Saturday, January 22, 2022

The Club - New Years Edition 2022

“Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man.” - Benjamin Franklin

 

Hello all.  Welcome back to the first meeting of the Disciplinary Couples Club for 2022.

 

As long-term readers know, my New Years posts tend to be both reflective and verbose.  So, hopefully those who have been here a while and who come for the camaraderie will bear with me. Those who are here just for the spanking porn may want to come back some other time.

 

“Well, what a fucking year.” That’s how I began my traditional New Years post for 2021.  I thought (hoped, prayed, assumed) things couldn’t get any worse and that 2021 would yield a “v-shaped recovery” from the shitshow that was 2020. Although I do think the world recovered some of its collective footing after a very unbalanced and unbalancing 2020, it hardly was the major positive change I was hoping for.  If 2020 was a series of disasters, 2021 was like a long, slow grind.  Though, I guess at least the overall direction of the grind at least was upwards.  Sort of.

 

For us, the old year ended on a very stressful note, and the new year got off to a very bad start.  I won’t go into details because it really would be a little bit too revealing, but our community dealt with a real tragedy near the end of the year; one from which it will take a very long time for some people to recover.  I was hoping to help in a “hands on” way as soon as practicable, but as I noted in a comment to the most recent post, right after the new year I contracted Covid and had to quarantine. While we were traveling in a foreign country.  Not fun. 

 

If you live in the U.S., I encourage you to think twice before traveling internationally until the CDC lifts its current travel restrictions. They require a negative Covid test no more than 24 hours before flying back to the U.S. from a foreign country and, and that restriction applies no matter how long you might have quarantined after a positive test.  The problem is, the CDC itself notes that you can test positive for months after you are no longer contagious and aren’t experiencing any symptoms.  The only other option if you keep testing positive (which I did for several days after the CDC’s five-day quarantine period), is to get a signed letter from a doctor saying you had Covid but have now recovered.  Good luck finding a doctor in a foreign country who will examine you wherever you are quarantined, and who in addition to doing his job as a doctor will also be so kind as to write a letter for you containing whatever magic words your airline may require before they will let you onto a flight back to the U.S.  I’ve also heard that some airlines are unilaterally requiring longer quarantine periods than the five days the CDC currently suggests.  In short, there is a highly transmissible disease going around, and if you get it while traveling abroad it is all too easy to get stuck for some indeterminate period before you can come home.

 

  

Regarding the virus itself, I encourage you to keep taking steps to protect yourself.  The Omicron variant (which I assume is what I had, though I have no way of knowing for sure) has been characterized as “mild,” but that’s a relative term that is used mainly in comparison to Delta and the original Covid 19 variants, which have killed millions worldwide.  Based on my own experience and that of fully vaccinated friends and family, Omicron may not put you in the hospital or kill you, but then symptoms can still be pretty debilitating and can last a long time.  It was 12 days between when I first experienced symptoms and when I finally tested negative, and my symptoms—especially the more flu-like symptoms like exhaustion and “brain fog”—actually got worse after I tested negative.  It’s now been three weeks since I had the first symptoms, and I still can’t fully shake the cough, congestion and fatigue.  Friends who have contracted it recently experienced very bad fatigue and severe body aches, and severe fatigue.  Therefore, while I understand the hope that Omicron’s combination of high transmissibility and mild(er) symptoms might lead to herd immunity without maxing our hospital and morgue capacity in the process, based on my experience Omicron isn’t a joke. 

 

I didn’t really expect to start the new year with a rant, but there you go. I also need to try to keep a wider and more positive perspective on the year as a whole.  I spent a good part of the year recuperating and rebuilding from a surgery to fix a chronic health problem that had limited my physical activity for two years.  It wasn’t an easy or painless rehab, but by mid-year I was taking on some physical challenges that, in my humble opinion, were fairly impressive for an aging guy such as myself.  For the first time ever, my proclivity for social binging on alcohol dropped like a rock.  I also finally let go of a career that, although lucrative and fairly good at serving my ego needs, had not been serving me well from a mental/spiritual/bodily health perspective for many years.  The end-of-year tragedy I spoke of above, and the lack of inquires about our welfare by a lot of people I worked with for many years served to reinforce that I probably should have moved on long before I actually pulled the trigger.  In past years, I’ve posted this meme, which reflected some real frustration about my chronic lack of yearly progress:

 

 

