Sunday, 20 January 2013

Into Frillies

Aidan was almost oblivious to the other boy frantically circling around him and periodically attempting to land a punch on him.  The other boy, Georgie, was big for his age and fast.  Several of his blows had connected.  But they might as well not have done, for Aidan was not even so much as bruised.

Several minutes later, Aidan ended the contest by punching his opponent hard in the gut.  Georgie doubled over immediately and remained writhing on the floor for another five minutes.  Aidan stayed to help him up, but the other boy shook him off angrily.  Aidan understood.  Georgie did not want pity.  Not from the boy who had beaten him effortlessly.

Aidan went off to get showered and changed.  The boxing coach looked after him sadly.  Although Aidan was only aged ten, he was huge.  He was much bigger and more powerfully built than almost every boy and boys years older than him.  He could easily defeat any other boy in this gym.  But the coach knew that Aidan would never make a boxer.  Pity.  If he had the aggression to match his power, he would be unstoppable.

But there was something about that boy that was off beat.  The coach couldn't quite put his finger on it.

Aidan was walking home.  He considered his mandatory boxing lessons a waste of his time.  But his father, a would be boxing champion who had never made it, had insisted.  The best thing about having to do boxing was the walk home, for it took him past one of his favourite stores.  This was Pirouette, a shop that sold ballet outfits and accessories.  As he walked past, he couldn't take his eyes off the pink, sparkly ballerina's outfit with it's rigid tutu forming a delicate skirt around it.

He lingered for a few minutes.  Too long, as he realised that a couple of girls from his school were watching him curiously.  He recognised them as Sadie Thorpe and Chloe Madden.  They were in the same year as him.  Chloe gave him a delicate little wave with her hand "Hiya Aidan!" she chirruped "Didn't know you were into ballet!"  The girls collapsed with laughter.

Blushing furiously, Aidan marched away.  He thought he heard Chloe call after him, but he ignored her.  They didn't understand.  How could they?  Aidan hurried home to the sanctuary of his room, only to be waylaid by his father who wanted to know how he had got on at the boxing club and attempted to share with him the benefit of his knowledge and experience.  Finally, Aidan managed to escape.

He retreated to his room, which he had to share with one of his older brothers (Aidan was the youngest of three boys), stripped off and went to bed.  He lay awake for a long time, thinking about the ballerina's costume and his encounter with the girls.

Aidan had no idea why he was the way he was.  Outwardly, he was a big, strong boy.  He was the first boy anyone picked when it came to selecting a rugby or soccer team.  But on the inside he was gentle.  For some reason, he liked pretty girls' things.  It was almost an obsession with him.  But he was careful not to to let those feelings show.  It would be too shameful.  Every day, Aidan had to deal with the conflict within himself, with the self-loathing and shame at how he felt when he saw something as delightfully pretty as that ballerina's dress.

Aidan was pretty sure he didn't want to become a girl, but he wanted to enjoy the pretty things that girls took for granted.  But society still condemned boys who liked feminine things.  Perhaps it was his family that were part of the problem.  All male, except for his mum obviously, and even mum was not that feminine and only wore a nice dress for church and family socials.  The family home was bare of femininity.

For the next few weeks, Aidan's routine continued as normal, the only exception being that Sadie and Chloe seemed to giggle slightly when they saw him.  He was terrified that they had worked out his secret. But at least they hadn't told anyone else.  If they had done, it would be round the school by now.

He was sitting alone in the school library, trying hard to get his homework done.  Aidan's brain power unfortunately did not match his muscle power.  He found school work hard and seemed to need to do more than the other pupils to improve.  He was trying to work through some multiplication questions when, to his consternation, Chloe and Sadie sidled by.

But, thankfully, they kept on going.  They each gave him a little smile as they passed and then were out of sight.  Half an hour later, Aidan briefly left his seat to use the bathroom, and spent another half hour on the maths questions before packing up and going home.  When he got home, he took off his blazer only to notice something white, with a little hint of lace on it.

After checking no one else was about, he pulled the item out.  It was a pair of girls' knickers, in virginal white, trimmed with delicate white lace and with a pretty pink bow on the front of he waistband.  Aidan was overcome with a sudden desire to wear them.  He went to his room, undressed, and put them on.  They fitted perfectly.  A feeling of complete bliss ensued.

A little later, Aidan took off his new underwear and hid it somewhere safe.  He had no doubt that Chloe and Sadie had bequeathed him this small item of femininity and he was grateful for it.  Thereafter, he was able to wear his new underwear as and when opportunity presented itself.  On the following Sunday, he feigned illness so that he would be excused attendance at church.  Aidan was sure that God would forgive him.  Whilst the rest of the family was out, Aidan was able to wear his pretty knickers -and nothing else- around the house for a couple of hours.

A week later, Aidan received the following e-mail:

"Hi Aidan.  We know that you received our pretty little gift and we hope that you are enjoying wearing it.  If you want to wear something even more girly, let us know.  Your sisters in spirit, Chloe and Sadie"

Aidan was stunned.  Chloe and Sadie knew his secret (or had worked it out).  He could, if he wished, try to brazen it out and insist that he was a boy.  Or, given that they already knew his secret and seemed willing to help him, he could accept that.  Aidan wrestled with the conflict for a few days before deciding to reply to his "sisters in spirit" that he would welcome their further assistance.

Aidan received a further e-mail inviting him round to Sadie's house on the following Saturday.  Aidan thus found himself at Sadie's house, telling his mum that he had gone there to seek help with his homework.

Sadie and Chloe took him in hand.  After getting him to strip, they perfumed him, made him slip on a pair of satin knickers and squeezed him into a fuschia coloured gown.  They adorned his throat and wrists with jewellery and put make up on his face.  Aidan's large feet were inserted into a pair of high-heeled shoes and the girls insisted that he parade about for them.

Aidan was a little embarressed at being so dressed before these girls, but his desire to wear the gorgeous clothing outweighed the humiliation.  It was very pleasant to feel the swish of skirts against his legs and to wear such lovely jewellery.

Chloe and Sadie were well pleased, as they applauded as Aidan minced before them in his gown and high heels.  Aidan noticed that the girls had made no effort to dress up.  They wanted to dress him up.

Chloe and Sadie henceforth became Aidan's confidantes and allies in his endeavours to indulge himself in feminine finery.  There were further dressing up sessions.  Sadie's mum had a wardrobe stuffed full of lovely dresses and Aidan ended up wearing all of them.  Aidan repaid them by taking care of them at school.  After a quiet word with Damian Smart, the current head of the bullies at school, Chloe and Sadie were left alone.  Even Damian Smart was not stupid enough to try and take on Aidan.

