Thinking [genre] Thursday

Back when I was a working girl, I worked in three different record stores.  The stores did not carry records, they had CDs and cassettes, and quickly the cassettes went away.  I just like saying record store better than music store, or worse CD store, though you may call them what you like.  If you’ve ever been to record store, you will know that there is a LOT of organization involved.  Music is broken down into genres, and each of those sections alphabetized.  Within the first few months of working in this environment, even though only 16, I realized two things:  First, people tend to get way too hung up on labels.  Second, I thought the entire store should be alphabetized together, not broken into genres, and especially no sub-genres.  Oh, you know I will elaborate…


I cannot even begin to tell you how many people would come in, look for an artist and not be able to find them.  These customers inevitably came to me for help.  I would take them to the section and pull out the CD, at which point they would look at the genre heading of the section and say some variation of “OH, never mind, I thought that artist was Rock”.  I would be left mentally stuttering, gagging, eye-rolling… while outwardly maintaining my pleasant disposition, of course!  The close-mindedness of these people left me speechless.  They came into the store loving an artist, wanting to spend $16 on a CD and then would LEAVE empty-handed when said artist didn’t fit into their idea of music.  REALLY?!  Now, I know we all get hung up on labels and genres.  I know we’ve all had that perfect product that has inspired brand loyalty (just look at Android vs. iPhone – folks get serious about their choices), but to eschew music you actually ENJOY because it doesn’t fit into a specific category?!  I draw the line there.  I really do.  If someone tells me… “I like country music, only country music, always country music”… I know immediately we won’t be good friends.  Though not my favorite, I have nothing against country music; I do have a lot against such narrow-minded ideas. Ugh! Are you guys still with me?  How about a more personal tale…

I am a huge fan of punk, so much so that when people ask me what my favorite kind of music is, for simplicity, I automatically reply punk.  My all-time favorite band is NOFX, followed by Bad Religion, Green Day, Millencolin, etc… BUT!!  Do NOT put me in that punk box and lock me away because I am just not having it… I like rap(!), rock, metal, techno, alternative (which is probably THE most ridiculous genre ever labeled), folk, bluegrass, country, grunge, classical, blues, big band… and everything around and in between).  I do not care if you like the music I do, or if you tease me for liking it, or if you feel that I cannot possibly be a true fan of anything, if I like everything… I like what I like because, to my ears, it is good music.  Genres hold no weight with me, even though, to some extent I am forced to function with them.  More on that momentarily.


Eradicating Genres…
The benefit to getting rid of genres is twofold.  First, it would simplify the whole alphabetizing process immensely!  More importantly, people would not worry about where the artist they like is categorized, so they would not feel unfaithful to their preferred genre.  Customers would constantly see different artists – Green Day would be next to Pat Green – and more likely than not, would venture out into unchartered musical territories.  If that had happened, the world would be full of so many more well-rounded people. I firmly believe that if you can relate to rap and punk and country, you can relate to all sorts of people!

Shygirl!  This is such a long-winded post, what does this have to do with D/s?!  Oh, friends, it has everything to do with D/s!  D/s, of course, is a label, but I understand the need for it.  It is a way of life for some (like me) – almost up there with religion – so we use it to distinguish ourselves from others that aren’t on this path. I use it, mainly, to distinguish our dynamic now from our dynamic before. I will tell you what I don’t like… the term ‘vanilla’.  I am very guilty of using it, of falling into the ‘vanilla’ trap, but it is not a positive or uplifting word. Think about it.

Most of us have real lives.  I have three children, a house, pets, a Husband that works, bills to pay, mouths to feed, laundry to do… ‘vanilla’.  I have REAL emotions – anger, sadness, frustrations, happiness, annoyance, impatience… ‘vanilla’.  Please tell me why my life should be thrown into a negative category?!  I am a very happy girl, have a wonderful life, and because Sir and I have the dynamic that we do, NOTHING is so-called ‘vanilla’. Here’s a mind-blower –  I happen to like vanilla!!  I like living a full life, I like vanilla ice cream, my favorite scent is vanilla and always has been.  I like the fact that through all of this life that goes on, my Husband is my Sir, my Dom – even in the most ‘vanilla’ of our interactions, none of that changes.  I wrote about that the other day.  We are 24/7, there are no time-outs, but there are no time-outs in life either.  Vanilla should not be a bad word.  Vanilla is sweet and delicious and smells divine.  To the popular way of thinking, ‘vanilla’ is real LIFE so maybe we should turn it around and put it in a more positive light.  D/s isn’t about rough and tumble all the time – most of the time, especially if you do it 24/7, D/s is sweet and comfortable, a warm vanilla latte for your soul.


