It has become clearer to me since leaving The Gates that there are some fundamental differences between the majority of those who see ladies in a house and those who see independents. Of course, it would take this leap from one territory to another for it to become more apparent to me. No one had really explained it to me fully, and in fact I had been told there were no real qualitative differences between the two in terms of running of the scene. But I have not found that to be the case. Fortunately, I am quite pleased with the change.
Now from this new vantage point, what have I noticed? For one, there seem to be less expectations on the part of my submissives. I welcome this, and admit that if I had known how much of a hustle it was before in comparison, I would have gone independent sooner. I think there is a certain type of man who likes to go to houses because his fantasy is that the women there are relatively free and easy. He is the one who asks for full nudity, girl-girl and toyshows (none of which I ever did), not tipping beyond the $150 for the hour as he says "So am I the first you've seen today?" with a glint in his eye, imagining how many men have been on their knees before them. I always found it strange that the men who expected the most gave the least, though I suppose it makes sense if one sees the women as cheap sluts. By my last year at the house, what with all my skills and experience, I really began to chafe at these most undesirable of servants.
As for independence, I think for the submissive it feels more special to know that you have the undivided attention of the Mistress, such that one is more willing to pay greater tribute while at the same time be less demanding in requests of activities, particularly those of a sensual nature. I suppose it comes down to the fact that it is that much closer to the ideal of true femme domination, where one is happy for the simple privilege of being in the presence of a beautiful and wickedly clever Mistress. And with the sumptuous settings of the private playspaces at my disposal, as soon as one walks through the door the dynamic begins. So it is more of an all-encompassing experience.
Yet even with this knowledge, I would not have left too soon from The Gates. I cherish the camraderie I felt with the other ladies there. And I do not think I would feel as comfortable with my independence if I did not have my ample stable to support me through the transition. Truth be told, independence almost feels like semi-retirement. Now that I no longer spend three days a week in the East Bay, I have more time, energy and inspiration to continue expanding my explorations both within and outside the world of kink. I still take sessions at least twice a week, but it is so much easier to work my appointments around the rest of my day rather than take up the whole of it.
Towards the end of my time at the house, I think I began to use it as means of stalling, afflicted by trepidation at what to do next. I mean, being a full-time dominatrix is a tough act to follow. I did not want to find myself back in the grind of mundane work. Thankfully, my session tributes have allowed me the freedom and flexibility to explore my options with joyfulness and power, which is so much better than coming from a place of anxiety or desperate need. And I have discovered that it can be equally fun and exciting to inhabit other personas -- writer and businesswoman, to name two I am concentrating on at the moment. I confess to relishing a dramatic framework from which to view my life, and am thankful for the opportunities which continue to present themselves to me in that vein. Carpe diem, indeed.