Although I live in the States today, I was raised in Britain in the 1970s, where my mother and grandmother believed in the old-fashioned value of petticoat punishment. Since I was a difficult child, until I discovered “I enjoyed being a girl” as the song says, I spent most of my adolescence rebelliously in skirts. Perhaps your readers would like to know what it was like to have such a mother. I want to share a typical scene, which took place one afternoon in London.
We had spent the day shopping. “‘You must look your best for grandmama this evening,” mother had said. We lingered at Harrods, lunched at the Savoy, and returned burdened with purchases. Now, fresh and nude from a late afternoon bath, I stood next to a gilded dressing table crowded with creams, rouges and other feminine paraphernalia – while mother, wrapped in a silk Chinese dressing gown, personally conducted my toilette.
Mother massaged a scented cream into my flesh, working slowly up from my feet until my body felt as soft and sweet as a baby’s. Her fingers trailed along my back, a delicious thrill shivering through me. “You make a very beautiful young woman, Erica,” Mother said.
From among the boxes on the bed, she produced a pair of silken knickers for me to step into, and settled them snugly around my hips. The matching peach camisole, mother slipped over my upraised arms, its fairy lightness floating down my chest. A stocking-belt of the same shade hooked tightly at my back. From another box came the stockings, and I pointed my toe, while mother drew their gossamer coolness up my legs, fastening them at the thigh with garters. Last, she extracted matching satin slippers, and slid one snugly on each foot.
Mother pressed me into the gilded chair beside the dressing table, and tilted my chin with her fingers, scrutinizing my features minutely. Finally, mother smiled. “It’s fortunate you are fair-haired with rosy cheeks and blue eyes, and your natural beauty requires no more than a dusting of powder.”
Taking a ruby bottle from the table, she gently massaged the preparation into my brow, nose, cheeks, and throat. “This will bring out the peach in your skin. Excellent!” Mother examined me with a critical eye. “Almost perfect.” A feathery pink puff kissed my face. “Perfect,” Mother announced.
She dabbed a brush in a tiny pot of rouge, one shade redder than my lips’ natural rosette, and began to paint them in meticulously with soft, sensual strokes that lulled me into stupor – leaving me sensible only of their moist fullness.
“A hint of indigo on your lids, to heighten that look of waif-like vulnerability and innocence.” The lightest, most sensual flutter of a brush on each eye, the deftest touch of a brush on my brow, and she was through.
Mother carefully unfolded the tissue in the largest box, holding out a demure frock of slightly subtler shade of peach than my lingerie. I stepped daintily in and its soft, lacy folds enclosed me, as she buttoned it up the back. Gardenia-scented vapor from an atomizer in mother’s hands, lent its intoxicating bouquet to my skin; and encased in the airy froth of the gown, I felt like a blossom ripe for the plucking.
“Yes, Erica, that will do very nicely, I think,” mother said. “‘It’s imperative you make a favorable impression on grandmother. I want her to see that you have been raised to be a refined, cultured young lady. Just the way she raised your father.”
“I won’t fail, mother,” I said, with all the adoration in me.
She caressed my cheek. “I know you won’t, my pet.”
I squirmed with delight in her approval and my wonderful feminine clothes.
This article was originally published in Transformation Magazine 60