Pete is late to a training session at the dungeon, and is told that May said to start without him. He later takes out his frustrations in his stand-up, using kink as a gimmick. The club’s manager tells Pete about how she never mentions her wife in her stage performance; the importance of boundaries.
Inside, Mira and Tiff are having a scene with a man in a full-body bondage bag and a gas mask for breath control. In between letting him breathe, they talk about Tiff’s past and future in the pro-domme business.
Tiff: “This is daunting.”
Mira: “It’s only daunting if you’re not willing to put in the work. Being a pretty white girl with a whip and a corset will make you popular, but it won’t necessarily make you good. This work requires trust, skill, connection. I was a young hothead, too, once, and I didn’t always trust that this was my calling. I even went out and got a business degree in attempts to legitimize myself to my parents, just like you.”
Tiff: “Still don’t talk to my mom.”
Mira: “Still? Well, that doesn’t mean the need to please her has gone away.”
Mira also talks about Tiff’s difficulty in calling her mother. She has Tiff use her own breathing to time how long between breaths for the sub.
Later Tiff visits her old acquaintance Chelsea, also from Georgia, who’s a wealthy but lonely alcoholic. After a long talk about her life and her anxieties, Chelsea asks Tiff to help her have her first orgasm. Tiff is reluctant, but she realizes that Chelsea is reaching out to her. Though Chelsea insists that Tiff doesn’t touch or even look at her, Tiff connects with her emotionally, and she has her first orgasm.
Where is this kind of empathy and understanding for the guy in the bondage suit and gas mask? What’s his story? Did the producers decide that people could relate to a woman who hadn’t had an orgasm but not a man who wants to be in a bondage sack?
Bonding is right that empathy is required for a good dominatrix, and for the therapist Tiff says she wants to be, and it’s one of the things lacking from in her life in general. It does lean heavily on the dominatrix-as-therapist trope we’ve seen from the book Dominatrix.
Tiff doesn’t need Mira’s dungeon or classes. If she wanted to, she could just set up her own space for sessions and make money that way. She’d probably continue her bad habits of playing fast and loose with consent and safety.
Tiff is still figuring out her own identity, and part of that is deciding if she wants to commit to being a pro-domme or if she would rather do it part-time or temporarily to fund her education. Being a pro-domme, for some, is a profession, even a calling. For others, it’s a way of making a living or doing other things, and they don’t need shade cast on them. They’re not necessarily less safe or consensual, either.