Capitals

June 13, 2012 Kink and BDSMslave drewslave thomasSpirituality  No comments

No, not capitals as in the capital of a state, although I will tell you that there are four state capitals with the word “City” in their names.  Think about it.  I’ll post the answer tomorrow.

In any case, no, what I mean is capital letters.  While that might seem like an odd choice for a subject, it’s really not and it actually ties in with my recent speculations on BDSM and spirituality.

I have had a computer of some kind for literally 30 years or so now.  My first computer was an Atari, one of the high-end ones that had a word-processing program.  You saved the file to a tape in a special tape recorder.

It sounds almost ludicrous now.  It was a lot like an old VCR where there was no random access, it was linear, basically.  On the other hand, I was taking a creative writing course in college and my ex-girlfriend, who typed far better than I did then typed up all my work from longhand pages I physically wrote.

If you are old like me, you might remember what it was like when a mistake or two on a page of typed work meant that you had to re-type the whole thing.  The concept of being able to reload the file and simply correct or edit what was there was nearly earthshattering.

That also means I had one of the early 2400 baud modems.  If you don’t remember, let me just say that it was nearly faster to send something via USPS.  And if the page you were looking at had photos, forget it.

I say this only as preface to the fact that I used to use a BBS (bulletin-board system) to connect to something called the Undernet.  This was in the early mid-1990’s.  I spent, not surprisingly, a lot of time on channels with names like #surrender and #submission.

In that world, capitals were actually very useful shorthand to know who was a Top and who was a bottom.  Notice I capped Top.  It’s still habit, though I often agonize over it.  Should I cap Top?  Dominant?  Master?  What about Leather?

Those of you who know me know I am a bit of a grammar nazi.  It annoys me when someone uses a numeral less than ten in a sentence, because the rule is, numbers of ten or less you spell out, 11 and over you use numerals.  Unless, of course, the first word of the sentence is a number, in which case you spell it out.  So: “Seventeen million people were affected by the storms.”

So it’s a conundrum for me.  But, I still capitalize Master.  It’s also almost impossible for me to type my own slave’s names, drew and thomas, with capitals.  It feels weird.  They are slaves, so they are small letters.  Not because they are less, no, but, harking back to that same spirituality discussion, when we refer to God, the name is capitalized.

It is convention and convenience, both.  If you see me type that “drew will be coming with me,” or “thomas is coming for a visit,” and you have a basic understanding of those capitalization norms within the BDSM community, you know they are “small letter people,” or bottoms.

It’s hard for me with other people sometimes.  You have no idea how many times I start to type a greeting in a letter and then have to scroll down and see how the person signs their own name.  If you use a small letter, I will, too.  If not, I will not.

Then there’s the issue of people like our own aisha.  I just looked at an email from her to me and because I know her somewhat in the vanilla world, and know her real name, she signs herself as “X/a.”  And no, her name isn’t Xavier, I’m using a made up first name because clearly, the first letter of her “real” first name would make her identifiable, obviously.  Yes, I’m being facetious, but still.

So, isn’t it interesting that in her vanilla life, she is a capital, but to those of us who know the other side of her, she uses a small letter?  If you read her blog, she uses capitals to refer to her Master, and caps references to him, as in, “i went to a party with Him last night…”

I’m not that much of a purist, I don’t remember to cap pronouns.  But doesn’t it make it easier?  And isn’t that little trick of punctuation interesting, in the way it reinforces hierarchy.

Let me say this very clearly.  I do not believe that one person within a D/s relationship is more important than another.  they have equal value, but they do not have equal status.  I cannot be dominant if someone else is not submissive.

And isn’t that interesting, without thinking about it, I didn’t cap dominant when it is a verb, when it doesn’t refer to a specific person.

In any case, back to my thought.  Isn’t it interesting that that one little trick tells us so much.  When you cap a word within the middle of a sentence, particularly one that is not traditionally capitalized, doesn’t it draw your attention?  Doesn’t it say, look, this is important, listen up?

So, let me say first that if my relatively arbitrary use of capitals drives you crazy, I agree.  The two things I do despise are the use of all caps, as in, “Will YOU be coming to the party with YOUR slave?”  It sounds like you’re being arch, emphasizing the “YOU” to make a point which escapes me.  I know you are not, but that’s how I read it.

The other thing I don’t like is the slash method.  You’ve seen it.  It might set your teeth on edge as much as it does mine.  “W/we hope that Y/you and Y/yours will join U/us at O/our party.”

Doesn’t that make your head hurt?  It does mine.

I know that what they are trying to do is include everyone, to try and keep the convention of caps for Tops and non-caps for bottoms, but I do think that sacrificing readability for that sort of inclusion is a mistake.  But then, if I haven’t mentioned it before, I’m a bitch.

And while I seem to be on a kick, let me end with the word, “Domme.”  I find Domme to be a useful word in print, because it’s an easy way to indicate gender in a single word.  A male dominant is a Dom, a female dominant is a Domme.

Now, let’s be clear, this is a totally made up word.  It looks vaguely French, as in “pomme.”  However, in French “pomme” is a single-syllable word.  It is not “pom-may.”

Ergo, if we’re going to base our made-up word on that, it should be pronounced “dom.”

If I need to indicate, I will say “fem Domme,” so you know the gender.

Now, if you really love being a “dom-may,” and you want to call yourself that, or tell your slaves that you want to be called that, well, more power to you.  I do not.  Please do not use it to refer to me, it will make me crazy and I can barely contain my eye-rolling.

And yes, I know, I wasn’t even consistent in my capitalization in here.  It’s driving ME crazy, too, but grammar is a slippery slope, isn’t it?

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