The power of words
I’ve been thinking about this a lot, ever since what happened last Friday, and how an afternoon and potential play partnership was ruined with a single word. I know I’ve talked about this before; I believe words have a lot of power. That whole “sticks and stones” thing is BS. Granted, words can’t physically wound you. But what they can do to your heart, soul and psyche is as painful and lasting as any gun or knife.
We spankos are big on words. We all have our buzz phrases, our trigger words, the words we love, the words we hate. What is a massive button-pushing turn-on for one might be vomit-inducing for another. Since I spent so much time last week focusing on words I hate, I thought this week I’d counteract that with one of my all-time favorite phrases in our realm. I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but I’d like to delve into it more in detail today.
It’s a simple phrase. Three words, and sometimes four.
“That’s my girl.”
Or “That’s my good girl.”
Hearing those words makes me melt. I don’t know why. I have said many times that I’m not a submissive, but that I can be submissive when someone taps into my headspace. And when a top says that to me, in the right context, I want to hang the moon for him.
I am not sure when I first realized that this particular phrase was such a turn-on for me, but I can remember an earlier awareness. Those of you who go wayyyyy back with me, back to the days of the MSN board Southern California Spanked Wives and Girlfriends, may recall that I had an ongoing crush on a gym instructor (who I ended up hiring as a personal trainer), P. For those who don’t know this story — essentially, P was a very popular instructor/trainer. His classes were always packed. He was enthusiastic and fun, encouraging, pushed us, but knew what he was doing and was very skilled at it. He made a point of learning everyone’s name, and addressing us in class, calling out praise. And yes, he was very, very toppy… and it was sexy AF. I think, back then, every heterosexual female gym member with a pulse had a thing for P. And probably some of the males too. He was that charismatic.
I remember he’d call out names, sometimes mine, saying, “That’s it! Good! Come on, [name]. That’s my girl.” And I’d feel a jolt. Suddenly, I had more energy. More willingness. I could push harder, do more. Just from those three words and what they did to me.
Of course, it didn’t hurt that P looked like this, but I digress…
Once I became aware of how that phrase affects me, I noticed it more within scenes. It’s not all that common a phrase to hear — not like “Good girl,” for example. Which makes it all the more special when it does happen. One of my favorite Vegas party playmates, Roy, who I’ve discussed here before, uses it, and I adore it. When we’re in scene, in the zone, and the energy and connection are at their peak, he’ll lean down to me and say, “More?” In my blissful stupor, I will murmur, “Yes, please,” and then I can feel him smiling as he says, “That’s my girl.” Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmffffffffff…
What made me think of this? Something that happened recently; in fact, on the same day as that wretched coffee date.
I have a friend, A. He lives up north. We’ve never met in person, but we’ve been corresponding for about a year. We talk often on kik. We both love word games and do the daily Wordle faithfully. We both love Jeopardy! And of course, we’re both spankos. A has an extra fetish that I don’t happen to share — along with bottoms, he loves women’s feet. I’ve known a lot of foot fetishists over the years (they give damn good foot massages), so this is nothing new to me. After we’d gotten to know each other a bit better, he would ask me to send him pictures of my feet now and then. Sure, why not. He always asks politely, and he’s so appreciative and complimentary when I do. And it’s just feet.
Cut to last Friday, when I was reeling from my unpleasant encounter. I got a kik from A, asking about my day and how I did on the Wordle. I didn’t tell him about what had happened; I didn’t really feel like it. And then he said he felt like he hadn’t seen my soles in forever, and he’d love a new picture.
My first thought was “Oh, crap. I’m not in the mood for this. I’m feeling so unsexy and icky right now.” So I messaged back that I’d been super busy and preoccupied, but I’d send him something soon, I promise. And then he replied:
“That’s my good girl.”
There it was. That jolt. He has no idea how I feel about that phrase; he said it organically, not to be manipulative. And just like that, my mood shifted. My deeply hidden soft center melted like a Lindt truffle. I became willing. I set up my phone’s timer, and took not one but three pictures for him. He was his usual effusively appreciative self, and I enjoyed making him happy with such a simple thing. But what he doesn’t know is that he made me feel good too. And it helped me get past the ugliness.
While we’re on the subject of buzz words, here is another one of mine: Punish. Or punishment. Again, I have no idea why. But damned if hearing that word doesn’t do things to me. Yummy things
Funny story about that word, and as it happens, it has to do with the aforementioned P. One day in class, he had pushed us particularly hard, and when we were lying on our mats and stretching, I felt a twinge in my lower back, which tends to act up anyway. So, as we stretched, I idly reached down with one hand and massaged that spot. P, with his eagle eye, noticed that from across the room and called out, “Erica, is your back hurting?” I said, “Yeah, it’s okay, just a little.” And then he teasingly said… wait for it…
“Aw, I’m sorry, honey! I didn’t mean to hurt you. I just wanted to punish you a little.”
