Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Dominance and Submission -or- How to Acquire a Good Submissive Little Lady as your Friend and Helpmeet

La-la-la. Pretty Lady is Communing with the Higher Vibrations today. Her Arvo Pärt CD arrived, along with the Buddhist chanting and Japanese flute music, and she has ingested nothing for three days but the most spiritual of substances--cranberry/apple salad, steamed greens, marinated vegetables, and Yogi Tea. She highly recommends the Yogi Tea, either Classic India Spice or Egyptian Licorice. Additionally, she has attended daily vinyasa class, and stood for extended periods of time on her head. She is Fortified with Light.

So, in her state of purity and heightened consciousness, Pretty Lady has bravely decided to tackle the problem of Rebelliousness in Woman. Yes, she has transcended gender-ego considerations enough so that she is willing, nay, eager, to give you poor trampled gentlemen some clues as to how to get your woman to toe the line, come to heel, yes! stop her troublesome habits of whining, bitching, nagging, spending the hunting-trip budget on pointless things like slipcovers, and running off with libertines, leaving no note--and Submit. Submit to your superior male wisdom, your grace, your masterful direction, your Father Knows Best.

(Whee! This tea is wondrous. Ginger, cardamom, and clove. Pretty Lady swears that's all.)

Without further ado, then, Pretty Lady submits her Rules for Achieving Total Domination Over the Female.

Rule # 1: Do not be a complete and total jackass.

When Pretty Lady was an idealistic young girl, she made an idealistic little rule for her very own self. This private rule was: give everyone a chance. Do not be hasty in judging a young man for apparent nerdiness, foolishness, pimpliness, odiferousness, boorishness, albinism, or any other superficial, cosmetic characteristic. One may be easily deceived by such things; one may, as the Bishop's wife warned her, pass up a Diamond in the Rough.

So Pretty Lady earnestly set about going upon at least one date, or half a date, with anyone who asked. No matter how much he made her skin crawl, and set off subterranean alarm bells which screamed 'Fire! Fire! Run away!'

(Note: it was not the Bad Boys which set off these alarms. It was the computer science majors with chiselled profiles and Icelandic coloring. But more of this anon.)

Yes, Pretty Lady was true to her ideals for, well, nearly a couple of months. The date that influenced her to re-consider her philosophy was one with an older Young Republican, encountered in figure-drawing class, who took her to see 'Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.' On the way to the film this strapping young man forthrightly announced, 'I don't care about other people. I just want to make a lot of money, and everybody else can go to hell.'

During the film he precipitately attempted to fondle her armpit, while she shifted progressively farther toward the edge of her seat, clenched up tighter than a nun's--well, let's just say her body language was not forthcoming. This did not prevent the man from parking in a deserted Sonic Happy Eating Drive-thru and regarding her expectantly. She asked to be taken back to her dorm, now. He complied; she ran into some comfortably bohemian friends outside the elevator, and went with them immediately to see another movie, the perfidious little bitch.

Ah well.

In the course of her brief stint with the Young Republicans, and the Young Conservatives, who were far to the right of the Young Republicans, Pretty Lady noticed one thing. Whenever a Young Conservative got the hots for her, he immediately started ordering her around. 'Go and get me a coffee, cream and four sugars, McDonald's only.' 'Wouldja' go and get me a Coke, love? Fanks very much.'

Her bohemian friend from the Village suggested that the proper reply to this should be, "Get your own effing Coke, and I'm not your love." Pretty Lady did not say this. She meekly fetched Cokes and coffee, and ignored the gentlemen forthwith.

Because, gentlemen, your potential lady friend is not a secretary. She is a potential Queen. If you would like to be considered for the position of King, you are going to have to impress her with your kingly qualities. Ordering coffee does not cut it.

Rule #2: Do not be a complete and total fool.

There were others. Oh, yes there were. Others who slid under her guard with the notion that they were 'just showing her around Chicago,' others who wooed her with months of romantic correspondence before blowing into town to sweep her off her feet. Others who fall under the blanket category of 'clueless, callow puppies.'

They meant well. Really, they did. They were simply incapable of 1) listening, comprehending, and acting upon pertinent information, and 2) backing up their own unrealistic expectations of self.

