Posts Tagged ‘corporal punishment’
It’s January, and the Christmas decorations have come down,* but I have ten advent calendar chocolates left, so I don’t think it’s too late to talk about Decembery things. Most importantly, about Spankvent, organised by Abel, of the Spanking Writers, which led to a beating for me.
I haven’t done much in the way of kinky play recently, mostly because I’ve had two broken bones. I managed to climb out of bed in November, and since then I’ve been working very hard at convincing myself that I’m healed. I’ve turned up at job interviews, having taken my sling off in the lift, congratulating myself on soldiering through until realising I wasn’t able to write. I’ve begun making candied peel for Christmas presents, understanding too late that I was physically unable to lift the pan. And last week I dragged myself down to London with a wheelie bag of outfits and presents for my friend’s hen party. My friends watched me carry it up and down flights of stairs, making no comment, and when, late that night, on the way to the third cocktail bar, I told one of them that my arm was aching, she said, “oh, why?” If the pain had been slightly less, I think I’d have punched her.
I’m moaning. I know that silence and forbearance would have more dignity. However, the problem is that no one admires forbearance if they don’t know you’re doing it, which provides an impetus to do it badly and get a bit of recognition. Or to go on about it in your blog and hope that some stranger tell you they think you’re doing terribly well, weeks after the fact, I suppose. I’ve been putting my life back together. The lover’s been helping, by fighting sheets and hoovers and property agents. There hasn’t been much time for kink, though, because I’ve been busy, exhausted and in pain. It’s not just that those prevent desire for kink forming, they also provide a perfect breeding ground for grumps. There’s a lot to go wrong in play** and the last thing either of us want is to be up half the night talking about our feelings.
With all that background (moaning) you’ll be able to imagine my reaction to the Lover’s suggestion that we take part in Abel’s twenty-five days of spanking. I wanted kink back in my life. I didn’t want pain and pressure. I said we could do it, as long as we kept it light. Maybe. And as long as we found a time when I wasn’t rushing off to prepare for tutoring, or attempt the washing up. For months we’d been planning an anti-Christmas holiday, a few days in a cottage somewhere remote where I could be hunted across the moors. I’d been a little optimistic about healing times when we picked a date, not only would my broken arm mean the hunting wouldn’t be much fun, but it would have given the Lover an unfair advantage. The holiday got slimmed and squeezed until it was a night away in Haworth. On the tenth, at Number 10, the Coffee House,*** and it was this day that we chose for my advent spanking.
On the way there, we came up with a role play scene which would play into the Victorian atmosphere of our visit. We were nearly swayed when the lover found a shop selling ration cards and carbolic soap, but I convinced him to save that for another time (I also ended up with the soap—my overnight bag stinks!). Late in the evening, after a painful reminder of what it’s like looking for veggie food in the country, I demolished a packet of shortbread from beside the kettle as we finalised the details. We also discussed doing part of the scene—the part that involved speaking not spanking—downstairs in the coffee shop for a bit more authenticity. Reflecting on the CCTV cameras and the fact that we really did like the place and may want to return, we decided against. It would have made for a better story, though.
The coffee parlour, transported back in time, was owned by Mr. Taylor, who’d been on a trip to Manchester or Liverpool—my knowledge of historical coffee shops comes almost entirely from Habermas and French novels, so I’m a little hazy on the details—to source beans. Whenever he went on one of these trips, the housekeeper, Nelly, always made sure the parlour fire was warm and put out a meal before the servants went to bed, in case Mr. Taylor came home late. Since Emily, the newest maid, had started, he’d never got home in time to eat a single one of those meals, and she was often asked to throw them away in the morning, not long before Mr. Taylor would clatter into the yard, talking about late nights or bad weather detaining him overnight in the city.
When Emily woke in the night, cold and shivery, she knew there’d be a nice fire in the parlour. And when she stood there in her nightgown warming herself, and found that she felt slightly peckish, she didn’t think there’d be much harm in nibbling a biscuit, since she was the one who’d be throwing them away in the morning. And when she became curious about how her master’s special cheese and pickle sandwich tasted, she didn’t think there’d be any serious repercussions. It was nasty, anyway.
Emily heard a noise downstairs. She was mindful enough to make it to the kitchen with a tray, but then she was trapped in the basement, far from her room, hearing footsteps cross the parlour and then descend toward the kitchen. She stood in the dark, clutching the tray, until her master found her there, with the crumbs of his biscuits and dismembered sandwich. He was hungry, he was cold, and he’d ridden a long way through the frosty night. He told her she had five minutes to bring him another tray. Unfortunately, looking for the pickles and the biscuits in the dark pantry, it took her fifteen.
When Emily got to her master’s room, he told her to put down the tray. He told her that she had a choice between a punishment, one stroke for every minute she was late, or dismissal without a reference. Seeing her indecision, he threatened to increase her punishment for every minute she kept him waiting, and instructed her again to bend over his bed. He drew her nightdress up, and she tugged it down. He pulled it up again, more firmly, and she blushed at the thought of what he saw. Emily squirmed through five strokes of the strap, and bit her lip through five burning cane strokes, afraid of waking the housekeeper, who wouldn’t go as far as to give her options.
I imagine that Mr. Taylor then went on to eat his sandwich, but we stopped the scene there. I do know, however, that Emily was so humiliated by the experience that she left Mr. Taylor’s service, and indeed the village. I’ve some photographs of her walking through the heather and the misty rain on the moors, setting out to seek her fortune.