Take the vanilla back!  Down with vanilla!  Down with labels!  Down with genres!  Down with the majority!
I got carried away there – take vanilla back and don’t feel bad that you have a life!
Life is sweet, D/s is sweet, oh hey!, Vanilla is sweet, too!!

How do you feel about ‘vanilla’?  Feel free to let me know.

I leave you with a punk-rock salute.  \m/
Happy Thinking Thursday!!

24 thoughts on “Thinking [genre] Thursday

  1. I live within both worlds — I like and understand both worlds. But, one World will not accept the other easily and to talk about the differentiation needs a label/name. It really doesn’t matter what that label is, but someone chose Vanilla in the beginning and it stuck. I do understand your labelling issues, but in the end, don’t you find yourself hanging out with people who don’t label, so it doesn’t matter?


    • So true, I DO associate with those that are like-minded. I understand the need to differentiate between the two worlds, I just get a little frustrated that ‘vanilla’ tends to be used in such a negative manner. 🙂


      • I guess I haven’t heard it in a negative manner. I must be in LA LA land (could be very true). 🙂
        Ps. I did laugh that the Record Store and genre labelling, I think the same thing happens to books, too.


  2. Vanilla’s not a bad word! :0) …… Everyone has vanilla… Like you say… The term is used in different ways… I have used it as a term that means (before) D/s or an action that happened (before we were D/s…) Never meaning it in a negative light. People use it to describe people that are not in the lifestyle.
    I enjoy vanilla but I like it with some HOT Fudge… (Vanilla with a Twist)…. LOL!

    No matter The flavor…. D/s is fun and a happy dynamic….
    Things can be deep…. So playfulness is a must…
    We all are working on our dynamics….
    Great post!!!


  3. I’ve read and heard a lot of the same negative connotations associated with the term vanilla as well. I think the vanilla parts of our life have intertwined with our D/s(or maybe the other way around)…and thats a good thing. Regardless I love both aspects! There is balance in the force!
    P.s….I love just about every kind of music out there! I listen according to my mood!
    Really love this post!


  4. Great post! I agree Shygirl record stores should have never went by genres…alphabetical order is the logical and best root. I’m like you I like all music but opera. I love living 24/ in D/s but it is only a label used in the D/ community in honesty … vanilla will always be in our daily life and it should be for many reasons. Our world and Life will always have labels it is up to us how we chose to live life no matter what category, what genre, what name society decides to call anything. Its only a name it not your personality or who you are!


  5. I’ve written several times about how damaging labels can be, especially when we apply them to our own real lives and try to mangle our relationships to fit what we see someone else describe as “real” D/s…or whatever. (It’s a main reason I dropped the label D/s and made my own: control and compliance.) OTOH, I think you may be taking your rejection of labels too far when you start rejecting people because they express a decided preference for a genre of music. I DON’T like the dissonance and what I perceive as the musical sloppiness and harshness of punk. I DO love opera. Does that make me someone you would dislike being around? I hope not, at least not for my expression of preferences.


    • Oh no, no, no. Not at all. Of COURSE people have their musical preferences, as do I. What I was trying to say…for example, people that say they ONLY like a certain genre, like country, without giving a listen to anything else. Those same people may hear a song on the radio, think it is country but find out it is listed as “POP” and then not like it anymore because it doesn’t fit their preferred label. It’s those people that give more weight to the label, than the actual music. Does that make more sense?


      • Thank you, Sweetie. I think some others do, to, since I’ve seen it used a good bit since I began using it on my now-defunct tumblr blog. Speaking of that, my response to your post may have had as much to do with the horribly judgmental garbage I ran a way from on that blog as with what you were really saying. I got SO tired of the cookie-cutter images and responses and the fires that would rage any time I expressed a real opinion that I just shut it down and moved here. So, if I misunderstood you, I apologize. Obviously, I enjoy you, and I think we actually agree about the basic idea here.