But, this year I can say that in some areas I actually did become a better, healthier, more energetic person.  The goal now needs to be to carry forward and not lose ground.  On that note, my Covid quarantine and the year-end drama our community went through did lead to one epiphany that I think and hope will have an impact on how I approach 2022.  I left my career without any real plans for a second act, and I’ve never had any obsessive hobbies or compelling interests to keep me busy post-career.  In combination with the necessary process of rehabilitating my body, my lack of concrete post-career goals led me into a months-long process of decompression and recuperation consisting mainly of a lot of dog walks, daily gym workouts, reading, and a lot of Netflix binging.  While I genuinely need some time to just decompress after burning the candle at both ends for way too many years and almost ruining my health in the process, I realized that my daily routine while quarantined in a hotel room was not all that different from the way I had been approaching retirement, i.e. whole days drifted away with me sitting around the house doing little other than surfing the internet, reading books and streaming series and documentaries on Netflix.  A life comprised of consuming media and entertainment content isn’t much of a life.  So, whatever plans I put in place for 2022 need to involve a conscious effort to overcome inertia and do some exploring and serving.

 

What about the DD/FLR/kink front?  Well, it was another up and down year.  I continue to be surprised that as we have progressed further and more solidly into empty-nester status, things haven’t progressed that much in terms of DD or Anne taking charge.  There is a complicated mix of reasons.  First, my physical recovery imposed some hard limits on physical discipline for several months. Second, and relatedly, it’s hard to get any momentum going after a long break.  Third, although I “retired” mid-way through the year, Anne is still working. Therefore, while I had fewer distractions to get in the way of DD consistency, she did not. Fourth, for much of the year my behavior was, in fact, much better than it was when I was neck deep in work pressure and work-related socializing and travel. Finally, there was one time near the holidays that I did something that I know undermined her authority and, unfortunately, it went unaddressed.

 

But, there were bright spots on the DD front that could foreshadow changes and real progress this year. For the first time in more than 15 years in this lifestyle, without any prompting from me Anne searched for and bought a spanking instrument.  (Unfortunately for my bottom, it was a bath brush. I hate those damn things.)  Further, she started leaving it and the heavy ebony hairbrush on display together in our bathroom, in a way that indicates to me that she’s getting much more comfortable with our kids potentially figuring out that someone in our house gets spanked. 

 

 

So, with 2021 in the rearview mirror, what do I want to accomplish in 2022?  Unlike in the past when I would set out some very specific goals for the upcoming year, this year’s list is a little more “thematic” and includes:

  • Solidify the progress I made last year on reducing the number of excessive drinking incidents.
  • Renew and energize some friendships that I let drift away over the last few years when I was too focused on career.
  • Volunteer on some effort that has a real and substantial impact on the lives of vulnerable or powerless people.
  • Take at least three long road trips with Anne and the dogs.
  • Complete drafts of two books I’ve wanted to write for some time but never seem to get around to.
  • Multiple multi-state motorcycle trips.
  • Take up some sport or demanding fitness activity that doesn’t take place in a gym.
  • Reverse the recent losses in our investment portfolio.


On the DD front, my aspirations include:

  •  Weekly reporting of any misbehavior.  I started this one last year but my consistency was dismal. 
  • Inject some additional kink into our disciplinary relationship.  I don’t have anything really firm in mind for this one, but maybe something like being spanked outdoors or in a car.
  • Finally, after 15+ years, cry from a spanking.

I haven’t asked Anne what her resolutions might be, but here are a few she might consider that do reflect what I see as particularly relevant to our relationship:

 





How about you? Do you have any specific goals or aspirations for the new year, whether related to domestic discipline or more vanilla aspects of your life or relationship?  Anything that you particularly want to achieve?  Any specific bad behaviors you’d like conquer?  

 

I hope you have a great 2022. The bar is set awfully low for this to be a better year, but let’s all try to do our part.  Of course, I said the exact same thing last year, and look how that turned out.

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays 2021

Christmas is a season not only of rejoicing but of reflection. - Winston Churchill

Hello all. Welcome back to The Disciplinary Couple’s Club.  Our (mostly)m weekly on-line gathering of men and women who are in, or would like to be in, a Domestic Discipline relationship.  I hope you all had a great week.

Thanks for joining me for what is likely to be the final post of 2021, as we’ll be traveling and spending time with family through the first week of the new year.

 

I don’t quite know how to describe this year and whether to label it “good” or “bad.” We all probably hoped to put 2020 in the rearview mirror but, unfortunately, 2021 brought us more of the worst from 2020 including pandemic deaths and disruption, political dysfunction and divisiveness, and here where I live our warm, brown, snow-free Christmas seems to portend the arrival of climate change that even the former skeptics are having a hard time denying. Yet, despite the challenges things seemed at least a little more normal.  While things never got exactly “good,” at least it wasn’t things getting progressively worse continuously throughout the year.  If 2020 was a long, slow downward grind, 2021 felt like a bad habit you’ve gotten into and can’t quite muster the energy discipline to break just yet.

