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High Protocol D/s Dinner | 3/1/2014 | Des Moines

an event worth recreating

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series Event Reports

high protocol D/s dinner – concepts

Serafina and I, along with a fair number of friends and acquaintances from the local BDSM community, attended a High Protocol D/s Dinner this past weekend in Des Moines, Iowa.  It was a very good event (albeit with some caveats about the food,) that I’ll try to detail later in the post..

The concept for the evening is pretty sound, it’s a good basic outline for folks to create their own event of this sort.  Here’s an overview of the idea behind the evening, as posted in the FetLife group created to support the event:

This is a three course meal served by the submissives to the Dominants in a manner that highlights service and protocol. Appetizers and drinks will be served by the submissives at the start of service. Submissives will then sit at attention awaiting the preparation of the main course. Dominants will engage in conversation during the meal. Dominants are then served the main course by the submissives. Once the main course is completed, the Dominants move to a different area for conversation and fun. The submissives then will eat their main course. Dominants and submissives will then come together for dessert during a guest presentation. Once dessert and coffee service is completed, submissives will clear the tables and clean the room. Dominants may adjourn to the bar or where ever the evening takes you.

They say that the “devil is in the details” and that might just be true.  So, this is probably as good a time to go into some of the finer details and protocols behind the event.  Here’s the outline of the instructions for Dominants attending the High Protocol D/s Dinner:

The Dominant Protocols

Attire

As a Dominant, you have the freedom to wear your best clothing. Think: Dress to impress and elegant. This night is for you and how you dress should reflect your dominance. We ask that you please do not wear blue jeans, T-shirts, polo shirts, tank tops or casual attire that one might wear to an outdoor BBQ. Leather attire and fetish attire is permissible as long as it meets the attire requirements detailed in the concept overview.

Punctuality

You are responsible to make certain that your Submissive arrives at least 30 minutes before the beginning of the party. It is imperative that they arrive early to go over the plan and prepare for the dominant party guests. While it is important that your Submissive arrives on time, you may arrive on a delayed schedule; if you also contact the nights host at let them know of your intention. If you arrive WITH your Submissive and your submissive is late, they will need to be taken away for a briefing and might not return to you until dinner.

A Note on Etiquette

High Protocol events are all about displaying the absolute best behavior and respectfulness to Dominants and Submissives alike. Everything you say or do is a reflection on you and yours. As a Dominant, it is your responsibility to lead by example. Submissives want to serve a Dominant they can respect. A bit of formality in your voice and demeanor displays that you can show proper respect to those which serve you. Good manners beget good manners. Appreciate your Submissive by always treating them with the respect that you want to be treated with. “Please” and “Thank you” go a long way.

I heard a little grumbling among the dominants about restrictions on correcting an errant submissive.  Some folks thought the event would be better if the subs could be corrected in a more stern manner, essentially allowing for mini scenes to happen throughout the evening.  I can see both sides of this discussion pretty clearly, as it would undoubtedly be fun to pull Serafina over my knee for some petty and unintentional gaffe.

On the other hand, I’d really prefer not to have an ass spanked just a couple of feet from where I’m eating, that seems a tad bit unsanitary to me.   Such issues would be easily resolved by designating an area for punishment a slight distance from the actual dinner tables.  The show could be appreciated from a distance while we dine, with no squick factor for occurring too close to our food.

The protocols for submissive persons were actually far more extensive:

The Submissive Protocols

Attire

For the purposes of these parties and to create some simplicity, the attire has been segregated into “Male-identified” and “Female-identified”. This is not to outcast those who ride the divide between gender identities. For the purposes of the parties, every Submissive must choose which identity they will be portraying that night.

For example, a female Submissive who identifies as male may opt to portray the male role and abide by the gender specific protocols that night. A male Submissive may choose to take on the female protocols and dress code. Submissives of either gender, or of any gender in between, may choose what aspect they want to portray that night, BUT whatever gender you decide to portray must be committed to completely and wholeheartedly.

Female-identified:

• Keep it simple and functional, basic black.

• Hemlines on dresses/skirts no higher than knee length

• Flowing and non-restrictive dresses/skirts. No pants.

• Your outfit should not outshine a Dominant’s outfit.

• Jewelry should be used in a tasteful manner, if at all.

• Collars of ownership displayed proudly, if applicable.

• Hairstyle should flatter your features.

• Up-do’s that show off your neck are highly encouraged.

