Master/slave Relations: Handbook of Theory and Practice
    If your slave is new to the Lifestyle - and if YOU are fairly new to
the Lifestyle - your greatest risk is probably in scaring him/her.
I have a friend - a Leatherwoman who had been in the Lifestyle
for one year - who took a fairly new-to-the-lifestyle date to a dark
party (a no-rules party), and was upset that he didn't know how
to behave. Are we surprised, here?
    I have another friend who was so excited about finally collaring
his slave, that he ordered her to wear the collar to work. Not a
good idea; this collar wasn't very discreet. Soon, the slave was
embroiled at work in one minor controversy after another. The slave never lost her job, but she had the sense that she was
monitored much more closely, and differently, than her peers.

    Message: it's going to take some time for those new to this subculture - whether new as a Master or new as a slave - to learn
how to behave and act separately and together in ways that don't
cause others to roll their eyes. How many times have we heard
stories of Internet Doms showing up at a public play party and
causing an uproar by grabbing someone's slave/submissive by
the collar? How many times have we heard about the new person walking right across an ongoing scene? How many times
have we watched with some mixture of horror and fascination as
a new-to-real-life Dom would sit down beside someone's collared
slave and start talking to her?
    Anyway, the reality is that we all started out at the beginning, and
once we've been submerged in this Lifestyle for some years, we
tend to forget how different we are now from the person we were
then. Don't overwhelm your new slave candidate.
    Getting to Know You; Getting to Know All About
    Before you begin a relationship, I strongly recommend getting to
know the person in a very Vanilla way. In the opening stages of
your relationship, you - as Master - should be sharing equal psychological power and authority with your slave candidate. So,
take some time with this person in order to figure out how they
act and react to unusual situations. Try spending a weekend in a
single bed. Make up some reason why it has to be this way, and
consider the reactions. Take your slave candidate out slumming
for dinner one night, and then have him/her get seriously dressed
up another night. See how you guys behave for a weekend at
a four-star hotel, then at a dive. Who is doing the fussing, and
what are they fussing about?

    I've had any number of instances where my own prejudices
rushed to the surface and danced on my head giggling, as I
watched someone who certainly didn't look the part, exhibit
extremely refined manners and behaviors. Similarly, I've had
a few experiences where a drop-dead gorgeous and immaculately coiffed Thing shattered the spell, which then crashed to
the ground, flopping and gasping for breath. She had opened
her mouth and said something that came out in non-grammatical
English. But, these are my hang-ups and not yours. You get to
be honest and derive your own self-truths.
    So, I suggest you start with a short contract; three months seems
to be common (it follows, shortly). Also, the Internet contains
many contract examples, although they are of varying degrees of
utility. In my own life, I offered my slave a three-month contract
and renewed it twice before moving to a year-long contract that
covered a period that she was under consideration for the permanent collar that I ultimately offered her.
    Guarding Against a Poor Quality submissive/slave
    As a Master, you may find that you've become entangled with
an out-of-control slave who talks about you behind your back.
It may take some time for you to realize this is going on. Some
defenses - particularly relating to established submissives:
    • Ask your potential slave to provide references.
References that you already know. This may be
somewhat round-about, but it can be done. Person
"X" knows person "Y," who knows person "Z," whom

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