 

My personal life in 2021 reflected some of the “stuckness” of 2020’s continuing influence. I finally quit a career that had seemed more or less toxic for the last few years, yet I haven’t really replaced it with anything yet. I keep thinking some new hobby or compelling interest will present itself, but so far it’s been a lot of book reading and Netflix binging.  Though, maybe that’s a phase I have to go through before getting on to something different and better.  Though, the last few months have reinforced to me that inertia is a powerful force and that things can and will just drift along absent a deliberate, focused application of energy in some different direction.  Thankfully, our wives are fully capable of deliberate, focused application of energy.


I’ve also discovered that stepping away from a career while the other spouse is still working is a mixed bag.  I have more time on my hands and am no longer feeling chronically stressed. However, a lot of that newly discovered free time is spent doing the chores and errands that we used to split a bit more equitably (though, I suspect Anne’s view is it was split inequitably before, just in the opposite direction).  But, again, maybe that is a phase—and a form of humbling—that I need to go through before moving on to something better.   

Early in 2021, I’ll probably go through my usual process of goal setting and resolution making, and more of it than usual may revolve around humbling and discipline.  We really have no excuse for not exploring that more deeply and diligently given our empty nester status, and through a lot 2022 we both will be more or less retired (unless some new job-like interest does arise for me), and then there really will be no excuse for not shoving through and past some of the inertia.

 

Still, as I said at the end of last year, I can give thanks for a few simple things.  We didn’t lose any immediate or close extended family members or close friends this year, though I did lose a couple of people who were big influences on me in high school and college.  Most of our family and friends are in pretty good health, though one extended family member did have a very bad health event.  And, while I honestly missed some of the hustle and bustle of business travel and the office environment, my better office friendships remained intact, and my health is sooooooo much better now that I’m not living on airplanes. 

 

In fact, while I probably deserved to be spanked more often than I was in 2021, the fact is I am leaving it in much better physical and emotional health than has been the case in several years.  After literally hobbling my way through 2019 and 2020, this year I was out climbing very tall mountains, getting one of my motorcycles out into some very challenging dirt riding, and I was no longer on a first name basis with the bartenders in airport lounges on both sides of the continent.  So, while far from perfect, all in all there was some forward momentum.

 

 

One down note for 2021 is the blog has been more than a little stagnant, and I need to think about what can be done, if anything, about that it 2022.  Yet, I’ve also once again deepened a few friendships that began here and that I think would survive even if the blog were to stop entirely.

So, as I said last year, as we all run around buying those last-minute gifts, let's think a little about what a blessing it is to have people in our lives to buy those gifts for. Maybe try to do something nice for a friend, family member or stranger who may not be as lucky. 

 

 

Until next year, I hope you all have a restful, peaceful, fulfilling holiday season.  

 


 

Thursday, December 16, 2021

The Club - Meeting 391 - Linguistic Masturbation and Consent/Non-Consent

We are not won by arguments that we can analyse but by tone and temper, by the manner which is the man himself. - Samuel Butler

Hello all.  Welcome back to the Disciplinary Couples Club.  Our (usually though not always) weekly gathering of men and women who are in, or would like to be in, Domestic Discipline relationships.

 

I hope you all had a great week.  Mine has been pretty relaxed, to a large extent because for the first time in recent history, I finished almost all my Christmas shopping a good two weeks ahead of time and even have most of my wrapping done.  While a wrapping party such as the one below would have been a lot of fun, I did it all myself (thankfully, I have nice relatives who will undoubtedly forgive my sometimes laughably inept effort; hopefully, it is the thought that counts), while binge watching various streaming series on Netflix and HBO.  Is it just me, or is there a huge amount of great content out there right now.  I’m pretty sure I have never watched as much TV in my life as I have in the last couple of months, and I really don’t regret a minute of it.

 

Ironically, while I am as prepared for Christmas as I’ve ever been by this point in the season, the weather is really not cooperating when it comes to imbuing me with the Christmas spirit.  We are in the middle of a drought and haven’t seen measurable snow in a very, very long time.  It’s kind of pissing me off.  Last year, Covid ruined the social aspects of Christmas.  This year, global warming is ruining much of the aesthetic and atmospheric elements I’m used to.  I guess none of this in our near future . . .


I originally thought I might not post this week, as I wasn’t feeling inspired, but then I couldn’t help mulling some of the responses to a post by Hermione over at https://hermionesheart.blogspot.com/ regarding consent or, more specifically, non-consent.  The way she phrased her topic was:

 

While it’s all consensual, some of us like to pretend that spanking or being spanked is not. Is that the case for you? If so, how do you work this out?