We left, too, the next day. I think we were quiet enough, based on the fact that the family sleeping upstairs were very friendly as they served breakfast. And my kink? I’m working on it. I’d like more of it in my life. Based on December’s experiences, all I need is a few people to take me on holidays to picturesque villages. Tops in rural locations, apply within.
*Christmas decorations in general, not mine. Decorating my flat would have been dismal and depressing, and most Christmassy colours would have clashed with my walls.
**Emotionally, not physically. And just in case anyone was wondering, “were you doing something kinky?” is not an appropriate response to, “I have a broken collar bone.” I’ve yet to meet a kinkster into broken bones. Presumably some vanillas are. Vanillas are weird.
***Ten, The Coffee House was a fabulous place to stay. The room was lovely, the bath was half-Jacuzzi, and when we sent down for coffee they discussed beans and put the most delicious biscotti I’ve ever had on the tray. Every time the Lover called about availability or booking the owner was baking. There were raspberries in the fruit salad at breakfast. That’s my kind of place.
This week it was suggested that Manchester Under 35′s Munch allow over 35 year olds in, if they have youthful enough partners. I’ve never been particularly interested in debates about age-limited munches, except to note that I’d never invite the people decrying them to a party, because they’d probably be sending out for more beer when I’m rinsing glasses and yawning pointedly. However, responses to the suggestion have been fascinating. There’s a terrifying number of people who think it’s acceptable that younger people should never go to events without their partners. A significant proportion of members don’t think the age limit is about having something in common with other attendees, but about keeping, “predatory older doms” (PODs?) out. I began to ask some questions. Why are so many older people angry about not being able to come? Why can’t young women go to events unaccompanied by their partners? Why is there such a perceived threat of PODs? The answer is obvious: young women are valuable. Everyone wants us. Don’t you just want to tie us up and beat us? Well you can’t, we’re taking our hot, youthful flesh to that pub over there, and shutting you out. Feel free to peer at the goodies through the window.
I’m exaggerating a little. In any case, the rhetoric of the fetish scene is one of inclusivity and acceptance, where many tastes are represented. We’re brought together by our difference from the mainstream; you might not share my love of canings, but you share my sense of exclusion. Because there are so few of us, we have to share a space, so we respect one another. Where there are enough people, we divide into groups by preference to make places where we can go to get what we want, and we exclude those who don’t share our tastes. And that’s personal preference, right? You can’t criticise people for that, surely? Well, it’s not quite that simple.
At 19 I tended not to sleep with fat women, trans or genderqueer people (fat men were less of a problem for me – go figure). At 27, it’s naive to think of that as “just personal taste” and have started to challenge received wisdom about what qualities are sexually desirable. As a result, I’ve had some fantastic sex (and indeed relationships) with beautiful people I would otherwise not have considered as potential lovers.
It’s easy, after the initial “Oh God, what made me like this!?” stage for kinksters to think that because they don’t share obviously mainstream tastes, they exist in a social vacuum as far as their desires are concerned. I think it’s worth considering the factors that shape them. That’s why I remain vaguely insulted by FemSub, for example, even though I can understand why people would want a space where they know they can meet someone of their preference. There’s something distasteful in providing a space for what seems to be the most common and acceptable dynamic, the one that’s closest to the mainstream, and excluding everyone else. And don’t get me started on the advice that there may be play, “should the ladies choose.” Consent isn’t an issue for men, apparently!
But I digress. It’s naive to expect the kink scene to be free of the prejudices the rest of society has: sexism, herteronormativity, racism, the belief that high heels are a good thing. Perhaps I should count myself lucky since I fit my box well; a bisexual submissive woman is a better thing to be, given the prejudices of our little subculture, than, say, a submissive man with a urine fetish. There are women who do better out of conventional beauty standards than I do (I’m never going to be able to do anything about these hips) but I’m on the right side of acceptable, and hairy legs aside, it helps that I’m femme. That’s probably why it took me so long to feel uncomfortable with the scene’s values. I was doing fine out of them.
A while ago the lover and I were talking about the spanko community I know through blogs and Twitter, but for the most part don’t know in real life. He observed that, compared to us, they’re ‘so straight’. “Some of the women are bi” I said. The men aren’t though, or if they are they keep it quiet. The prevalent dynamic is M/f, with (and I say this from the outside, with extremely limited knowledge) a preference for youth among the fs. Presumably they’re brought together by a shared taste, but that doesn’t stop me feeling sad when I look through what’s being shared as hot (Abel’s collection of photos, say) or criticised as not (such as this tall spankee) that I’m not getting any younger, skinnier or shorter.*
I’ve loved the idea of being fresh meat for the predatory older man since before it would have been legal, but just as an idea. Well, I’ve loved it once or twice as a reality, too, but queasily, and before I discovered kink. Now that I’m here, in this world where fantasy becomes play so easily, I’d like to enjoy being preyed on, in my youth and innocence, by older men who covet it, without the real-life repercussions of feeling I lose value with every passing day, or that my partners like my lack of wrinkles or my naivety more than my experience or knowledge or any of the things that make me me. I’d like a world where spanking models don’t have to lie about their ages, and where we don’t think we have to keep predatory doms out of the Under 35′s Munch.
