November/December 2002
Dominating vs.Domineering

by Chrystal

[What follows is not written using the "he/she", "his/her" format; however, please understanding it as applying equally to both genders, Dommes and Doms.]

Being a Dominant is not about acting in a domineering manner.

A domineering person is smugly convinced of his own important. His manner is often harsh, self-centered, and uncaring as he arbitrarily asserts himself in an irritating manner over others. His presence is often disruptive and encourages disharmony in a group.

A dominating person has an aura of strength and power. He exercises his authority discreetly and has no need of pretensions. He is both self-contained and self-controlled. In contrast to a domineering person, he is usually judiciously reserved in his speech and conduct.

When I think of a domineering person at a social event, I picture a rather boisterous, pushy person interjecting himself where he is not wanted and quickly wearing out his welcome. He comes across as someone who desperately wants to be a "somebody" but who is a "nobody." His remarks and opinions are not taken seriously.

In contrast, when I picture a dominating person at a public event, I envision someone discreetly controlling and influencing what is happening around him. People are naturally attracted to him and feel reassured in his presence. He is composed and unperturbed yet quietly and keenly alert. He is a person in control and a person of influence. A few words of praise or encouragement from him are received with great satisfaction and taken as a measure of success. His views and advice are sought and heeded.

Dominant wannabes, and some newbies who haven't quite figured it all out yet, can come across as pathetically (almost laughably) domineering. Their "victims" are all too often sincere, eager fledgling subs who are painfully uncertain of themselves or still pitifully clueless. ::sigh:: An extreme (classic?) example of the domineering-type "Dom" is the one whose first words upon meeting a new sub are "On you knees, bitch." <<Unfortunately, there are sorry wannabes out there who behave like this.>>

Now of course we all know what a "real" Dominant is and how he acts, so there is no need to elaborate. ;-) Needless to say he has *earned* his submissive's full devotion and respect. In complete contrast to "Master On-Your-Knees-Bitch," instead envision the Dominant whose uses discreet gestures to command his trained submissive, who remains attentive in readiness to serve her Master with schooled grace and ease. With subtle hand signals he commands her to kneel at his side, fetch him a drink, mingle with the guests, and so on. His raised eyebrow immediately causes her to assess and, if called for, correct her behavior. With what subtlety and absoluteness he exercises his control over her! A pleasing sight to behold indeed.

How can anyone confuse masterful artful dominating with clumsy brutish domineering? They are at opposite ends of the continuum of commanding and controlling behaviors. Now exactly where along that continuum does a wannabe "Dom" become a "real" Dom???