 

Language is a funny thing, and context is very often critical.  I had an acting class back in college, and we were required to engage in improv skits, which I found excruciating.  Improv can work well with fluid, flexible actors who are willing and able to take conversational cues.  In fact, the first rule of improv is to always begin by agreeing with the proposition your partner has offered, extending and going off on close tangents from there.  Things can break down in a serious way if one partner simply refuses to engage with the initial proposition, either denying the initial proposed setting or insisting on a one-sided flow.  Tina Fey offers this example: “So if we’re improvising and I say, “Freeze, I have a gun,” and you say, “That’s not a gun. It’s your finger. You’re pointing your finger at me,” our improvised scene has ground to a halt.”

 

Workable (and enjoyable) conversations are kind of like that.  They work well if there is a natural give and take, which often requires assuming that each person kind of knows the gist of what the other person is talking about.  Things can break down very quickly if there isn’t some baseline acceptance of what is being talked about or if one conversational partner insists on an overly literal or idiosyncratic use of terms that are important to the conversation. Or, if conversing with them requires mutually agreeing, in excruciating detail, to the precise meaning of every term under discussion.   

 

An example: If someone asks me what I had for dinner last night and I say, “I went to this great Mexican restaurant. The food was really good,” nine times out of ten the other will respond with something that helps the conversation flow, like: “That’s great.  Where was it? Do they have good margs?”  But, I have this one friend who is from Mexico City.  God forbid the subject of Mexican food comes up around him, because the conversation always seems to go something like this:

 

Him: What did you have do for dinner last night? 

Me: I had Mexican.  It was really good.

Him:  “Oh, did you? Really? Well, as you know I am from Mexico, and most of what you Americans call Mexican isn’t Mexican at all. You tell me what you had, then I’ll tell you whether what you had was Mexican.”

 

Now, the net result is this guy finds himself uninvited anytime a crowd from work decides to go Mexican for lunch.  It’s just too fucking difficult dealing with him on that particular issue, so on Mexican food days he ends up eating alone.

There also are times that people are using the same words but with slightly different, but related, meanings.  There’s even a word for it – polysemy. One example would be the word “man,” which could mean (from Wikipedia):

 

  • The human species (i.e., man vs. other organisms) 
  • Males of the human species (i.e., man vs. woman 
  • Adult males of the human species (i.e., man vs. boy)

 

There’s a related concept called “predicate transfer,” which Wikipedia discusses thusly: 

Another clarification of polysemy is the idea of predicate transfer[18]—the reassignment of a property to an object that would not otherwise inherently have that property. Thus, the expression "I am parked out back" conveys the meaning of "parked" from "car" to the property of "I possess a car." This avoids incorrect polysemous interpretations of "parked": that "people can be parked", or that "I am pretending to be a car", or that "I am something that can be parked". This is supported by the morphology: "We are parked out back" does not mean that there are multiple cars; rather, that there are multiple passengers (having the property of being in possession of a car).

 

Now, in the real world we avoid confusion when using such terms based on people taking cues from the context of the conversation. Further, they don’t violate the context by insisting that their preferred, particular use of a word or phrase is the one and only way to possibly use it even if it isn't how people are likely using it in the actual context of the conversation.  Thus, if I make a general point about "man" as a species and as a whole, it’s going to work fine unless the person I’m talking to insists that I’m being sexist for using the word man to include both males and females or that he or she can’t understand what I’m saying at all unless I first separate the two out and clarify that I am talking about either man as males or, rather, to man in the generic sense. And, the conversation is going to get tedious very quickly if I tell him "I am parked in back" and he keeps insisting that my car may be parked in back but I am right here in front of him and am "pretending" if I think otherwise.

 

What’s any of that have to do with Hermione’s post?  Well, I think the way it was reacted to depended a lot on (a) one’s interpretation of the word “pretend” and how closely that interpretation matched Hermione’s intention in using it, and (b) how literal and exhaustive one insists one’s own definition of “non-consent” must be in order for there to be an intelligent conversation about its possible uses, boundaries and complications.

 

Regarding the former, “pretend” could be used benignly or pejoratively.  In the benign or positive sense, it could entail fantasy, imagination and role play.  For people who are into spanking as a fun, recreational activity, or who use it as “funishment,” asking to what extent you like to pretend that it is non-consensual is benign and seems to be the equivalent of asking to what extent that particular playful element is incorporated into your overall spanking play. That's how I assume Hermione meant it, particularly since her blog is devoted to non-disciplinary, fully consensual spanking play.

 

But, someone could also use "pretend" in a more pejorative sense, equating it with self-deception or living in denial, as in: “Any of you who say your relationship is based on ‘consensual’ non-consent are just pretending or fooling yourself because consent is an absolute, up or down, binary thing and you can always consent on some level.”  Used in that way, "pretend" sounds more like an attack.

