Somebody says it Better: Service-Oriented doesn’t mean Free Labor

This weekend I found myself absolutely thrilled to attend and participate in Playground this weekend here in Toronto.  As always with events that feed my juicy juicy brain I’m still putting my personal thoughts on it… but there’s something else I need to say sooner.

I was part of a panel on Feminism and Submission with 4 other women and of course I’m having speaker’s regret.  To be clear, it’s not that I think I misrepresented myself, or mispoke…but I keep thinking of things I wish I’d remembered to say.  Like mentioning a fantastic post by Jaki Grier on why, if you want a maid, you should really just hire a maid.  Since I can’t go back in time, and I’m feeling ridiculously powerful and bold at the moment, I wrote Jacki instead and asked yo if I could share that writing on this blog  So here it is, I hope you’ll take a moment to read it, especially if you either identify as someone for whom acts of service is a love language, or you’re interested in a service submissive.    Because remember, with power over another comes a responsibility.  Please don’t step up if you aren’t willing to respect that.

Service-Oriented doesn’t mean Free Labor
Jaki Grier  

This post was inspired by a post a friend wrote about finding a service-oriented submissive but this isn’t a dig at him specifically. This is more commentary on the vast number of “seeking a service slave” posts that people write which always irked me. My problem is that many of them offer nothing in return.

The number one way to locate and maintain a relationship with a service-oriented person is to love them.

That’s it. It sounds so simple. The reason for this is that service is an act of love that I am sharing with you. Every toilet I scrub and every boot I shine is saying “I love you.” over and over again. This doesn’t mean you have to take me on a date. This isn’t about romantic or sexual love. You don’t need to fuck me or marry me or even compliment every task I complete. It does mean you need to be aware that you aren’t looking at a clean floor. You are looking at an expression of my love for you.

It’s easy to pay someone in cash because the fair exchange is there. Paying someone in love is harder to see. I’m willing to bet that every service-oriented person has one experience where they served with love and when it was time for payday… they were standing there looking lost. When it happened to me, I thought, “How can you doubt me? I poured myself into this? Can’t you feel my admiration, my devotion and my gratitude for being in your life?” And with one look, the answer was clear. No. Then everything I sacrifice stares me in the face. Service is it’s own reward because I gained experience and I can be proud of myself for how hard I worked. But I can do that without anyone else. I can serve without being taken advantage. If you want MY service to be YOUR reward, you gotta put something on the table.

I am not offering a free service. I am offering service with care and devotion. In order for me to care about your task to the fullest of my ability, you need to care about me. The beauty here is defining how that love is manifested. May I consider you my friend now and share the stories of my life with you? Will you give me heartfelt advice? Can I ask for a hug or worship at your feet? That can be negotiated but honestly, the love you feel will help shape the rewards of the service.

Doing something purely for altruistic reasons works on a case-by-case basis but it will not last as the foundation for a relationship. If a random person asked me to help clean their dishes, I probably would. That’s altruistic. If they then set that as a weekly expectation with punishments, I would tell them to suck my dick. That’s unequal exchange. The part that makes it rewarding is knowing that you are pleasing someone who cares about you.

Furthermore, service is never free for the submissive. it costs me time away from my family, my job or other commitments. Service requires the gas money to arrive at your house (on time, no less). Service often has assignments with expectations that I have to take home. Service can affect the friends I keep, the people I can date or fuck, the clothes I wear or any other number of aspects of my life. The privilege of cleaning up after you can be extremely expensive on my end. Keep in mind, you don’t just want ANYONE serving you either. You expect a reliable, honest, trustworthy person who is capable and earnest. Why would an individual like that accept anything less than your love in return? Isn’t genuine service worth that much?

Lemme tell you, accepting my service is a hell of a lot more expensive, time-consuming and energy draining than hiring a maid. I set an expectation that you will show me in some manner that you see and are aware of how much I love you. I also set the expectation that you will show me you love me too. Your job is to find a way to tell me. And the more work I do, the more you’ll need to say it. If I clean your whole house for a week, a pat on the head isn’t enough. But saying, “Wow, look at this place! You are wonderful! Thank you!” might set my head spinning for days.

I think it’s important to squash this myth that you can give little and receive big. There is no such thing as free labor. There is forced labor but that type of slavery won’t work unless you catch me first, motherfucker. There is emotionally or mentally manipulated labor but then if I’m half-crazy and emotional, how much work do you think will actually get done? There is paid labor and if you are hiring, I will do my part and go home. But if you pay me in love, I will rearrange my world for yours and both of us will flourish because I’m a love-oriented slave and service is how love manifests.

9 thoughts on “Somebody says it Better: Service-Oriented doesn’t mean Free Labor

  1. Zed says:

    I come at this situation from both sides, so it is really helpful to have this put into coherent words. Thank you for sharing this 🙂

  2. Tammy Donner says:

    I found your post looking online for the definition of “service oriented”.
    I think I found it here:”I am offering service with care and devotion.”
    Your post was like a mirror of sorts and help me shake my head a bit – seems I love to serve enough to serve for free ….however I should not – being service oriented as you put it does not mean I work for free – sometimes hard to know where the line is between “customer service” and being taken advantage off 🙂 – Thanks again for the post.

  3. says:

    Hello! I could have sworn I’ve been to your blog before but after browsing through some of the articles I realized it’s new to me.

    Nonetheless, I’m definitely happy I discovered it and I’ll be bookmarking
    it and checking back regularly!

  4. Rosalind says:

    I wanted to thank you for this wonderful read!! I absolutely enjoyed every little
    bit of it. I’ve got you book-marked to look at new things you post…

  5. Daisy says:

    Bookmarking this page to read again later… I have a new service submissive, and went asking the internet for advice – this was a great read… Thank You!

  6. Lone Revenant says:

    Reblogged this on the ravens ravings and commented:
    A lot of this explains things far better than I could possibly try. My service to a Dominant is my way of saying love. Not just the romantic feelings type but that i love you on a level where for me to say it fully . I need to show it by serving

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