I was perusing the Max Fisch message board and came across a discussion about the merits of house vs. independent dominas. Though specifically addressing the New York scene, I thought Diana Balance's well thought out response did an excellent job of highlighting the overall pros and cons. You can read the thread here.
I am so thankful to not be caught up in that old debate anymore. I am secure in myself and having the time of my life as a Lady of The Gates.
When I first started out, I fell for a lot of the talk about what made a real pro domme. I was first exposed to the belief system that you learned the ropes, so to speak, at a house. Then when you "graduated" you went off on your own as an independent.
Watching woman after woman leave The Gates to follow this well-worn path, I honestly had a bit of an inferiority complex. Yet something told me to not follow blindly; not to take for granted all the benefits that a collective offered. I am glad to have exercised such caution.
In the time I have been with The Gates, most of the ladies who chose independence are no longer active professionally. There would often be a big show of spreading one's wings, casting off the restrictions of a house for liberation. There would be expectations of a big splash into the wider world of pro domination. Then finally, rumors of loneliness and lack of security. It reminds me of that song, "Is that all there is?"
Early on, when I still naively believed I could never achieve true legitimacy working out of a house, I decided to investigate my options. Yet I treaded lightly, testing the waters rather than jumping in head-first. After all, did I know how cold or deep those waters were? Did I know where the rocks were just underneath the surface?
When a respected former colleague put up her website shortly after leaving The Gates, I decided I would also create my own pages. Why couldn't a domina at a house have a signature site, where she could detail her interests, guidelines, specifications and the like?
During several forays to Los Angeles, I would put up a visiting ad in Eros and experience a taste of things as an indie -- taking phone calls and arranging my own sessions. Though I had a great time playing out of the Wicked Garden, I did not feel compelled to cut off my association with a house. After seeing it from both sides, I concluded that my gig at The Gates was perfect for my needs.
I can understand why from the man's perspective, seeing an independent domina would be preferred. You have her telephone number and get the pleasure of hearing her voice when arranging a session. She arrives at her private space especially for her date with you. You two might even be alone on the premises together. I can see how he would find this set up advantageous.
Yet in my mind, being so accessible compromises my sense of dominance. It begins to feel too much like I am doing the serving. I like the idea of hanging out at The Gates, with the possibility of a few submissives paying me a visit while I'm there. Now this is not a judgment on my independent sisters. It is simply how I feel and what works for me. And in this endeavor, one's approach must be highly customized in order to be truly fulfilling.
Some admit to seeing me despite the fact that I session out of a house, while many prefer this arrangement as much as I do. As long as an appropriate attitude of humility and gratitude is present, I am happy to be served by both.