Is it possible, given that I spent half of last year battling a crush on a beautiful woman in her forties (no luck, she has a younger boyfriend), that I have a bit of a thing for a woman who was old enough to be releasing records in the 1980s (and I know I’m not the only one), and that the kink scene is built on such weird tastes as fancying a woman over thirty, that I could find a kinky space where youth isn’t—ahem—fetishized? Or am I being naive?
*Ok, I find it hard to want to be shorter, it must make it difficult to breathe in lifts. And reach high things. I sometimes feel too tall for my kink, though.
I type this with aching arms. You’d know that, if you could see me, because I have mottled bruises on each upper arm. I look like a soft fruit that’s been dropped and retrieved.
I like marks. When tops have offered post-beating arnica applications, I have refused on the basis that I’d like to preserve the bruising. It isn’t a purely aesthetic decision; I like to think that marks justify the wriggling and screaming that went on while the pain was being inflicted. Sometimes marks risk betraying my predilections to the world, of course. A few months ago, freshly caned, I went dancing in a swirly dress. A partner said to me, “your outfit is very…aerodynamic.”
“Is that another way of saying it lifts when I twirl?” I asked.
“Well, maybe you should get your mother to buy you some big knickers.” He said.
I considered saying, “I don’t think I want knickers from beyond the grave,” but that seemed inappropriate. I conducted a mental review of that evening’s knickers and decided they provided sufficient coverage and laciness. And then I remembered the six livid stripes across my bottom, and my face went as red as the weals.I didn’t come up with a good comeback. I asked my next partner whether my dress was too revealing, though, and he was reassuring. I decided I was probably being wound up. Then I was thrown into a drop, and felt my skirt catch, high, on the arms that caught me. The thought that staid Stockport was seeing my cane marks left me slightly off balance all evening. The next day I bought some very big frilly knickers, which keep me safe from exposure as long as no one marks my thighs.
I didn’t even think of hiding the more innocent-looking bruises on my arms I displayed them without a thought at my grandparent’s wedding anniversary and no one made a comment. I took my cardigan off in class and no one said a thing. I went out dancing, though, and every partner seemed strangely interested. “What happened?” “Did someone grab you too hard?” “Are those love bites?” (I think that man thought he was funny) “Everyone is talking about you, asking how you got those bruises.” Now, unlike cane stripes, a bruise on the arm has many non-kinky explanations. The problem is, none of those explanations were true. The truth is, my lover punched me. Repeatedly. That didn’t seem to be the thing to say.
I tried to wriggle out of commenting as much as I could. As I was mumbling a response, one man said, “That looks like a punch to me.”
“Hmm,” I said.
I’m not ashamed of my kinkiness. I don’t find it necessary to sneak about and tell lies. At the same time, there’s no need to involve people who haven’t consented in something they don’t much like, by constantly displaying it (I wish others would apply this logic to penises and football). I don’t own any long sleeved dancing dresses, and my bruises have been topped up with a few extra punches since last week.
Fellow kinksters, how do you deal with visible bruises? Do you wear them proudly, announce their origins and enjoy the shocked looks? Vanilla readers (I assume there must be some) are you offended by bruising? Would you call the police if I told you my lover had punched me? And can any of you lend me a long-sleeved dress?
I’m not very good at talking about my kink. You might think that someone who blogs about the kinky things she’s done would happily rattle off lists of things she would like to do. Recording what has happened, though, is mere note-taking; speaking about desire is more akin to divination.
What I can do is document my systematic failure to tell anyone what I want. My first forays into formal kink (to be distinguished from casual kink, during which one must maintain deniability and use something fluffy from Ann Summers) were based on HH’s enticing scenarios. All I had to do was embellish on a story of his invention, and any embarrassing details could be blamed on the characters or dramatic imperative. It wasn’t that I wanted to be beaten, but that the narrative simply demanded it. Unfortunately, HH obviously deemed the story-based approach to kink insufficient and sent me a limits list. I’d seen one of these before, at the University Pride Society’s Annual Bondage Lecture. I’d taken it home, looked up several words and quickly put it down again.
HH’s scene questionnaire had ticky boxes and 0-5 scales, so you could note past participation and current eagerness. I tried, I really did. I started by putting a definite tick next to ‘hand spanking’ at the top of the list, then considered my degree of desire for hand spanking. After some time I decided that “it depends” was the only truthful answer. There are hand spankings and there are hand spankings, some are more tolerable than others. Some moments are better than others, too; a hand spanking which interrupts a gripping chapter is less welcome than one which enlivens a quiet afternoon. A general fondness for hand spankings doesn’t indicate that they’ll always be wanted. Especially, I reflected, as there’s one moment at which I can reliably predict that I’ll feel a strong dislike of hand spankings, and that is when they are happening. I could be bursting with desire for a spanking, I could have pushed cheekiness into downright rudeness in order to provoke one, but within minutes I’m squirming and begging for it to stop. I decided to leave hand spankings to one side and put a tick next to ‘tawsing’. Then I went through the same mental process before failing to indicate my degree of eagerness for the strap.
I managed almost a page of ticks and crosses before I got bored. My next attempt to complete the list coincided with a particularly playful mood. That’s the only explanation I have for the kamikaze spirit in which I annotated ‘Caning’ with, “Maybe I should save myself for someone who can manage parallel lines,”* and ‘Birching’ with, “One of the things I’m less eager to try. Maybe that’s a reason to do it.” Next to ‘Act as Object’ I wrote a little summary of Juliette’s adventures with Minski and, clearly on a literary roll, further down I quoted Frost—“One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.” The questionnaire provided several pages of such amusement. After a while, though, it struck me that this perhaps wasn’t the approach HH wished me to take. I looked at my scrawling and decided not to mention it again.
