This short post is based around an interesting quote I ran across about holly sticks. Whether it's also of interest to you will depend greatly on your interest in the discipline element of BDSM, and whether, like me, you enjoy odd and exotic snips about exotic punishment tools.
While not as famous or well known as their cousin, the so called "English Cane" or "School Masters Cane" made of rattan, the holly stick, or holly whip as it's also called in this quote, is a somewhat less commonly used instrument of discipline found in the BDSM parlor or dungeon.
The breaking of hollies is a constant source of annoyance, more so perhaps to the manufacturer who only gets grumbled at than to the saddler who can charge for the repair. An unsound stick may occasionally escape detection, but the amount of trying that the sticks get during dressing and thronging is so considerable that very few rotten or weak sticks can get passed, the only defect that is likely to get missed is what is called an "open knot" that is one going very deep into the wood and such may occasionally overlooked, as the whip may be smacked in every direc-tion but one and stand it all right, but if smacked in that one direction, the knot may open, and the stick will break.I suppose the quote is just as much about human nature as it is about breaking punishment canes.
It is really astonishing how often, according to the user's account, the stick broke "the first time I smacked it." It will be found more often than not, when holly sticks are brought back broken, that the end of the thong is squeezed and grease-marked, shewing that it has been caught round the wheel or axle; or that the thong is scored and marked where it is quilled up, shewing that it has been against the top of the coach-house door or into some low hanging boughs in a lane, rather than that there was any real fault in the stick itself. We know that the saddler very frequently dare not point out such factors, but he may remind a customer that the top of a holly whip is not as thick as a lead pencil, and consequently, although it will stand fair, it will not stand rough, usage.
-- excerpted from Whips and Whip Making by W.G. Ashford, Birmingham England 1893
"It broke the first time I used it," has to rate right up with, "The dog ate my homework," for self-serving phrases uttered to avoid responsibility for one's own actions.
As a dominant, I can't complain really. I have benefited from this quirk of human nature on more than one occasion in the past.
You see, for some, the act of submission is simply another way to avoid feeling responsible for the nasty things they dream of having done to them.
When a scene is over and they are flying on endorphins, there's a built in excuse for them too . . .
"Master made me do it!"
Yes I did.
But, I didn't eat your homework.