Oh. My. Freaking. GOD. I felt that blush all the way into my hair follicles. I thought he was going to have to scrape me off that mat. Of course, he had no idea what he’d said and what it had done to me. That was around the time that I became convinced that he was one of us, and I was determined to find out for sure. But that’s another story, a very long one.
Any of you want to share your button pushers? This is always a fun subject. I know that just writing this out has gotten me rather… flustered. And on that note, guess I should re-route my mind and get back to work.
Have a great weekend, y’all. ♥
You are correct , words are powerful. As for last week that word has no place. I am also Loathe to listen to the F word. But thats me. Several young ladys have been in tears in the corner for using that word with me.
As for this post. one thing that breaks through the gruff is when tear filled eyes tell me . Im sorry daddy i will do better. Melts the ole heart and I have to cuddle and hug the tears away.
I have a very “stern” look and many times I have identified a spanko just by their response to the look. However they tend to find out I am a big ole cuddly Daddy Bear 😀
Honestly, pretty much any of the classic spanking threats will draw a reaction from me if said with confidence.
“I’m going to spank you so hard, you aren’t going to be able to sit for a week.”
“I’m going to paddle your butt raw.”
“Just wait ’til we get home.”
Anything along those lines will do.
“Punishment” doesn’t resonate with me in the way it does with you. For me, the buzzwords that do it are “spanking” and “paddling.”
PD — I admit to freely dropping f-bombs. However, if I’m in mixed company, or with someone who I know genuinely objects to the word, I will avoid saying it. Life is too short to upset people on purpose.
Dan — can’t go wrong with the classics!
Erica if u say it with me , you will leave me no choice but to punish you till you promise to be my good girl 🤨😉
Hi! Erica, your P seems such a sweetheart, I would love to read more of him sometime. Bye for now, Jenny
I’ve got three trigger phrases that I think would only work in a role-play situation. (Otherwise the police might get called!)
In a defiant tone of voice, with matching body language, she asks, “What are you going to do about it? SPANK ME?!?”
“I’d like to see you try it!”
And the all-time classic, “You. Wouldn’t. DARE!!!”
Hearing one of those lines from a “bratting” woman certainly pushes my buttons.
I did read your earlier column about the one word uttered by a potential play partner that spoiled the occasion, and I can certainly understand why. I just got in late on that particular topic so I didn’t reply. But, since you bring up the topic of words again, and the triggers they evoke, I’ll add my proverbial two cents worth.
I get how “good girl” spoken in praise can serve as a soothing emotional balm, especially when spoken during or immediately after a play session — or in more vanilla contexts as well. For one thing, I’ve just always liked the word “girl” in general over “woman” if only because it sounds more affectionate, caring and nurturing to me. Besides, “good woman” just sounds ridiculously condescending to me somehow.
And since you also mention the word “punish,” I have a corollary to that. I’ve always been more intrigued with its synonyms, the nouns “discipline” and “disciplinarian,” and the adjective “disciplinary.” I don’t really know why, but they kind of put me in a head space in which I may be the “disciplinarian” to that “girl” who is in need of some “guidance.” And so much for my little contribution to this fun topic.
Jenny — P was a very fun chapter in my life. Lots of fond memories of him.
Hugo — yes, you don’t want the police called. Trust me on that one. Those are classics and always fun.
Bob — interesting, all the variations on the theme. “Discipline” does little for me, although I suppose it depends on who’s saying it. I once had a co-worker, loooong time ago, when I was giving him a hard about something or another, say, “Don’t make me discipline you.” Yes, my heart skipped a beat.
I agree that words can be incredibly powerful. When I’ve topped and my partner melted me with her sweetness andwillingness, I too like to tell her that she is my good girl. Saying that makes me fell warm and possessive. MY good girl. Mine! Wonderful.
Lion — adding the word “my” to pretty much anything makes in lovelier, don’t you think? I had a play partner who used to refer to me as “my Erica.” I loved that.
You are right about one subs meat being another subs poison. That is definitely the case with my main buzzword. I think it stems from all the story books that I used to root out of the library, during my youth, about 19th and early 20th century, UK boarding schools. In the books all the action was M/m but I used to convert it into F/m in my head. But in all those books, there was a set of words, regarding corporal punishment, that came up again and again. I can understand why female subs, and even some female Tops, do not like it, because of its negative, modern connotations when it is used, especially regarding women. I would never say it to a woman but it gives me a thrill when it is said to me.