 

Now, Hermione has always stated that her blog is about “fun” spankings, even if they may often hurt quite a bit, in all their various forms.  She’s generally not talking about real disciplinary spankings and, when she has had a topic regarding discipline, she’s called it out as such.  She's also a great host who never deliberately excludes any spanking enthusiast or sets out to offend anyone (other than perhaps with her periodic pictures of Walmart shoppers). So, I have no doubt that when she phrased her topic in terms of “pretending,” it was in the context of her usual emphasis on fun spankings that include all sorts of fun elements, including role play or other  imaginative situations in which one or both parties pretend a given spanking wasn’t consensual, either to each other or just in their own minds. Nothing pejorative about it, and I don't think most of it took it any other way. 

 

But, I think there were a couple of comments and further postings that seemed to object to, or ridicule, the concept of wanting something to feel non-consensual and, to the extent possible, to have non-consensual or imposed attributes.  

 

Those who talk about consensual non-consent in the DD context are, I believe, using that concept in a very different context than I think Hermione was using in talking about "pretending" not to consent.  She was talking about fantasy in the context of a relationship in which spanking is an erotic form of play. Those in DD who say their goal is something like "consensual non-consent" or imposed discipline, however, aren’t pretending that there is literal non-consent. 

 

Rather, I think they are talking about genuinely wishing their dynamic could be, to one degree or another, imposed without their consent to the extent practical.  In some ways, I think they are being very genuine and authentic about the motivations underlying their dynamic. They candidly admit what it is they want and then try to adapt their reality to fit that desire, but doing so within the confines of the objective reality of an adult relationship.  (In fact, in eight years of doing this blog, I can think of only one time in which someone seemed to be suggesting that there really was some element of [financial and emotional] force taking place, and I strongly advised them that they needed to seek professional help.)

 

This is where my examples about how improv, and ordinary conversation, fit in. Within the context of the conversations among people practicing DD, I think I generally know what people mean by consensual non-consent or by consenting to the whole relationship but agreeing not to withdraw consent to particular spankings. I also totally get the desire to have discipline imposed, even if there is always some practical ability to resist or refuse. I don't need them to spell out all those qualifiers and implicit presumptions and, in fact, the conversation would get real annoying real quick if they had to do so in order for us to have the conversation at all.  It would look something like:


“I would really like to experience discipline that is non-consensual. By which I mean, it is imposed.  I don’t have to agree to it every time and, in fact, it’s closest to what I want when it is something I really don’t want and would actually really like get out of.  By which I mean, that’s the way it was when I was a kid, and I’d like to experience that again. To be sure, I know that I can’t really do that, because I’m full grown now and could physically resist in a way I couldn’t as a kid.  Yes, I am aware that because I am bigger and stronger than her, on some level I always have the literal ability to object and say no, but to the extent practicable I’m going to try not to that, because it would undermine the dynamic we’d agree to. In fact, she might give up on the dynamic entirely. While I recognize that reality, I don’t really like it and it’s frustrating, but that doesn't mean I'm pretending it doesn't exist.  The best I can come up with is to consent once and then there would be no option of resisting. Yes, I am aware that real life doesn’t work that way, so the best I can do is to agree in advance not to object and do my best to actually keep my work on that.  In our DD community, we refer to that as “consensual non-consent.” 

 

Blah, blah, blah.  Yes, we could laboriously add all that context and qualification, but what the hell would be the point? In this community and context, we all mostly know what someone means when they say they consent to the nature of the spanking relationships but would very much like the spankings to be non-consensual while recognizing, implicitly, the practical real world limitations. Thankfully, there is a form of linguistic common ground that unites those of us in this context that we all recognize, and it works just fine, right up until someone insists on their single, unitary, exclusive, ultra-specific definition.


  

 

Yes, in the real world, it simply isn’t possible to have an irrevocable contract. Although that concept very much exists in the law, what it really means isn’t that there is some force that prevents a party from walking away under any circumstance but, rather, that there will be very unpalatable consequences if the party attempts to revoke and refuses to perform as agreed.  They can always choose not to perform, but the other party can sue them. Then, the court might order them to perform and, if they don’t, they could be held in contempt of court and sent to jail.  It's not that the party can't renege, but rather that there will be hell to pay if they do.  Hell, even in the non-real world it's hard to think of a promise that literally cannot be revoked.  One might use the example of the "unbreakable vow" from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.  But, it wasn't that the unbreakable vow literally could not be broken.Rather, if the vow maker breaks his word, he’ll die. It's about consequences, not literal lack of the ability to choose not to live up to your word. In the real adult world, that's probably about as far as we can go with non-consent.