  6. Hmmmmm….I’ll try this again, my first one didn’t seem to go through.

    Excellent post. I think of vanilla in terms of a mindset rather than activities though and it’s the mindset that drives me bananas. There is no escaping life’s activities. I am mired in laundry and removing pet hair from furniture today. I excavated our boys room this morning. I have to clean out our car this afternoon. However, I am NOT doing any of these activities while thinking “I hate doing this,why isn’t my husband helping out, I’ll show him, no sex for the rest of the week” or ” I bet I could sneak an extra $100 out of our checking account to do what I want, he’ll never see it” or ” I’m not going to do this stuff, I’m going to do what I want to do, screw him” Um, no. That, to me, is a vanilla mindset, and I’m sick of hearing it from my non D/s friends.
    My Sir made it very clear that in order for certain things to happen this weekend, that X,Y, and Z need to be accomplished by today. End of discussion. He is absolutely correct. I am doing laundry. Happy to do it. Well, pretty happy, let’s be real. ( he actually just came down and saw me here and reminded me that he wants something done by a certain time today…because….. it affects the other things…that’s why)
    I think there is a tendency for readers to assume that ALL we do is kinky D/s stuff, when in reality my posts are just snippets, albeit mostly fun snippets, of our real lives. Gotta run, and fold laundry. Great thoughts shy!


    • LBP, thank you for this comment! My entire attitude toward my daily life has changed… My ‘chores’ no longer piss me off. They need to be done, for the household and Sir, and I’m happy to do them. Well, I am happy once I’ve gotten them done! Today, I ran an errand for my Sir that I definitely did not want to do, but he asked (instructed) me to do it and I did it with happy thoughts. The activity may have been vanilla, but the mindset definitely was not! Have fun with that laundry…that’s what I’m doing, too.


      • Just getting around to commenting but I have to chime in and say I hate housekeeping. However, I love my Husband. If he wants something just so, it seems petty of me to deny that to him. Not the way I always thought in our marriage, but this shift in my thinking has been a while in the making. Being open with each other about living a D/s relationship only helped me recognize that those things I do only because they make him happy, contribute to the morale of our family. And that in turn, makes me happy. Great post, Shygirl. Lots to think about.


    • Oh laundry! The never ending mount
      wash-ington! I recently started putting my Sirs laundry away for him…on my own. Usually I just fold it and lay it I on the bed. Hes military and type A…likes his clothes a certain way. Im careful to fold the way he likes…and neatly place them in the chest. Not a second goes by when I’m doing laundry that Im not thinking about him! Its definitely in the every day details that my submission is at its peak. Do I want to do landry everyday? Nope. But I love that I’m doing it for him…in a way that pleases him.
      Sorry….I know laundry wasnt the point…but its what im doing now too…so it struk me!


  7. I have such eclectic tastes in music as well from Broadway show tunes to Alternative (I hear you on that one) to my recent love of…ehem…Alternative Techno Chill (say that 3x fast). As for “vanilla” I too have heard it used many times to really put down “regular” sex and relationships. While I understand the use of the term, what gets me thinking is the fact that you can be a D/s couple and not have kinky sex. Domination and submission doesn’t automatically mean bondage, impact play, or use of sex toys. It is a dynamic, no better and no worse than any other relationship dynamic that works for the couple involved.


    • Well put Elle, our D/s was completely devoid of sex for 5 years ( well at least on MY end, LOL), and while I wouldn’t recommend that dynamic to anyone, it did keep the peace in our house, for a while anyway.


    • Yes! The dynamic is more important, all-encompassing, than the kinky fun! I understand the need to differentiate between D/s and Non-D/s, but vanilla shouldn’t be negative.


  8. Good post.
    Vanilla is a bad word only because vanilla felt that D/s(kinky, BDSM, and others) was a bad word.
    Makes sense no?
    It all boils down to how much weight you place on labels. If it’s just nothing but a label that lets you know what it is. That fine. But if it’s a label that defines what you do and what you like and control what you can do and like. It’s pointless and enough to box yourself in into a prison with hardly any space for more.

    Though I don’t like vanilla ice cream, or vanilla scent. They speak of being lifeless with no soul to me. I prefer dark chocolate ice cream or just the bitter taste of pure dark chocolate itself.


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