(Young) Ladies and Gentlemen

This is not about:

  1. Age play
  2. May-December romances

I’ve already written about one of my pet peeves that mostly involves women in the scene (and a certain number of men). I just want to mention a couple that are exclusively a male phenomenon that equally get under my skin when I see them.

The use of the term “young lady”, for me, is something that is reserved for play or as a hint at play and only with someone I already know. I would never presume to call someone “young lady” right off the bat because it assumes a level of relationship that has yet to be established between us. I sometimes read blogs written by women where she explains, let’s say, the reason she has not posted in a while. Invariably and almost one-hundred percent of the time, there will be a man who comments and says something like, “You should keep up with your blog, young lady”, often followed by a spanking threat. This sort of thing weirds me out because unless the commenter and blogger are acquainted in more than a casual way, it’s rude for this man to put himself in a position of authority over her even if it is being done playfully. Why is it rude? Because she has not agreed that he should be in that position. Simple.

I know that some men use “young lady” as their form of playful banter but to my ear it has a connotation beyond mere playfulness and enters the realm of Top/bottom or Dom/sub without the consent of one of the parties. Like bratting, it’s a type of flirtatious banter that might be welcomed among friends – not as an introduction or just thrown off casually. Women’s mileage may vary on this point and that’s fine – some women may not mind it and play along with no problem. My opinion as an observer is that seeing it often makes me feel uncomfortable.

A quick point about something that has become almost a universal joke in the spanking community: The self proclaimed gentleman. Simply put, this is the man that needs to spontaneously announce that he is a gentleman often within earshot of as many women as possible. Although the term in modern usage has come to simply be a polite way of saying “male”, men in the scene who use it are referring to it’s more Victorian definition which includes references to refinement and chivalry.

Rather than going through a long disertation on the subject I’m going to merely say that if one needs to state the fact that he is a gentleman, then his actions obviously don’t convey it.

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15 Responses to “(Young) Ladies and Gentlemen”

  1. Indiana Says:

    I completely agree, Rad. The use of “young lady” too soon makes me suspicious that the guy needs to feel in control all the time, not just in play or within a consensual relationship. To me, that’s a sign of weakness, not strength. And gentleman? That makes me think about whalebone stays, frilly parasols, and the need for suitable chaperones. No thanks!

    I suspect I’m less tolerant than most to being patronized, so I usually keep these reactions to myself and move on.

  2. radagast Says:

    Indy: I really don’t think anyone likes being patronized if they pick up on it. Sometimes I wonder if men do the “young lady” thing because they’re not sure what else to do.

    A person calling themselves a “gentleman” is just a little too silly in my book.

  3. Absolutely.

    I do not like to hear the term “young lady” from someone I have just met and don’t know at all. It’s an absolute turn off and my defenses immediately go up. To my point of view, right from the beginning he assumes that he’s “topping” me and he is thinking he has every right to do so without my say whatsoever. Pretty arrogant.

    Now… on the flip side… that term when used in by someone I have established a relationship with and it’s understood that he is indeed the “top” … well then! To me, it’s incredibly stimulating and I love it. Being that I love historical costuming and dabble in role play from time to time… it’s also appropriate.

  4. radagast Says:

    D: You hit the nail on the head (as did Indy) and underlined what I was trying to convey.

    It’s fine to do this sort of D/s thing when you’ve both agreed to it, not as a blanket way of treating all women.

  5. D and Indy beat me to it. Presumptive and a complete turn off to call me young lady. And it seems kind of ridiculous if said top is older than I am. Tho on the other hand, if I guy does use that term, it helps that he declares himself.

    A guy could just ask a bottom their name to start. Young lady seems like an anonymous safe go to term. Forgot who you were playing with? Just call her young lady.

    Also interesting that when a guy is told not to use that YL term, he backs off so fast. It’s like you ripped away his first line of dialogue and he has no where to go for his next cue.

    Rad, you and Sandy could write a book about all this stuff. The title being something like ‘The Enlightened Spanker’

  6. radagast Says:

    Laura: I never thought of that! That someone uses “young lady” because they can’t remember a name. I must ponder that some more.

    As for being “enlightened” – I hope you didn’t mean me. I pride myself on being a superhero of douchebaggery.

  7. Ok, then. How about ‘How to not be perceived as a Jackass in the spanking scene” ? That way you won’t have to get a cape for your superhero status and your douchebaggery can continue.

  8. radagast Says:

    OK, that’s more direct.

  9. I agree with Laura…I think the “young lady” term comes more when they don’t know or remember my name. But it also figures into the whole, it doesn’t matter if I know your name or not…I am still a Top and I can address you as such…and that would be the part that drives me nutty! It is presumptuous but I also know for some Tops they don’t know how else to enter into the conversation.

    As for gentlemen…that really is a red flag to me…it either reminds me of little boys in a private school or something that just doesn’t exist anymore in the same way. I feel that they are trying to give their credentials or something like that…and that isnt the way to do it.

  10. In jumping off of what Bella said, I really do think spankers get more street cred from word of mouth rather than self advertisement.

    You all know I am a bit .. ahem… on the stubborn side. Once a top has given me a negative impression (either from action or word) the thing that is likely to walk it back for me is for another bottom, generally a good friend, to say that he really is a good player.

  11. radagast Says:

    I have to admit that I have used it during a scene but it always makes me feel stupid – especially when I’m playing with someone older than me (unless it’s age-play).

  12. Oh – this is one I can’t stand, and unfortunately I have very, very little patience for it. Probably the fastest way for someone to get me to ignore them in email or a chat is by using a term like “Young Lady” and then threatening a spanking. Ick! is all I gotta say!

  13. I think whatever phrase is used, jumping in and saying a particular behavior merits a spanking is annoying, whether “Young Lady” is used or not. It feels a little desperate to me.

    I LOVE hearing “Young Lady” when I’m bottoming to someone I want to bottom to. It makes me feel young, makes me feel vulnerable, which is what I’m aiming for, with the right person. It’s sometimes even scarier, however, when a top uses your real name.

    I can’t explain the gentleman thing. I think I have a knee jerk reaction to this word. I brace myself and wait for the argument about the “radical feminist” who refused his offer of a seat on the bus 15 years ago (and now he’s never offered his seat since).

  14. Hey, Sandy, I know that gentleman, too! Scary, huh?

  15. Sandy, I agree that with the right Top, the phrase “young lady” has a total different allure…and can begin to tap into the young part of me and the submissive part…and when he or she uses my real name…then that can really get me going…then the psychological game has begun and I am even more open to the scene.

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