  

I think we all agree that being physically overpowered and forced to submit is not what anyone means by non-consent in the DD context, and I don't think that needs to be spelled out in excruciating detail every time this subject of consensual non-consent or "pre-consent" comes up.  Some may take things so far as to fantasize about actual coercion, but that probably is an outlier and, whether it is or not, it doesn't make people's attempts to engineer something that feels more imposed some kind of pretense or self-delusion. 

 I do think that some genuinely wish that the disciplinary relationship they have agreed to can be as free from ongoing, tacit consent as possible. I don't think it's an accident that many DD stories, such as many of those on the DWC website, involve the wife initiating the DD relationship with getting any sort of tacit approval from the husband.  In the real world, the best one so inclined can probably do is to approximate truly imposed discipline, but that isn't "pretending." Rather, it is living with what you can get and bending your desires to reality.

 

  

Thankfully, most conversations we have around this stuff are like what happened with respect to most of the comments in response to Hermione’s blog topic.  A couple of us who were in DD dynamics talked about our spin on the issue within our particular dynamic, with neither taking any apparent offense at, or reading anything pejorative into, the particular phrasing she used in describing her topic, including use of the word “pretend.” We got that she was phrasing things as most would within her dynamic (fun or non-disciplinary spanking) and that if we were responding in some idiosyncratic or overly literal way, it was really on us to call that out.   

 

Thankfully, few conversations around this stuff end up with situations like my exchanges with my Mexican friend in which I can’t talk to him about the quality of a particular Mexican food experience unless and until he first insists on defining for me how I am allowed to use the term “Mexican food.” Thankfully, all the other patrons and most potential patrons of that particular category of restaurants know what I’m talking about and we can communicate meaningfully about it.

 

I don’t have any particular topic question in mind for this, so react or not as you please.  I recognize that the whole post probably feels a lot like linguistic masturbation.  Frankly, it probably is, but I was in that kind of mood, probably from streaming too much Sex Education on Netflix, which has loads of real masturbation, among other activities.  If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it.  I don’t rank it quite as high as Ted Lasso, but it’s in the same “feel good” space, and I’m trying to consume more of that and less dark and depressing moody stuff. Seems like the right time of year for “peace on earth, good will to men,” with “men” meaning used in the non-gender specific sense of all humankind.  Snow or no snow.


Saturday, December 4, 2021

The Club - Meeting #390 - Odds and Ends, Including Reporting, School, Others Finding Out, etc.

I doubt whether classical education ever has been or can be successfully carried out without corporal punishment. – George Orwell

 

Hello all.  Welcome back to the Disciplinary Couples Club.  Our weekly gathering of men and women who are in, or would like to be in, Domestic Discipline relationships.

 

I hope you had a good week.  Mine was pretty typical for this time of year, though the first in my adult life that I wasn’t focused on year-end work stuff.  We did some more holiday decorating.  I did some more Christmas shopping, both on-line and in person.  It’s nice seeing crowds return to live shopping and live events, though obviously a little concerning with the Omicron variant beginning to circulate.  It’s also a little hard to get in the Christmas mood when we’ve been unseasonably warm and with no sign of snow and no prospect of snowmen in our immediate future. 

 

 

I wasn’t inspired to come up with any particular topic for this week, so I thought I’d just follow up some recent threads and people can address whatever interests them.

 

A few weeks ago, I talked about my efforts to get back on track by reporting weekly to Anne regarding my behavior.  Well, I made it a whopping two weeks before backsliding.  It happened in conjunction with the incident I talked about in which I knew I deserved a spanking but was feeling mentally and emotionally very off and didn’t want one to happen, in a way that went way beyond the natural desire we feel to avoid a well-deserved butt blistering.  Not wanting to get one, I obviously didn’t want to deliver a report that would call to her attention that she should give me one.  So, I didn’t send her the weekly email reminder, and I haven’t been able to get myself back on track since then.

 

It seems to be part of a larger pattern of avoiding reporting or even documenting to myself things that don’t reflect goals or standards I’ve set for myself.  When I was focusing hard on taking off some unwanted fat, I kept a log of my weight and body fat percentage on an almost weekly basis.  I also was pretty diligent in logging all my food and drink intake in a weight loss app.  Now, I find myself consciously avoiding that kind of tracking, precisely because I know I’m not being very diligent on diet and exercise right now.  It actually feels like some kind of childish form of denial in which if I don’t write down a behavioral or goal failure, then it somehow isn’t real.

 

This seems to be a fundamental weakness with most behavioral tools that involve any kind of reporting or tracking.  They work only if you are reasonably diligent and honest in reporting, and if you are reporting only to yourself, then what is the enforcement mechanism? And, even if you are reporting to someone else, there is an enforcement mechanism only if they are diligent in calling you out if you don’t report as agreed, and even if they do you still have to be honest in your reporting unless they have some kind of verification mechanism.  It's one reason I was so attracted to some aspects of the Nexium group and their methods their "coaches" used to enforce agreed-upon goals (though other aspects of what they were doing was appalling).

