Guest post by Justin…
The things that I believe are required for the “care, feeding and maintenance” of a top:
Obedience: Over the years it has surprised me that in every place that this question has been asked, that this did not rank much higher in the order of things listed and that a large amount of time went by before it was listed at all.
On another list someone expressed another part that I think goes hand in hand with obedience, blind faith. Obedience quite simply is the ability to do as you are told promptly, with pleasure and without having to ask a multitude of questions. An example being, If I say “put this knife on the edge of the table” Then put the knife on the edge of the table. Not, “But why do you want the knife on the edge of the table?” Not, “But that is not how a table is set”. Not, “Are you sure that you want the knife on the edge of the table?” or any other questions. The “why” game is generally played by 5 year olds, which is not to say that there are never times when “why” is not a pertinent question to be asked. There are times but I won’t even go into the idiocies of pairing oneself with a top who would expect you to cut off your hand.
Transparency: Note that I am using the definition of “transparency” from Guy Baldwin’s book, “Slavecraft”. This means there are no secrets that the bottom holds back from the top, that their thoughts are open to the top at all times. Obviously this is not an easy thing to achieve, but for me, if I can see that an honest to god effort is being made, it helps tremendously. Mot often it is the responsibilities of the top to their respective bottoms which are noted and discussed. The most commonly spoken of is the responsibility of having control of the welfare (physical, mental, emotional and spiritual) of the bottom. I believe this is a responsibility that most tops seek to have; it is the ultimate form of control. We like control. Ask us, we really like it, but more than liking it, we expect to have it, not simply in the bedroom where we have your legs pinned back behind your ears like Bugs Bunny, while pulling your hair from behind your head, arching your neck back and exposing it, while fucking you or in the dungeon space where we did either wonderful or hideous things to you for our (and your) amusement and gratification, but in life as a whole. Transparency makes maintaining this responsibility to the level that we hold ourselves to much easier in the same way that having gas in a car makes it easier to drive down the block. In spite of what some would like to think, tops are not all seeing all knowing mind readers.
Skillful observation: Just as with the “why” question, we really don’t want to be asked “how” enough times to spring forth a new branch of mathematics. Believe me, this is one that we practice on you all the time. We have to; it’s required of us to know you. It’s also required for you to know us. This, combined with hearing (different from listening) is a large part of the engine that drives service. What are the tops habits? What do they enjoy? What do they detest? What are their quirks, pet peeves and little tiny things that go straight to their heart, mind and soul? Everyone does this with people that are important to them to some degree, form or fashion, but in a d/s relationship, it helps if this is an active, conscience act. Keep your eyes open, watch intently as to what they like and want, then take your observations and apply them to the everyday. It is much more precious when the bottom does something the top has never mentioned or had to show them how to do. This type of skilled observation is priceless to a top.
Application of Observation (more commonly known as anticipatory service): It remains to be, one of the things that most warms my cockles, when it is unnecessary for the bottom to ask me, “Justin, what would you like to/for…..” and instead it’s already, quietly been provided. You already know what soda, wine, or liquor that they like (and note, this applies to more than just YOUR top, it applies to a social skill that everyone appreciates, it also requires work) you know the brand of unusually flavored crackers that are only available at one store in town, you know that they get up at 6:45 AM every morning and that the first thing they do is reach for, look for or go get their cigarettes, god knows, you certainly know how and when they take their coffee. Apply those things that you have learned from your skillful observations.
As much as it warms my cockles when a bottom can and does apply those observations to me (consistently) it absolutely makes my cockles spontaneously combust when I see them apply those same skills to other people when we entertain or have overnight guests. I look good, because the bottom looks good and that her value as property shines through. Some things are easily overlooked, like the simple way a top likes their towel hung and where they like it hung so it is available after a shower.
Consistent Dependability: Please note the first word on this one. Yes, life happens, mistakes are made by everyone, but work towards not only doing what you’re asked, but in doing what you say or imply that you will do. This is a huge on the list of things that tops are constantly admonished for in the discussions between bottoms and internet posts asking for help with a problem. I’m here to tell you sweet pea, what is good for the goose is damn sure good and applies to the gander as well. To use a hypothetical example, if you are supposed to carry your cell phone……..
Vulnerability: This one goes hand in hand with transparency. If you achieve any high degree of transparency, you will have made yourself vulnerable to you top. In fact, you will have made yourself extremely vulnerable to them, to the point that they could break you mentally and emotionally. Vulnerability is often listed as trust. I think it’s a separate thing. Do you trust your top to the point that you can truly make yourself vulnerable? Remember, we like control and this is part of the ultimate control.
Independence/Strength: If you are not independent and strong in your own right, why should we desire you? For me anyway, a large part of personal power springs from a person’s independence and internal strength and fortitude. Tops as a whole I think, wish to control or own powerful things and beings. This one also covers independent thought. If the top sends you for milk, did he specify a particular brand of goat’s milk, fat percentage, or store that it be bought from (and had you already noted these things through skillful observation, anyway)? Can you go get the milk, independent from having to play 20 questions? If the first store you go to is out of milk, do you need to call and ask where another store is, or can you ask the store clerk who is standing in front of you? Do you have the intestinal fortitude to come back with the milk without having needed to engage in a game of 20 Questions or will you require a re-direct to be able to function? We tend to like people in service to us who make our lives easier, not harder. Consistently easier and for whom we do not have to think. If independence was not important to me, personally, I would get a pet, who would lavish love and attention of me faithfully and whom I understood that I had to take care of and think for.
Space: Amount of space varies required or wanted, varies, I’m sure, from top to top. Don’t smother us. I would not want to spend every second hanging out with God. This is why I have such a large group of friends. One of the biggest adaptations in a relationship can be when going from living apart (sometimes hours apart) to living together. When you live apart you tend to spend most of the time together doing things jointly. But when you are living together most tops need their space, time to unwind and regroup. This does not mean hovering over them. This usually means alone time.
Patience: Bottoms demand it from us and rightly so. We demand it as well. Part of what makes d/s relationships beautiful to me, is that bottoms often look after the day to day details of things, tops, note the details and apply them to the overall well being of the relationship, today, tomorrow, next week, next year and the next decade. That is part of the job that we want. We don’t just pull rabbits out of our asses by magic. There is an awful lot of thinking, planning, and multiple chess games on a variety of different things going on in the tops head. Maintaining the balance for us, for you and for the relationship, all at the same time is no mean feat. Besides which, some separation does make the heart grow fonder.
Protect the Property: This is Mandate One for a bottom. Maintain your health (physical, emotional, mental) and find ways to foster your own self growth. If you don’t none of the rest of what is listed above will matter because the top will have had to assume the responsibility of every basic need for you and them, both. Without your health, you cannot provide any of the rest of the things that we so love to discuss. And even for those of us with health considerations (me included with my diabetes) most things can be worked with and around. Often times, bottoms say that one of the things that love about their tops and what they do for them is make them feel “protected” and “secure”. Bottoms taking a proactive approach to Protecting the Property help in no small part, to their tops feeling “protected” and “secure”.
All normal disclaimers apply, with the understanding, that so far as I am concerned, I am right. Additional fees may apply. See dealer for details. Your mileage WILL vary, ZMAX may help.
©Justin W Medlin 2005