“I think it’s probably bedtime. Do you have any string?”

With every Dom, there is a moment in the beginning where he asserts control. It comes before any formal agreement to submit, and it is a defining moment. I call it the snap-back. He tugs a little to see if the leash is there and to see how you respond. In a way, it’s like temperament testing with a new puppy. Roll it onto its back to see if it withdraws, gnaws at your hand, or makes eye contact and waits for instructions. With Doms, it’s a command or a call-out on something you did wrong. An opportunity to choose submission. And it tells you a lot about how he chooses to lead. 

This time, it was string. 

“Cut a small length and tie it in a loop and then pass it over one of your wrists and tighten. Just a piece of string around your wrist. You can use an ankle if you prefer. Sleep with it as a subtle reminder.”

Oh, wow. It’s only been five days…with nonstop messaging and a brief chat at a munch. But it feels like it could be something. He writes to me about responsibility. He writes to me about finding the deep bond and connection that only comes with ownership. He writes about building something real. There are flashes of the sexual, but that’s not why he’s here. That’s not what drives him. And this task is proof of that. There is a feeling of safety with him. Calm control. I feel like that puppy, surrendering and awaiting instructions. Eager for him to pick up the leash. Eager to show him how good I can be.

I grab a spool of black thread and cut off enough to double up and tie around my ankle. Then I snap a picture for him and tuck myself into bed. I feel proud. Hopeful. Connected. 

The next morning before my shower, I smile as I look at it. Then I sit down to take it off. I hold it in my hand, debating what to do. But we are new, and it feels silly to keep it. Keeping it means that this is real—that it is going somewhere. And I’m too jaded to allow myself that much hope. Not yet, anyhow. So I drop it in the trash. That night, he messages me. 

Him: Where is your string?
me: I took it off before I showered this morning.
Him: Oh, ok. I’ll have to scroll up for the text that told you to take it off. 
me: [Inner panic.] 
Him: I must have clean forgot about that, as I was so focused on rearranging my cane collection.
me: [Serious inner panic.]
Him: I am certain it’s not someplace where things of no perceived value are kept.
me: [Extreme inner panic. Wtf do I do???]
Him: No, I understand. You are new. This is your first exploration into D/s, and the distracting weight of a soggy piece of thread is intolerable, particularly since towel technology has not advanced to the point where it could address such an issue while the string was still on your leg. Future generations will build on our progress.

I scurry to retrieve the string from the trash and beg to be allowed to secure it back around my ankle. He allows it. He talks about structure and consequences and how this is an opportunity to improve and grow. He says we will correct mistakes together. And with this tiny piece of string back around my ankle, I suddenly feel calmer. I am still wearing it two days later when we meet for coffee, where he holds my wrists while we talk. In fact, I wear the string for most of the next week. It begins to feel like part of me. So does he. 

Such a delicate thing, this cuff made of string. But I feel it as I slide into bed. I feel it when I roll over, trying to get comfortable. And as I fall asleep, I tuck my knee up toward my chest, and I trace my fingers over it. It is always with me. A subtle reminder of what he hopes we will build together. 

He says he wants my heart to sing. It already is. 


A wonderful essay on the power of even the most “trivial” signifiers. It’s never about what a signifier is, it’s about what it signifies.

This is fabulous, so accurate.

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