There have been a number of low level incidents of internet chat recently, which prompted me to think about how people chose to express their desires textually. Good writing, as any author will tell you, is quite difficult. Good writing about oneself could perhaps be even harder, as there isn't normally the luxury of pinning it on an imagined character in order to explain any foibles or fumbles. When we talk about our wants and needs in a BDSM context we are in many cases trying to do both. If we want to find a compatible person (or people) who can satisfy our desires we must be clear and honest, so there is no room for confusion. But there is also an element of role, of presentation, of making ourselves into that sexualised, fetishised personality. We talk of D/s in terms of play and games - so it is only natural that when it comes to writing about ourselves we do a little linguistic dressing up. We want our kinky side to be appealing, and given the nature of the sort of sex we enjoy that can create some extreme characters. We know that these can be exciting to others, they are certainly exciting to ourselves, but ideas need to be presented correctly, and allowed to sink in. So when sitting down and sending a message to someone we don't know, for the first time is "you will call me sir" really the best opener, whatever happened to "hello"?
We want to come across as sexy and interesting, we want to grab attention and hold it. But we also want something else - to have our desires fulfilled. Composing personal ads, private messages or any other form of written communication cuts us loose from the support we get (without perhaps realising) meeting face-to-face. Eye contact, facial expression, body language. All of these can serve to reassure the other person that we are safe, sane, consensual and genuine. Yet some people can feel "safer" expressing their desires online, hidden behind a screen. Perhaps they are shy, or embarrassed, perhaps their persona is one which they feel uncomfortable expressing, so they can only do it at range, incognito. And precisely because of this veil of anonymity, people are able to say and do things that they might never do otherwise, freed from the constraints of social behavioural codes, freed also from even seeing the face of their intended - they can imagine any response that they like, a response whereby "call me sir" incites paroxysms of delight, rather than a reflex action to click "delete".
I have a number of theories on why people do this, actually, I'm afraid I'm going to have to put my sexist hat on and alter that to read "why men do this" because I have yet to have a woman demand I call her mistress within three seconds of internet time. My thoughts vary depending on how charitable I'm feeling. Sometimes I think it is because they have poor social skills and even poorer communication skills so have latched on to cliched patterns of speech and behaviour (which the word of BDSM can be very prone to) because they think that this is what will deliver results. Sometimes I think it is because they want to upset or provoke, and they are getting their kicks by feeling that they are behaving in a subversive or especially "dominant" fashion, regardless of what the recipient actually thinks. Sometimes I even wonder if they are being totally honest - that this is the way they want to be treated, from the outset, and that by talking in this way they feel most "like themselves", most satisfied and happy. And finally, I occasionally wonder if it is a joke, because it is a cliched opener, and sometimes I've responded as if it was a joke, only to find nothing coming back in return. Being a male Dom is a hard line to walk, according to those who tell me about it. They are in the majority, so it would appear (although I am waiting for an actual survey to be done).
The Photographer has been amusing himself with Call Me Sir by pretending to be me via our joint profile. It's probably too much of a temptation, when an anonymous character (blank profile, no text, no image) requests to speak to just the female part of the relationship. As a result, he has been bombarded with messages requiring him to describe just how wet he (pretending to be me) is, what he is wearing and whether he will put himself on a train to go for a meet up without telling his other half.
In conversation, as in so many things in this line of activity, the key is consent and trust. I'm happy to engage with the edgiest and nastiest of power-play as long as I've signed up for it and I trust the person I'm doing it with. That way both parties get more of what they want, unlike the example above, in which neither party is really satisfied, just entertained by fictitious notions.