After six idyllic weeks, Aidan's world came crashing down.  During one of his dress up sessions, in which Aidan was wearing a black sequined gown, Sadie's mum came home unexpectedly and went ballistic.  After being ordered to change back into his normal clothes, Sadie's mum marched him home and reported him to his mum. He was sent to his room.

Mum came to talk to him a little later and Aidan broke down in tears and confessed his desire to feel, to wear, female clothing.  Mum took him in her arms, kissed him and told him not to worry.  She would see that everything was alright.  For the next week, nothing more was said and Aidan went to school as normal.  Chloe and Sadie were there.  They had been grounded for a month as punishment but that was all.

On the Monday of the following week, Aidan went down for breakfast as normal, in his school uniform.  Mum looked at him and said "You won't be going to school today, Aidan.  Once you've eaten your breakfast, go and wait in your room.  I'll be up once your dad and brothers had gone".

Aidan was non-plussed by this, but did as he was told.  A little later, Mum came to see him.  She was carrying some boxes.  She set these down and regarded her son sternly.

"Now, Aidan.  You have been a very deceitful and naughty boy.  You've been dressing up in Mrs Thorpe's clothes.  You had no right to do that!  I know those girls encouraged you, but you are still in the wrong.  It took me some time to prepare everything but now it is time for you to be punished".

Aidan looked at his mother.  Although he towered over her and was physically far more powerful, he flinched at the expression on her face.  This was not the mum he knew.

"I've decided to let the punishment fit the crime" mum continued "since you enjoy girls' things so much, you can wear them.  All of the time from now on!"

Aidan was aghast.  It was one thing to wear a dress briefly and in the privacy of his home, but for 24 hours? "Mum, please, I can't do that!"

"Shut up!  You will do as you are told".  Mum took one of the boxes, the biggest, and opened it up.  She took out a white frock that looked big enough to fit Aidan.  Aidan was immediately mesmerised by it.  It had some lacy bits on the hem and sleeves...

"Pretty, isn't it?" Mum said with a smile.  She laid it down on Aidan's bed. "I'm going downstairs now Aidan.  In fifteen minutes time, I expect you to come down, wearing that dress and the other things you will find in those boxes.  Understood?"

Aidan gulped and nodded.  Mum left him.  Aidan looked through the boxes.  There were several pairs of white and very frilly knickers, all in the same style, several pairs of frilled white ankle socks, several chemises with lacy edging and a pair of shiny black mary-janes with a single strap and a buckle.

Blushing furiously, Aidan got changed into the clothes.  Since he had been dressing in girls' stuff for several weeks, getting the stuff on proved less than a challenge than he thought.  The only difficulty was that the frock did up at the back and Aidan couldn't reach.  He felt comfortable in his new clothes.  His body was clothed in soft and delicate fabrics and it felt divine.

He went downstairs to report to mum, who was delighted by his appearance.  She did up his frock for him and handed him a piece of soft fabric, stiffened by a plastic backing.  Aidan looked at it dumbly.

"It's an Alice band" mum explained "Put it on your head sweetie.  It'll make you look even prettier".  Aidan did so.  The Alice band was a light pink colour.  It would define him as being feminine.

"Good.  Alright girl, this is what is going to happen from now on.  You are going to be my daughter, Amy, for the next three months".

Three months! thought Aidan.

"During that time you are going to be a pretty and obedient little lady.  What are you going to be?"

"A pretty and obedient little lady" Aidan repeated dully, hardly believing what he was saying.

"That's right.  And if you are not, you will be punished.  You will do whatever I say and do it immediately.  Is that clear Amy?"

"Yes, mum".

"You will not be going to school for those three months.  I will teach you here.  Then, when your schoolwork is done, you will help me around the house.  A big, strong girl like you can make herself useful".  Mum took a lacy pinny down from a hanger on the door "This is your pinny and you will wear it at all times in the house except when you are doing schoolwork or put to bed.  By the way, on the subject of beds, as a girl it is no longer appropriate to share with your brother.  He will be moved elsewhere and you will have the room to yourself.  Now, put on the pinny and then go and bring me all of the clothes that you used to wear, and be quick about it girl!"

As if in a daze, Aidan put on his pinny and added another hallmark of femininity to his ensemble.  He brought down his boys' clothes, down to the last sock.  Mum took these from him and locked them away in a cupboard.  The message was unmistakable.  Girls' clothes only from now on.

Aidan was then ordered to remove his pinny and sit down to do schoolwork.  Aidan was aware only of the lovely sensations generated by the clothing and underwear he wore against his skin.  The whiteness of his clothing and the fact that he could see frills everywhere he looked made him calm and confident, strangely.

After stumbling through two hours of geography, Aidan was allowed a short break.  He decided to use this time to take a peek at himself in full length mirror.  He made an incongruous sight.  The quality of the clothes was delicious, from the cute little ankle socks and shiny shoes to the pure white and lacy frock.  All so very girlish.  Aidan looked somewhat like a small girl, but the image jarred beyond the pretty clothes.  Aidan, with his big-boned physique, his trunk-like legs and his short cropped hair, looked exactly like a big boy who had been made to dress as a little girl.  He looked ridiculous.

Tears welled up in Aidan's eyes at this knowledge.  Everyone who saw him would laugh at him!  And what about his father and brothers?  How would they react when they saw him dressed like this?

Aidan returned to his schoolwork, which at least allowed him to take his mind off his present condition.  With only a break for lunch, mum kept him hard at it until 3 pm.  Aidan was then made to put on his pinny and help mum in the kitchen.  As he prepared vegetables under his mother's instruction, Aidan kept glancing at the clock, for his father and brothers would be home from work and school at 4 pm.

At 4.13, the three of them came flooding in.  Their jaws dropped at the sight of Aidan.  When he had recovered from the shock, Dad said "What's all this?  What's Aidan doing in a dress?"

"I'll explain later" mum said firmly "Now go and sit down at the dinner table".

Dad knew better than to argue with his wife.  Although he was the breadwinner and although he acted like the alpha male, his wife wore the trousers.  Shaking his head, he and Aidan's brothers went to sit down.

Aidan, still wearing his pinny, had to help serve dinner.  Dinner was eaten in silence on this occasion, with curious glances being cast in Aidan's direction. Aidan helped clear away and wash up and was then sent to his room.  He sat on his bed trembling.  He could hear raised voices below for over an hour.  And then silence.

There was a knock at the door.  It was Robbie, Aidan's elder brother.  Unlike Aidan, he was small, wiry and freckled. "Mum said I had to knock when entering a girl's room" he explained "And I've got to move out and bunk with Larry.  He's not very happy about it".

"I'm sorry" said Aidan timidly.

"Mum tells me you actually like all this frilly, lacy stuff.  Not my scene, Aidan, sorry Amy, but if that's what you like, I'm ok with it.  You actually look very nice...I probably shouldn't have said that".

