(This is part of the “Tales From the Butler Academy” section. Please start here.)
Module 7 is titled “The Butler’s Relationship With His Employer.” (Being a woman and all, I’ll refer to it gender neutrally going forward. But note this language whenever I mention how traditional this course can be.)
The jokes about this module started long before I got there, just seeing it on the syllabus. And, of course, the topic was mentioned much earlier in the course.
“So… I’m not supposed to sexually harass you?” Mistress would ask. “No random beatings?”
But once I got there, I realized it was a) a relatively short module, just some reading and essays, and b) honestly, super applicable.
It’s a module about communication, about trust and respect and roles. About how you must generally appreciate the other’s role even if it’s not for you, for things to run smoothly. That communication needs to be proactive, efficient, effective, routine, and largely honest. That roles must be clearly defined, lines drawn not to be crossed, before they fade away. That formal and respectful does not necessarily mean cold or uncaring. That trust on both sides is crucial to a well run household.
While I’d expected to be very vague and a little misleading in this module at first, I actually found myself being very honest, just with the typical term swaps (Mistress, employer) and some omissions.
Yes, my “employer” and I do have codified, optimized, routine check ins, quality assurance, meetings, forms, reviews, communication methods, checklists, role agreements. I do clarify what my job is. We do find a way for formal to be caring (even intimate)—via protocol as a love language. We do discuss our communication styles and actively work to make them mesh better together. We trust and respect and appreciate each other and are very honest.
Rather than typing and deleting about professionalism, I found myself writing about real actions. We have long approached our dynamic through a lens so close to professional that people have tried to push, “It’s a relationship, not a business,” on us. But really, in a lot of ways, we do resemble a business superior/subordinate relationship as much if not more than a vanilla marriage, and that’s not a bad thing.
There are many parts of our dynamic that I think make the most sense from that lens:
- Our contract. While relationship contracts even in the vanilla world are on the rise, and are a long standing norm in power exchange, many people still think of contracts as something from the business world, especially the detailed, logistically focused kind. Our current contract stands at nearly 2,500 words, mostly bullet points, not a lot of fluff. It covers in detail our schedule, all of my service duties, our protocols, my uniform, inspections, discipline, meetings, written report systems, Light Slave Duty, and more. (More on a lot of those themselves in a minute.) We spent a lot of the first weeks of our relationship cuddled up, having sex, going on dates, hanging out, all that, but we also spent a lot of it sitting across the table from each other with papers in the middle hashing out all the details, including our more formal and specific style of protocol.
- Meta Saturday. While the exact day has shifted over time (I believe it was born as the alliterative Meta Monday), this has been, from the very beginning, our weekly check in. We go through a list of questions (modifying the list over time as needed) to reflect on the past week and plan for the week ahead. We celebrate wins, check in on specific areas, ask how we can do better, and discuss tasks and events. At first, this was a meeting. Then, as the typical good business practice goes, we realized the meeting could be an email, and we made it a worksheet we both fill out and send to each other, discussing more if needed. But frequently, we realized we’ve already discussed a lot of it during the week—this is just our final check that we have.
- Light Slave Duty. This is the equivalent of time off—or mostly off. Since I live in my workplace (a common issue for private service/domestic staff and housewives alike), I don’t skip being present there, and most of our rules, protocols, etc. never turn off (the ones that do are for vanilla company, not time off). And there are a few small duties that remain on Light Slave Duty, and the possibility of further orders. And I’m not entitled to it—it’s up to
Mistressmy employer. But, it’s the closest equivalent. It’s a pre codified mode that means inspections, service tasks, and schedule items may generally be skipped without consequence, to be used if I’m sick, etc. I also generally get Sunday mornings “off” to the same extent.
- Written issues form/formal complaint. In the case of a problem that we don’t want to just hash out verbally, and that isn’t a punishment kind of issue, we have a specific written form. It includes what happened to trigger the report, how it made the person feel, why they felt that way, what can be done to make it better right now, and what needs to be true for this to not happen again. While rarely used, it’s been very valuable when it has been. I’m not guaranteed results from it, but it’s a great way to clarify any issues at hand.
- Inspections. Not so much some details of the process, but the twice daily quality assurance. Every day at 10:30 AM, she checks on my morning service tasks, and at 9:20 PM she checks on my evening service tasks. Then, she inspects me in our Inspection Position (I wait in this position in the bedroom—dressed for the AM, nude for the PM). I offer her sunscreen in the morning and lotion at night, and at the PM one, I also get leashed for bed. (Again—not the details of this one, just the quality assurance idea.)
- My journal/review system. Okay, this might not sound super businessy, but the basic premise here is basically that I keep logs that she looks over. It’s a way to review and communicate. Each night—from the very beginning—I write an entry in my physical journal, mostly briefly logging activities. Before Meta Saturday time, I create a weekly review page in summary. (I also do this monthly, quarterly, biannually—I also start a new physical journal at that time—and annually.) Then, I bring her the journal. For the monthly review, I also send her an email. The email mostly refers her to the journal, to my monthly habit/goal/task tracker I keep on a giant Post It note in my office and fill in as I go (this one isn’t required, it’s for me, but it can be useful for her to see at a glance, too), and to my monthly newsletter I post publicly. I also include statistics for the month from my websites, income, FetLife profiles/groups/events, Archive of Our Own, etc. I reference this frequently myself.
- My daily uniform. Not so much what my uniform is—not that it would be that out of place in a casual workplace—but the fact that I have one. The part that’s the most businessy is my pager, which I keep on me so she can page me when she need something.
- Discipline. Not the method—but maybe the idea of pre codified, formal disciplinary action. This is also common in power exchange.
- And, no small thing, this is probably the most important factor that makes my dynamic an equivalent I can frequently easily talk about for butler school coursework: the part where I work forty hours a week or so for her. Being a
slavemajordomo is my full time job. I’m not allowed to have any other job. So on.
You can see how I actually had things to say for this module.
This realization was pretty validating. Since I’m going to butler school hoping to merge the professional and kinky service worlds, I want them to truly be potentially equivalent.
And maybe add just a pinch of sexual harassment and random beatings.
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