NOT a Dom

3 Oct

i went to a kind of family reunion yesterday, hosted by a distant cousin i hadn’t seen in 40 years.  i’ll call him J.  Beautiful place, wonderful food, and great weather.

J’s {fairly new} girlfriend is an intelligent, attractive woman in her late fifties or early sixties, a retired architect. who refers to past boyfriends by profession – the doctor, the lawyer…  i wonder for a moment if there’s a beggar and a thief, {laughing} but she’s bright and funny.

i am there reluctantly, not having good memories of this part of the family anyhow.  But you know, 40 years is a long time, i’m trying to have an open mind.

We’ve only been there a few minutes ~ J is standing on the porch talking to my brother-in-law, the girlfriend, i’ll call her G, is in the kitchen.  

She says to me, “Ask J what he wants us to do with this bread.  I know he’ll say just put it in the oven, but he doesn’t mean that.”

i step outside, wait for a pause in the conversation, and ask J what he wants us to do with the bread.  He looks at me and i’m not sure, but i think he’s thinking, “I can’t believe you’re asking me this.”  In any case, his tone is “Patient Adult” speaking to “not very bright child” when he says, “Put it in the oven.  Just put it in the oven.”

So i go inside and relay the message to G, “He says just put it in the oven.”

G says, “O, but he doesn’t mean that.  You know J. There’s gonna be some special way he wants it done.”

Annoyed, i say, “No.  Actually i DON’T know J, i haven’t seen him in 40 years.  i have no idea what he’s like, or what he means and doesn’t mean.”

But i find out pretty quickly.  

He comes into the kitchen and looks at a tray of appetizers that his 80-something year old aunt has just finished making.  “Oh.”  He says, and covers his mouth, frowning at them.

“What?” she says.

“Well.”  He says, “I wouldn’t have – those big slices of tomato – I think I would have..” and he shakes his head again, “Well, I guess it’ll be ok.  But you might want to, it would be better if you try to ~”

and fortunately for my sanity, she interrupts him.   “Look, if you want it done differently, do it yourself.  I’m done,” and she walks away.

“Hey,” he says, clearly irritated, “Don’t cop an attitude.”  He says this to his 80-something year old aunt who’s just finished making a tray of appetizers for his party.


Clearly, that’s not Domly behavior, that’s churlish and ill-mannered.  

But as the {endless} day progresses, i watch G try to cater to him, checking with him before she makes a move.  The routine seems to be ~ she does something, he criticizes, she apologizes.  Sometimes, she asks for direction first, he acts like she should already know, gives vague directions ~ then she does it, he criticizes, she apologizes.

It’s exhausting, watching this and not intervening.

i think about Green Girl’s post about the couple she and her husband saw at a ball game, when the husband was directing his wife on how to nurse the baby.

i wonder ~ not if my cousin is a Dom, because clearly, he’s not.  But i wonder if a D/s relationship could look like this from the outside.

But it only takes me about a minute to decide no, it couldn’t.  First, there are no ‘good girl’ moments.  Second, i think a Dom would give more clear directions of what he wants.  Third, well, third it became clear later on what it’s really about.

After the meal, which was wonderful, J begins to criticize the things he’d prepared for the meal.  This would have been better served hot, that should have had more seasoning, this was a little too spicy…

i listen to him nit-pick his own work to death and i remember my mother talking about J’s father and how critical he’d been.  How J could never get anything right by his dad’s standards.

Yep.  That’s just his own insecurity at work.

i still wouldn’t tolerate it for a minute, and find his excessive self-criticism just about as annoying as his obnoxious treatment of the people around him.  

But clearly, it’s got nothing to do with D/s.

{And i feel better for having written it  out.}

11 Responses to “NOT a Dom”

  1. Mick October 3, 2011 at 6:54 am #

    funny how annoying habits and personality traits can get passed down from generation to generation even to folks who found them annoying when they were the original victims of them….


    • aisha October 3, 2011 at 8:25 pm #


      It is amazing, isn’t it? And pass them down again and again…


  2. greengirl October 3, 2011 at 7:14 am #

    People thrive on such a huge range of physical activities – things i love, someone else fears or can’t tolerate, things that are unimaginable to me are just the ticket for someone else – i wonder if there is such a range for interpersonal skills too? Are there people who do really need or want to interact this way (whether that’s healthy or not is a whole different question)? Not that there aren’t plenty of plain old assess in the world, and partners who put up with them… It just makes me wonder sometimes.

    • aisha October 3, 2011 at 8:28 pm #


      O, good thought! Yes, I think that’s possible. At least – in this case, G told how well she and J had hit it off immediately. That kind of amazed me. But clearly she wasn’t upset by his criticism, made me wonder what her dad was like.

      Sheesh, i’m such a psychologist.



  3. vanillamom October 3, 2011 at 8:18 am #

    how exhausting! and i wonder if i could have had the fortitude to sit through the day? I might have made an excuse and booked out of there…or i would have been sucked into the whole self-bashing deal.

    i’m not sure what that says about me (coward/self preservation/Viking argue-er–) or about you, being able to sit through that and come out okay on the other side.

    good to see that really, everyone has a bit of “fucked up” in their family (snikker–coz i know i do!–and hell, i could be “it”…LOL)


    in 48 hours…*shivers*


    • aisha October 3, 2011 at 8:32 pm #


      Laughing… yes, it really was exhausting. And I was tempted to bail more than once. But my excuse would have only covered me, I would have had to leave other family members behind… and I was afraid they’d kill me later! No, not really, but you know, it would have been kinda mean..

      And {laughing} they would have reminded me of it forever, how I’d abandoned them…

      nah, it was better to stay!

      I know – less than 48 now, only about 36 hours. Woohooo!


  4. lil October 3, 2011 at 5:40 pm #

    I almost look forward to being an eighty year old aunt…and dumping trays of appetizers on rude nephews.

    Lol, must have been hard not to stuff all his food down his throat in one go just to keep him quiet.
    Sometimes I think that people who spend so much time criticizing their own work are really just fishing for compliments and don’t just know how to ask “did you enjoy the meal?”

    • aisha October 3, 2011 at 8:44 pm #


      Laughing… yes, I’d be dumping the appetizers too!

      Yes, I would have loved to have found a way to stop him!!

      And I think you’re right, self-criticism is often a way of asking for compliments. In this case though, we’d been raving for a while… if he was fishing for compliments, he must need a never-ending stream.

      Thanks for commenting!


  5. perfectlips October 3, 2011 at 6:43 pm #

    Gosh he sounds familiar! That kind of upbringing is very hard work to shake off, especially when you create new relationships that reinforce the upbringing. “They fuck you up, your mum and dad, …”

    • perfectlips October 3, 2011 at 6:45 pm #

      … actually, that’s a bit harsh on old M & D: they do their best. J can crawl out of it, if he wants to, and if he finds the right G.

      • aisha October 3, 2011 at 8:48 pm #


        Yeah, it is hard work, rejecting some of the crap our parents teach us before we even have words to defend ourselves. And it takes lots of courage to try to “crawl out of it,” as you say.

        Thanks goodness some people manage to do that!



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