Clearly embarressed by the whole situation, Robbie hurriedly got all of his bedding and clothes together and left.

Aidan sat alone in his room, suddenly missing his brother.  Robbie was more fun to be with than either his father or his eldest brother.  Both were working men, men's men.  They would not be nearly as understanding as Robbie had been just now.

Aidan lay on his bed for a few hours until mum came to him with another box.  Inside it was a white silky nightdress.  Aidan had to put it on and then was put to bed earlier than was usual.  But Aidan didn't mind.  His brain was buzzing with the exquisite sensations of his body being clad in silk.  He drifted off to sleep in a state of ecstasy.

The first week as Amy was difficult.  Not just for Aidan but for the whole family.  His father and Larry would not accept the situation and regarded Aidan with a barely concealed contempt, muttering "Blooming great sissy" whenever they encountered their new daughter and sister.  Robbie was kinder and even started calling Aidan "Sis".

At the end of the first week, mum went out and brought back some rolls of material and other dressmaking paraphenalia.  Aidan, wrestling with maths again and the fact that his skirt kept riding up to reveal his underwear, looked at her in wonder.

Mum held up some pink fabric "I'm going to teach you how to make your ballet dress!".  And she did.  Aidan had to learn how to size and cut pieces of cloth, sew them together and to sew sequins on.  It was hard and painstaking work and took over a week to do.  Aidan's fingers were in pain and he dreaded the sessions when he had to sew.  The tutu was the most difficult and delicate creation, but Aidan managed it.

Aidan got a real sense of achievement when he put the dress on for the first time.  He had created this beautiful garment.  It glittered and sparkled delightfully.  Mum clapped happily "You look adorable.  My girl, the ballerina!"

Mum handed Aidan a pair of pink satin pumps "These cost a lot of money, so you look after them Amy. Now, we'll get you booked in for ballet lessons".

Aidan was perturbed by this.  Not only would he have to attend ballet classes as a girl pupil, rather than a boy, but he would have to go outside.  As Amy.  The prospect terrified him.  He had to sit down>

Mum wasted no time and it was on the following evening that Aidan was to attend his first ballet lesson.  Mum escorted him outside for the first time since he had had to wear a frock on a permanent basis.  Passers by looked at him curiously.  Aidan was very scared, but nothing happened.

The ballet mistress, Miss Forster, who had had a distinguished career in ballet until age forced her to become a teacher, was upper crust but sensible and understanding. However, the situation was highly unusual.

"In all my years, I have never had a boy coming to lessons as a girl.  I will have to explain the situation to my pupils.  If they decide that...Amy's attendance will be an issue for them, then I am afraid I will have to respect that and Amy will not be able to attend"

Miss Forster came back a little later "Some of the girls are not very happy about it, but...welcome to ballet school Amy".

Aidan had to endure an initial outburst of laughter when he appeared amongst the other pupils in his sparkly costume but that was all.  He concentrated on learning what he could although his size was an issue.

For the most part, the girls in the class seemed to accept him as one of their own, although a few of the snootier girls blanked him completely or snorted in contempt.  There were only three actual boys in the class.  Two of them seemed friendly enough, but other, a teenager called Syd was rather too friendly with some of the girls.  Aidan witnessed him touching girls for longer than was strictly necessary during the routines and the victims didn't like it.

But the lesson was a success from Aidan's point of view.  He had been accepted, as a girl, and now had an outlet away from home.  He preferred it to boxing.  He was beginning to learn that life as a girl was not so bad.

A few weeks later, Aidan was settling in as Amy both at home and in the ballet classes.  Mum loved the experience of having a daughter.  She was always buying Aidan little trinkets of jewellery to adorn his body or hair.  As Aidan's hair grew, mum started doing things with it like shampooing it, putting it in curlers and putting things in it like ribbons, hair slides and Alice bands.  Aidan had to put scent on his body so that he not only looked feminine but smelt feminine too.

Robbie was also happy with having a kid sister, but Aidan's father and other brother were still not happy about it.  They virtually ignored Aidan and pretended he did not exist, but as they were out most of the time, either at work or down the pub, this was less of a problem.  The only problem was Syd at ballet school.  He was still touching some of the girls up and Miss Forster didn't seem to notice.

Some of the girls decided to do something about him and enlisted Aidan's help.  His asset remained that he was bigger than stronger than any boy there.  They had wanted him to beat Syd up, but this Aidan refused to do.  Violence was not the answer.  A little cunning, and the loan of a ballet outfit, was.

In the very next lesson, there was a new girl, Roberta.  She was small and slim and freckly, with long blonde hair.  As anticipated, Syd soon made a beeline for her and began fondling her bottom "Alright there, darlin'?" Syd whispered in her ear lasciviously.

"Yeah, I am thanks mate, but if you don't take your hand off my arse in the next ten seconds I'm gonna clobber you into the middle of next week!" said Roberta in a deep male voice.  Syd leapt back, startled "You're a bloke!"

Robbie removed his wig "Guilty as charged!  You want to be more careful who you touch up you little pervert".  There were howls of laughter from all of the girls present.  Syd went a deep red and bolted for the exit, thoroughly humiliated.

"That should sort him out" said Sophie, one of the older girls "Thanks a bunch for your help Robbie".  She gave him a light peck on the cheek.

Blushing slightly, Robbie said "Glad to be of help to see that perv off, but the real hero, or rather heroine, is Amy.  This was all her idea"

Aidan suddenly found himself surrounded by all of the girls, all dispensing hugs and kisses on him, even the ones who had initially opposed his admission.  He had been fully accepted as one of the girls now.

Sophie was speaking with Robbie.  The two seemed to have developed an attraction to each other "You make a very nice ballerina, Robbie, are you sure you don't want to keep the outfit?"

"Quite sure" said Robbie, grinning "One girl in our family is enough.  I'll bring the outfit round to your house later".

"Oh, there's no need....oh, I see" said Sophie, reddening "See you later, Robbie" she said sweetly.

Aidan sidled up to his brother "Thanks for helping me.  It was very kind of you to agree to dress up like that.  I know that you're not into girl stuff but.."

To Aidan's surprise, Robbie leant over and gave him a kiss on the cheek "You're my little sister, course I'll look out for you".  Aidan almost fainted.  Robbie really did now regard him as his sister.

It was morning and Aidan stirred.  His room lacked the feminine touch.  Perhaps Dad could be persuaded to decorate it so it was more like a girl's room.  Aidan would like that very much.  Over the last weeks even his father and older brother had accepted him as Amy and even took an interest in his doings.  He had knitted them both some nice scarves.

There was a light knock and mum came in "Come on Aidan, time to get up! You've got to go to school today!"

