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A post about honorifics


I have never been one to demand the use of honorifics. It is very rare that I have requested the use of a certain word or phrase... except perhaps for the use of the term Daddy. I can probably count the amount of times I have asked someone to call me Sir on one or two hands.

It is just not my way. I've never felt that I could make the determination as to when someone should use that particular term for me. As if, by doing so, I would be pompous instead of deserving. So I let others dictate how they should address me, based on their own comfort levels. In the end, I really have no preference either way - dominant or submissive, I still prefer to be viewed as Phil/Boymeat, and not some contrived archetype.

I write this because I am experiencing a strange phenomenon where more people are actively and voluntarily calling me Sir. In the past, some have taken that personally - that the ability to call me Sir was a granted right, and thus others doing it caused them pain. I never saw it that way - instead, I saw that it was based on the individual's comfort level, with their contruct of etiquette and behavior. I never saw any problem with it.

But it does strike me as odd that I get called Sir so often now. I do not consider myself a particularly skilled dominant. Yes, I admit that I excel at hitting people, and I have a fair amount of experience in bringing someone along a mental trip... but to inspire submission? To be honest, I have always been surprised when someone decided to give me such gifts voluntarily.

I had a playdate with someone at Frolicon. She and I had not spoken face-to-face, nor played, since the Fantasm the year before. And that was our first ever meeting. Yet, as soon as she saw me, we embraced, and she said "Hello Sir." It made me pause, and finally inquire why she used such a term. She responded, "I've been reading your journal long enough to know to call you Sir."

I will admit, I will never understand just what people see in me. But, I appreciate what I have, and I consider myself the luckiest son of a bitch on the planet. These individuals honor me, and make me blush at times. I can only hope I return even a shred of the value they place in me.

Comments

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melebeth
Apr. 19th, 2006 01:53 pm (UTC)
Hmm. This is something I've mused on occaisionally. In my personal universe, I find it presumtuous to Sir somebody without explicit permission. And yet my personal universe does not always agree with the personal universes of the people I interact with. Makes things difficult.
boymeat
Apr. 19th, 2006 04:04 pm (UTC)
I've had people ask me if they can call me Sir. I appreciate that immensely... it helps give me a barometer as to where they are in relation to me, and I have to admit, it strokes my ego in a very lovely way.

Your post was very interesting because I consider it presumtuous for me to ask someone to call me Sir. So, the tops (or at least this one) have some of the same concerns you have as a bottom.
susan_wright
Apr. 19th, 2006 01:58 pm (UTC)
You used to be such a little squirt. Now you're getting older, hence the new nick Meatman. I can see your play partners calling you sir, though a few years ago I might have snickered a bit and teased you mercilessly.
boymeat
Apr. 19th, 2006 03:18 pm (UTC)
I'd be curious to hear your observations about said growth - you have certainly known me through it all. Perhaps an excuse for a get-together?
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boymeat
Apr. 19th, 2006 03:18 pm (UTC)
A very apt statement.
fetishcuriosity
Apr. 19th, 2006 02:31 pm (UTC)
Well, you could just assume it is because you are getting older (said with friendly jest)

I definately think many in the lifestyle see calling a dominant/top Sir, regardless of any relationship, as proper etiquette. I tend not to, unless someone I play with frequently asks me to - then I enjoy it (This can be fun when scening because I will always forget at some point).

As far as inspiring submission, you know you did in me. Do you think you are bringing more d/s into things than before?
boymeat
Apr. 19th, 2006 03:19 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure if I'm bringing it in more. I think it is because I can read the intentions and cause for a person approaching me, thus I know what to bring to the table in specific cases.

Like I did with you.
eric_mathgeek
Apr. 19th, 2006 02:31 pm (UTC)
Well, Sir... ;)

I was raised in the South, and it was -- at least then -- generally expected that one says "sir" and "ma'am" to be polite and respectful. It's a carryover, for me, and that's where I generally start -- in verbal communication, at least. But even then, it's not done often, like several times in a conversation, unless one is addressing an elder. (It feels a bit odd to do it, or to do it often, in writing.)

Then, when addressing someone I would like to beat me? Oh yeah, yes sir! If they don't respond, or seem offended, I drop it. I find most people will simply say, oh, you don't need to call me sir. (Or even "please don't".)

I don't "Sir" anyone unless I either have a personal connection or -- through knowledge of their play, or who they play with, or through their writings, presentations, or other work -- I respect their opinions and recognize them as a "teacher", if only by example. (The latter is why I called you Sir when we first met.)

Yes, I have called other subs/boys/slaves "Sir". Some said don't, others accepted it.

And I agree with nvisiblegrrl -- your attitude keeps you "Sir", even you were to tell me not to call you that. To those those people who say on first contacting me, "call me SIR," I say, earn it. You already had before we even met.

eric_mathgeek
Apr. 19th, 2006 02:32 pm (UTC)
Oh another thing... sometimes "sir" is a good way to flirt. :)
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jaspamaster
Apr. 19th, 2006 02:40 pm (UTC)
People take on the color of things aroud you, if people around you call you Sir then people reading and observing you will do the same.
In many ways it hasent much to do with you but more with peoples assumptions, I know ive had the same problem in trying to figure out what people see in me or about me all the time. I have found more of a handl on it lately watching people respond to other people or to gossip in relationship to myself.

