Daddy Issues: Take What You Can Get
Today's story is sponsored by the mistake of once deciding to put "non-vanilla" at the top of my Bumble bio. I did this naively assuming it would attract only the most experienced doms, and not just limp-dick abusers who hate their Moms. By "experienced" I mean good-natured, type-A personalities exclusively interested in the safe, sane, and consensual micro-management of scatterbrained brats like me who have to reset their Gmail password six times a day.
Anything outside the purview of enthusiastic consent and mutually-agreed-upon limits is not true BDSM of course, but as someone subconsciously inclined to seek out mistreatment (thanks to childhood trauma), my history of engaging in healthy forms of power exchange is a checkered one. There was an embarrassingly long period of time when I ignored best practices and leaned into being mocked un-ironically by Ben Shapiro fanboys for how I look in a crop top while reluctantly touching myself. For the philosophy of mind fans out there, it's a real knowledge-that vs. knowledge-how distinction.
With about a year of therapy under my garter belt and a better sense of what a kosher dominant/submissive dynamic looked like, I decided I was done spreading my legs for the Intellectual Dark Web’s cheer squad and would start looking for someone willing to take my fat ass out on the town and not to a covert rendezvous at the Marriott. If I explicitly specified that I was looking for some D/S debauchery, I figured, then only the doms who know what's up would come flocking.
Why I thought basing my entire dating profile on being slapped around would somehow weed out the local pond scum is beyond me.
His name was Cliff and you could tell by his profile that he makes any girl who sleeps with him watch Bon Iver's Tiny Desk concert at least three times. Tortoiseshell glasses, floral print button-down, in-vogue "fade" haircut, and a well-groomed beard that screams "I belong to Dollar Shave Club, and my taste hasn't evolved past No Country For Old Men". Uncharitable read aside, he was pretty handsome so I decided to swipe right.
To my delight, Cliff and I were a match! Within seconds he messaged me and we chatted for a while about music (I know my audience). Our conversation about Johnny Cash was sadly cut short on account of Cliff asking me to elaborate on my "non-vanilla" preamble. I told him that I was looking for a dominant/submissive relationship and asked if he was familiar with what that entails. He said he was " super into that stuff :D" and had plenty of experience. He also finished off all of his messages with a " :D " face. It's hard to imagine someone that enthusiastic effectively grabbing a fistful of my hair. "Oh well…", I thought, better than the facepalm emojis I used to get whenever I sexted ex-boyfriend my stand-up routine.
Cliff told me he would want me to call him "Daddy" and do a lot of public humiliation play, I told him that sounded a lot like being a grad student. He said he wanted to go somewhere and make me cum underneath a table while I had to pretend like nothing was going on. One more " :D" and by the time he touched me nothing would be going on down there! We hadn't been talking for an hour and this dude was already telling me what he had planned for us. All the fast-tracking made me suspicious, and I started to think he just wanted a quick ‘n’ freaky fuck. So I asked what HE was looking for on the app.
Cliff was in an open relationship because his girlfriend wasn't into BDSM, but, he said, when we started fucking (presumptuous much?) I would have to understand that his girlfriend always came first and everything between us was "just about sex, nothing more" In other words, he wanted me to be his slutty little slam piece while he serenaded his partner with homebrew and acoustic covers. By the way, I have nothing against open relationships but have enough poly friends to know this wasn’t a good start to that kind of arrangement. I hesitated, which is when he sent his girlfriend’s Instagram, in case I "wanted to see their love".
That was it. To have someone say they want to be my daddy dom and then rope me into third-wheeling within fifteen minutes of the first emoji was just too much.
That being said, I did look at her profile and when I did, I immediately noticed she was about half my size. My stomach knotted; was this that all too familiar scenario where a man just wants to have sex with fat girls in secret? I decided to straight-up ask Cliff if he was cool with the fact that I'm plus-size to which he responded, "I love me a thick girl, you guys give the best head :D". Surprisingly, that's not the line that ruined everything for me, being berated with that stereotype was like brushing my teeth and I’m sad to say that at that insecure time, it even flattered me.
Cliff brought the conversation back to logistics. Assuming I was cool with the fact that he had a girlfriend- the sound of poly folks shuddering- his probing messages were now calling me "daddy's little whore" which confirmed he wasn't even the experienced dom he claimed to be, everyone knows you build up to name-calling. Cliff followed up with," I want to be your Big Daddy like Big Bird"...because he was six feet tall. Like in Sesame Street. Get it?
Ok, that really was the nail in the coffin, it was time to stop responding for a while, you know, to see how he’d cope with my silence.
After taking this break to consult a few friends, they all concurred that Cliff’s approach was a huge red flag and meanwhile, he continued to message asking where "Daddy's little whore" went. Finally, I responded and let him know that I was not interested in pursuing anything sexual but wished him good luck on his quest. He answered with a message I will remember to this day: "Okay no worries :D I guess I thought since you're kinky and curvy and all you'd be cool with it".
Throughout my days as a size 14, I've always been used to men ashamed of their attraction to me, only dating me or fucking me in secret. As a submissive woman, I've even been accused of misrepresenting myself because I am unwilling to submit to whatever they want. But Cliff's remark was the first time someone assumed I would be okay with not being a "priority" due to my size. It was as if he expected me to be grateful for whatever intimacy I could get. Yes, please use me to fulfill your taboo desires while your conventionally attractive girlfriend gets wined, dined, and whatever the vanilla version of sixty-nined looks like! It wasn’t because I was open-minded, or because I understood the distinction between romantic vs. sexual needs, but because I was fat.
I should say, I have nothing against platonic BDSM, polyamory, casual sex, etc. I actually think Cliff's idea of having a play partner and a romantic partner is perfectly reasonable. But to expect a plus-size woman to see herself as inherently deserving of less consideration is beyond any defensible model of non-traditional intimacy. And yet, his assumptions are consistent with all the other ways fat people are seen as having less moral value. You see, fat people should want to lose weight, should lighten up when their body is used as a punchline, should accept that people don't find them attractive - this is one of the most successful lies perpetuated by American culture.
The short-lived exchange with Cliff was one of my first wake-up calls that I would have to be on the lookout for people gravitating towards my sexual openness because they assume I am grateful for anything my wide hips are given. My submissiveness only further complicated things as it would soon become impossible to tell if someone wanted to dominate me because our preferences aligned, or because they felt it was okay to be sexually rough with someone they saw as sub-human.
The more I put myself out there, the more I learned that the world is sadly cluttered with men of the latter type. Cliff was certainly not the dom I foolishly expected to attract with a simple disclaimer on my dating profile. And while the experience left me with a deep sense of hopelessness regarding my prospects as a fat girl looking to be simultaneously degraded and respected, I (for once) refused to submit. Instead, I pulled myself up by my stockings and continued the search for an ideal daddy...
Daddy Issues: searching for daddy doms in the digital age is a monthly column by Rachel Elizabeth.