What!? In almost three months, his mother had not once called him by his given male name and as for school....

Mum dumped a pile of clothes on Aidan's bed.  It was all of the boys' clothes he had had to hand over on his first day in his new girlish existence. "Your punishment is over, Aidan, so you can go back to being a boy".

Aidan realised that it must have been three months to the day since he had become Amy.  It had passed so quickly and so much had happened.  He was not only used to being dressed and treated as a girl but he was even starting to think like one.  His life now was perfect.  Everyone accepted him as Amy.  He looked at the pile of boys' clothes.  He didn't want to wear them.  Ever again.  He burst into tears.  Mum rushed towards him and put her arms around him.

"I don't want to go back to being Aidan, mum, I want to be Amy!"

Mum kissed him "Then you can be Amy, the loveliest and sweetest daughter any mother could hope to have!  I'll just get rid of these boys' things......"

Sunday, 13 January 2013

A Life in Skirts

I live alone and quietly now.  Although I am known to the world as Mr James Parsons and aged 75, I spend most of my time dressed as a woman.  After what seems to be a lifetime spent in skirts, I now find feminine attire more natural to me.

I was born as a male, in the summer of 1897.  As would have been common in those bygone days, I spent my early years in petticoats before being "breeched" at the age of six and then being allowed to graduate to trousers.  I felt a little sorry for girls, who had to continue in skirts and petticoats their entire lives.  It was much better to be a boy in those days.

I spent much of my childhood in the company of my mother.  She was a short, stocky woman, not intellectually clever, but quick witted, good with her hands and a very sensible woman.  Under her guidance, my early childhood was idyllic.

As for my father, I barely saw him and, I am sorry to say, I barely remember him.  He was scarcely ever home and even when he was he seemed to be so preoccupied with his business that he seemed not to know that he had a wife and son.  I was told that he worked "for the government" and that I should not bother him unduly or burden him with questions about his occupation.

I continued to flourish.  I was a bright and clever boy and excelled at all subjects, but most especially languages for which, I was told by my form master, I had a natural gift.  French, German and Latin all came easily to me.  Great things were expected of me in the future.

Shortly after my thirteenth birthday, however, something happened that was to change my life forever.  Something terrible.  My father had disappeared.  I was never to see him again.  I remember the day well.  I rushed home to show mother my report card - which showed I was an exceptionally talented pupil - to find the house in turmoil.  There were well-dressed men searching through everything and mother's eyes were red-rimmed.  She clutched me possessively.

To this day, I do not know what had happened to my father, but it seemed that the government he had been working for now regarded him as some sort of traitor.  Mother was taken away for a while and questioned but as she knew nothing of my father's business, she was soon released.

When Father disappeared, so did the income on which we relied on.  The house we had been living in belonged to the government and so we were required to leave it as soon as we had made alternative arrangements.  Mother scraped enough money together for her to open a shop and we moved far away.

We had somewhere to live and by means of the shop we had an income, but we had gone down in the world.  Instead of the large comfortable house we had previously enjoyed, we now lived above the shop in a few small, barely furnished rooms.  My education, I learnt, had been heavily subsidised by the state due to my father.  That subsidy was of course stopped and so I had to attend the local school instead.  The staff and facilities there were a far cry from my last school.  Moreover, impoverished as we now were, my prospects were far less promising than they had once been.

To my distress, Mother refused to talk about my father.  It had become a forbidden subject.  She seemed to have put him out of her mind entirely. Strong-willed and determined to build a life for herself and me, she quickly opened "Parson's Fashion Emporium".  Mother was very good at making and repairing clothes and she was also an excellent saleswoman.  As we had moved into a working class district, the shop catered for the working class woman.  The display cases were filled with jackets, skirts, corsets, cotton underwear, hats, shoes and gloves.

The early days were difficult as the shop struggled to build up a clientele.  Originally, it had been intended that mother would employ a girl to help her, but this proved to be beyond her means and to my surprise one Saturday morning she came into my room and ordered me out of bed.

"Come on please James, I need you up!"

Blearily, I stirred and rubbed my eyes and then jumped out of bed.  Usually, I was allowed to lie in for as long as I wanted on a Saturday.  I liked Saturdays as it was pocket money day.  I got dressed whilst mother made me breakfast. During breakfast, mother said to me.

"James, I going to need your help in the shop today".

I wasn't happy about this.  I was supposed to be meeting my friends later. It must have shown in my body language for mother said "Don't get all huffy with me, young man.  I've worked seventy hours this week already.  I need a break.  So, I'm going to train you up to mind the shop when I need you to.  Alright?"

It certainly wasn't alright, but I knew better than to argue with my mother.  I always lost.

"Good" mother said, as she sensed I wasn't going to offer any resistance "Once you've finished your breakfast, come to my room".  She got up and left.  When I joined her in her room fifteen minutes later, I was startled to see a pile of clothes on her bed.  They were clearly items of female clothing, but clearly not intended for use by my mother.

Mother looked at me speculatively to gauge my reaction "I'm afraid you will have to wear these" she said, indicating the bundle of clothes "It is not appropriate to have a boy involved in running a women's fashion emporium, so we will circumvent that issue by disguising you as a girl".

I was aghast.  Had my mother gone mad?  Me pass myself off as a girl?  Impossible.  I told mother that her idea was silly and that I wouldn't go along with it.

"Very well, James.  If you want to be difficult, rather than helpful, that is your decision.  But you will get no more pocket money from me!  I cannot afford it any longer, unless you work for it in the shop.  You may go". she said frostily.

But I couldn't go.  Not with mother so obviously displeased with me.  I couldn't go out with my friends and enjoy myself knowing all the time that I would have to return home and face her in a bad mood.  Besides, without my pocket money, I would have no money to spend.

I looked at the pile of girls' things on the bed.  The last thing in the world I wanted to do was have to wear them.  I couldn't think of anything more humiliating.  But I couldn't just leave things like this.

Mother looked at me stonily "I said you can go.  Are you deaf as well as obstinate?"

"Mother" I said tentatively "I want to help you, I really do, but you must see that this idea won't work.  I'm not a girl.  I can't pass for a girl!"

Mother regarded me and a glint came into her eyes "How about a bet then? If you let me dress you up in those things and you don't look like a girl, we'll forget the whole thing and I'll give you your pocket money as normal.  But, if you do look like a girl, then you will agree to co-operate with me and work in the shop and you'll still get your pocket money.  How about it?"

I considered the proposal and it seemed reasonable.  If, as seemed likely, the disguise was a failure I would have pleased mother for trying and could go out with a lighter heart.  So I agreed.

