Friday, May 6, 2011

Impetuous, capricious, and tantrum prone: sounds like a dom I know...

Being as I am, living as I do, loving whom I do, gives me a somewhat different perspective on the world. A slightly skewed eye. An oddly prismatic lens.

I started reading with lust this review of a glorious production of King Lear starring Derek Jacobi, which is currently (and oh too briefly) playing at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. The lust was due to an intense desire to seethe play; I was almost glad to read that performances are pretty much sold out, as I haven't been in a traveling mood lately and likely wouldn't make the trip up to New York anyway.

But then I hit a paragraph that made me nearly smirk. Hmm, I thought. This sounds familiar.

To be a king, as it’s presented here, is to be utterly indulged, to have your every whim gratified on the spot. Patience is, for Lear, the opposite of a virtue, at least as we see him in the opening scene, when he announces his intention of turning over his kingdom to his three daughters. He is as impetuous, capricious and, when crossed, as tantrum prone as a child who has never heard the word no.

King Lear as dom?


Vesta said...

Oh gosh! He was spot on, wasn't he?!

oatmeal girl said...


Most of the big blow-ups the fiend and I have had... I don't deny that I had a hand in things blowing apart. But it is also clear that basically the sadist was having a tantrum - a big over-reaction to feeling inadequately adored.

Submissives aren't the only ones to be vulnerable and insecure...

The next paragraph in the review is:

This Lear sucks up the praise of his elder daughters, Goneril [...] and Regan [...], with almost erotic pleasure. And when his youngest, Cordelia [...], refuses to lay on the blandishments, he throws a royal fit. But when you’re king, your word is law.

eyas said...

Interesting insight into both you and your dominant/fiend/sadist/master.

The dominants I know and love are the opposite of impetuous, capricious and tantrum prone. Having lived with someone who was all those things, I find I have little tolerance and no attraction to that kind of behavior.

oatmeal girl said...

I admit, dear eyas, that m And I can certainly appreciate your perspective. However, the sadist in general is NOT like that. He is very focused, is clear about his goals, plans everything to within an inch of its life... but is also very intense and occasionally his strong feelings get the best of him. Which has its pluses and minuses.

The thing is, as in any relationship, you accept the package. Both my Master and I have come to realize that the amazing richness we each gain from the other is worth the sturm und drang - and in fact he puts up with a lot more from me than I put up with from him. We come through each crisis with a deepened commitment to each other and with a stronger connection than ever before.

We do keep working on ways to make things work more smoothly, much of which has to do with helping me maintain focus on my service and - especially - to think before I speak. Given my ADD, those are skills that I need to work on in any case. Plus, whether with a friend or lover or partner or Master, isn't it both wise and considerate to avoid those things that you know will poke at that person's most sensitive points?

All that said, welcome, and thanks so much for your comment.

Anonymous said...

My experience, of course, is colored by the fact that my dom is my husband, and that he is slightly mad. In the norm, he is kind, tolerant, understanding and affectionate. When the moodiness -he's bipolar - begins, however, it's a crap shoot whom we see on a daily basis.

But, as OG points out, this is a relationship of which we speak, not a pattern card, or a set of tidily coordinated paper dolls with labels for easy identification, "Dominant" or "submissive". Are there days when I wish this, of all the available candidates, were NOT the one to whom I am attached by emotional chains far stronger than their physical counterparts? Hell, yes. Would life be easier? Of course. Does either of those facts matter? Not a bit.

So, yes, I can easily see Lear as a dom. Not a problem at all. And I can see why one would wish to avoid such a connection. But, I would argue, for me - (again, recalling that each one of us is different)- that obnoxious and willful behavior, on occasion, is part of the package, of the glamor and danger that drew me to my lover, to this man I still adore after so many years.

At best, the caprice, which can also be called spontaneity, and the impetuosity, sometimes travelling under the name passion, create an intensity that is unmatched. At worst, and I write only half in jest, those same traits offer endless opportunities for the renewal of what you call "deepened commitment" and "stronger connection".

Sorry for the length of this. - jcn

eyas said...

OG & jcn:

If these qualities work for you, that's fine; I was neither criticising nor judging in my comment, merely saying that they do not work for me.

I'm neither young nor inexperienced; I'm perfectly capable of distinguishing between behaviour that is customary and that which is not. I also understand that when one accepts a relationship, one accepts the package, and that all relationships experience their unique ups, downs, highs, lows, etc.

What I don't see is how either of you came to the conclusion that because I am not attracted to doms who are "impetuous, capricious and tantrum prone", I am by implication attracted to those who are "paper dolls" or "pattern cards". Or worse, the conclusion that dominants who don't have these qualities are somehow lesser beings than those who do.

My experience has shown me that impetuosity, capriciousness and the tendency to throw tantrums are not, in fact, spontaneity, passion and emotional intensity in another guise. At worst, they are quite often hallmarks of abusers (something I also know from experience); at best, they are indicative of a kind of willful immaturity.

For me, Lear is a wretched example of a dom, if dom he be.

oatmeal girl said...

Oh dear. I think that somehow both jcn and I have failed to make ourselves clear, eyas, because you seem to have misunderstood what we each said. (Also, in my editing, a piece got chopped off the beginning of my second comment, but so be it.)

I don't see anything in either of our comments to imply that we feel that "dominants who don't have these [or in fact any] qualities are somehow lesser beings than those who do." And I take her reference to paper dolls and pattern cards to have nothing to do with a lack of strength or backbone in a dom. Rather, it sounds like she is speaking of thinking that doms are (or can be) only one thing or another as specified by some external authority (which neither of us believe exists) - an authority who would issue the patterns or rule books or whatever for how one can be dominant or submissive or whatever.

Finally, my tying Lear to dominance was not so much a fully conceived literary analysis of the character as it was a reaction to a paragraph in a review which sparked a somewhat humorous reaction in my over-creative mind that related it to some of my personal experiences. I'm sorry that my follow-up comment upset you; it was certainly not meant as an attack or a belittling of your own experiences.


Anonymous said...

eyas - I'm very sorry not to have checked back last night. I apologize for two of my cardinal sins - thinking - (writing) out loud, without having stringently pursued an argument, and playing devil's advocate.

Nothing I wrote was aimed at you. I respond to theses the way I do to a box of chocolates; can't resist 'em. And I enjoy "arguing" in the old school sense, tossing around ideas like jugglers' clubs and examining different facets of them. All of what you say has merit and I agree with far more of it than I conveyed. For instance, would I want Lear for my dom? Hell no. But - and this was a personal and light hearted exploration - does my dom share traits with Lear? Oh, yeah.

I obviously expressed myself poorly. Nothing I said was intended, in any way, to imply either than your understanding of submission, or of the relationship between dom and sub, was somehow inferior to mine, or that doms who do not match mine were wussy.

Please forgive me for any offense I gave, as such was not my intent. I hope to have the chance to hear your thoughtful perspective again.

OG - Sorry for again violating the politesse or rei of comment length. I tend, heaven help me, to view these conversations as a kaffeeklatsch, which is an imposition on your hospitality. Fascinating topic, however. - jcn

oatmeal girl said...

Dear jcn ( and anyone who tends to run on at the mouth), please stop apologizing for the length of your comments. I would much rather entertain long disquisitions on the topic than a series of 2 word comments.

Wait. I'll put that better. Whoever comments is welcome to leave as many words as they need, from the one word "Hot!" to a term paper on the relationships between D/s and international terrorism.