 

 

It occurred to me this morning that my failures around reporting dovetail nicely with a topic that came up in some of last week’s comments, namely school paddlings. Those old school teachers and administrators really had the reporting system down Everyone knew when report cards were coming out, and parents definitely would demand it be coughed up if you tried to avoid giving it to them.  Sometimes they were mailed to the parents. The schools and parents conspired to create a system in which reporting was formal and reliable and any attempt to cheat on the reporting probably would be detected. (Today, the reporting system in some schools is even better, with everything related to each student available to his/her parents on-line. But, now there is a great reporting reporting system but little in the way of consequences.)

 

Similarly, the system for reporting bad school behavior to parents was highly formal and hard to “game.”  If you got paddled at school, a note was sent home to the parents.  I seem to recall that at one of my schools, the note was sent home with the student and they had to return it the next day, signed by a parent.  The school also sometimes called the parents directly to let them know that a paddling had been delivered.  It also seemed to be the rule in pretty much every household in our community that a spanking at school meant a second one at home that night, which ties in nicely with our topic from last week regarding the deterrent value of multiple spankings.  I know I was scared to death that I might get paddled at school and then get another one at home.

 

  

Though, perhaps because the consequences were so severe, I don't think I ever experienced an actual school paddling personally. Though, one reason I felt on solid ground responding to ZM with an observation about the whole process around school paddlings and how long those processes took is that I do remember two occasions where I thought I was going to get one. As I recall,  both of them were in junior high. Our principal had a reputation as a very stern disciplinarian, and everyone feared a trip to his office. We had a closed campus at that time, meaning we were not supposed to leave the campus without permission. Some friends and I "ditched" to go to lunch somewhere nearby. We went back to the school after lunch and found that someone had observed us leaving. We were sent to the office, and I was sure the principal would spank all of us. But, for whatever reason he let us off with a warning. Maybe he just didn’t feel like doing four spankings that afternoon?  I don’t know his reasons, but I definitely breathed a sigh of relief when we were sent back to our classes with unreddened bottoms.

 

 

On another occasion, I was acting up in class and cut loose with a very naughty word. The teacher sent me to the office, carrying a note which I was very sure instructed the principal that I should be paddled. Instead, I got a relatively mild lecture on how everyone cusses from time to time, but that I needed to control it in the classroom.  I waited until class was over to go back and collect my things, and the teacher admitted to me that the note he had sent me to the principal with had requested that I be lectured by not paddled. Apparently, since it was a first offense, he had decided to go easy on me, but he clearly wanted to scare me with the trip to the office, including the walk there and the carrying of the note. It worked. I remember being very scared during that walk, to the point that I still remember it 40 years later. That incident involved a male teacher, and I wonder how I would have felt about being "sentenced" to a spanking by a female teacher?  At the time, I didn't have any discernible "spanko" leanings, but maybe discipline from a female authority figure might have brought it out earlier?  Hard to say.

 

 

Bringing this back to my failure to report to Anne, I’m not sure that any reporting system is going to work without the externally imposed consequence of her spanking me or imposing some other punishment for that failure in addition to any consequence for any bad behavior.  The fact that I have thought for a long time that reporting was probably a necessary component for keeping me in line, yet I consistently fail to do it, shows that this is an area where the spirit may be willing but the flesh is weak.  Interestingly, I really don’t think it is the prospect of the spanking that gets in the way of me reporting. Rather, I feel embarrassed about the act of reporting on myself; kind of like what I felt carrying a note to the principal’s office.  There is something hugely embarrassing to me about playing that kind of role in bringing about my own punishment and also in proactively bringing my bad behavior to someone’s attention.

 

On a separate topic, ZM brought up a “what if” hypothetical around our semi-continuous topic of “others knowing.”  He stated:

 

I do like hypothetical questions like "Assuming someone DID find out, how would you explain DD?" I don't think this question is just limited to our offspring either, but rather to anyone in any sphere of life, like our parents, siblings, friends, co-workers, or anyone else. The problem with it for me is that I think the answer would greatly depend on exactly who it was who found out. It wouldn't even be the same with any two of my children or my step-children.

 

I think ZM is right and that my explanation around DD would depend a lot on who I was explaining it to.  In fact, I think that in some cases, I probably would be too embarrassed to try to explain it at all.  For example, if my parents or siblings were somehow to find out, I probably would simply stay silent about the whole thing, praying that they would not bring it up.  And, they probably would be happy to go along with that.  We are one of those families where things like sex and money aren’t talked about unless such a discussion just can’t be avoided, and I think DD would fall into that same category of topics best avoided.

