Respect is earned: I can call you Sir?

I can call you “Sir”, you say?

Are you allowing me to call you Sir? How gracious of you! Really! I just met you but you are being kind enough to grant me a short-cut to a large portion of the process of building relationships, trust and respect. I am certain that you are doing so to save me the time and effort involved. Certainly, your intentions are good and aren’t coming from a self-entitled position, right?

Titles, in my opinion, come from authority. You earn them. The respect and trust that comes with addressing someone by a title are earned.

The case of Hierarchy

I understand hierarchy. Growing up in two very hierarchical environments, the military and organised religion, I learned all about the pecking order and appellations.

I addressed my father as “Sir”. I also addressed the people of equal or greater rank as “Sir”. They held positions of authority. It was a sign of respect for my father to call these other people Sir, not necessarily a sign of respect towards the individuals. I was living in a somewhat high protocol environment and these men 1)they were all men at that time had earned a rank that commanded a level of respect from my father. By extension, I was also to respect their rank.

In my immediate family, three of my uncles are ordained ministers. Along with their positions within the church, they have earned the title of Reverend. Within a family setting, I address them as Uncle, as that is indicative of their standing in relation to myself. Out in mixed company, I refer to them as Reverend, a title they have earned through education and their positions among the members of the mixed company.

Respect and trust lead to titles

As a slave, someone who is submissive, I will address those individuals who I respect as Sir. And that isn’t even a given. There are some who do not feel comfortable being addressed as such, so I won’t. They earned their appellation. By calling them Sir, I am indicating that they have earned my respect and trust.

When I go to an event, a munch or a party, I am walking in there as an individual who has submissive tendencies. I only address those who hold a station within my life as Sir. Those who hold significance in a friend’s life are referred to as “Your Sir”, or “Your Master” when I am talking to that friend. I acknowledge that there is that level of respect between them. That doesn’t automatically mean that it exists between me and their Sir/Master.

When I go to a munch, I will address people using the name they used as a means of introduction. I will not address them as Sir or Ma’am or any variant of this without there being a level of trust and respect between us. Until I develop a personal respect for them, I even address Community Leaders by name . Yes, I respect what they do for the community. Yes, I will be courteous and polite. I will not, however, apply a title to them within my life, until that title has been earned. In most cases, people of integrity and honour earn the title in short order. However, I also find that the people with integrity and honour do not get hung up on titles and appellations.

High protocol requires high protocol

If I am in a high protocol situation in a service capacity, I will address those that I am serving as “Sir” or “Ma’am” in accordance with the environment we are in. I will grant them temporary station because it is an expectation of the event. When I next see them, if we are not in a high protocol environment, I will go back to addressing them with whatever name they use within the community. My obligation to them does not extend past the confines of the high protocol event. They have not earned a station within my life.

Within my relationships, I will use whatever title or appellation that my partner and I decide is appropriate. When I am speaking to someone outside of our relationship, I will usually refer to my partner by a name that the other person recognizes. While my partner may be my Sir or Master, he is not theirs. At the very least, I will refer to my partner as My Sir or My Master. It is my relationship that has given him that station and it does not transfer to others.

I do not expect others to show the same level of respect to someone I respect solely because I have developed the trust and respect to do so myself. How they relate with my Dominant may impact how I relate to them. But, if they show courtesy, I have no issue with their conduct.

Consent matters, even in name calling

Trust and respect are not transferrable.

In our community, yes, there is a hierarchy. Yes, there are stations. However, unless I have consented to have a power exchange relationship with you, I have not agreed to being a part of your hierarchy. I am under no obligation to you. Outside of my immediate relationships, or a high protocol service environment, I am simply me. I am a courteous, polite individual who has submissive tendencies.

There is a good reason why the adage I am a submissive, but I am not your submissive has become a common response within our community. There are a lot of pretentious, self-aggrandizing, entitled individuals who believe that granting themselves a title grants them authority over anyone who identifies on the other side of the slash. It does not.

I choose when, where and to whom I wish to grant authority. Until I officially offer my submission, and you accepted it, I am simply AuntieSocial or Camille. I am a woman who is courteous and polite 2)albeit somewhat awkward in social settings. I am a woman who has submissive tendencies. But, I am not your submissive and you have not earned a station or title within my world.

Does this make me a bad person?

Does that make me a bad slave or a bad submissive? Maybe in your world, it does. However, I seem to be doing quite well in building up respectful and trustworthy relationships without having to address everyone by some title that I do not feel they have earned (yet). And your insistence that I do so is making it more difficult for me to respect you.

You see? When I address you as “Sir”, I want it to mean something. With that word, I want you to understand that I trust and respect you.


If my Dominant partner requests that I call someone by a title, because this person holds a place of significance to them, I will do so. However, this can create confusion. Just as I addressed my father’s superiors as “Sir” as an obligation and an extension of my respect for my father, my calling someone by a title under these conditions is out of obligation and respect to my Dominant. It is not indicative of the presence of any real trust and respect for the person I am meeting.

From the archive. Originally posted on FetLife, 20 Jan 2015

Camille Beaujolie
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Camille Beaujolie

On-Air Personality at Stereo-Typed on TPOK Radio
Host of Stereo-Typed on TPOK Radio, an educational, research-based internet radio show/podcast that seeks to challenge beliefs about and within the Alternative Sexuality cultures. Contributor to the TPOK Monthly newsletter.
Camille Beaujolie
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References   [ + ]

1. they were all men at that time
2. albeit somewhat awkward