• Shoes should be ballet flats or similar style of shoe. No Heels.

Male-identified:

• Business casual in basic black

• Keep it simple and functional – white shirts with black ties

• Pants and shirts should be neatly pressed and unwrinkled.

• Your outfit should not outshine a Dominant’s outfit.

• Jewelry should be used in a tasteful manner, if at all.

• Collars of ownership displayed proudly, if applicable.

• Long hair should be tied back or managed to expose the neck.

• Shoes should be dress shoes, polished to look their best.

Misc Protocols

1. Be clean and dressed sharply before your arrival to the event.

2. Do more than your fair share. Be helpful to all.

3. Be flexible and ready to jump into whatever task is asked of you.

4. Use titles abundantly and whenever possible.

5. Never speak unless spoken to. You are there to serve and to be seen, not to be heard or question

6. Submissives will open doors for their Dominant and follow behind.

7. Submissives rise when their Dominant enters or rises, and sits when their Dominant sits

8. Submissives are in equal status to each other. Domo-Submissives are of higher status. Dominants are of highest status

9. Use Please’s and Thank You’s!

Follow all prescribed service movements and positions are to be followed to the best of the submissives abilities. There will be accommodations for those that require it for ailments or orthopedic challenges. The positions, their purpose and rationale is to follow in a separate sticky.

Serving

In the effort to build an environment of grace and elegance, each Submissive is responsible for identifying and employing ways of incorporating graceful movement into his or her presentation style. The following are guidelines to assist you with your service.

1. Please refrain from pointing. All gestures where a pointing finger might be appropriate are instead gestured with the entire hand. These gestures are more polite then using the pointer finger. Your hand position may be an open hand with 4 fingers together and the thumb tucked in – almost like a karate chop. Or your hand may have one or more fingers touching your thumb forming a squashed O – similar to the position your hand would be inside a hand puppet.

2. When you direct a Dominant somewhere, lead them to it. Think of the waiter or waitress that leads you to your table for your meal; it’s the same principle. If your Dominant asks where the restrooms are, say “Follow me please.” Lead him/her to the appropriate restroom, and wait outside patiently for their exit so you may lead him/her back to the party.

3. Try to think one step ahead of your Dominant. Anticipate their needs and watch for signs that they need something. If it’s a refill of their drink or a new napkin, make motions to provide it before they ask for it. If you are unsure if the Dominant would like a refill, then politely ask, “(insert Dominant’s preferred name here), would you like me to bring you ABC?” Jump into action if the Dominant makes a request.

4. Service with a SMILE. Remember, this night is about your Dominant. It may be difficult to remember protocols or exactly how to do something, but your attitude and energy must be positive at all times. Be attentive and your Dominant will appreciate the effort.

5. When in doubt, ask the Domo-Submissives. These are the slave coordinators and will give you your assignments and duties. The Domos are also well versed in the party protocol and may advise if an issue arises. The Domos are to be treated with the same respect that you give Dominants, but without the pomp and circumstance. They are there to help you and to make the High Protocol Parties flow smoothly. They are the indirect liaisons between you and your Dominant for the event; they will be your guide.

6. Never reach across a Dominant. Reaching across the table to set something down isn’t polite and can be downright rude. So instead, move yourself to the best location to reach that glass or plate without disturbing your Dominant. Please remember you will always serve from the right and clear from the left.

On the surface that might seem like a lot of instructions, and it is a fair bit longer than what was given to dominants as our protocols.  With that said, a lot of it is basic manners, and many of the additional instructions for this High Protocol D/s Dinner would be familiar to well trained wait staff at a good restaurant.  It’s all pretty familiar to me for that very reason.

I was a chef at a 4-star lodge offering fine dining in my youthful 20’s.  The establishment was the El Tovar, a beautiful historic restaurant and hotel on the south rim of the Grand Canyon.  Obviously, I worked in the kitchen, but I dated a waitress, and became very familiar with their protocols.  I don’t know if it’s still the case, but, back in the late 1980’s when I worked there, the waitstaff at the El Tovar had to stand for inspection before every shift .  If a busboy’s uniform was wrinkled in the least, he’d be sent off to correct the problem before he could appear in the dining room.

I’m thinking that the event organizers wished to create that quality of experience for the dominants, as if we were dining in a fine restaurant with our own submissive serving as our personal waiter/waitress.   It was to be much like the experience to be had at a truly fine dining establishment like the El Tovar.  And, to a large extent they pulled it off.  That was actually one remark I heard the following day, that it felt pretty much like any good restaurant, except we were being served by our submissive rather than run of the mill waitstaff.

