Drawing by Jeff Short,
Image courtesy ArtToday.com

Being Obedient vs. Being Pleasing

" 'What is the duty of a slave girl?' I inquired.
'Absolute obedience,' she said, frightened.
'What are you?' I inquired.
'A slave girl,' she said.
'What is your duty?' I asked.
'Absolute obedience,' she cried out."
John Norman, Hunters of Gor, p. 258


" 'What are the duties of a slave?' I asked.
'They are complex, and manifold, Master,' she said.
'Speak generally,' I said.
'We are to be absolutely docile,' she said, 'totally obedient and fully pleasing.'"
John Norman, Savages of Gor, p. 184


"Activate yourself to duty by remembering your position, who you are, and what you have obliged yourself to be."
Thomas a Kempis

A slave is told that she is to be "totally obedient and fully pleasing." At first reading, this may seem redundant, an unnecessary repetition of words. Aren't the two terms synonymous? arani does not think so.

"obey v. to do what is commanded by (a person or law or instinct, etc.)."
"please v. 1. to give pleasure to, to make (a person, etc.) feel satisfied or glad."
Oxford American Dictionary, 1982

So, looking at the above definitions, we see that to obey is to do what one is commanded to do. To please is to give pleasure, or to make another person feel satisfied. arani interprets it this way--obedience is an action, something that a person does because he/she is ordered to. Being pleasing is a manner of behaving, a mind-set if you will. It is a very subtle distinction, and one that this girl has only recently begun to understand.

Part of the difference has to do with motivation, or why we slaves do what we do. Yes, we are certainly supposed to do as we are told, to serve in whatever way we are commanded, promptly and without question. But do we go one step further? Do we devote our entire life to being what our Master wants us to be? Do we listen to the underlying message of His orders, so that our entire demeanor becomes what He wishes? Do we try to anticipate His commands, to jump to do His bidding before He speaks? Do we concentrate on bettering ourselves--learning to move more gracefully, to dress and arrange our hair more attractively, keep ourselves physically fit and healthy, maintain a pleasant household?

An obedient slave will have dinner on the table at the prescribed time, served to her Master's specifications. A pleasing slave will pay attention to His tastes, observing what His likes and dislikes are, how He likes His steak cooked or what kind of wine He prefers with beef. she will remember that He likes just a hint of salt on His broccoli, that He prefers to eat without listening to her prattle on about her day, or that He enjoys just a touch of Mozart during dinner.

An obedient slave will follow certain rituals that have been set up for when her Master arrives home from work. A pleasing slave will have kept herself busy while He is away, making sure the house is cleaned and everything is in order. she will present herself in the manner that she knows He approves of, both physically and in her demeanor. she will know instinctively if He has had a good or a bad day, whether He is in the mood for conversation or whether He wishes some time to Himself (or perhaps a cold beer or a massage).

And what about an on-line slave? If she is obedient she will hop up from the furs (or the Master's lap) when commanded, and wiggle her way across the room to get His paga. A pleasing slave will pay attention when another slave serves Him and whether He approves or disapproves. she will take note of what vessel He likes His drink served in, and any special touch that He enjoys. she will remember that He likes three ramberries in the bottom of His goblet of kalana. she will know, without being told, whether He likes a quick no-nonsense serve or a detailed sensual one. After she brings Him the ordered drink, she will remain at His feet if He so wishes, instead of asking to return to the furs so she can play with her friends, to patiently wait in case He wishes a refill or some other service. she will have taken the time to learn some personal detail about Him that she can work into her serve.

These are just a few of the ways that a slave can work on being pleasing to the Free. Does such a thing come naturally, or is it something that is learned over time. The answer is, both. The desire to serve comes from within; it is not something that can be transplanted if the seeds of such a desire are not already there. A true kajira will feel the burning from deep within her belly; she will know that she MUST serve, will live for that moment when she is given a command--any command. Even an untrained slave will show how she feels when she serves, and her need to be pleasing will be apparent to all. But being pleasing also takes time and practice, training and careful observation. A true slave will do these things eagerly, of her own motivation, simply for the joy that comes from being allowed to serve.

There comes a time, for each slave, when she realizes the difference between being simply obedient and being fully pleasing. For some, it comes sooner than for others. Some may feel the need to be pleasing and resist it at first, for one reason or another. Some may need more guidance than others to allow their need to have full expression. But a slave who is driven to be pleasing, in every way, is an inspiration and a joy to behold. arani is still learning how to be pleasing to her Master, and knows she still has a long journey ahead of her. she is grateful for His patience and His training. she hopes she will be allowed to continue to learn at His feet for a long time to come.

© arani_CsA, 3/29/2001

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