I like to be beaten or threatened with a beating, or relate how she beat me so hard.
A real Yuck word to many people, but a spine shiverer when it is directed towards me.
Prefectdt — I get this. It’s more of a UK preference, I think? I remember shooting with Paul Kennedy and he said something along the lines of “get back here so I can beat you some more.” From him, and in that context, it wasn’t yuck for me at all. But I know a lot of people who don’t like it.
Some things simply sound too harsh. I don’t like “I’m going to tear your ass up.” Or “blister.” I don’t want to be torn up/blistered.
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While I agree words are powerful, I don’t agree that words can hurt. People can hurt others, and to cause hurt, they can use actions. gestures, and indeed words. But a word by itself means nothing more than what the dictionary says it does.
And even with people, the degree of hurt we feel is directly proportional to how we feel about the person. An “enemy” can call me a three sentence litany of the most vulgar expletives imaginable and it won’t move my needle a millimeter, but an overheard whisper of “idiot” from someone I care about can devastate me. Was it the word? Nope….it was who said it that hurt.
As for trigger words? Well again, these are triggers because past experience with people using them has left scars. But that’s just our minds being reminded of hurt, rather than hurt itself. It’s just how we are wired. I certainly have trigger words, and nearly every one is because of what hearing that word reminds me of.
And let’s not forget intent.
As for spanking words and phrases? Well…..LOL…..that’s just good titillation.
KD — I understand what you’re saying. But I think this is a case of semantics. I’m reminded of the saying, “Guns don’t kill people — people kill people.” True. But the guns are a vehicle engaged to do the killing. Likewise, sure, in a literal sense, words don’t hurt people. Not physically. But the use of certain words has the power to damage, I think. If a child grows up with constant criticism and berating, for example, I think they can be just as damaged as one that was physically beaten. (I count myself as one of those.)
And yes, while the person saying the words is more important than the words themselves, I’m still affected by the words no matter who is saying them. When I am attacked and called names, it doesn’t matter if I know the attacker is an asshole — it still makes me feel bad.
I concede that there could be a bit of semantics at play, but your last sentence is why I feel bad for you….and others like you, for whom the words themselves remain hurtful regardless of who is saying them. So while “words can hurt” isn’t fully literal, the “sticks and stones” trope can’t be taken as literal advice either, since I see it instead as a mantra of sorts……a self-emboldening flipped finger of defiance in the face of bullying. A strategy of self-defense. And in that regard I believe it is unfortunate that it seems to have fallen out of vogue in parenting in favor of the encouraging of victimhood. If we feel we have to protect kids from words, we teach kids that words are indeed more powerful than they are. So why empower the inevitable bullies of the world by empowering their particular words when we should render them impotent?
I think we’d all be better off if we went back to reciting “sticks and stones” when verbally attacked rather than seeking safe spaces. Telling a verbal bully “Your words don’t mean shit to me, because YOU don’t mean shit to me” takes away their power and shifts it to the one saying it. I used this strategy all of my life and believe me, I pity the person who wants to try to use words to hurt me………..and not because I’m going to report them.
In the case of actual physical harm, bullying is quite different and safeguards do need to be firmly in place, because a stick, stone…or fist….DOES hurt, and not everyone can employ physical violence equally. Bullies in particular succeed because they are quite good at selecting the most vulnerable targets, and not challenging those of equal or superior might.
I’m sure nearly all of us have been bullied in some way at some time, and speaking personally, all I can say is that I can’t recall a single thing a bully ever said to me that has stuck with me, BUT I do have my own trigger words from when the person I loved used them to turn on me and hurt me. And as I said, I’ll bet the same words might have once been used by both types of attackers, but it’s only the ones from a loved one that stuck. I wish however, that I could as easily dismiss those trigger words from my ex, as I have with others I could care less about…..but it’s difficult, and not because of the words themselves.
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More classic lines that resonate – –
“When I’m finished with you, you’ll be sitting on a pillow for a week”
– – James Bond to Moneypenny in ‘To Russia With Love’
“You know what you need young lady? A good old-fashioned spanking” Reply, “Maybe I do, nobody ever cared enough about me – –
even for that!”
– – Elvis in ‘Blue Hawaii’
“How would you like a good spanking?” Reply, “How would you like a punch in the nose?”
– – Cary Grant & Audrey Hepburn in ‘It Takes a Thief’
KD — I suppose some of us are more hypersensitive to words than others. I agree, we’re letting words have too much power. I’m one of those unfortunate folks who remembers ugly words thrown in anger forever, even from people I don’t care about. I can’t help it. It’s something I work on a lot.
Anonymous — Yup! Although that last one is “Charade.” “To Catch a Thief” was Grant and Grace Kelly.