For some, that perfectly fulfilled the vision for the event.  Others I spoke with, wished that the submissives could have been stripped naked to serve.  That would be the most common issue I heard about the concept, along with the comments about being allowed to give more stern correction.

high protocol D/s dinner in action

high protocolOf course, this is the midwest, so weather became an issue.  That can happen any time between October and April, but it’s not a normal event outside of December, January, and February.  By March 1st there are usually strong signs of spring.  Instead, we are still socked into the worst winter in recent memory.  We’ve long ago set records for both snowfall and cold here.  So, there was no way to anticipate that our High Protocol D/s Dinner would coincide with a blizzard.  We might have bailed out ourselves and not risked the drive, were it not for the fact that our room reservation was non-refundable.  That’s also not to mention the fact that the speaker giving the evening’s presentation is a good friend who was riding with us.

The weather did effect the event, as accommodations had to be made for late arrivals.  When working at the El Tovar, I always worked closely with other staff for the wide variety of banquets and events that were put on at our venue, so I know how that kind of delay can cause a cascading effect on food quality.  In all honesty, if you are ever putting on an catered event like this of your own, please pay attention to details like these as closely as you do the protocols, as timely service has a dramatic effect on the quality of the dining experience for everyone involved.

So, dinner started late, in most circumstances that’s not too big a thing.  And, it didn’t have too large an effect on the hors d’oeuvres that were served.  But, by the time the main course was brought out, our food had been sitting in warmers for God knows how long. I’m guessing that the venue had prepared the food way too far in advance, and the delay simply added insult to injury.  Back in my days as a chef, I would have been livid.  Waitstaff who didn’t deliver my food in a timely fashion often had it hurled at them across the kitchen.  I would have told the wait staff that I’d feed this food to dogs, but never to a customer, and never ever to a friend.  Ah, but that was the old days, that’s a different Michael than I am today.

So, I smiled and ate what I could.  I didn’t mention the lack of salad fork, nor the lack of a side plate for my bread and butter.  I didn’t say anything when it took my slave nearly 15 minutes to bring me a Coke.  It wasn’t her fault.  For a banquet of more than 20 individuals, our poor submissives were given less than a 6-pack of coke.  Serafina had to go back to the kitchen to request more, then kitchen staff had to traipse to the bar to fetch it.

So, I should be clear about this.  The faults I find are not with the event organizers, and not with my fellow event attendees.  Our community did very well.  The high protocol portion of the dinner went extremely smoothly.  It’s just that the venue, and the food provided by the venue, left more than a little bit to be desired.  That’s no fault of the community, the blame is with the restaurant.

presentation alone was worth the price

Our good friend Mr Ellen gave the presentation for the evening, and it was a good one.  Mr Ellen spoke while the rest of us enjoyed our desert.  (Well, as much as I can enjoy  a cupcake baked at too high a temperature so the outer was crisply over-baked with the inner portion ever so slightly under-cooked.)  While the menu may have left something to desire, the presentation did not.

Because the featured speaker rode with us to the event, I already had a taste of what would be discussed, and was looking forward to it.  It’s a workshop Mr Ellen has given at a number of national events, including Dark Odyssey out on the East Coast, and MadTown Kinkfest a little closer to home.  CROP has also had Mr Ellen as a guest for the presentation, so it’s one that Ellen knows well.  The topic was “communication in a D/s relationship” (perhaps our friend has a more elegant title for the workshop, I just gave it an obvious title.)

As I told Mr Ellen on our ride home, I felt the presentation alone was worth the price of admission.  It really went a long way towards taking a bit of the bite out of the harsh feelings I had towards the food we were served.  When I attend events like Kinky Kollege, I go for the workshops as much as anything else.  I’m always looking to learn more, as BDSM is truly a passion.  Obviously then, the quality presentation alone made the evening well worth the price of admission.  Thank you very much my friend, you truly saved the evening for me!

high protocol D/s dinner – conclusions

Overall, despite the food’s quality, the high protocol D/s dinner was a success.   The entire group of submissives performed well overall, the service portion of the event was very good, the presentation even better.  In fact, despite the food issues, the evening went well enough to be inspiring.  Serafina and I came home from the high protocol D/s dinner very excited about the prospect of putting together our own high protocol dinners closer to home.  Perhaps even a series of them . . .

