I cringe and bristle when I hear the phrase “topping from the bottom” It is often used as a pejorative within the Leather and BDSM community to denote one who is in the position of receiving sensation (the bottom) directing or “topping” from what “should be” a subordinate place.
The problem I have is this: the term top and bottom Do not OF NECESSITY denote a relinquishing of power, or submission to another’s will. One can “bottom” without being submissive. Bottoming really just means that you are the one on the receiving end of the whip, bondage, flogger, etc.
A bottom has EVERY RIGHT and, I’ll add, the RESPONSIBILITY, to make sure that the scene is as they have called, because they are there to get their fucking rocks off.
And how they get their rocks off may be very particular.
If they leave that shit up to guesswork on the part of the top, and the top doesn’t get it right, who bears the responsibility there?
Often the term is also used to smack down “pushy” or “unsubmissive” slave or submissive types.
I will agree that passive-aggressive behaviour isn’t sexy. Whining and puling and moaning to goad a partner into the type of behaviour you want isn’t the essence of submitting.
It is lame ass fuckery.
It isn’t always about that. For some, the “bratty sub” who pouts and resists is hot. And for others, pleasing the bottom or submissive is PRECISELY what gets them off. And the folk’s I know who are “Compassionate Sadists” [i.e. a person whose sadism is dependant on the masochistic pleasure of their partner] are secure enough within their kink to accept guidance from their bottom and relish the feedback. It is an excellent mark of healthy communication.
And all too often, people look at the components of a behaviour and miss the soul of service within.
Years ago, back when I was still in Formal Leather Service to my first Trainer, I was out with him, 2 other subs in his House, and a group of about 20 kinky people.
The local Kinky Flea Markethad been the amusement for the afternoon, and we were catching our collective breath prior to heading to the CastleBar (RIP, CastleBar!) for the kick ass ass-kickings that were sure to follow an afternoon shopping for floggers and bindings and whips. (Oh. My.)
We went to Timo’s (RIP, Timo’s!) a Tapas restaurant that was well-known to me. Now, having 24 people at one long-ass table at a restaurant, especially a Tapas place, is a recipe for “Check, please!” epic disaster.
People started discussing who had cash, who had credit, who was not drinking, who was vegetarian…I felt this tremendous anxiety building. I wanted everyone to just be happy and have a nice meal. Plus, too many tops spoil the damned supper. Fo’reals.
I spoke aside to my Trainer and asked if he’d approve me handling this. He nodded and said “Of course.”
I stood at the end of the table, clapped my hands to get everyone’s attention.
I advised the group of the fact that, unless we had some consensus, this was not necessarily going to be a pleasant experience. I took a quick survey to see how much cash everyone was comfortable spending. I asked who had that amount in available cash, and who might need to put it on a card. I gathered those who were vegetarian in one section, those who were drinking in another, with enough overlap to break down the checks fairly. I re-arranged the seating to take these factors into account. I ordered for the table, assisted the waiter in disbursing the plates as the kitchen cranked them out, made sure everyone was fed, and when the check came I made sure that everyone paid their fair share, and that the waiter was well taken care of.
Several “dominants” at the table seemed nonplussed. They asked my Trainer if I was actually in service training, since I’d spent most of the evening telling people what to do.
“Kinda bossy topping from the bottom type, isn’t she. She must be a handful.””
“Was she topping from the bottom? Telling people what to do, or relieving you of the annoyance and burden of worrying about what had to be done? When was the last time you went out with such a large group, ate your fill, knew what the check was going to be, and then had everything fall into place? That is what a well trained slave or submissive does for you: they make your life that much easier. They smooth the path. And they take pride in it.”
I’ll tell you this…more than one dominant was second-guessing their assumptions that evening.
Plus I love the “Awwww snap!! In your FACE, bitches!!” aspect of the thing. And I appreciated that he acknowledged the heart of the work I’d done.
Serving someone can often don the wolf’s hide of dominance.
A personal trainer is your employee, but they bust your ass to insure that you meet your desired goals. A person in service can often fulfill that role.
The trick is to do it with joy, and from a place of willingness, and because it fills your heart.