After stripping off my normal boys' clothes, mother gave me a pair of white cotton bloomers to wear.  These weren't so very different from my male underwear except for the ruffled edging and the knowledge that this was female underwear. Then she spun me round and laced me up into one of her old corsets.

All females of that period had to wear a corset.  Girls had to wear them almost from infancy onwards.  One could tell when a girl or woman was corsetted.  The outline and the shape created by it were unmistakeable.  So, as I was to pose as a girl, I had to wear one too.  Mother laced me tightly and I felt my waist contract to a tiny dimension.  I realised that trapped in the corset, things I was used to do like running and bending over would be next to impossible.

Mother next ran some coarse woollen stockings up my legs and attached these to the corset.  They itched maddeningly but it was just like wearing extra long socks.  Mother bade me to put on a plain white blouse, which I did with difficulty as the buttons did up the wrong way.  Mother then got me to step into a long black skirt and layers of cotton petticoats that fell almost to my feet.  Mother then sat me down on the bed and put a pair of black boots on my feet, mercifully with a very small heel.

Whilst still sitting on the bed, mother put a long black wig on me (for my own hair had been cropped short recently) and arranged it around my face.  Then she held up a hand mirror so that I could see the new me.

The change was startling.  With just a change of clothes and a wig, I did look like a girl. "There we are.  I win the bet!" mother said triumphantly.  I had to agree.  I felt very awkward and silly in my new clothes and hair. Mother got me to walk around for a while to get used to it all and coached me in how to walk, how to sit and how to handle my long skirts.

I didn't much like the experience of suddenly becoming a girl.  My clothes were uncomfortable and cumbersome and I yearned for my normal clobber.  It was downright humiliating for a boy to find himself in petticoats and corsets.

Mother sensed my feelings "It'll be hard for you at first" she said soothingly "But it will get better, I promise and you'll be used to it before you know it.  Now, come, I need to show you how to run the shop".

Mother showed me.  I was bright and clever and picked everything up quickly.  Within a few weekends, mother was confident that she could leave me to mind the shop for a few hours whilst she had a rest.  I was also getting used to being a girl.  Wearing corsets and skirts became natural for me, especially as mother had insisted on my wearing my outfit over the whole weekend.  I was even given a girl's name - Polly - that I had to answer to.

Over time, embellishments were made to enhance my feminine appearance.  Small trinkets of jewellery were added, my fingernails were varnished and I wore a light make up to soften and feminise my features.  My clothes were also upgraded.  I wore silk stockings instead of woollen ones and the change was heavenly.  My blouse was now also silk, as were my petticoats, and my skirt was a smartly tailored one.  I made an elegant young lady shop assistant and received compliments on my appearance.

My existence as Polly lasted for a period of eighteen months.  During the week, I was James and went to school as normal and did boy things but at weekends I became Polly and did girl things.  Under my mother's tutelage, I learnt much about feminine deportment, fashion and even how to apply make up.  These, as it turned out, were invaluable lessons for my future career.

Meanwhile, the shop prospered.  With me to help, mother had time to create some gorgeous lingerie and dresses for higher class clients.  These garments were an instant success and soon the shop was doing well enough for mother to employ two real girls to help her.  Polly was no longer needed.  Furthermore, mother was able to rent us a house in a better district.

I reverted to my whole life as a boy with mixed feelings for I had found that life as a part-time girl was actually quite pleasant.  I missed the rigidity and security of corsets and the other pretty, fussy things that went with being a girl.  But, at the end of the day I was a boy who was about to become a man.

When I left school, I was no longer certain what I was going to do.  University was not an option as  we could not afford it.  To my surprise, mother suggested that I come back to work for her.  Not as Polly, but as her under-manager so that I could take over the business as a man one day.  So, for a while, I supervised the girls and learnt what I could from mother about accounts and stock ordering.

My life was then interrupted by the Great War in 1914.  Aged 17, like most young men, I wanted at once to rush to the nearest recruiting office and join up.  Mother, fearing that I would share the same fate as my all but forgotten father, begged me not to.  I heeded her, but could not avoid being conscripted in mid 1916.

After basic training as an infantry soldier, I fully expected to be posted to the front and I also fully expected to become a casualty before long, judging from what I had heard about conditions in the trenches.  In our last week before being shipped off, one of the lads had put together a concert party for the benefit of the troops and asked me to take part.  I played a female part of course and was fully dressed up as a lady of the period.  As I had been a "lady" before, my performance was very convincing and I got rapturous applause from the audience.

The following day, to my surprise, I was summoned to the Commanding Officer's Office.  With the CO was another gentleman in civilian dress, who was introduced as Major Forbes.  It was Forbes who did the talking whilst the CO listened passively.

Forbes started by saying how impressive my performance had been the night before.  I made a very attractive and convincing woman.  This is what had drawn his attention to me apparently.  He had then looked at my service record, which was sparse admittedly at this stage in my military career, but did highlight that I could speak French and German tolerably well.  Forbes tested me on both languages.  I was a little rusty, but acquitted myself well.

Forbes explained that he worked for MI6, an military intelligence unit whose job it was was to procure information from the enemy.  My language skills alone were of interest but my ability to impersonate a woman was of even greater interest.  They had tried to infiltrate the German military with men, with limited success.  Using a real woman was unthinkable at that time.  Women were delicate and fragile creatures, quite unsuited to the work of spying.  I wished Forbes could have met my mother.  It might have changed his opinion.

Anyway, the plan was for me to join MI6, go to Germany incognito as a lady and acquire military secrets.  I would be commissioned as a Second Lieutenant, a big promotion, with enhanced pay.  It was probably certain death, I decided, but then so was going to the front line and at least spying would be more interesting, so I accepted.

Weeks of more training followed, not just in fields like cryptology, radio signalling and languages, but feminine fields such as sewing, deportment, typing and voice training.  It was vitally important that I not only look like a woman but sounded like one.

I was dressed up in a very smart jacket, skirt, hat and all of the other accessories and wore silk lingerie and corsetry underneath it all.  I was of course no longer embaressed by my attire.  In fact, I rather enjoyed it.  I made my way to Berlin without difficulty, and under my cover got a job as a stenographer in an army base.  As a civilian employee, I did not have to bunk with other women at least which made things easier.

I spent three months there and obtained a good deal of useful information about troop movements and other data.  No one twigged that I was anything other than a young German woman Stenographer.  It would have been unwise to have kept up the pretence any longer, for the German authorities were tightening up security and were becoming aware that someone at the base must be leaking information.

I rapidly switched identities and moved to another city.  Obtaining a job as a waitress in a top class hotel, which top brass of the German military frequented, I eventually became on good terms with an elderly German General and stole his military secrets.  The General was a sweet man, buying me jewellery, lingerie and expensive clothes.  I wore all of these for him and became to all intents and purposes his girlfriend.  The General was too old to try anything with me.  As far as he was concerned I was just a pretty, dumb waitress who could be made to look fabulous in a nice frock.

