by Jack Rinella
If there’s ever going to be a topic that gets me into trouble with my fellow tops, it will be this one. “Who on God’s good earth made Jack Rinella enough of an expert that he thinks he can write rules for Masters?” they’re all going to ask.
Well, my friend david stein asked me for a list, not anointing me to be sure but giving me a good idea for a column. Thanks, david, sorry this is so late.
I will, of course, start out with my usual disclaimer. The following words are my opinion and are subject to the scrutiny of your own conscience. I’m only me and certainly have no authority over the rest of the world of Doms. So as Moses said when he came down the mountain, “Here’s a list of ten suggestions that Yahweh gave me.” Or was it “Take these two tablets”?
1. Have some rules. Over time, of course, each one of us gains insight into what works and what doesn’t. Some of this wisdom is codified into rules. Rules are protective, instructive, and helpful. Having rules means that you know yourself, know what you want and don’t want, and understand that everyone, including yourself, has limits. I know some people think they have no limits. They are fooling themselves as we are all constrained by physical nature, economic considerations, legal issues, and moral and ethical realities. We are all limited by the rose colored glasses through which we see the world. Rules help us respect those limits and avoid the trouble that is encountered when we exceed them.
2. Make sure those rules are your rules. You can’t (well you can if you want) just go out and find some rules and use them. Rules must take their life from who you are. Rules must reflect the authentic you. If they don’t, they will be burdensome and unenforceable. Good rules, then, start from the first rule of life: “Know thyself.” I guess I would then temper that with “Love, and then do whatever you will.” That doesn’t mean that you can’t borrow or copy another’s rules. By all means do so. There is no reason to reinvent the wheel. If Master so and so has a reason for doing something and you like it, then do it too. Just make sure the rules resonate with who you are and what you want. I can not be too strong in emphasizing the importance of the inner self in this arena of rule-making column.
3. Don’t make brittle rules. Rules are helpful because they add clarity and facilitate decision making. Rules cut in stone become millstones and anchors. Now I have nothing against either of those things as we need to grind grain and anchor boats, but if you think you can run your dungeon, your slave, or your life by a set of rules that are set in concrete or carved in granite, then you are kidding yourself. Better than a long list of rules, one might have a list of principles, guidelines for action. Certainly they may lend themselves to codification, but the spirit of the principle is much more important than the letter of the law. The Sabbath, after all, was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. Besides, there are always going to be exceptions and no amount of rule writing is going to cover all the possibilities.
4. Communicate those rules. It’s obvious that we need to communicate rules to slaves so that they obey them. The same goes for rules for ourselves. Over time, I tell my applicants my rules and explain why I have them. I won’t, for instance, let a boy write and talk endlessly. He has got to show up at my doorstep within 6-8 weeks of our initial meeting. Why? Because I’m not into cybersex. Are there exceptions? Sure. The date can be extended for lots of reasons, but the communication will be curtailed until the plane ticket is bought. It’s simply a matter that if you’re not ready, then please don’t act like you are.
Communicating your rules has some nice benefits. It shows you are in control, that you have an understanding of what you want and don’t want, and that you’ve thought about being a Master. It also gives the boy a sense of security to know that you have rules too, such as “I will not have un-safe sex.” Now he knows he doesn’t have to worry about one thing anyway.
5. Remember man, that thou art dust; or get real. These Doms who think the world revolves around them need to think again. Humility is a still a virtue, even in a person who wields great power. Being in control doesn’t that mean that a person needs to be haughty, egotistical, or obnoxious. If you are truly a person born to rule, then you have no need to put on airs. Pretense smells. Honesty, sincerity, and generosity have quite a different odor about them.
There’s also a side of this rule that invokes practicality. Your rules need to be pragmatic, workable, reasonable, measurable, and enforceable. If they aren’t, they will be honored only in the breaking and you will be seen as living in a fantasy world. It’s one thing, of course, to have a rule for a weekend scene, quite another to have a rule for living out the rest of your life.
6. Stay above it. Just because the world is going to hell in a hand basket is no reason for you to do the same. Have high standards and stick to them.
7. Don’t buy plane tickets for slave applicants. I’ve broken this rule twice and regretted it both times. It’s really a rule that says to be careful that you aren’t suckered by a con artist in slave’s clothing. There are lots of mutations to this rule. Such as don’t drive six hours to meet a guy in a parking lot. Underneath this rule, I think, is the understanding that we need to protect ourselves from being used. I know that, having been disappointed a countless number of times, I am much more cautious. I won’t make a financial investment in a stranger. Neither will I make an emotional one. Would I buy a ticket for a second visit? I just might.
8. Set benchmarks and progress points. A person becomes a doctor through a long and arduous series of learning experiences and tests that prove the experiences have had their desired effect. Each passing grade through high school, college, and med school contributes to the eventual M.D. Each evaluation, and not any single one, grants a person his or her license to practice medicine. It is no different for plumbers, electricians, or anyone else who wishes to acquire skill and standing.
As you evaluate prospective slaves, recognize that this is a process and note their success or failure at each step of the way. Too often we want to jump to a full-blown contract while what are required are small steps and a gradual process. Heat milk quickly and it skalds, heat it slowly and it comes out just right.
Running evaluations are helpful to everyone. Rules, after all, are meant to be helpful, indicative of reality.
9. Don’t talk it all to death. OK, if you want no more than phone and cyber sex, then keep talking. If you want real leather, you have to get physical. We are, after all, trying to develop real relationships. If I’m never going to meet you, I’m never going to be your master. You can pretend all you want on the phone. It might even get you off. But one of my rules is that until you’ve shaken hands, you haven’t met. Until I can look at you eye to eye, eat a meal with you, and hear your voice without the benefit of wires or radio waves, it’s just a prelude and nothing more.
10. Take responsibility. First and foremost you, top or bottom, are responsible for the consequences of your actions. Recognize that fact. Act responsibly. You are the one, after all, who wants to be in control.
11. When a person says one thing and does another, I always listen to what they do. That advice has stood me in good stead. I hope it does the same for you.
Well those are my rules. I’m sure there’s a unique set for each and every person on this planet. So now go figure which are yours.