Like I said, the concept itself was a great success.  It is a wonderful foundation to build from, and we aren’t alone in planning to create more.

high-protocol-slave-ART

Serafina Samadhi, my own high protocol slave.

Kinkstock – Tonight

heading to a new event

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series Event Reports

It was my stated goal for 2014 for Serafina and I to attend as many kink/BDSM events as we possibly could.

It turns out that we’ll be able to attend about one event a month (not including local play parties) for the better part of the year.  March was Kinky Kollege Spring Break, and now April brings Kinkstock.

May will feature Mischief in May, June is Twisted Tryst South, July is Thunder in the Mountains, and August brings Twisted Tryst North.  I’m not sure about September’s agenda, but October is Kinky Kollege Homecoming, and November is Spanksgiving in St Louis.

So, without further ado, I’d like to introduce April’s event – Kinkstock.

Saturday, April 05, 2014 · 8:00 PM – 1:00 AM
Location:
Quad Cities
exact directions sent prior to event @ map
Cost: $10 in advance
Dress code: Street legal on the outside – whatever you want once you’re indoors
Description:
Come join us for an event created with the purpose of bringing together the kink community throughout the area for a night of debaucherous fun!

This is an invitation only event. You must be 21 or over to attend.

What to expect:
*Safe, secure location
*Fully equipped dungeon
*Complimentary snacks and refreshments

Invitations/Tickets
– If we already know each other, please send me your email address to be added to the RSVP list.
– If we’ve never met, please send me your email address and the name of any well established member of our community who will vouch for you.
– An invitation with a link to registration will be sent by email.
– Directions sent following registration.

New to the scene?
This is not an entry level event. If you’re new and have never been to a play party, please check out Riverbound [https://fetlife.com/groups/37788], CROP [https://fetlife.com/groups/11820], or whichever group is local to you, and attend some of their events first.

It’s the first of it’s kind for our area, so we hope it goes well!

Marketplace @ IML2014

Amazing Shopping for Memorial Day Weekend!

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series Event Reports

Memorial Day weekend is one of my favorite holidays, mostly because of IML.

IML stands for International Mr Leather.  And, although it’s not an event my leather family would participate in, the vendors drawn to the event create the most extensive selection of BDSM products I’ve ever seen under a single roof.

Here’s the list of vendors with associated links, so even if you can’t attend in person, you can virtually peruse the various toy offerings to be found at this world class BDSM even held here in the midwest.