Anyway, once the offensive that he was in charge of failed (thanks to me leaking the intelligence back to Blightly), a furious Kaiser sacked him and that was the last I saw of him.  I kept the presents though and moved again, getting another job in another hotel and under a different identity.

Having to live as a woman twenty four seven, with the added pressure that any slip could be fatal, for I would be shot as a spy if detected, became entirely natural now.  Femininity was now my profession and I was splendid at it.  Being more careful not to get involved in any relationships, I simply lifted whatever information the Generals left lying around.  As a Chambermaid, dressed in a very cute uniform with a frilly pinny, this was absurdly easy to do.

There were disadvantages to posing as a woman.  Naturally, the men assumed I was one and treated me like one.  I had my bottom fondled or slapped on a number of occasions, or ended up on a man's knee and other indignities but the men were less of a problem than other women,which whom I had to spend a lot of time and be friendly with, but thankfully none of them seemed to question my gender.  But I was always more nervous around real women, who might sense that I was not in fact a member of their sex.

Partly thanks to my efforts, the Germans were defeated in 1918 and I was able to return to England for the first time in over two years.  Since, MI6 no longer had any use for my talents as a female impersonator, I was discharged.  But I found that simply reverting to my pre war existence as a male was not possible after more than two years living as a woman.

I returned to my mother's shop, which was thriving, and after a long conversation with her about my decision to continue to live as a woman, I went back to the shop floor as one of the girls.  The other girls were made aware of my true identity and were very supportive.  I spent twenty years of happiness working for my mother as a lady shop assistant and spending our spare time as mother and daughter.  I had my own extensive wardrobe with a small section for men's clothing for the times when I had to assume my real identity.

War interrupted my life again in 1939.  This time, the war effort had no need of me to spy for them as an imitation woman as times and attitudes had changed and real women were sent out into the field in this war.  However, my language skills and previous spying experience were still of use and I worked for MI6 once again decoding communications traffic from the German High Command.  My only regret that I was required during this war to re-assume my male attire and identity in order to do the work.  This I did reluctantly for King and Country though I was glad when the war finally ended and I was able to resume my female persona.

My mother died just after the end of the war, leaving her emporium to me.  I ran it as the lady owner for another fifteen years before selling it and retiring on the proceeds.  When I think back over my past life, I am grateful that I was able to spend most of it in skirts.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Paladins & Princesses

Paladins & Princesses - Redefining masculinity in the 21st Century - an article by Simon and Tilda Mason.

As mankind progresses further into the 21st Century, it is hard to avoid the fact that as women have completely redefined their roles and status over the last century, the role and status of men has never been more uncertain.  Men, it has often been said, are in crisis.  They are failing at school, they are losing their jobs and their status as breadwinners and the value of the male sex within society is questionable.  In an age where women can earn their own living, support a family and even have children without needing to involve a man at all, the status of men is under threat.

Men in general are aware of all this, but most stay silent.  There are, however, exceptions and the object of this article is to look at two of these groups.  Neither of them, we should say, are anti-women in the way that many new male rights groups are.  Both the groups being examined are very different from each other, as you will see.

I (Tilda) travelled to a private estate in Texas and met a man who full titles and names are as follows: Sir Maximillian Plantagenet, Grand Master and Rector of the Most Holy Order of the Sacred Cross.  He graciously allowed me to call him Sir Max during my stay with his Order.

"Sir Max" is actually a Texas Oil billionnaire.  He has been married and divorced six times and each of his former wives has left with a six figure fortune.  The failure of his marriages has lead Sir Max to examine his own personality and spirituality. He found these to be lacking and this lead him to setting up the Order.

The setting for the Order is one of the most impressive sights I have ever seen, for Sir Max designed, commissioned and built a massive medieval castle out of authentic medieval stone that was shipped over from Great Britain.  "Camelot" (for that is the name Sir Max selected for the resulting edifice) is like a fairy tale palace.  Stepping into it was like time travelling back into the middle ages.

There is no modern technology here.  Everything is done as it would have been done in medieval times.  The people who live in this fabricated throw back world are seperated by class and gender.  At the top are Sir Max and his knights, all men aged between about 20 and 60, who spend most of their time practising swordplay and jousting, hunting or praying.  Then there are artisans, merchants and servants who provide the infrastructure for this make believe world.  Then there are the women who are mainly of two types - ladies who prance about in expensive dresses and steepled hats - and menial servants who make beds, prepare meals and do the laundry.  Needless to say, without the modern labour saving devices available in our century, many tasks are time consuming and back breaking.

As a female guest, I was to be a lady, rather than a servant.  I had to exchange my 21st Century clothes and accessories for some linen undergarments, a silk dress and a high steepled hat.  My outfit made me appear more feminine, which I suppose was the point, and it was comfortable to wear.  I then spent a week at the court of Sir Max.  I took part in a hunt, medieval banquets, dances and watched the knights joust.  It was all somewhat enjoyable, but the knights seemed to be having more fun.

The knights and, indeed, all men, were very deferential and courteous towards any woman.  When I entered a room, all men present bowed to me and kissed my hand.  At mealtimes, I was "looked after" by a solicitous young knight who would carve my beef for me and serve me dishes.  But at the same time, I found it all demeaning.  In this world, women were given respect and courtesy, but no say in how things were run here.

That was all decided by the Order, who met in secret at regular intervals.  As only men could be knights of the Order, women were of course excluded.  When I interviewed Sir Max, he explained to me that the Order's focus was on male bonding and spirituality.  Men needed to go back to a simpler time to reconnect with masculine values that had been blurred in recent years.

What about the women? I asked. Sir Max said that women needed to go back to traditional feminine values, but that his Order was not the place for this.  I was not sorry when the time came for me to hang up my steepled hat and return to the real world.  Sir Max's "vision" of masculinity is too narrow and does little for women.

More attractive is a new movement, Princesses, which admittedly does not sound like having anything to do with men but which was founded by one.  My husband, Simon, went along to take a look at them.

I (Simon) contacted the founder of Princesses, Roland Forsythe, who is now known as Rosalyn.  Rosalyn was a middle-aged man who wore an extravagent purple evening dress and expensive looking jewellery.  His hair, dyed a rich blonde, fell to his waist, and he was fully made up.  He insisted on my kissing his hand.  Each finger, I noted, was adorned with a ring, and the nails were varnished a deep red colour.  Rosalyn looked every inch a woman.