My silence wasn’t effective. HH asked if I was finished. I put forward cogent arguments about the flaws inherent in the ticky-box approach to kink. HH demanded my completed form. I said I’d make a final attempt to shoehorn my sexuality into scales from 0-5 while I was on the train. On my arrival, I realised I’d forgotten to. Honest.
As a compromise, I proposed a conversational approach, with more nuance and less quantification. That fell through when HH printed himself a copy of the list and got out a pencil. I tried my best to answer his questions; I definitely communicated my aversion to feet, incomprehension of rubber and physical factors preventing me passing for a Japanese schoolgirl. Other areas were harder to address. By the end, HH was interpreting my silences; apparently my most eloquent communications take the form of blushing and looking away.
Silences blossom from embarrassment, ignorance, and even the tendency to mentally recite poems rather than consider the horrors of birching. My most insoluble silences, though, are rooted in the central paradox of a desire for pain. The things I like best, I don’t like at all. They hurt. That doesn’t diminish the high or the delicious feeling of being in someone’s power, but that power would be demonstrably false if it was only used to do things I like. I want to hate it. Then I want a hug. I’m pretty sure that’s a sound, if ill-expressed, position. When people ask what I’m into, though, “whatever you like that I really don’t, except feet and some other stuff I probably haven’t heard of yet,” doesn’t feel like a useful answer.
I do have fantasies, of course, and relating those would be an option. However, while long, organically growing narratives about kidnap, captivity and rape are very nice in one’s head, they aren’t exactly the sort of thing one brings up over tea and scones. Even if I did find the relevant moment to say “actually, I was thinking this morning about being half-drowned” I don’t think I’d be too pleased if a play partner went off to run a cold bath in response. Holding me underwater is something we might work up to after many months of non-lethal play. Or not. I do prefer the version of myself that keeps breathing.
Fortunately, my fantasies have been getting less extreme. Significantly sillier, but also less likely to result in death or vitamin D deficiency.** I’m haunted by images of a schoolgirl self: a girl in a green gymslip and a white blouse, with a sash around her waist and a boater over her curls. She’s a good girl, and she’s trying, but the lessons are so very boring, and her teacher doesn’t understand the difficulty involved in listening to him drone on. In a truly worrying turn of events I’ve even found myself fantasising about the academic content of her classes. English grammar is the most desirable, but I’d take European geography or the fun bits of history (the eras when they’re pillaging nunneries and chopping people’s heads off, not making import/export law).*** I suppose I could tell play partners that I’d like to wear an unflattering outfit and learn the bits of English so boring they’d given up teaching them by the time I went to school. Then I could try to explain that I’d like to be spanked because I’d just hate it. The drowning has a certain classiness about it, in comparison.
Does anyone know of a remedy for coyness? Or have a better expression of the pain paradox? More importantly, does anyone want to teach me a lesson? I think I need a few classes lined up before I blow my pocket money on a gymslip.
*I’d been particularly wriggly during my last caning.
**My exploration of scene was stalled, incidentally, by a boyfriend who claimed the opposite would happen. Kink escalates; apparently a couple of taps on the bum are a gateway which leads ultimately to a day when a pale, scarred version of you will shudder on the street outside a grubby basement dungeon where you hope to get your next fix of flesh hook suspension. Either I’m an anomaly or he was talking claptrap, I’ll leave you to decide.
***That was all absolutely true when I typed it. Later, in bed with ‘Third Year at Malory Towers’ I read this:
“’Where’s Mavis? I haven’t seen her all evening.’
‘She said she had a singing lesson,’ said Darrell. ‘But what a long one it must have been! Well, she’ll come along when Mr. Young’s finished with her, I suppose.’”
My mind wandered to activities not usually in the lesson-plan. I’m sure I’m not the first girl to have been corrupted by Enid Blyton.
At the end of my last post I was setting out to Club Lash with a red cape and a basket of cakes for Grandmother. Conscious of my lack of social graces and with a feeling of alienation from the fetish community, I had precisely the attitude necessary to making new friends. I cycled to the venue, wondering why these events are always in the middle of the night. There is a symbolic value in pursuing your deviant desires in a dark dungeon during the Witching Hour, but some of us are ready for cocoa and stories by that time. It was a decidedly sleepy Not an Odalisque who sipped espresso as she applied her makeup, and an apprehensive one who descended the stairs into Lash.
I was immediately identified. “It’s Little Red Riding Hood! You’re in the right place.” I rewarded the speaker, a furry person with horns, with one of the cakes I’d brought for Grandmother, in the hope of prolonging friendliness. Inside, I stood between the bar and dance floor and looked around at people in huddles, here a gaggle of women in corsets, there a glowering of men in black. None of them appeared approachable. Suddenly, I found myself in a flock of people in wigs, rubber and platforms. I was obviously in the way, and I desperately wanted not to be. Spurred by the desire to be out of the way, I picked a dark corner and asked a man if I could share his sofa.
