Another day, another search for the mot juste. I'm still in want of a title and this time the request is from Dandy. Given the wealth of names I've covered him with - boy, puppy, slave, toy, bitch, slut - it's a bit of a sticking point that I can't find one to fit me.
Recently, I've been thinking about the word "Lady". I can't help but snigger when I say it. I shouldn't, but I do. It's the way the word rolls off the tongue with a fruity comedic tone laaady straight out of Little Britain. Images of corny Disney films spring to mind, as does the Covent Garden institution and quaint publication The Lady.All fancy and fusty and formal and other F words. We have a standing joke amongst my feminist friends - lady business which can mean anything from serious political commentary on women's issues, needing to go and buy tampons and everything in between. But the joke covers something up, as a lot of humour tends to do. That the word is a little lost to me, a form of "being feminine" that I am no longer connected to nor feel able to easily adopt.
We no longer live in a world of ladies and gentlemen, except for signage on toilet doors and announcements in foyers or on trains. Part of me feels a little whimsical over this,
There is an attraction in the word and also in the idea. I can't quite see the attraction in those Eliza Doolittle programmes that attempt to fake status, but admire the genuine possession and self possession of truly being a lady. Actually having hauteur, privilege, nobility and raised status rather than being taught the difference between a serviette and a napkin. D/s aims for the former, naturally - the power exchange is real and belle dame sans merci is absolutely a trope I can fit into my dominance, as is the aspect of the Queen. Although never Goddess. I don't especially want to mingle sex and religion, except to upset dinner parties. Lady suits well enough, but not quite enough for me to feel entirely comfortable in it at all times. Maybe there's something in being a switch, but certainly I am very comfortable in my ownership and control of Dandy - to the point of being a little smug at times.
I have an instinctive rebellion against the traditional requirements of being ladylike. Probably more to do with ideas over what a person should and shouldn't be like and a hatred of not being allowed to do what I wanted to do in the outfits I wanted to do it in because I am female and therefore must behave in such-and-such a manner. I was fortunate in my upbringing in that my parents taught good manner irrespective of gender but well-meaning other relatives certainly had views. There is a requirement for good behaviour from a lady, for politeness and for genteel manners and mannerisms which doesn't exactly allow for down and dirty behaviour. On the other hand some parts of my dominance sit very well with being a lady - I enjoy courtly showings of respect, my chair pulled out and doors held open, politeness from my subjects and control exerted with the flick of a wrist rather than the (frankly boring) "forced" submission.
There is another issue - that of my own gender identity. I believe that femininity, like masculinity, is less like black and white and more like colours of grey on a spectrum. Some days I feel more masculine than others, some days more feminine. And I think that lady is absolutely a feminine word. I don't want to site myself within femdom, but rather simply dominance.
But like gender, lady too has a range - there's Lady Di and Lady Gaga for a start, both absolutely feminine, but both very different. Furthermore the famous Ladyboys of Bankok amongst many other boys in dresses, drag performers and gender impersonators manage to be ultra feminine without a jot of genetic womanhood between them. Can one be a lady without the sequins or the eyeliner? With a wry smile I must admit there is something fetching and a bit perverse about being sincerely and submissively addressed as "lady" whilst wearing heavy boots and combat trousers. Be a lady and a bastard at the same time. Worth a try.
It's a word that's worth reclaiming in all its glory. To escape from the dreadful realms of words like "ladygarden" (I have an ongoing hatred for cutesy words for cunt) and thoughts of Austen-like formality and being seen not heard. Like "gay", still used as a form of abuse, lady can be used to diminish or put down - "little lady" or to force behaviours on women in the name of social conceits of femininity. Time to take it back and to acknowledge ownership of the pleasure and power in the word. To be a lady and to define what that means is absolutely a worthwhile thing to do. I'll keep the strength, the sovereignty and the links to womanhood (I might muck around with my gender but I certainly identify as female) throw out the requirement to always have pin curls, to mind my p's and q's and to bow to other people's expectations of what being ladylike means.