have some argument, it's almost always over something that we all understand from the first isn't going to end up as a relationship deal breaker. We argue over which style of rocker to put on the front porch for example. And once a decision is made, whoever "Lost" just drops it, because really who cares? We have a routine that I pay attention to in order to be certain the ship runs smoothly. That routine was created cooperatively as opposed to being assigned at my whim, but I do insist it be followed as closely as possible. There's no defiance about it when it comes up. I just ask if they need help or when a thing is expected to be done and they get on it. Just a gentle reminder is all that's needed. Both of them are pretty blase' about most decisions. If I ask if they want to go out I usually get "If you want to". I've learned not to bother to ask where they want to go. They don't really care if we go for Mexican or Italian and when asked I usually hear "Whatever you want". It was the same way with the last car we bought.
Me: "Car or truck do you suppose"?
Ladies: "Whichever, you'll drive it most of the time".
Mary Ann did express a hope for four wheel drive, that was it. (Of course she got it! How can you spoil a girl without giving her the stuff she asks for, especially when she never asks for anything?) So if they are not expected to do what they are told, I do have to admit that they generally will do what they are asked, when they are asked, how they are asked, because they are asked. In fact at get-togethers they are often the most obedient "submissives" in the room, which is a bit odd because they are almost always the ones with the fewest restrictions and the most freedoms.
I still have no answer to the questions about our "BDSM lifestyle", other than to defer to a version of the standard of the BDSM Community. It's generally accepted that if the people in question define a thing as dom or sub or D/s, then others are to respect that. Conversely, I suppose if someone considers us BDSM lifestyle I'm O.K. with it. Still, that doesn't help with what terminology I want to use to describe us. I guess for now we'll just flounder on undefined.
I did run acrossed a song that makes me think of us though. It's an oldie I had forgotten that popped into my mind a few days back. I had had an awful day, and when I came home both Ladies were very kind and attentive and for whatever reason this song came strongly to my mind. Follow the link if you're interested. You may have to cut and paste it, I'm not sure it is properly added.