Rosalyn reminded me of the condition he had laid on giving me an interview and allowing me access to his organisation.  Tilda had helped denude my limbs and chest and so it only remained for me to struggle into the feminine outfit I had brought with me, a knee length black skirt, cream blouse and matching jacket along with all the necessary underwear, accessories and shoes.  The make up and wig were the hardest items to put on but I managed it and tottered out en femme.

Rosalyn complimented me on my new appearance.  I felt very silly and was regretting agreeing to the condition.  He explained that he had founded Princesses based on his own experience and thoughts on the "gender quake" that had been going on for the last 50 or so years.

Beginning life as a traditional male born in the early fifties, Roland had had a good job, a good marriage and children.  He had been the breadwinner and patriarch without question.  Then, in the nineties, he had lost his job in the recession.  His wife managed to find a job and they effectively switched traditional gender roles.  After 30 or so years as top dog, Roland found this hard to take at first and he came close to having a mental breakdown.

Then, having time on his hands, Roland networked with other men in the same position as him and he conducted research into the genderquake.  What he found transformed his thinking.  It was clear that women represented the future leaders of society.  Every statistic he had looked at on the subject of male and female performance supported this conclusion. Men had lost the battle of the sexes and had to live with the consequences of their defeat at the hands of the stronger sex.

A man's place, Roland concluded, was in the home, supporting his wife whilst she built and consolidated her career.  Not only that, but men should give up obsolete notions of masculinity and embrace femininity as the future.  Roland took the drastic step of replacing his entire wardrobe with feminine finery.  He took housework and attention to his personal feminine presentation very seriously.  Even Roland found it humiliating to dress in women's underwear and clothes at first, but his wife was very supportive and shares his vision.

Princesses exists across the USA to help men who are struggling in a world that is becoming increasingly female-dominated (in line with Roland's predictions) to not only get in touch with their feminine side but to take on a traditionally female persona and role in order to support women.  The movement is small but growing steadily.

Rosalyn, who looked very natural and comfortable in her outfit (as opposed to me who found it very difficult to even walk with any confidence), took me to a meeting of a local Princesses.  There were about a dozen men there, most of them dressed as women in a very over the top way.  There was one man who stood out precisely because he was still dressed as a man.  He was, Rosalyn explained, a newbie.  A first time attendee who wanted to see what the movement was about but this attendee looked extremely uncomfortable in the midst of all the cross-dressed men.  Perhaps his wife had made him come.

There were also some women present, who had come along to support their men.  The meeting consisted of a cookery lesson (Salmon Mousse).  Then a member who had designed his own dress for a social modelled it for the benefit of the group to applause.  Rosalyn then gave a talk entitled "The future of masculinity" which was in essence what he had explained to me earlier.  Then the group retired to the bar for social chit chat and gossip.

I looked around the bar at men dressed in evening gowns and cocktail dresses, wearing rather too much make up and perfume, and teetering on high heels and wondered if this was really the future of masculinity.  Have men fallen so far that they must basically become women?  Speaking personally, it was not a future I wanted for myself or my sons.  I had to leave early, as my heels were killing me.

Having seen two very different re-definitions of masculinity, the future course of masculinity in the 21st Century will probably not be quite as extreme as the visions portrayed by the two groups, but what it will be, in an ever changing world, is anyone's guess.

Friday, 4 January 2013

Mistress Z

It was no good.  No matter how often I added the figures up on my snazzy spreadsheet, there was no way I could make them more positive.  I was slowly but surely sinking into a morass of debt.

Poverty, or rather, a constant cash flow problem was the bane of all university students.  I had accepted this when I had accepted a place at one of the most prestigious universities in the country, but the reality of it was finally hitting me in the face.  Again, and again, and again.

What made it all the worse was that I was surrounded by other students who had been fortunate enough to be born into wealthy families.  They swanned around in designer clothes, drove around in posh cars and were out socialising every night.  I, born into a poor but honest family, had only my student grant to rely on.  And it simply wasn't enough.

My best friend, Emma, noticed my depressed mood.  Emma and I were both studying law, we had both come from less well to do families and had had to win scholarships to get into the schools to get the grades that entitled us to be here.  We had met at a fresher and we had clicked instantly.  Since my name was Emily and we spent almost all our spare time together, our classmates dubbed us collectively as the "Emms", though of late Emma had been oddly absent and was being evasive about where she had been and what she had been up to.

Emma sat down beside me and gave me a big friendly hug "What's up Emm?  You've been really down".  I twisted my laptop towards her to show her the breakdown of my disastrous finances "I don't know what to do Emm" I said, my tone one of despair "I'm trying not to spend money but I'm still broke!  And I still have to find money for textbooks and study materials.  Where's that going to come from?  There's nothing else for it, I'll have to get a part-time job.  Waitressing or bar work".

Emm shook her head slowly "You'd have to give up a lot of your time for being paid peanuts.  Not worth it, seriously".

I had to agree, but there was something that was bugging me.  Six weeks ago, Emma had been as skint as I was.  Since then, Emma was wearing designer clothes and had not only bought all the books on her reading list but had purchased some others that weren't.  She must have spent hundreds, if not thousands of pounds recently.  I turned to her and asked "How do you manage, Emm".

Emma seemed to have anticipated the question.  She looked around to check that no-one was within earshot and whispered "I got a job.  I only have to work twelve hours a week and the money is unbelievable.  The nature of the work is a bit unusual though".

I asked Emma to tell me more.  And she did.  In great detail.  It sounded like the ideal solution to my financial woes and, even better, Emma promised to put me in contact with her boss, a woman known only to Emma as Mistress X.

Three days later I got a frantic call from Emma "I've told Mistress X about you and she wants to see you right away!".  "Emm" I protested "I've a seminar in ten minutes!".  "Do you want the job or not?  Meet me at the the Student Bar.  Mistress X doesn't like to to kept waiting!"  Emma hung up.

Sighing, I trudged over to the Bar.  Emma was sat outside, in a gleaming red convertable "Hop in!" she said simply.  I had barely got in when Emm put her foot down and the car sped away.  She was driving like a maniac, swearing when she encountered red traffic signals and at other drivers.  Finally, the car screeched to a halt outside a nondescript office building.

Emma handed me a plastic card.  It was some sort of security pass "Swipe this at the door and key in 9153.  Then go up the stairway you see.  Mistress X will be there.  Good luck, Emm, see you later!".  The car sped off as soon as I had alighted and closed the door.  I did as Emma told me and found myself at the top of a dusty flight of stairs, standing outside an oak panelled solid door.  It had no markings on it whatsoever.

Nervous as hell, I knocked timidly on the door.  There was no sound from behind the door.  I rapped at the door more confidently and my efforts were rewarded by a woman's voice saying "Enter!".

