Written Protocol stands for the usage of strict semantic and verbal discipline when communicating amongst BDSM People and especially among Leather Folk, in written form. It is one of the 5 types of BDSM Protocols that we cover in our group, and is especially important today, when connections almost always start with online typing.
What is Written Protocol
Written Protocol is one of the many types of Protocol that Old Guard Leathermen expect and apply to verbal conversation, in this case, in the written form. Written Protocol defines the way you write, the syntax, the lexicon and sometimes even the grammar applied to conversations in both ways; this applies both for the subs talking to the Doms, and equally to the Doms talking to the subs.
While Written and Verbal Protocol share a lot of common rules, they are exercised in completely different situations: one thing, is, indeed talking to another Leatherman in person, or to your Superior in person, and another thing is in written communication. The difference lays in the psychological pressure existing during a live-meeting versus the mental relaxation of handling conversations trough a messaging system or an email exchange.
Most often Written Protocol has to do with Identity and respecting each other’s position within the food-chain, or in other words, in the hierarchy. Dominant men, depending on their titles, should be addressed with their titles, and submissives should be addressed as such, as (both ways) this is a means to show mutual respect to each other, and a mutual recognition of identity.
Examples of Written Protocol
There are many different applications of Written Protocol because, as said, Old Guard Leathermen have a strict adherence to Military-style application of specific Protocols (like the use of the term “SIR”, as an example), while many other BDSM Families might be applying completely different Protocols. Old Guard Leather is strictly linked, when it comes to Protocols, to a fetishization or worship of formalism.
This being the website of an Old Guard Leather Family, we will write about the Protocols follower and passed on in this Family since generations.
- We all call each other by our titles, and in ALL CAPS for the Dominants. So, Sirs are SIRS, Masters are MASTERS, Bosses are BOSSES, and so on. This applies also to “YOU, YOURS, HE, HIS, SHE, HERS, ME, MINE”.
- Submissives are supposed to speak in third person only, replacing “me, mine”, with “it, its”. If it is a slave, since it has no possessions at all, there is no “mine” or “its” at all, but there is the title before the subject, so as an example “I can’t touch my cock” would be “it can’t touch the slave cock”.
- For submissives, every sentence directed to a Superior should start and end with the title (SIR, MASTER, BOSS..)
- Submissives should always express their gratitude also verbally; there’s never enough thankfulness to express.
- Some special and sacred elements take the all caps from their owners, such as the MASTER’S BOOTS, or SIR’s COCK, or BOSS’ FEET.
Here are some examples:
Examples for submissives talking to Dominants or to other submissives:
- No Protocol: I have washed the car, and I have brought the groceries upstairs. May I go clean out before dinner time?
- Protocol: “SIR, it has washed the car and it has brought the groceries upstairs, SIR. SIR, thank YOU SIR! SIR, may it go clean out before dinner time, SIR?”
- No Protocol: It was a great diner. It’s delicious to eat this meal from the floor next to your boots.
- Protocol: “SIR, thank YOU SIR for allowing this slave to eat YOUR delicious food from the floor, next to YOUR BOOTS SIR! SIR, it was a great dinner, SIR!”
- No Protocol: Hey John, sir said to go and fetch Michael and Mark at the train station, and to prepare the playroom for later. Can you help me?
- Protocol: “hey boy john. SIR told it to go and fetch SIR MICHAEL and boy mark at the train station, and to prepare the playroom for later. Could boy help it, please?”
Examples for Dominants talking to submissives or other Dominants:
- No Protocol: (Talking to another Dom or SIR online) Hey, thanks for the nice message. Yes, my slave is a great slave, would be fun to share it sometimes”
- Protocol: “SIR, thank YOU SIR for the nice message SIR. SIR yes SIR, MY slave is a great piece of PROPERTY SIR, would be fun to share it together sometimes SIR”.
- No Protocol: Mark, go and fetch Michael another beer, would you?
- Protocol: “boy, go fetch another beer for SIR MICHAEL”.