I made a fair stab at small talk until my sofa-mate was called to kneel at the feet of a Domme, then took Tennyson from my wicker basket and read Mariana. After each stanza I self-consciously glanced up at people engaged in their own conversations. Eventually someone asked what I was reading, and I traded cupcakes for conversation. I found myself joined on the sofa by a man in a zentai suit—well, most of a zentai suit; a hoodless zentai suit, allowing me to see his earnest expression—and after a few minutes he asked if I was looking for play. I said I wasn’t, offering clichés about meaningfulness and trust as justification. We made our mutual escapes from one another when I pretended I needed the bathroom. Or so I thought. Half an hour later, as I was watching one acquaintance beat another with a paddle, he appeared at my shoulder. I was saved from replying to his enquiry as to which is the hottest scene I’ve played by the approach of a woman with a tight white corset and a feather in her hair. “I’d like to see you tied to one of those,” she said, gesturing at the crosses and benches festooned with rope in the play area. There was a pause.
“Oh, thank you, I think,” I stammered. I looked pleadingly at her for a conversational pointer, but she just smiled and swayed away, leaving me with the zentai man. I distractedly answered his questions, thinking of the woman thinking of me, and I must have seemed particularly dense when unable to visualise his ‘dressage whip’, even after extensive description. It was to show me what he meant that he produced a holdall stuffed with rope, handcuffs, uniforms, a broken cane and a battered boater. The whip was…a whip, but his exhibition provided several minutes of conversation during which I didn’t have to wrack my brains for topics or answer difficult questions. The boater was exciting. It suited me well; I’m sure of that because I scampered off to look in the mirror as soon as I had it on my head. I carried, for no particular reason, the broken cane.
Beside me in the mirror was the sofa-man. “Oh, please,” he said, looking at the cane. I wondered what it would be like; I imagine inflicting pain would bring a delicious sensation of power. So I said I’d have a go. I can’t pretend I found the sight of him, bending over, particularly enticing,* but I pressed on. I brought the cane down to no effect. I tried again, feeling foolish,
“I’m no good. I don’t know what I’m doing.” He straightened, and caught the eye of a woman glossing her lips in the mirror. She, he said, was an expert, and he invited her to instruct me. She brought the cane down, ineffectually. She swung it though the air, and brought it down hard, but neither it, nor the man, made a sound. Then she removed a shard of wood from her hand and said, “it’s not you. This is useless.” I took its remains back to the man in the zentai suit.
He looked at the boater and said he’d brought a uniform, too. I’m not always up for kink, but it’s a rare day that I don’t want to dress up. He produced a navy blazer, a white blouse and a short navy skirt. I put the blouse and blazer on over my slip and went to see how I looked; quite fetching, I thought. Although blue isn’t my colour, it was balanced by the joy of arranging the boater at a jaunty angle. He pressed the skirt into my hands, and so I found myself fully kitted out as a schoolgirl. I looked slightly incongruous, surrounded by people in corsets and rubber.
I have a reputation, among my friends, for getting myself into sticky situations. It may surprise you, but not them, that I didn’t even think, adjusting the angle of my hat, of play. I was fully focussed on my narcissistic endeavour. It was with mild surprise, therefore, that I heard the man in the zentai suit address me as Head Girl, and ask why I’d been sent to his office. By that juncture it seemed it would be rather rude to refuse. It was hard to take him seriously, even when he wasn’t inventing details of my imagined transgressions mid-sentence. A submissive headspace clearly wasn’t coming, so I embraced defiance. In real life, I went to a school so soft they didn’t give detentions, and the level of impertinence I displayed would have got me in trouble even there. He didn’t seem to notice my disrespect. The scene stumbled towards a spanking, and I stretched over his lycraed knees. As he administered a few light taps, I rested my chin on my hand and brought to my face a look of supreme unconcernedness and insolence. It was wasted on the wall in front of me.
Not my best work. I was rolling my eyes through a talk about repentance when a woman interrupted to say, “your persistence paid off, then!” to the zentai man. I felt cheap. I took off the uniform and left him to chat. Rounding a pillar, I nearly trod on the fingers of the man I’d failed to cane, now stripped to his underpants and laying on the sticky floor, where two women rested the spikes of their heels on his chest. Looking down, I realised it was too late to prevent an unfortunate view up my slip. I apologised (whether for possibly flashing my knickers or nearly crushing his fingers I am uncertain).
“Never apologise!” he said. He gave me a pleading look and glanced at my feet. Twice. “You don’t know where they’ve been!” I said, shrilly, as he kissed my nearest shoe. I watched with some detachment as he licked them, then removed a piece of fluff from his tongue. “I told you I didn’t know where they’d been,” I said, apologetically, and walked away, trying not to think of the damp floor in the restroom.
It was a strange night: fragmented, odd, lacking in narrative drive. I can only hope that I learned some lessons. I confirmed that cake is an excellent inducement to conversation. I learned that I’m as bad at saying ‘no’ in the kinky world as the vanilla one. I didn’t go intending to play. I didn’t particularly want to play and I said so, but when it began I felt it would be impolite to stop. It wasn’t unpleasant, but given the things that go on in some corners of clubs, perhaps the ability to refuse would be a useful one. The most important discovery of the night, however, was this: I want a boater, and a blazer, and a slightly-too-short schoolgirl skirt. Or possibly a gymslip; all the girls in books have gymslips. But absolutely, definitely, a boater. And some one stern to tell me off while I’m wearing it. That would be even better than a big, bad wolf.