IML2014-01

IML 2014 Current Vendor List

Company Name Location Website
Acme Toy Company.com Evanston, IL www.theacmetoycompany.com
Adonis Leathercrafters Indian Rocks Beach, FL www.adonisleathercrafters.com
Alt. Kilt Madison, WI www.altkilt.com
Atomic Jock Chatsworth, CA www.oxballs.com
B.Rustik Chicago, IL www.b-rustik.com
Balls and Chains Hollywood, CA www.ballsandchains.com
BearGearusa.com Indianapolis, IN www.beargearusa.com
BearTshirts.com Indianapolis, IN www.beartshirts.com
Bijou Chicago, IL www.bijouworld.com
Boot Werks Fort Lauderdale, FL www.leatherwerks.com
Bootleg Life Berwyn, IL
Boy Butter New York, NY www.boybutter.com
BURLYSHIRTS / Shane Ruff Studios Eliot, ME www.burlyshirts.com
C3 Casual Clothing Indianapolis, IN www.beargearusa.com
Cheaplubes.com Portage, IN www.cheaplubes.com
CHEZ Priape Montreal, Quebec www.CHEZPriape.com
Chicago Hellfire Club Chicago, IL www.helfire13.org
City of Chicago Department of Health Chicago, IL www.facebook.com/ChicagoPublicHealth
CJ’s Leather Denver, CO www.cjsleather.com
Classic Erotica Chatsworth, CA www.classicerotica.net
Dr. Clockwork’s Home for Electrical and Medical Oddities Lebanon, NJ www.drclockwork.com
Dungeon Beds San Francisco, CA www.dungeonbeds.com
E-7 Gear Yonkers, NY www.e7gear.com
Exotic-Erotics Shelbyville, KY www.exotic-erotics.com
Fetiche Armada Montreal, Quebec www.fetichearmada.com
Folsom Street Events San Francisco, CA www.folsomstreetevents.org
Fort Troff Atlanta, GA www.forttroff.com
Gear Essentials Minneapolis, MN www.gearessentials.com
Got Kilt White Lake, MI www.got-kilt.com
Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau Miami , FL www.miamiandbeaches.com
Hands for Hire Chair Massage Niles, IL
Hardpoints@GreyCat Workshop Madison, WI www.hardpoints.greycatworkshop.com
Howard Brown Health Center Chicago, IL www.howardbrown.org
ID Lube Santa Ana, CA www.idlube.com
Industrial Disease Toys LLC Madison, WI www.idetoys.com
InsideOutShirts.net Radford, VA www.insideoutshirts.net
Jams Jewels Germantown, WI www.jamsjewels.com
Jewelry by Ponce Palm Springs, CA
Killerbob Graphics San Francisco, CA www.killerbob.com
Kinky Bitch Morristown, N.J. www.kinky-bitch.com
Kinky Spirits West Milford, N.J. www.kinky-spirits.com
KJ Canes Perryville, MD www.kjcanes.com
Le Chateau Exotique & LCE Ltd Yardley, PA www.fetishwear.com
Leather Archives & Museum Chicago, IL www.leatherarchives.org
Leather Bonding North Miami, FL www.leatherbonding.com
Leather Masters Dallas, TX www.leathermasters.com
Leather Werks Fort Lauderdale, FL www.leatherwerks.com
Lockergear Pittsburgh, PA www.lockergear.com
Lucas Entertainment New York, N.Y. www.lucasentertainment.com
Lucom USA Miami Beach, FL www.pjurusa.com
MAFIA Chicago, IL www.mafiaff.org
Male Power , www.malepower.com
Man2Man Leather Castaic, CA www.man2manleather.com
ManSkins and FMLeatherDesign New York City, N.Y. www.manskins.com
Marvelous Mayhem Snellville, CA www.marvelousmayhem.com
MISTER APP New York, NY www.misterapp.com
Mr-S-Leather San Francisco, CA www.mr-s-leather.com
Mr. Friendly Kalamazoo, MI www.MrFriendly.info
Nasty Pig New York, NY www.nastypig.com
NKPS Media San Bernardino, CA www.nastykinkpigs.com
Northbound Leather Toronto, Ontario www.northbound.com
NS Novelites Chatsworth, CA www.nsnovelties.com
NYJox North Bergen, NJ www.nyjox.com
Obscure Belts Kenosha, WI www.obscurebelts.com
Off Ramp Leathers Palm Springs, CA www.offrampleathers.com
Oxballs Chatsworth, CA www.oxballs.com
Paddlewerks Fort Lauderdale, FL www.paddlewerks.com
Pallay Craft Chicago, IL
Passional Boutique Philadelphia , PA www.passionalboutique.com
Pjur Group USA Miami Beach, FL www.pjurusa.com
Poetic Earth Leather Works Syracuse , NY www.poeticearth.com
Rainbow Rope/Kinky Medical Oceanside, NY www.rainbowrope.com
Raw Candles Madison, WI www.rawcandles.com
Rough Trade Los Angeles, CA www.roughtradegear.com
Rubio Leather New York, NY www.rubioleather.com
Ruff Rider Bayshore, NY shop.theruffrider.com
Semmerling & Schaefer Mask Studios Chicago, IL www.maskartists.com
SI Novelties Englewood, CO
Sportsheets Huntington Beach, CA www.sportsheets.com
Square Peg Portland, OR www.squarepegtoys.com
Steamworks San Francisco, CA www.steamworksbaths.com
Steve Leather New York, NY
Stompers Boots San Francisco, CA www.stompersboots.com
The Black Party New York, NY www.blackpartyexpo.com
The Kink Shop Shreveport, LA www.thekinkshop.com
The Stockroom Los Angeles, CA male.stockroom.com
Tiger Lubricant Atlanta, GA www.tigerlubricant.com
TLS RubberGear / Midnight Blues The Woodlands, TX www.tlsrubbergear.com
Toolworks Chicago Willowbrook, IL www.floggers.com
Tribal Son Fort Lauderdale, FL www.tribalson.com
Twin Cities Leather Minneapolis, MN www.twincitiesleather.com
Uncutt Leather Design Cologne, Westphalia www.uncutt.net
Utilikilts Seattle, WA www.utilikilts.com
White Worm Gary, IN www.whiteworm.me
XR Brands Huntington Beach, CA www.xrbrands.com

IML2014