This article is written by me – Kim Debron – it is owned by me. If you copy it, please give the credit to me, otherwise you are committing an act of plagiarism – you are stealing my work.
Manners, Protocols & Etiquette.
A lot of people in the D/s lifestyle place great importance on manners, protocols and etiquette, both at events, and functions, and also in more private situations.
The dictionary defines Manners as:
Ways of behaving with reference to polite standards.
A way of acting, bearing or behaviour
The socially correct way of acting.
Manners really are important no matter what lifestyle you lead, it is the basic common courtesies which most people learn as they grow up.
The please and thank you, not speaking with a mouthful of food, not interrupting a conversation, etc. All things that should apply in all situations.
Protocols and Etiquette - though related to good manners - are really what many people associate with our lifestyle, and many scene people place great importance on both.
So what is a Protocol, and what is Etiquette?
Protocol is defined as:
A code of correct conduct
The system of rules and acceptable behaviour used at official ceremonies and occasions:
Etiquette is defined as:
conventional requirements as to social behaviour.
the set of rules or customs which control accepted behaviour in particular social groups or social situations
From these definitions it is obvious that protocols are more widely recognised as being official behaviour, whereas etiquette is predominantly social behaviour, but the basic element is the same, they are about correct behaviour in certain situations.
The D/s lifestyle has various situations which can involve different levels of protocol, for example an informal night at home might be low protocol, having D/s guests for dinner maybe medium protocol, but a formal D/s dinner would be high protocol.
Low protocol is easy going and usual in most informal situations or casual stay at home nights. It is also what many D/s couples use if they are in “vanilla situations” such as family get togethers, where not everyone is aware of the lifestyle. Only to the practiced eye, is the subtle D/s interaction noticeable, but there is no doubt in the submissive’s mind that it is there.
Medium protocol is basically just a step up from low protocol. It is still fairly easy going, but there is a bit of an edge to things, and the submissive is a little more aware of his/her behaviour. It may involve things such as wearing a collar at the table for the evening, being mindful and respectful to whomever is around you, but being able to speak fairly freely, as long as you are respectful.
If a submissive or slave is “put on” high protocol, she/he is instructed to behave in a certain manner befitting a high protocol situation - she/he would have certain rules to follow. High protocol usually means all focus is on the Dominant, and no communication with anyone else, unless directed, is allowed. The submissive would keep eyes lowered and be quiet at all times, and remain in whatever position or place she/ he has been instructed to stay in.
Being in high protocol is a very good way of remaining focussed, and also a good way of lessening stressful situations. As a submissive, on high protocol you do not think of anything except your Dominant.
A personal example for me, was to be placed on high protocol for almost a whole day, i wore a chain attached to my collar and was at Master’s side constantly, doing things for Him and being in His presence. The reason was that it was the anniversary of my mother’s death, and i needed to focus on something else rather than my sad thoughts.
At the end of the day i was much more calm and relaxed and able to think of her without the devastating sadness that had overcome me that morning.
Master had recognised that i would need something to get me through that day, and high protocol was the answer.
Protocols are also in place at such things as formal collarings, or training workshops, where certain codes of conduct are expected, and should be adhered to by everyone.
Etiquette is like a set of protocols or rules for social situations. Many Dominants like the formal side of D/s so they tend to teach their submissives to use correct etiquette, and to learn what is appropriate and when.
My Master requires different styles of greetings for me to use depending on which Dominant we may encounter.
For example, for most Dominants we meet up with, i would be likely to greet them in a fairly informal way, with a hug and a kiss on the cheek…. However there are one or two for which Master requires a formal greeting from me, that is - down on my knees with my forehead to the ground.
At home, there are rules for how we greet our guests and who comes first.
When out, there are rules for where we walk in relation to Master, and where we stand, this is all etiquette – correct behaviour in certain situations.
But to add to this discussion, is it only the submissives who are subject to protocols and etiquette rules, or should Dominants also follow those guidelines?
For example as a submissive i know that i must always be polite and respectful and greet any Dominant we meet up with, in the correct manner.
My behaviour is a reflection on my Master, and i am always conscious of that fact.
But what about Dominants who simply don’t respond, or who ignore submissives…. Is that really the right thing to do?
What about a Dominant who greets another Dominant, then goes around the group of people saying hello to each person, but yet ignores the collared submissive of the Dominant he first greeted.
My opinion of this behaviour is that it is almost an insult to the Dominant who owns the submissive, is she simply not liked or is she ignored because she is only a submissive?
If the Dominant in question ignores all submissives in the group, then it can be assumed that it is normal behaviour for Him/Her, but if it is only one submissive singled out to be ignored, then it would seem more likely to be a personal dislike. Even if that is the case, it is not a good example to set to any submissive, or to any upcoming Dominant.
In my own opinion, it gets back to basic manners and courtesy, whether it be D/s or not, to ignore one person out of a group of people is just plain rude.
What about the Dominant who greets a submissive before greeting that submissive’s Master or Mistress?
What about a Dominant, who on seeing a submissive He knows, goes and pats her on the head as she is serving a drink on her knees to her Master?
Incidents like these do happen, and they are caused by ignorance on the part of the Dominant, not realising or understanding the correct behaviour.
Of course, most people we meet within the D/s Lifestyle are polite and well mannered, new people venturing out are sometimes ignorant of the etiquette which should be followed in social situations, but if things are gently explained, there isn’t usually a problem.
In summing up then, it would seem that basic manners should be a necessity in any lifestyle, but that protocols and etiquette play a big part in the D/s world. There are many of us who embrace them and incorporate them into our daily lives, but equally many who do not understand the subtleties of correct protocol and etiquette.
I fully understand that not everyone places as much importance on manners, protocols and etiquette as Master and i do. For me it is like the icing on the cake - it adds to the quality of my life as a submissive, and helps me to remember my place, and to focus on Master.
To know that He is proud of my behaviour in all situations makes me feel proud of myself, and gives me confidence when i need it.
© Kim Debron 2006