 

With friends and co-workers, I really don’t know.  I have told one friend, and while I don’t plan to tell any others, I think that with a couple of exceptions, they probably would just roll with it.  In terms of what I would tell them, if it was a close friend I probably would admit that this is something I requested, because I felt I needed some externally imposed guardrails.  

 

If it somehow became widely known at work, honestly I think the only way to deal with it might have been to “own it” to an extent, not trying to avoid the scandal at all but, rather, glorying in the naughtiness of being outed as kinky.  A few years ago, I did know someone in a professional capacity (though he was not a member of my own profession) who was very “out” about being into S&M.  In his niche, honestly he seemed to be kind of a rock star.  Perhaps we all should take a lesson out of Trump’s playbook and just get through anything potentially embarrassing by virtue of utter shamelessness.  However, I'm not sure how much I would own up to the FLR aspects or how I would explain those if I were somehow "outed."  As I've said before, mine was a very "dick waving," testosterone laden profession, and I definitely do think some would have tried to exploit any knowledge around real DD or FLR to my disadvantage.  But, perhaps I'm just paranoid and "owning" it would have been the way to go.

 

Regarding kids, it’s a hard call, to some extent because I don’t feel like I have a perfect read on what form my kids’ interest might take. I used to think that one of them was wired so similarly to me that perhaps a confession about DD from me or Anne might result in that now adult kid taking up the paddle but, like me, on the receiving end. I’ve even considered that if you thought being involved with DD might help one of your kids in the same way it helps you, wouldn’t it be a failure of parenting not tell them about it or make them aware of it in some way? One could make the same point about sharing with good friends. I do have at least one male friend who I think definitely could use some imposed boundaries, and I sometimes wish I had found a way to raise the whole DD topic with him. Though, I also never got any hint from him that it was something he might be open to; quite the opposite.

 

At this point, the kids haven’t asked us about it and neither of us has brought it up directly. But, the dynamic was kind of touched upon on at least one occasion. Two or three years ago, one of them observed to Anne that she seemed to kind of be in charge and asked how that came about.   

 

Anne said something to the effect of I had a very demanding, stressful job that required me to make a lot of decisions, such that I really did not want to have to make a bunch of decisions at home and preferred that she handle a lot of things.  The whole conversation seemed to touch more on the more obvious FLR or hierarchical aspects of the marriage that we were exploring a bit more at that time and didn’t directly address DD or spanking.  But, I do suspect that Anne’s explanation was not accepted as the whole story, as the question likely never would have been asked unless the questioner already had a pretty strong suspicion that we were in some kind of kinky alternative lifestyle.

 

To this day, I don’t know what the kids may or may not know, and I’m content for now to leave it there.  Recently, however, we have gotten more cavalier about things that could give them even more reason to suspect their parents are kinksters. I've talked here about the bath brush Anne bought for herself a few months ago. We've had another one for a long time, but for whatever reason Anne never really liked that one. It was always kept on the side of the large bathtub in our master bedroom, pretty much exactly where you would expect a bath brush to be.  Her new one, on the other hand, has been laying  on the bathroom counter between our two sinks, ever since she bought it.  

 

To a large extent, we both are responsible for this new subtle openness, though we never talked about.  I had taken to leaving the heavy black hairbrush on the counter, then she started leaving her bath brush there. The result is now there are two brushes laying out on the counter, one of which is a very iconic spanking instrument.  Moreover, the other bath brush still resides in its place at the side of the bathtub, which could lead a keen observer to wonder why we need two bath brushes and why only one is kept near the bathtub or shower.  When our kids come over, they do sometimes hang out in the master bedroom with Anne, and they easily could see our growing display of brushes. 

 


What they might make of it I think would depend a lot on whether they have had sufficient exposure to adult spanking material (movies, blogs, etc.) to draw the connection. I suspect people recognize these signs when they already have some reason to be looking for them or at least are primed to be sensitive to them.  My kids are plenty smart and very able to draw conclusions from subtle hints and, if Alan's theories about genetic predispositions are correct, it certainly would be within the realm of possibilities that one or more of them would have more than a passing interest in and knowledge of spanking-related paraphernalia.

 

Finally, I did have an incident a few days ago that could have, with different timing, lead to someone discovering by accident that I am spanked.  I’ve been seeing a therapist (physical, not psychological) for some ongoing aches and pains.  While the treatments often involve taking off shirt or pants, my underwear always stays on. But, during our last session she was working on my lower back and pulled my briefs down in the back, far enough that had I been spanked recently marks very well might have been on full display.  As luck would have it, I had not been spanked recently, but it reminded me that unanticipated detection is always a possibility.

 

Have a great week.