That Pesky Capitalization Thing

11 Dec

Dumb Domme, who i think is wonderful, did a delightfully funny post/ rant against the D/s capitalization thing that so many of us s-types use and i guess some Doms too.  You can read it here.

And of course she’s right, it is silly and contrived and against all rules of punctuation.

i remember the first time i did it.  Wrote “i” instead of “I.”

i don’t think i’d ever done it before.  Well, as a typo, sure, but otherwise?  Omigosh, no.

My mother was a grammar/punctuation stickler.  Really.   In my family, growing up, questions like: “When is it correct to say ‘I will’ and when should it be ‘I shall'” might be bandied about at the dinner table.

i not only CAN diagram sentences, i love diagramming sentences.  What could be more fun than trying to decide if a word is actually modifying the subject or the predicate?  If it’s a direct object or an indirect object?  And then placing it in exactly the right configuration?  O, yes.

See what i’m saying?

i had to teach myself ~ don’t laugh ~ i had to teach myself to use bad grammar.  And it took me til i was in high school to realize that i needed to do it, that if i kept talking like a pedantic bookworm, i was never, ever going to fit in.

i know, i suppose some of youall rose above that, kept your good grammar, and fit in anyhow, or adapted to not fitting in.  i’m glad for you.  i did too, eventually.  In high school, i longed to belong.

Of course, i discovered that even the occasional “Aren’t i?’ instead of  “Am i not?” was not going to make me fit in with the high school crowd, and really, really, i’m ok with that.   i do think that relaxing my language standards has been helpful at times.  i no longer remember the distinction between “will” and “shall” and i’m ok with that.

But i mourn the loss of  some grammatical distinctions {i won’t go into them here} so i can sympathize with Dumb Domme’s outrage over the D/s capitalization thing.  And i agree that using it ~ capitalizing the pronouns for someone who is not my Dom ~ is not necessary, and may be a little extreme, and even possibly offensive.

In fact, i might say that if one does it repeatedly after being asked not to, then it becomes a rape culture thing, where one’s “no” is not being respected and that’s totally not ok.  That’s a different thing and a different blog post, in my mind.

And ~ i have to confess ~ i don’t use W/we or O/our.  That just seems too cumbersome and hard to read.  And i’ve never been involved with someone who was big on that kind of protocol.  


i remember the first time i did it.  Wrote “i” instead of “I.”

It was such a symbol.

i was seeing The Man I First Called Sir {otherwise known in these pages as First Sir, or even FS.}  Calling him Sir, was HUGE!!  Omigosh, it was such an amazing act of submission.

Of course now, it rolls off my tongue as naturally as my Sir’s name ~ maybe even more so.  But back then?  Yikes.

So when he informed me of the capitalization thing?  O, my.  Yes, it was another heart-thumping, can-i-make-this-sacrifice moment.

It’s a symbol.

For me, it was a powerful symbol.  You cannot imagine how many times i had to backspace and retype that “I.”  Redo the “h” in “He.”

Every time i did it, it was a reminder.  As potent as taking my panties off in some strange bathroom when instructed to,  writing “i” screamed, “This is real.  You are really doing this, really agreeing to be submissive to someone else, SO MUCH SO that you’re messing with punctuation.”

Yeah.  It was that big a deal.

Ok, it’s not anymore.  i rarely have to think about it.  When i write as aisha,” i” comes naturally.  When i write as my-vanilla-persona, “I” flows easily.  It is a head shift that mostly just happens.

Referring to my Sir with a capital “H” is also a reminder of who He is to me.  It really is.  Just as calling him “Sir” is.

i admit, when i write to Him, i don’t usually do “You.”  i don’t think my Sir is particularly invested in this symbol ~ possibly not any more than Dumb Domme is, although He’s never said so.

And i can see why it seems silly and affected and all kinds of foolishness, and it probably is.  But it’s symbolic, and part of the value of TTWD, for me, is that it is a life rich in symbolism.

When i sit at my Sir’s feet, that’s symbolic.  When i fix his coffee, it’s symbolic.  He’s quite capable of fixing His own coffee.  i don’t do it because He needs me to, or because it’s my responsibility, or because it’s women’s work.  i do it because it expresses my desire to serve Him.  It is an act of love ~ and a reminder of our respective places.

When i choose not to capitalize “i,” i may do it easily, but it is still a reminder of my desire to serve Him, to think of Him ~ to hold Him ~ in a different way from others.  And it communicates that.

D/S would just not be the same as D/s.  M/S?  Nah.  The distinction communicates.  And it is because it breaks the punctuation rule that “He” and “i” serves a purpose.  For me, anyhow.

18 Responses to “That Pesky Capitalization Thing”

  1. abby December 11, 2012 at 6:38 am #

    Oh, I so see myself in this post….I struggled with the i thing..both personally and wondering what others would think of my ‘poor english’….I eventually came around to exactly what you posted….for me, it is a powerful symbol….even if my English teacher background cringes.
    hugs abby

    • aisha December 12, 2012 at 6:56 am #

      Hi, abby,

      Yep, it’s a big deal, isn’t it? Glad you shared the feelings! It’s always nice to know i’m not the only one.



  2. striving for Peace December 11, 2012 at 7:03 am #

    I have been reading old emails — and came across an email conversation that I had with SD- one of the prospective Doms -he was the one with all the contracts

    and he also — required the capitalization rule

    which was so hard for me to accept

    He wrote it into our contract for consideration and I altered it on my draft to indicate that I would use it — but only in our correspondence — but NOT on the blog.

    and it was so very important for me to have my capitals

    because certainly other grammar doesn’t concern me 🙂

    it’s a powerful symbol.


