There’s An App For That

Every now and then I like to have a wander through the app store on my Android and see some of the oddly specific programs that people have produced. Sometimes I even try them out. There’s a rare few that find an instant niche and stay, I on my phone for any length of time – and these tend to be either writing tools or means of organising my time. Like many of us I lend weight to recommendations from people I know as well – after all, if someone has enjoyed or found useful an app enough to tell me that they think I’ll have a specific use for it then it would be rude and unappreciative of their time and thought not to at least spend a few moments to consider it.

Also like most of us, I tend to see my phone as quite a personal object – it after all not only spends a lot of time on my person and in use, but stores personal information and access to things that I enjoy or find of use. I see this every day in people who come into the library wanting to print off an email but being stymied when pressed to log into their mail service through a browser rather than through the app on their phone where they entered a password once a year or two ago and have never thought about it since. (We won’t even get into the people who don’t know how to use a mouse and keyboard because they’re so used to touchscreen technology.)

And so finding a useful app that crosses both into the personal and the useful is a great delight – expecially where it is useful to the dynamic between myself and lady s. We live a small distance apart, so anything that helps maintain contact without straying into slightly stalkery territory is a bonus – especially where it comes to the negotiated power transfers that come as part and parcel of a BDSM relationship. An online usergroup of which we are both part was discussing various online apps that could help with monitoring tasks, rewards, and punishments agreed between the participants of a dynamic and there was one that sprang to the fore for the flexibility that it offered – so we’ve been giving it a try.

We both downloaded the app and connected our profiles, and have agreed a number of tasks for lady s to undertake at various intervals during a week – whether several times a day, every day, or several times a day – and a points value towards rewards list for the successful completion of those tasks. There are also punishments defined and agreed for the failure to complete the tasks – and these range from points deductions, through restrictions on certain activities, through to other forfeits.

Activities on the task list include things such as eating a certain number of sit down meals a day, achieving a certain level of step counts, and certain household or personal tasks. Rewards include massages, the purchase of certain gifts, or activities to enjoy together.

As each day goes by, lady s ticks off certain tasks as she completes them, or leaves them if she chooses not to undertake them, and the app notifies me and counts/deducts points or assign pre-agreed forfeits that we can catch up on when we next meet – and for our dynamic it works. It appeals to the need for imposed structure and routine that lady s has without my needing to chase her for updates. The tasks have come from both of us, drawing on rewards and forfeits that we have both agreed – and at the same time, if life gets in the way, it is a matter of a few clicks to reset counters or remove forfeits if felt appropriate.

There are parallels with the reward schemes some parents set up with their children to encourage them to undertake chores in the household, or complete their homework from school – which I think makes the app more intuitive to set up and use as it is full of concepts that many of us have encountered elsewhere – so in many ways it does stand as a somewhat unexpected and yet inevitable illustration of the marketing phrase “there’s an app for that”.

Oh, it’s called Obedience – appropriately enough

Capitalisation matters

The sharper-eyed among you may have noticed that I’ve started referring to lady s in lowercase as opposed to the Capitalisation that I use for everyone else if I talk about them: Lady M, for example. This is not a slur, or a mistake – in fact it was discussed and agreed explicitly with lady s before I started doing it.

In D/s, the use of capitals is important for denoting negotiated power levels between partners. As I explained to someone recently when they were asking questions about “doms and subs”, you should always capitalise the reference to the person who has been given the control, and put in lower case the person who has surrendered it.

In writing about them this way, it then makes the dynamic roles obvious at a glance. Whether it is Dom/sub, Master/slave, Lord/lady, (or any other set of terms agreed between partners) you can be sure to avoid embarrassment or irritation.

These are terms and roles that are held very close to people’s hearts. Purely as a matter of not being an arse to people it’s best to acknowledge and respect that dynamic as best as possible in the same way that you might respect the terms husband and wife – and therefore the bond between them. To people in what’s called the Lifestyle, this dynamic is often treated as an analogue to marriage.

So as her Dom, lady s has said that this feels a better fit to the dynamic that we have. Don’t make the mistake of thinking this makes her weak however. As anyone who has met her will testify, she’s a vivacious, strong minded, independent and passionate woman – and her offering that strength to me is a constant source of amazement.

So now you know why I have my loves: Lady M and lady s, and why I refer to them as such. They are both strong and wonderful people who make my life immeasurably better.

Inktober Thirteen and Fourteen

A slightly later posting for today as I’ve been travelling. After work yesterday I went down to Portsmouth to spend the night with Lady S while Lady M collapsed with man-flu. The drawings and sketches are continuing apace however.

I actually found these two prompts more difficult than anticipated. I’m not sure if it was time constraints in a busy week, tiredness, or just a dip in focus, but these illustrations are both very simple. That said, I drew two things for day fourteen so I’ll present them both.

Day thirteen was #guarded – and I’ve dipped into BDSM iconology and protocols here for a stylised image of someone wearing a leather ring collar.

To the general viewer this may be interpreted as a symbol of submission and surrender – and I was very careful to make the image gender-neutral. The dynamic being represented however is more complex than that.

In BDSM, someone wearing someone’s collar is in a committed relationship and is considered under their Dominant’s protection. There are many who see collaring as being as significant as engagement and marriage between the individuals concerned and in the majority of cases it is therefore respected as such, particularly in social or event environments.

In such places and times talking to, let alone touching, someone who is collared without getting permission from the Dominant can be seen as a major faux pas. The collared submissive is guarded as part of their social contract.

There are as many nuances and takes on this as there are people who take collars, so the complexity of it fascinated me enough to depict it.

Day fourteen was a very busy day and evening so I scribbled this first version shortly before going to bed. If nothing else it meant I could say that I had actually done something every day. The #clock prompt left me reluctant to simply depict a watch, or a sundial. This placeholder was the best I could come up with.

The next morning I knew what I wanted to present instead – the dandelion clocks that I loved – indeed do still love – to blow on to spread their seeds.

So on my lunch break I came up with a better representative of the prompt. It was the first time I’ve considered drawing anything like it, so it’s a slightly impressionist version I think. For something knocked up quickly, I’m quite happy both with the image and with the slant on the prompt.