*That isn’t to say he’s an unenticing man, just that, predictably, I don’t find caning other people hot.
I’ve never been sure whether I like public play. Plenty of people tie their lovers up at home; BDSMers seem to feel the need to do it in front of a crowd. They create a spectacle with imposing lumps of furniture, uncomfortable clothing made of tree sap and huge floggers.* I was introduced to the concept of public play by a round woman in a purple faux-suede suit (the matt texture of which was like the bloom on a blueberry) and her small, straggly-bearded boyfriend. I rejected the image of them stripped and spread-eagled in a tacky dungeon setting. I’m shallow. I like watching beautiful people play. Not being one of the beautiful people myself, I’ve kept to dark corners. For me, play is a personal experience, not a performance, but a reaction. I didn’t think I was the sort for letting more than one person at a time into my kink.
HH proposed inviting people around not long after he suggested birching me. I had an irrational fear of birching (now I have a rational fear of birching, but that’s not relevant here). On a scale of things to worry about, meeting friends didn’t score high against being thrashed with bits of a tree, and so I agreed without a lot of thought. As the time approached, though (and the threatened birching still hadn’t materialised) it took on different proportions. They were coming around for dinner. Wouldn’t it be nice if we played? If they met Marianne, in character? In this skimpy summer dress?
I channelled my anxiety into the meal. We solved the conundrum of what dish satisfies a carnivore and a vegetarian. We obtained ingredients. If you’ve read my last post you’ll know how I feel about supermarkets. You’ll understand that being taken by a top to an Asda on a Saturday afternoon is close to my limits. I’d rather take the dreaded birching any day. Happily panic-attack free we made it home and HH was kind enough to distract me from worry with more immediate humiliations. When he showed me the dress I was to wear and went off to set the table, though, I had to admit that a proportion of my nervousness wasn’t about food.
I don’t know how long I waited. I know that I spent a lot of time trying to arrange my neckline so that it didn’t reveal my bra. I undid my work within seconds by tugging at the skirt hem in an attempt at a more modest length. I applied make-up and then worried that Mr. Hartley may not suspend disbelief about Marianne’s unlikely use of cosmetics. I went out onto the landing to see if I could hear any conversation from downstairs and thought about creeping down to listen at the door, but it wasn’t worth risking given the creakiness of the stairs. I attempted to convince myself of my own nonchalance by picking up a book. Now and again I turned a page, but I couldn’t tell you what I read.
Mr. Hartley called me. I went downstairs and opened the door onto silence.
Two new people were on the sofa. Everyone was formally dressed and stiffly seated. I felt chilly and awkward in my little dress. I stood self-consciously during introductions and finally asked if I could sit in the only remaining chair, in the farthest corner of the room.
Had I been behaving myself, the guests wanted to know. I tried not to shuffle in my seat as they talked about me, and, in the elastic silences, I asked questions about their journey and the weather. My attempts at conversation fell like stones and I was reduced to staring at my lap. Mr. Hartley regularly reprimanded me for not sitting up straight, and charged me with fidgeting, which was nearly impossible to avoid, under the circumstances. From the start I did my best to be good. I don’t think I stood a chance.
The conversation turned, and inexorably returned, to my behaviour and previous punishments. I tried to give the right answers: Yes, I’d been punished. No, I’d rather not show you the marks. I’m sure you’re not interested in them. Now that Mr. Hartley’s looking at me like that I will show you the marks. Are you done yet? Say you’re done.
They asked me to explain the reason for my latest punishment. I was embarrassed to think that two strangers were imagining me with my knickers around my ankles, wriggling over Mr. Hartley’s lap. I simply couldn’t tell them what the spanking was for. Disobedience, yes, but what if they asked what order I’d disobeyed? I’m not telling you, and I certainly wasn’t going to tell them.
“It’s complicated,” I began, but apparently they thought it should be very simple. Looking pleadingly at Mr. Hartley didn’t have the effect of getting him to do the talking for me. I floundered and then, thinking that admitting something—anything—would probably appease them, I chose my most excusable crime, and confessed, in fragments, to borrowing some library books on an unofficial, long-term loan, and accidentally spilling some ink. They reinterpreted it as thieving and criminal damage.
I was sent to stand facing the wall with my hands on my head. I was horribly conscious of how my hemline rose as I lifted my arms. As they discussed me I couldn’t help peering around every now and again. Mr. Hartley kept telling me to stand up straight. I’d never noticed I wasn’t. When the adults had satisfied themselves with declaring that I was wilful and insolent I was sent to get a strap. On my return I was asked why I was to be punished. Apparently, “because you feel I haven’t shown proper respect,” wasn’t the right answer.
Bending over the sofa while Mr. And Mrs. Madison watched was excruciating. Mr. Hartley handed the strap to his friend. I didn’t want him to see my face, so I hid it against the sofa. Of course, when you’re crying out and wriggling away from the burning wield on your bottom, you stop caring quite so much about whether anyone can see your expression.
I was instructed that I was to count the strokes and promise to show respect after each one. As the early ones came down, I gritted my teeth through the pain and, as it subsided, recited my little mantra. Mrs. Madison said that she didn’t think my tone reflected any great regret. What could I do about my voice? I wasn’t being deliberately insolent. After the next stroke, as soon as I could, with the pain still blooming, I gasped it out. Apparently I sounded much more contrite. I continued forcing the words out as early as I could, so that the pain in my voice would cover whatever it was they interpreted as insolence.