    • aisha December 12, 2012 at 6:57 am #

      Dear Sfp,

      i think that’s lovely, and so very you. It does matter, doesn’t it? Thanks for sharing that story.



  3. vanillamom December 11, 2012 at 8:09 am #

    Brilliantly stated.

    When i first started, it was much the same. (I like diagramming sentences, too!) But I’ve forgotten a lot of the “rules” for my writing…I’m not writing for english lit majors, but for more relaxed (was going to say “normal” but my readers and I are not, by vanilla standards, quite there, either, LOL!)….

    I had someone tell me when I was working to publish something that those readers who are not in D/s who still read erotica would not get the “i” or “H”e thing…and to use more standard writing for that.

    So I’ve reverted back to that when I write, mostly. If I use lower case ‘i” it is to make the specific point that the “i’ is a submissive.

    It is a visual symbol..thank you for talking, so eloquently, about a topic that is dear to my heart!


    • aisha December 12, 2012 at 6:58 am #

      Hi, ‘Nilla,

      Hmmmmm. i guess that’s true, if you’re not used to D/s it would be confusing.

      But lower case does send a message. And thanks for the kind words!


  4. sin December 11, 2012 at 8:25 am #

    Oh gosh. I’m a grammar freak. But I’m lazy and my mind works faster than my fingers at the best of times. So when I chat or when I email my friends who know me well, I don’t use punctuation at all. So I don’t usually capitalize anything, not the “i” not the “he”, not even the “sir”. But I do on my blog because those people don’t know me. And I’m used to capitals at work of course. But…. Oh I could go on and on. And I guess because I either use proper capitalization or none at all, I’ve never had to make the decision to do the small i.

    Great post.

    -sin (well I guess I don’t capitalize that, now do I?)

    • aisha December 12, 2012 at 7:02 am #

      Lol, Sin, at you not capitalizing “sin.” 🙂



  5. Fondles December 11, 2012 at 8:54 am #

    my head hurts.

    i don’t think about capitalization when i’m texting or commenting. i just use lower case letters all the time.

    when i write a blog post tho, i tend to use proper capitalization for I. And i think i fluctuate between Bikss and BIKSS and He and he and I don’t really have a format.

    now you see why my head hurts? I like structure. and it seems I have none in this area.

    (interesting reading tho. thanks.)

    • aisha December 12, 2012 at 7:19 am #

      Dear Fondles,

      i’m sorry i made your head hurt – or contributed to it anyhow. Ok, a little amused too, but still.

      It’s interesting the different ways we approach this, or don’t even think about it, isn’t it?



  6. jadescastle December 11, 2012 at 9:26 am #

    My grandmother was an English teacher. i remember the conversations stopped mid-stream to discuss if “whom” or “who” was correct. i will still do that. Stop mid-stream to question aloud how to make a sentence grammatically correct. 😛

    i don’t differentiate between Jade and jade. i don’t have a Jade life and a jade life.
    Therefore, i have to use spell check to be sure i am not turning in homework/emails to instructors with lower-case references to myself. Writing papers is different and i don’t have that issue then. Maybe that is because it forces my hand to produce technical, concise writing…a different part of my brain is working to accomplish this.

    SR finds the W/we thing and third-person speech patterns annoying. Thank God. While i understand the point, i find it breaks my ability to have a stream of consciousness. (Nods) See? That sounds way better than to say i’m rambling. Again. 🙂


    • aisha December 12, 2012 at 7:26 am #

      Dear Jade,

      O, yes – the who and whom discussions are important and interesting! That and lots of other similar things. i still do it too.

      And that’s funny – you say you don’t have a “jade” and “Jade” life, but then in the next paragraph you describe your Jade/jade distinction.

      Yeah, the third person thing would be difficult for me. i know mouse does it, and is happy about it, and does it smoothly. i don’t know that i could manage that.

      And no, you’re not rambling.



      • jadescastle December 12, 2012 at 10:19 am #

        Not really. When i’m writing for school, i often continue to type, “By jade…” and spell checker catches it. i have touched on, as much as i can, the truth of my life in discussions for school.

        mouse does an excellent job of writing in third person without it being jarring for the reader. That being said, i cannot think of another writer who manages to pull that off.


  7. Wordwytch December 11, 2012 at 1:04 pm #

    I have enough trouble with grammar as it is. Mix German, Castillian Spanish, English and American in your head and then try to write a sentence! Oh, and I write in ‘voice.dialect, etc… which is an entirely different issue. Is ver’ hard talk that Metis, use grammar. Aye?

    I understand the whole I/i thing, and if a person writes there name in all smalls, I try to remember to do so. However, we don’t play that game. Just never came up. What I find interesting is that people do use such small reminders to put them in the right headspace.

    • aisha December 12, 2012 at 7:30 am #

      Hi, Wordwytch,

      You’re right, with all that going on, it’s amazing you can even put a sentence together!

      And isn’t headspace all made up of small things?



      • Wordwytch December 12, 2012 at 11:58 am #

        LOL! There are days… Especially when Wolf is speaking German (he’s beyond fluent) und Ich muss Metis ver’ bueno schreiben!

        As for headspace, you are absolutely right.

  8. jadescastle December 11, 2012 at 7:41 pm #

    P.S. Pedantic bookworms are *the Best* 😛

    • aisha December 12, 2012 at 7:30 am #

      Dear Jade,

      i bet it takes one to know one!


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