Random Capitalization, Titling, and Made up Words
May 02, 2011 | ~4 mins read time.

This is will likely annoy a bunch of people, especially those whose "experience" with BDSM is constrained to online dealings and nothing else, but I would like to know if anyone has any idea who started the "I/i", "H/him", "S/she" nonsense. I think my study of language has me constantly annoyed whenever I see this.

In chat, when my fingers are being nice to me, I use proper punctuation and capitalization. The exception to this is my given name. That's an aesthetics thing, though. I prefer how the lower case "g" looks over the upper case. A personal quirk, and I don't get upset when other people capitalize it, because that's technically correct.

I think the thing that screws with me is the fact that "I/i" and the like messes up the flow of a sentence so badly that I just give up on trying to read it. I was told that the reason was to signify who is dominant and who isn't. This is ridiculous, since language doesn't use capitalization to signify any "importance" whatsoever. That is what adjectives and adverbs are for, and to some extent nouns, as with titles.

Recently, in online venues it's gone from things like "H/him" to "Hhim". I can sort of ignore the randomly capitalized words, like "I like Him". It looks silly, but I can pretend in my head that the other person typos a lot. However, I can't make my brain ignore "H/him" or "Hhim" or the others like those. I've tried. In fact, I find it easier to read LOLCat speech - it's a blatant mangling of language and not at all trying to take itself seriously. It's how cats would type if they could.

This brings us to the honourifics thing. "Sir" or "Sirs", and other titles. Why do some who identify as dominant deamand that every submissive call them "sir" or "ma'am"? If you are not someone in a position of authority over me, then I'm not going use honourifics for you or indulge your arbitrary, self-assigned titles.

Submissives also stop doing this: "Hello, Tom, Dick, and Joe-Ann Sirs." First of all, uppercase does not automatically mean a person is a man. You look stupid if you can't read something like "Joe-Ann" and know that's typically a woman's name, unless there's some sort of Boy Named Sue situation going on. Second, it makes no sense. "Sir" is a title. It goes before the name. You'd be Sir Tom Twatwaffle of Mattersnot. Military forces use it as a matter of respect for superior ranks. Your CO says "Go scrub the latrine, grunt!" and you'd say "Yes, Sir!" and scurry off. You don't say, "Okay, Dick, I'll get to it." Well, not if you don't want a reprimand, that is.

About the only time "Sirs" is used in the plural is to introduce a group of knights: "Announcing Sirs Tom, Dick, and Harry." As much as honourifics annoy me in the online communities, I think the simple use of proper grammar would fix most of what grates. I reserve the right to drop the honourific off your nick. I will not have anyone who doesn't own me demand I use a title or honourific for them either -- that is reserved for the person in charge of my world.

Let's stop using "domme" while we're at it. "Dom" is good. It's clearly a short form of "dominant". "But, but, but! It doesn't include women," you argue. Sorry, but "dominant" is gender-neutral. Always has been, always will be. If you absolutely have to have a "feminine" word that means exactly the same thing, then use "Domina". "Domina" is a real word, and it's Latin. You don't get much more exotic than a dead language!

Some of the [mostly online] community will be all over me for this, and that's fine. Language evolves and maybe at some point "domme" will actually be a real word that you can find in a proper dictionary [the Urban Dictionary does not count, sorry]. The thing that irks me the most about it is the hypocrisy. All too often, those getting angry that "Domme" isn't used in their direction are hating on men and bitching about gender inequality. You can't claim gender inequality and then turn around and insist everyone feminize "dominant". The hypocrisy. It hurts.

"Domme" also lacks the accent on the "e" to be pronounced "doe-may", as some insist it is. Stop it. If you're going to claim it's French, which it isn't, then at least spell it in adherence with French spelling. None of these words can be pronounced in any way that makes them signifty anything special. Well, "H/him" and the like can be pronounced out loud, but they sound silly. Try it. H-h-im. You're welcome. You've just developed a stutter!

Use your words properly and stop demanding everyone use titles and honourifics in your direction immediately. We'll give you a cookie or... some more respect. Which is what you're after in the first place.