Okay, here’s what I’ve gotten so far in Vera’s voice:
Being a devout disciple of my own church taught me the value of perspective – and that’s the key to relationships: a clear perspective. That’s not to say everything is crystal clear, but things do and should furrow into focus. In BDSM, things can be cleared with titles and honourifics.
Even though I’m firmly against role policing, the titles do carry their own meanings. There are distinctions – and their misuse can be mildly annoying. So, when I heard from several outlets before my story was self-published, you can imagine how ‘annoyed’ I was that editors – people who prided themselves in publishing and thereby being familiar with BDSM – were misidentifying me.
Most people know me as Vera. In my novel, I’m the desirous dominant who leads the narrator – my impossibly insecure Clark. When I’m not dwelling in church, I’m preaching in it. I’m going to become a priest. Currently, I study theology. That’s why I reconnected with Clark: he’s given me a loan for my tuition.
I’m also a Mistress. Through sensuous sermons and what Clark calls cold carnality, I run the show. We’ve got a decent and deep relationship.
So, when I had editors say things to my author like:
“I hope you’ll submit again. You’ve got a strong narrative, but we don’t publish stories with Dommes.”
“You’ve got a great story, but this isn’t for us since our readers aren’t really into female Dommes.” (saying ‘female Dommes’ is redundant btw – Domme itself is the female equivalent of the word. Dom is male)
I rolled my eyes more than once.
A Domme is more of a friend or acquaintance you play with. They’re also notably associated with teaching or instruction as the word drives professional derivatives such as Domina and Dominatrix.
A Mistress has more of an interpersonal likeness. She’s someone who you routinely respect, has some more say on what you do on a regular basis. Someone who knows your limits and decides where’ll she lead you in her confines. Another thing: your Mistress is likely someone you’re collared to, someone exclusive.
Obviously, nothing is set in stone. Identities are fluid. In this respect, there’s no hierarchy: you aren’t cooler if you’re a Mistress, just like you aren’t cooler if you’re a Domme. These are just labels – yet they’re specific honourifics with different meanings, which is why I eye-rolled profusely when editors continually misidentified me. Even after I explicitly identified as a Mistress in the novel.
I’m a Mistress. I’m a Mistress. I’M A MISTRESS. Got it?
These titles carry worlds of meaning literally and figuratively. Personal experience or a collective understanding sets the groundwork for what you interpret.
But a word of advice: if a lovely lady – especially like me identifies as a Mistress, don’t call her a Domme and expect her to dignify you with a response.