There was a thread on FetLife a while back on when it is appropriate for someone to identify as “Master”. (Here for those interested- I would have replied directly, but the problem with forums and such is that by the time I manage to assemble coherent thoughts the thread is often long dead. Rather than engage in virtual necromancy, I choose to reply here instead.)
I found the discussion intriguing, particularly as this particular title had never sat well with me- I’d even stopped a scene once when requested to use it. I’d tried, but it didn’t taste right. That was a few months ago, and while that may not seem like a very long time, the last few months have been quite eventful.
I disagree with the suggestion that the title must indicate ownership of someone, nor mastery over something. I can confidently declare myself as submissive regardless of whether or not there is a dominant in the picture, and feel the same should apply here.
Practiced precision with a whip, the power over hands and words and magic to swiftly and smoothly bringing me from struggles to sobs to cuddles and back to banter, the audacity of slicing cooled wax from flesh with a fecking sword- and not drawing blood despite my involuntary squirming- these are things that scream “Master” to me now.
These are also things, however, that while they undoubtedly involve skill, they more importantly require the manner and assurance to carry them off while maintaining a safe headspace for all involved.
Master-ness, my idea of it, is more a personality trait than a skill or status.
I recall meeting a young man- younger than me anyway- at his first munch a few months back. His kink CV, if not entirely blank, was nearly so, and yet he carried and conducted himself with a quiet confidence I hadn’t yet seen from someone. He was new, naive, but self-assured, respectful, and asking good questions. He was one of those people who manage to instantly instill trust- a topic for another time.
Had he chosen to use the title Master, I could hardly begrudge him that.
However, it is perhaps most telling that he chose not to, identifying himself instead as “exploring/evolving.”