For example: say you wish to show a lady around Chicago. Say that this lady has confessed to an interest in art, and thus the great museums of Chicago. Do you:

1) take her to the Art Institute of Chicago posthaste; or

2) take her to the Museum of Science and Industry, an institution geared mainly to hordes of screaming children, because it is free and you are employed as a desk clerk at a youth hostel, where you met the lady, and are really not supposed to be hitting on her at all, let alone the fact that you are operating on a shoestring budget?

Say that you picked, unaccountably, option #2. Say that, after several hours of your company, the lady confesses to wanting lunch. Do you:

1) take her to the nearest decent sandwich shop posthaste; or

2) say, "but we were going to have stuffed pizza for dinner, in four hours or so. We can split some nachos now, I guess."

Let us leave alone the advisability of following this lady back to her room at the youth hostel, angling for an invitation to spend the night, after she has contemptuously picked up the check at the stuffed pizza joint, in order to spare herself any guilt feelings over having cleaned you out and waltzed off into the sunset. Let us furthermore close the curtain upon your hopeful statement, "So, I'll see you at 9 tomorrow morning?" which only forewarns the lady that she needs to be up, dressed, down the street and on the train by 8 AM.

You see, boys, there is more to leadership than merely consulting one's own convenience. One must also consult, not only the convenience, but the requirements, temperament, and preferences of others, before coming to a firm decision. Otherwise, one finds oneself leading an army of one.

Rule #3: Know your own limits.

It is a fine gesture, indeed, to walk into the toniest antique jewelry store in San Francisco and confidently discuss the relative merits and suitabilities of the 3-carat diamond engagement rings on sale. The gesture is slightly marred, however, when your desired fianceé is not only forced to buy you dinner on her birthday, because you are beyond broke and got fired from your job at the pizza joint for being an idiot, but when you also have to ask her for a dollar to give to the homeless person who is breaking your heart by his existence. Possibly because you may be him, in another few years.

The Cardinal Rule, Above All Others: Pay attention, pay attention, pay attention.

Did I mention that you should learn to pay attention? The word 'listen' is so overused, that Pretty Lady feels she should be a bit more explicit. 'Paying attention' means, not only attending to the sense of another person's words, and integrating this sense with your plan of action; it means attending to circumstantial and non-verbal cues as well. If the lady has repeatedly mentioned that she is currently adhering to a no-meat, no-dairy diet (whatever you may think of this madness) it is inadvisable to walk into a restaurant and order meatballs and cheese toast to share. If the lady is sitting on the edge of her chair, arms wrapped around herself and knees pulled up to chin, this is probably not the time to attempt a passionate necking. Just a wee suggestion.

The Ultimate Madness: Treating a lady as you would treat a downtrodden little wifey-poo, ON THE FIRST DATE.

Pretty Lady did ultimately overcome her nameless sense of aversion and dread, enough to agree to throw a little community dinner party with the Icelandic computer science major. She invited a friend of hers; he invited fifteen of his. She suggested going grocery shopping together; he said, "we've just been shopping," so Pretty Lady stopped by the store and picked up the ingredients for stir-fry, herself. When she arrived, Pretty Lady made stir-fry, while the Icelandic computer science major talked geek talk with his fifteen friends, and bragged about what a good cook Pretty Lady was. And smart and gifted, of course, but that stir-fry, mmmm-mmm.

Halfway through the dinner party, Pretty Lady and her friend sneaked off to an audition for "Noises Off," and didn't come back.

A shining example of True Dominance:

This one comes to Pretty Lady via her Canadian friend, who has always been more of a hard-ass with men than Pretty Lady. Her Canadian friend is tall and domineering herself, and thus requires someone yet more statuesque, commanding and decisive to squire her around the planet. And this friend does get around the planet.

"My dream man," said this friend. "We were driving through Midtown and the car got a flat in front of the Astor Hotel. He leapt out of the car, and ushered me into the hotel bar for drinks, conferring with the doorman on the way in. 'What about the car?' I asked. 'It's taken care of,' he replied. After a couple of martinis, the doorman let us know that the car was good as new; we had dinner, and danced till 2."

Of course, a few years later he came out of the closet.

There is a certain cosmic irony in the fact that the gender which is most empathic, considerate, and tuned-in to the needs of others, by and large, is also the submissive one. We ladies, most of us, do not wish to be dominating, nagging, controlling bitches. We only grab the wheel when we can see that it is definitely headed toward a cliff. It is a very great pity that so many gentlemen are incapable of seeing the gaping abysses that lie just past the ends of their own noses.