It did end. I was allowed to escape to my room and choose a skirt that went all the way down to my ankles. I went back to a room of lovely people who gave me hugs and smiles. Then, very happily, I took a glass of wine and went to hide in the kitchen. It seems safer to stay out of the way when there are guests.
*On Saturday I saw a man use a sword almost the length of his leg to inflict a couple of light scratches on a girl. A butterknife would have done the job.
People tell me that I’m a boundary pusher. On a good day it means that I’m a rule breaker, unafraid of authority and ready to take a stand. On a bad day it means that I get myself into trouble for no discernible benefit.
Sometimes I push people. When they push back it gives me a comforting sense of security: I know where I am with them. A little, gentle pressure is all it requires.
Does HH do gentle pressure?
HH and I had a lovely day; by late afternoon I had suffered a beating, enjoyed a look around a castle, a few moments inside an iron maiden, time in a lovely bookshop and two meals composed almost entirely of flour, butter, sugar and jam.
It started at the castle. There was a sign. One of those signs, the tempting ones that tell you not to do something quite fun and mildly dangerous. In this case, forbade leaning over the parapet. I just couldn’t help myself. I stretched forward and looked down at the ground far below. Perhaps I would have got away with that, as HH surely recognised the lure of a forbidding sign and the lack of danger. It was when I turned and hoisted myself up to perch on the thin wall with the sky at my back that HH reacted. He yanked me off the wall and onto my feet. He moved close so that I was trapped between the wall and him, using both hands to hold me still. “What,” he asked, “do you think you’re doing?” I mumbled something. “What do you have to say?” Spoken to in such a stern tone, I couldn’t even meet his eye. “Sorry,” I muttered. A couple had wandered out onto the battlements and were trying to squeeze into the space beside us for a view of the gardens. “Sorry, what?” I squirmed. I was acutely aware of the people next to me, who could hear every word I said. “Sorry,” I replied, “sir.”
The urge came over me again at the bookshop. I was enjoying myself browsing, when HH appeared at my shoulder and said we should leave in a few minutes. I explained that I was enjoying myself, and, to my great surprise, he didn’t budge. He didn’t say, “Oh, well a few more minutes, then.” He merely took my book about sexual violence and went off to pay for it. I was slightly nonplussed. Where was the negotiation? Where was the indulgence inspired by a wheedling tone and the words “just one more page?” I considered the fact that it being a large bookshop, I could easily slip off between the shelves and not be seen for a good half hour, longer still if I kept my eyes open for HH and darted behind a bookcase whenever I might be sighted. I was pondering this plan when he appeared suddenly at my side. I gave a very guilty start.
By the time we got back to HH’s house I was tired, I’d been sociable all day, and I had a new book. A recipe, I’m sure you’ll agree, for solitude. HH wanted to know what I wanted to do for dinner. I said I didn’t know, did we have to rush into a decision? Apparently we did, for it was very nearly dinner time. I was so ambivalent that HH made the call. He told me that he’d booked a table and that we would be leaving in fifteen minutes.
I’m sure you’ll agree that fifteen minutes isn’t very long when you have a new book in your hand. It was very comfy on the sofa. So it may have been some time after HH told me that we had to go in a couple of minutes that I stood up and said “I’ll just go upstairs and check that I don’t look a fright.”He looked at me, and I looked at him, and, standing with one hand on the door handle and the other on my hip, I said, “I’ll be two minutes.”
I really wasn’t away for very long. Not long enough to seriously ameliorate any frightfulness in my look, anyway. I breezed downstairs, slightly more matt and perfumed, and was stopped in my tracks by HH’s expression. “That wasn’t two minutes,” he observed, “it was eight. Come here.”
‘Surprised’ doesn’t quite cover it.
“We’re going to be late, because you refused to be ready on time. You need to learn that ‘no’ means ‘no’.”
“We’ll be even later if we don’t leave now.” I observed, rather pathetically.
“I think it’s worth taking a few minutes now to ensure that we’re on time in future.” He said, and with that, he tumbled me over his lap. As his hand came down for the first time I could hardly believe that I was there. By the time it came down for the second or third time, I was no longer thinking of my situation, but only of the pain.
I wriggled. I screamed. I gritted my teeth and tried not to scream, but screamed anyway. I threw my hand behind my back to try to shield my buttocks from the blows coming down on them, but only succeeded in throwing myself off balance. When I did manage to get my hand into a protective position, all that I achieved was it’s being pinned to my back by the wrist, so that I had even less freedom than before. That’s when I began to plead in earnest. I was sorry, so sorry, for taking so long. I wouldn’t do it again. I’d be good. Please, please, stop. I’m sorry.
HH let me up and put his arms around me. I sank into him. I was a sweaty, dishevelled mess, but I didn’t care. After a while he said, gently, that we ought to go. I stood quietly in the hallway while he collected his things, sat down very carefully on my painful bottom in the car and restaurant, and was very well behaved for—well, how long do you think I managed to be good?
A couple of hours later I rolled my eyes and said, “eight minutes!” I wish I hadn’t done that.
A couple of hours after that I observed that I’d had to hang around while he looked for his wallet and keys. I really wish I hadn’t done that.