Never belive your own press but do pay attention to what people leave out about you for others to find
redhead_sue
Apr. 19th, 2006 02:40 pm (UTC)
"Yes, I admit that I excel at hitting people, and I have a fair amount of experience in bringing someone along a mental trip... but to inspire submission?"

Well, here's the thing with me... I bottom as a way of submitting. That's why I play with so few people - because I can't really separate bottoming from submission. I bottom to feel that someone else is in control, that I have given up control, that I am in someone else's hands. So when you hit me - and you know the trust I have placed in you - I am actually submitting to you. And I think in our scenes, you know that. So in a scene, I naturally call you "Sir." Outside of a scene, you are Phil or Boymeat, my friend. :)
eric_mathgeek
Apr. 19th, 2006 03:10 pm (UTC)
ooo, so many reasons why I like you!
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feyrieprincess
Apr. 19th, 2006 02:41 pm (UTC)
I call the cashier at the drive-through Sir
Not to rain on your parade, but you were in the South, and as children, we get the tar beat out of us with hickory sticks if we don't Sir and M'am everyone in sight.

I call the cashier at the Mc Donald's drive-through "Sir and M'am" -- as well as Wal Mart employees, garbage men, janitors, and people who repair my sewer.

So to not call someone whom I respect and adore, "Sir" or "M'am" would feel weird to me (if indeed, this was directed at me at all).
boymeat
Apr. 19th, 2006 03:22 pm (UTC)
Re: I call the cashier at the drive-through Sir
Oh, I understandly entirely the politeness aspect to it all. But it was clear in some the cases I am referring to that this wasn't just simple etiquette.
fetishcuriosity
Apr. 19th, 2006 02:56 pm (UTC)
Good Lord, you inspire alot of replies quickly.

You are a comment whore, lol.
boymeat
Apr. 19th, 2006 03:22 pm (UTC)
Not deliberately! Er... not this time, anyway.
luna_littleone
Apr. 19th, 2006 03:05 pm (UTC)
I think Master Skip said it best in that he does not call himself Master because he believes it to be so but because others more qualified than him deem him to be so.

It's hard to see what people see in ourselves.
A problem I have always had and unfotunately never live in the moment of where I am. Too busy striving to be perfect or special when in reality I already am.

You are a very unique and special individual. Not just because you throw a whip or good with a cane. You have fun with it and are very caring to those that are close to you. It's a beautiful thing and you are a very lucky man. :)

I consider myself lucky to have experienced it first hand. It has enriched my life and helped me become a better person.
Thank You.
lonewolf_w_cub
Apr. 19th, 2006 03:14 pm (UTC)
Wait until you get even older and you graduate from "Sir" to "Ol' Rat Bastid". =D
boymeat
Apr. 19th, 2006 03:22 pm (UTC)
Ha!
taliakit
Apr. 19th, 2006 03:36 pm (UTC)
I first called you Sir at Adrienne's urging. But, for me I don't really get off on using honorifics (perhaps I would if I was more submissive oriented). I don't like being called Ma'am or mistress or anything like that even if I'm feeling toppy. I thought it was very sweet how emrys_nc called shdwkitten Ma'am every time he referred to her, and Vi referred to Victoria as "m'lady".

I tend to use sir in a joking way like if I feel like someone just bossed me around or was unnecesarily authoritarian at me.. I'll go "YES SIR!" and quite possibly give the person a Rimmer salute.

I'd have to agree with everyone else who said it denotes a level of respect and being known as a experienced player.

cleovale
Apr. 19th, 2006 05:04 pm (UTC)
For some people honorifics roll easily off the tongue with people they respect. For others, "Sir" is a term that means much more than respect. Either way, it could just be that your demeanor and skill is moving these people to address you in such a manner. Youve earned it, IMnsHO.
pallidbat
Apr. 19th, 2006 05:33 pm (UTC)
*grin* I'm actually a Detroiter by trade, so I can't use the South as an excuse. You told us at Fantasm that we could call you Sir or not as we pleased. I honestly felt a strong compulsion to call you Sir, because it really helps put me in the mind frame that I was going to be submissive. And honestly, I have amazing, amazing amounts of respect for your skills as a top. You really helped me along the path of being more comfortable with my submission.

Also, I didn't know you liked being called Daddy. I...err...have a thing for that. *blush*
boymeat
Apr. 19th, 2006 06:23 pm (UTC)
Daddy is a very interesting term for me.

One one hand, it is a marker for the relationship. When put in that context, it is VERY serious to me, I don't allow people to call me it. Only 4 have in my entire history. It's one of those damning things in some ways... once someone has become mine... and I their Daddy, it never breaks. Ever.

On the other hand, it can be used in a fun and sexy way. Though when used in that context, it is 99% sexually-based.
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