Anonymous said...

We only grab the wheel when we can see that it is definitely headed toward a cliff.

Not true at all. In an equal, to greater, number of cases she's grabbing the wheel because she just wants to make her life more exciting... and the straight and true road be damned. "Bring on the cliff.

May I suggest it the most gentle manner I know how that you get yourself a burrito (Carnitas, with habaneros and extra sourcream) and put down the tea.

Pretty Lady said...

In an equal, to greater, number of cases she's grabbing the wheel because she just wants to make her life more exciting

Examples, dear EN? Support for one's theory? Not simply a blanket assertion?

Or, dear EN, are you confessing to Being A Bore? Surely a lovely man like you is capable of providing a little excitement in a lady's life, without heading off the nearest precipice?

The underlying point I was making, dear EN, is that when there is wheel-grabbing being done, there are two possible problems: 1) communication between the couple is poor to nonexistent, or 2) at least one of the participants is Not Very Bright. Take care that the foolish participant is not you.

Anonymous said...

And when you've been the perfectly attentive and gallant gentleman, meeting every point on your list, and the Little Lady still insists through a drug and alcohol induced paranoia that you are a selfish, domineering woman-hater? Do you continue to do the "honorable thing," spending all your life and energy trying to rescue her from her destructive self hatred? Or do walk away and tell her to give you a call when she's sober and sane?

Pretty Lady said...

Er--why are you courting an alcoholic, drug-addicted paranoid? And people say that Pretty Lady has terrible taste.

Anonymous said...

Well, it took me a few years to develop that attentiveness. She hadn't discovered drugs and alcohol until years after we married, and I wasn't paying enough attention before we married to understand how vulnerable to it she was. Now we've been married almost 17 years, and it's a little late to call it "courting."

Pretty Lady said...

Darling anonymous, I feel your pain. Your situation is beyond my scope to advise, particularly as I do not know the particulars. I would highly recommend that you give Cary Tennis a look-see.

Anonymous said...

So - having weighed and measured the young Republican conservatives and found them wanting, we can assume that you are now awash in rapt attention from the teeming flocks of the uber-liberal Mr. Sensitive Ponytail Men Brigade?

Being a jackass is not exclusive to any one ideology or political orthodoxy. I have dated liberal women who were every bit as close-minded as they accused everyone else of being. It has been my experience that once someone actually sits down and evaluates why they believe what they believe, they often come away finding themselves both liberal and conservative, depending on the individual issues.

Or, as Dylan once said, "We always did feel the same / We just saw it from a different point of view."


Pretty Lady said...

we can assume that you are now awash in rapt attention from the teeming flocks of the uber-liberal Mr. Sensitive Ponytail Men Brigade?

No, Pretty Lady gave those fellows their walking papers quite some time back. She tries to be balanced in her targets. This is, in fact, the entire raison d'etre for this blog.

Anonymous said...

"Do you continue to do the "honorable thing,""

Absolutely. Do the right thing and get in your car and drive away. If you have kids take them with you. If not just go. Get a lawyer and let the rest work itself out.

Anonymous said...

prettylady said...
"Darling anonymous, I feel your pain. Your situation is beyond my scope to advise, particularly as I do not know the particulars."

That's the problem I seem to encounter at every turn. No one has any good advice no matter how much they know about the particulars. Of course, that just puts the problem back in my lap, right where it belongs.

You left one important rule off of your list: Know how and when to make a decision.

Pretty Lady said...

This is quite true, Anon, I did leave this rule off the list. I shall have to do a follow-up.

However, I might point out rule #3: Know your limits. To my mind, this includes knowing that one cannot fix a paranoid, alcoholic drug addict, particularly as this particular addict shows no signs, that you have mentioned, of wishing to fix herself. Whatever decision you make must include this knowledge.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I think it was expressed best by Anais Nin...,I with a deeper instinct, choose a man who compels my strength, who makes enormous demands on me, who does not doubt my courage or my toughness, who does not believe me naive or innocent, who has the courage to treat me like a woman.
Anais Nin

Anonymous said...

Women don't want to be treated like secretaries.. I've had a difficult time being in a committed relationship because the way my father treated my mother. All I want is to be treated equal. I have yet to find a blog that said it as prefectly as this.