This is a rather odd post for me, since I generally don't characterize myself as "sub", and don't have a lot to say about D/s dynamics from personal experience.. If asked, I've actually been characterizing myself as a "masochist" lately. Though I have sub fantasies, and am actually a somewhat submissive person, I am very resistant to being explicitly dominated. I can be quite willful. Still, I read D/s blogs with great interest, in part to understand myself better.
I think some of my resistance to the notion of being submissive comes from some of the personas I see Dommes adopting. I've met "Polite Dommes", and for lack of a better name, I've met "Bitch Dommes". I could see myself working quite easily with a "Polite Domme", whereas if a "Bitch Domme" tried to dominate me, things wouldn't go well. Now, I recognize that "Bitch Domme" is a rather harsh characterization. I don't use it unkindly, but rather just to give an idea of the persona. In my mind, the "Bitch Domme" persona is one which does not show much kindness or compassion to the sub, but rather has an aura of authority and entitlement. I've met and like some people I would characterize as "Bitch Dommes". If the opportunity arose, I might offer to be an S/M play partner with them, but I'd never be their sub. I know that persona doesn't work for me.
So, with these thoughts swirling in my head, this afternoon I read Lady Grey's recent blog. It's well written, and in it, she basically makes the suggestion that she believes that the use of "Please" and "Thank you" are unnecessary for a Domme. As I considered it, her recommendation fell into the kinds of behavior I would associate with the "Bitch Domme" persona - in particular with the sense of entitlement that it implies.
Regarding "Please / Thank You" in general. I can think of two reasons to say "Please" and "Thank you" to a sub. First, is simply courtesy. If the D/s relationship is mutually beneficial, I would presume the sub is pleased and grateful to serve. By the same token, I would imagine the Domme is grateful for the service. I don't think it undermines the power dynamic between Domme and sub to let the sub know they are appreciated. To draw a parallel into another power dynamic - I, as a supervisor, expect my employees to do their job. Still, I say "please" when I assign work, and "thank you" when it is completed. I appreciate the hard work of my staff. If I'm not appreciating the efforts of my staff, it causes me to question whether they should remain in my employ. I prefer the persona of the "Friendly Supervisor" rather than the "Authoritative Supervisor". I also work better with other Friendly supervisors, especially my own! lol
A second reason is that of reinforcement. One can use positive or negative reinforcement, or a combination of both. Hell, most animal trainers will tell you that positive reinforcement is the best technique, and that negative reinforcement should be reserved for exceptional situations, usually involving safety. So, a "thank you" for good service, may be much more effective to train a sub than a flogging for poor service. In fact, as a masochist, a flogging would be a delightful treat for me! Though we're not in a D/s relationship, my wife jokes "No spankings for you!" when she wants to tease me for being "bad".
I've met Dommes who are very polite to their subs, and there is still definitely no question that they are in charge. I have also met "Bitch Dommes" who treat their subs like chattel. I think the dynamics of both of those types relationships can safely be called D/s. I know which I prefer.
As for Lady Grey's advice, I guess it depends on her target audience. It may well be sound advice to someone who wishes to use the "Bitch Domme" persona. However, I'm not clear that I'd agree that it's good general advice to everyone who wishes to enter into a Femdom relationship. I think it really depends on the persona that the Domme wishes to adopt, and what works best for the couple.
On the Chastity Forums, we've had a lot of conversation lately about the amount of prescriptive advice that has been given to new members of the chastity belt community, that's really off the mark because it assumes too much. Wives just being introduced to chastity by their husband are suddenly inundated with recommendations about corporal punishment, D/s, cross-dressing, cuckholding and god knows what else. Perhaps they just wanted a sex toy? I guess I'm growing increasingly sensitive to one-size-fits-all advice about the games we play.
Not only is there more than one way to adopt the persona of a Keyholder, I think there is more than one way to adopt the persona of a Domme. I think it's great to share our own views. But, I think it's important to recognize that we don't all play the same way.