Saturday, December 31, 2011

Are You Ready?

            I began slave hunting when I read John Preston's novel, Mr. Benson, in 1984. Since then I have met many applicants but only one (Patrick) has actually become my slave. A few moved in to try it out but they didn't last more than a few months.

            I met Patrick through an ad that my friend Bobby wrote for me. It began with the words "Are you ready?" Patrick was.

            Now I respect a person's decision that he or she isn't ready and understand that there are often circumstances that prohibit doing (or getting) what one wants to do. Family, real estate, employment, health and education may all rightly take precedent over less pressing goals. (But see the disclaimer below about priorities.)

            That said, what does the word ready really mean? My trusty dictionary tells me that it means "1. a : prepared mentally or physically for some experience or action; b : prepared for immediate use <dinner is ready>; 2 a : willingly disposed : inclined <ready to agree to his proposal>; b : likely to do something indicated <a house that looks ready to collapse>; 3 : displayed readily and spontaneously <a ready wit>; 4 : immediately available <had ready cash>"

            I bring the topic up because I am struggling with the idea that Chicago object (who I've been negotiating for more than a year) says he's "not ready" to commit himself to some kind of action leading toward enslavement. I ask him what would make him ready and get no answer. I tell him to make a plan as to how he could become ready and am greeted with the same silence.

            Patrick was in a unique position when I met him in 1996. He had sold his home, quit his job, and disposed of most of his possessions in order to move in with another master. Since he had done so, when that relationship proved untenable he contacted me and within six weeks he had moved in with me.

            Most of us don't have to do all of that to be ready, as there are usually intermediate steps that we can take that don't demand such a level of preparation. We can visit for a weekend, take a week's vacation to try something out, simply just meet for coffee, play at party, or experiment and explore without making any commitment at all.

            I am, after all, a strong proponent of making life-changing decisions rather slowly. Becoming ready takes time and effort in a variety of areas. As you can see, the dictionary points out several aspects of ready: physical, emotional, willingly, and likely.

            I have concluded that there are three ways to approach readiness:

            First is to have knowledge of what we seek. Neither mere curiosity nor unproven desires are enough. They might encourage us to explore the fantasy through reading, questioning, observation, and short, non-committal experiences, but they don't make us ready.

            Hopes, desires and fantasies that demand greater commitment ought to be founded on a broader and more thorough knowledge of what we seek. The lack of this knowledge, it seems to me, is the reason that seekers so often seem to be flakey in pursuing their fantasies. Not only do they not know what they really want, they often hold false beliefs about it.

            A guy, for instance, who is interested in experiencing a whipping, may think that it always entails blood. Most whippings, of course, are completely bloodless, yet that fear may hold him back from exploring his fantasy.

            Second, I believe that "readiness" exhibits a willingness to apply a certain amount of "work" to getting what you want. Unfortunately most things don't come as easily as we'd like and many life goals are in that category. Think, for instance, of what it takes to become a doctor, buy a home, or raise children.

            Why do we act as if finding a partner, becoming an expert at impact play, or having a  fine group of reliable friends is any different?

            Thirdly, and here is probably the most difficult thing about accomplishing one's goals, we have to accept a certain amount of risk if we are going to be successful in our search. As mom would say "Nothing ventured; nothing gained."

            If we are looking to attain what we want without putting aside some of our fear and being willing to experiment and explore, we will never be ready. The very words "explore" and "experiment" entail uncertainty. Doubt about an outcome is a cruel fact of life and no amount of preparation is ever going to completely eliminate it.

            I'm not suggesting that one goes off "half-cocked" at the drop of a hat. I am only pointing out that being ready doesn't have a 100% guarantee to it. As far as I can tell, the only fact of life that is guaranteed is death, though the fact that the sun will come up tomorrow is fairly reliable as well, though it may be "up" behind some pretty serious clouds.

            Too often we live in fear of failure. I certainly don't enjoy failing but since I am an expert in doing so, I can tell you that there can be hidden value in doing so. To fail gives us an excellent opportunity to learn, to correct our mistakes, change our methods and come to success.

            You don't have to take my word for it. Here are several quotes from Thomas Edison (taken from

            "I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward."

            "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."

            "Many of life's failures are men who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up."

            "Nearly every man who develops an idea works at it up to the point where it looks impossible, and then gets discouraged. That's not the place to become discouraged."

            "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work."

            [Side note to Chicago object: "Opportunity is missed because it looks like sacrifice."]

            The last idea I have about being ready has to do with setting one's priorities. I think it's a simple fact that if something has a low priority, we're not going to be very ready (if at all) to do it. Sure the word "ready" takes a transitive verb, i.e., "I am ready," but what that doesn't reveal is that we must become ready. If it's not some kind of higher priority for us it will always take second place to something more important. It is that sense of priority that spurs us to prepare ourselves, to become ready.

            "Ready" doesn't happen all by itself. In most cases it takes work and usually lots of it. That's why I asked Chicago object what his plan is for being ready.

            Now if you think that being ready is just some kind of feeling, then I suppose you might wake up some day and be ready, but I would counter that a ready "feeling" is not the only part of actual readiness in matters that really matter. Feelings count but other factors such as reasonableness, possibility and past experiences count as well, if not more.

            In other words if what you seek has any kind of priority to you, then you're going to have to work on being ready. I wish I could wave some magic wand and make everyone ready, but I can't. Until then I'm going to continue to work at my being ready. Some things, after all, are important to me.

            Have a great week. Jack

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