Why is Written Protocol so important
Written Protocol is fundamental because it requires discipline; it’s actually pretty difficult, especially for newcomers, to always write in correct Protocol. That’s exactly why it is so special. One thing is to do it while having an hardon on a Recon Chat, but something else entirely is not being able to send quick answers while doing something else. Written Protocol requires the writer to actually focus on what it’s doing and investing a few seconds of their life to dedicate to the other person and to their own integrity.
In a time where this sounds strange, truly we have been paying attention to what we say to each other and how we do that during the whole length of human history. It’s the time of digital chats on smartphones and social media that makes it look odd.
So of course paying enough attention to keep on switching between ALL CAPS and small caps on the mobile keyword requires a certain strain and fatique, which is why this is about discipline. Ask yourself: is the man you’re talking to worth of some of your fatigue? Is your belief in this lifestyle enough to put yourself in the unconvenient and unconventional situation of having to think about what you’re doing and saying, while you’re typing?
Written form is as important as physical Protocol. Discipline is hard. That’s why it has value. Putting up the effort to go trough something harder than “normal”, is a display of Respect. Written Protocol is about self respect as Leathermen, and respect to the person we are talking to.
How to learn to use Written Protocol correctly
I am not going to share with you some mathematical equation to be able to comply with Protocol; there’s no shortcut, no trick, no app to install.
The point is, if you need extra reasons, other than self respect and respect towards the other man, then Leather truly isn’t for you. Instead, I’m going to share a suggestion to help you find value and worth in Written Protocol, in the case you’re struggling with it.
There’s nothing wrong in struggling with Protocol, and it’s actually normal.
Think about this: your Dominant has prescribed a Protocol for you to follow, because this pleases Him. Shouldn’t this be a reason good enough to comply with it? Then, think more: as a submissive, you are an important part of the Leather world. Dominants need good submissives, and good submissives are not many. Subs actually need someone to look up to between their own, somebody to be of inspiration to be better as a submissive and provide better service. Start being that person, start this exactly today. Inspire other M/men by being the best Leatherman you can be. And lastly, remember that this is the way you can be in Worship and on point as a sub at every given time; it’s not always possible to be on your knees in front of the man (men) you wish to serve, but it’s always possible to shine as a great submissive even when just chatting.
Remember that your subs look up to You. What You do, and how You do it, matters a great deal. If you are sloppy, they’ll become sloppy. If you’re lazy, they won’t grow, if you’re not attentive to Protocol, why should they be? Leading by example is a fundamental aspect in Leather Life, and you are expected to lead, not just to “use”. Also, other Leather Brothers of Yours are going to level, if they notice (how it happens today) that nobody seems to care about these important things. So it’s very important for the health of the greater community, to inspire greatness in everybody around You.
What to do when you encounter a different version of Protocol
It is very frequent, especially nowadays, to chat with people who are going to react with confusion to your Protocol, or who will react badly to it. It’s unfortunately part of being serious, in a scene populated majorly by a crowd who doesn’t care about being serious, and who doesn’t want to feel like their inexperience is being exposed.
This is also an unfortunate typical behavior of new generations: when you don’t know something, cancel it rather than learning it.
The way these people react, is trying to get you at their own level, by belittling Protocol and making you feel stupid for using it.
Or another case, is where you could meet another serious BDSM player, who just has different Protocols. In this case, in my opinion it’s safe to thank them for introducing you to a different culture and background, showing interest and respect for their Protocol. At the same time, you don’t have to abandon your Protocol necessarily, if you are a Dominant. A submissive talking to a Dominant with a new Protocol should do its best to honor the other MAN’s roots and codes, if it wishes to keep engaging with this person. If You are a Dominant, instead, it’s equally important to protect and honor the Roots of Your Family, while at the same time showing appreciation and respect for the different Protocol You are introduced to. Do so by asking genuine questions, and without judgement.
Remember that Protocols are about identity, and they are very important to those Men who show the required discipline to adhere to them.
Written Protocol is as important as verbal and behavioral Protocol, because it’s hard to respect, which means that it requires effort, commitment and discipline; following these rules is a public and private display of Integrity, Respect and Honor, and a mutual celebration of our lifestyle and values.