Friday, December 12, 2014

Secretary, revisited

My husband and I were sitting on the couch last night, me draped over his body as he allows me to do, when the movie Secretary came on. Since we knew the story very well it allowed for a different kind of viewing this time and my husband mentioned several times how extraordinarily well Spader and Gyllenhaul play out the dynamic, whilst I made mention of what a great screen play it is. Every scene drives the story onward and reveals more about what the characters want and what holds them back.

There are countless examples of the way the dynamic works for both of them but what jumps to my mind first is the scene encompassing the telephone answering lesson and the way Spader leads up to the difficult conversation topic of Miss Halloway's habit of cutting herself when under anxiety. Her first walk home after work after being given permission to breathe in fresh air with the full knowledge that she will 'never again' cut herself, exemplifies all that is great in the dynamic between a dominant and a submissive - the positive effect the dominant can have over his submissive's life.

For a time Miss Halloway only wants to please. Her typing mistakes are just that, until he stops playing with her and then she is more manipulative. She's so keen to feel his control and to be 'punished' that she lets the odd mistake go, in the full knowledge that he'll notice. Goodness. I would never do such a thing!

I admit I respond viscerally to the masturbation scenes since I know that it is critical to have in my mind thoughts that arouse, such as being given an instruction and knowing that however odd it might be, I am going to obey. She was told to eat four peas and so she did, and what a huge turn on that was for her. Only a truly submissive mind can understand how we really live for these moments of tight control and how they elevate us to a new dimension of life.

When such a dynamic is well in place disobedience is really something of a nightmare for both parties. To have an instruction refused must be deeply unsettling for the dominant, but I think it is important to understand that even whilst a submissive is creating havoc with her ministrations that she can't or won't do a task, she's suffering as well. It goes against every bone in the body to refuse to comply with an order and speaks to a very unsettled state of mind. It seems right to insist on obedience, the fastest way probably to restore good order,  but at the same time the decision to not comply needs to be more than noted. What led her to speak the unspeakable?

In Secretary there was no spanking, no telling off, that could interfere with the deep connection they had formed. She thrived on his control and suffered when he withdrew it. He doubted that they could do 'this' 24 hours a day but her only response to that was 'why not?' And, why not indeed? Together, they demonstrated what it is to love and live in their own way. It made us both smile. It reminded my husband that what I want is really very tender, sweet and most heartfelt.


  1. Might have to give that movie another try. Saw it years ago, and honestly didn't think much about it.

    Maybe it's time for another look.


  2. mouse: I think they got so much right - his shame at wanting to do what he did, his thrill at watching her obey his orders, her frustration when he stopped playing with her ('I have to work!'), their pleasure in one another and at the end, the way they were going to lead an ordinary life on the outside but their own life on the inside. I find it a very endearing story.