As some point in the misty hours of the early morning I suggested that he’d been looking for transgressions to punish. He threatened punishment in return for my cheek. I pointed out that his reaction supported my point. I find it difficult to regret that, as I was so clearly in the right.
Have I learned my lesson? I suspect not. There’s a chance that I will. Signs on parapets can’t punish me, you see, but tops can, and it turns out they do.
What I have done is achieve a safe distance. From nearly a hundred miles away I’m confident enough to be slightly provoking by email. Well, I say slightly provoking, but I haven’t actually provoked a response so far. It’s only after I’ve pressed send that it strikes me that I’m not going to remain at a safe distance forever.
Marianne tried for nonchalance as she entered the room. She’d got through dinner without giving the game away, and all the time Mr. Hartley was with her, he wasn’t in the library. That had to be a good thing.
Then she saw his expression.
She halted in the doorway. Mr. Hartley was immediately impatient: “Come in, come in!” She closed the door carefully, as it bought her a little time. She knew what he was going to ask before he began. The inky book lay on the sideboard. The accident, she thought, wasn’t that serious; it was only a very thin book, after all. The problem was that it had been in a locked cabinet, and that the key to the cabinet had been in his private desk drawer. And possibly that the cabinet contained not only “unsuitable” books that he’d confiscated from her, but his own volumes of rather surprising narratives and illustrations. Not unsuitable for him presumably! She hadn’t had enough time to think of an explanation which didn’t necessitate admitting that she’d been rummaging around in places where she shouldn’t be. Not that she was even meant to be here, of course. It really shouldn’t matter at all, but she’d been surprised to learn, since the day of her evacuation, that Mr. Hartley thought himself entitled to mete out much more than stern words.
I was going to be punished.
“Come here,” he said, “and raise your skirt.”
I put my hands on the sides of my thighs and raised my hem an inch. Then I let it drop again. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t face the humiliation. I looked at him sitting, clothed from neck to ankle, and felt exposed in my summer dress. I didn’t want him to see any more.
“Shall I do it for you?”
I didn’t answer. I closed my eyes as I felt his hands lifting the fabric. It didn’t help, I was still present.
“Now, bend over …Put your hands on the floor.”
I looked at him. It didn’t take much to take me to the verge of pleading. If he did feel any pity, though, it didn’t show. I think I may actually have given a little groan as I lowered myself over his lap. I was aware of every inch—finger, arm, leg, toe—arching over the floor. That is, until he had finished positioning me and placed his hands at the side-seams of my panties.
“These had better come off.”
I wriggled around and looked at him, mumbling an inarticulate protest. Then, remembering that they provided more frill than coverage, said “I’m sure it’s not necessary.”
“That,” he replied, “is not the point.”
I felt my face redden as he slipped my panties down my legs. Staring at the carpet, willing myself to keep still as I felt his hands on my buttocks, I had a brief spark of insight into how ridiculous the whole situation was. Utterly silly, in fact. I didn’t get much time to meditate on that.
The first time HH brought his hand down it wasn’t too bad; I was glad the wait was over. After he’d smacked me again, and again, and again, though, I began to change my mind. There wasn’t enough time between blows for me to cognize and file the pain, each slap was adding another layer. One more, this one, or the next, would be more than I could take.
I couldn’t stay still any more. It wasn’t a choice; I squirmed out of HH’s grasp and knelt at his side. I clutched his knee and, in my best voice of contrition, apologised for ruining his book. He told me to get back into position.
Very slowly, I stretched myself out again. He resumed at a measured pace, but the pain soon began to build. I really was sorry for ruining the book. That one, stupid book that spoiled everything. I was sorry that he’d formed a bad opinion of me. Sorry I’d lost the one person I had out here, the one fixed point since I’d left. Now there was this. I didn’t understand the rules any more, and I was so far from home.
I burst into tears. I don’t know precisely how I got there, but I ended up in HH’s arms, crying into his shirt and mumbling, “I’m so far from home.”
He was very comforting. He asked me if I had learned my lesson. I assured him that I had. I wouldn’t do anything like that again. I felt safe, and warm, and so very glad that it was over. So I really don’t know what possessed me, when he reminded me, “I told you that you would be punished if you disobeyed me,” to reply, “well, you didn’t specify that that bookcase was out of bounds.” Straight away, I was over his knee again. I wish I could tell you that I learned to bite my tongue.
Over the weekend Marianne learned who Mr. Hartley really is. She discovered that every unreasonable demand she agreed to brought another one onto the horizon. She discovered that a moment of hesitation or resistance brought down the hand, the strap, the hairbrush or the slipper. It was a heady experience.
Poor, innocent HH also made some discoveries. The most troublesome is probably this: I’m a cuddle slut. There are few sensations better than an excellent hug. I don’t mean one of those perfunctory one-armed brushes, but a whole body clasp, with my head resting on your shoulder and my body pressed into your side. I’ll do a lot for a good cuddle. I’ll ply you with spirits, listen to tales of your childhood trauma, and for a particularly skilled cuddler I’ll probably perform sexual services as long as they don’t take too long. Would I take a spanking for the sake of the hugs? Well, I haven’t yet.
Poor HH. He took me upstairs to administer some post-spanking hugs and didn’t escape until dinner time. Before bed he told me that Mr. Hartley would wake me in the morning. My anxiety began to build, and so it began again—the fear, the pain, the hugs—a repetitive cycle which span me around for the rest of the weekend.