I opened the door and let it swing wide.  I walked slowly into a large room with rich oak panelled walls, a burgundy coloured velvety carpet and exquisite furnishings.  The whole room radiated opulence and luxury and I immediately felt calmer.  Seated behind a large desk was a tiny, wizened woman in oriental dress and expensive looking jewellery.

The woman, who I guessed must be Mistress X, barely glanced at me.  In a cold tone, she ordered "Sit down".  There was a small chair opposite her own, noticeably lower and less comfortable than her own.  I took my place.  Despite the fact that Mistress X was far shorter than me, the lowness of my seat meant I had to look up at her.

Mistress X was studying a piece of paper intently.  Then, almost reluctantly, she set it down and forced herself to attend to me.  "You will speak only when I direct a question at you and you will answer my questions concisely and honestly.  Please be assured that I have researched your background thoroughly and that I am well versed in detecting untruths.  If I believe you to be less than honest with me, the interview will be terminated and you will leave this building immediately.  Do you understand?"

"Yes" I answered simply.  This woman had a terrifying air about her.  She made Cruella De Ville look like a sweet old lady.

"First, you will return to me the pass you were given to enter this building".  I meekly surrendered the card.

Mistress X then fired a load of questions about me, about my education, my outside activities, my sexual experiences, my family's genealogy.  It was very clear that she knew absolutely everything about my past.  Not that there was much to hide mind, my background was very ordinary.

Mistress X, who had been making notes and annotations as I answered, seemed satisfied with my responses. At any rate, I was not being asked to leave.  I wondered how well I was doing.

Mistress X pointed to a lacquered screen "You will go behind that screen and change into the clothes that you find there".  I went behind the screen to find a black lacy basque, a lace thong, silk black stockings, a pair of high heels in my size and an almost transparent black robe.  With some difficulty, as I had never wore lingerie like this before in my life, I got into the things and presented myself to Mistress X thus attired.  I felt pretty foolish and awkward.

Mistress X's gaze over my body was penetrating.  Finally, she said "You have an attractive, well toned body.  What you are wearing now will be your uniform and you will be required to wear it at all times whilst you are here.  I can see that you are not used to wearing such garments but you strike as a very bright and intelligent girl and it will soon become second nature to you".

Mistress X continued "Now I will explain to you what we do here.  This agency provides a very unique but valuable service to high profile clients.  Most of our client base are members of parliament, senior civil servants, high ranking military and police officers and we even have some Cabinet ministers.  These men, and they are all men, have certain preferences in how they like to relax when they are not running the country.  Some of them like, for example, to wear the uniform of a schoolgirl.  Others like different things.  But what they all like is to have a girl like you order them about and discipline them".

Mistress X looked at me to see my reaction.  It all sounded very creepy, but at the same time very exciting.  I was intrigued and so I made my face wear a neutral expression.

Mistress X continued "I should make it clear that there will be no sexual activity involved and that such physical contact that there is, is minimal and only employed where necessary.  You will find that our esteemed clients understand and respect this.  I should also make it clear that the financial rewards for providing this service are very high.  Now, do you have any questions to put to me?"

I had a few and Mistress X endeavoured to answer these fully and frankly.  Then, once I had changed back into my usual clothes, she dismissed me.  I asked if I had been "successful" and she told me merely to wait to hear from her further.  It was a disappointment.

Mistress X left me in limbo for a few days and I supposed that perhaps she had not been impressed by me.  Then an innocuous brown envelope arrived in the post.  Inside was a handwritten letter from Mistress X offering me the position.  I was to report, with Emma, the following day to start my training.

Emma was already aware of the news, and was thrilled.  But she told me frankly "We are going to have a make a few changes to your presentation.  Mistress X said you look too much like me".  This was true.  Emm and I were the same height and build and had the same hair colour.  Emm whisked me off to a beauty salon where I was fully depilated and my hair dyed the shade of copper.  I looked very different with my hair a different colour and styled differently to that of Emma.

The following day I reported for induction.  I had first to read and sign a thick contract that had been written by a better legal mind than my own.  It bound me to absolute secrecy about the clients I would be working with.  I shrugged.  This was not an unreasonable demand and so I signed.  I was then given my own passcard and code to enter the building and assigned my office, which was a smaller version of the one used by Mistress X and where I could change and shower.

Then my training began in earnest.  At first, I had to sit behind a secret chamber with a one way mirror and observe Emma with her clients.  Emma was Mistress Y, by the way, and my moniker was Mistress Z.  The routines were easy to pick up and after only a couple of days, I was confident enough to start with real clients.

You never forget your first client.  My first was an MP who must have been in his early fifties, fat, balding and dressed in a traditional pin striped suit.  He wanted to become a schoolgirl called Cynthia.  I made him strip and put on his gymslip and all the rest of it.  Oddly, despite his build and his age, the outfit actually suited him.  He did look a lot like many an overweight schoolgirl that I had known during my own school days, although the uniform was old fashioned and its wearer was too tall to pass.

Anyway, once Cynthia was properly dressed, I put her through her paces.  I made her write a short poem, which I marked and found fault with.  That earned her a hundred lines, which she had to write in five minutes. The time allowed was deliberately too short, but to her credit, Cynthia had managed eighty lines that were neat and correctly spelled.  But this didn't help her.  I ordered her to bend over and lower her knickers. I administered ten strokes of the cane on her bare buttocks, which Cynthia had to count.

Once the punishment was over, Cynthia had to kneel and beg me for forgiveness, which I condescended to give once Cynthia had kissed the cane.  After finishing her lines, Cynthia was dismissed and went away to changing facilities.  About a quarter of an hour later, the honourable member would be on his way to the House of Commons to go about his normal business.

That first client had been nerve racking for me but I was relieved to find that it was all absurdly easy.  Three more clients followed.  Being a schoolgirl was the most popular theme, but there were others.  Some of them liked to be transformed into sissy little girls, a confection of frills, lace and ribbons or submissive maids.  Female military or police uniforms were also popular, especially amongst high ranking generals or police officers.  There was a growing demand for secretarial outfits, the classic silk white blouse, pencil skirt and high heels.

The outcome was always the same.  The client would be made to put on their costume of choice and would invariably be punished, be it by a cane, a strap or a whip, by me.  I found the power I enjoyed over these men quite intoxicating.  I had been a mere schoolgirl myself only a few years earlier and now here I was wielding authority over VIP's, the men who actually ran the country.

I found it very odd that these powerful men should want to become very submissive schoolgirls or maids or other types of lowly females.  I reasoned that having to be a tough male politician or military officer was an impossible persona to maintain all of the time and that their feminine alter egos were a necessary way for them to let off steam.

I should say something about the costumes that were made available for our esteemed clients.  The schoolgirl, secretary and maid costumes were mostly procured from outfitters of such garments and were therefore authentic down to the tiniest detail and of the highest quality.  A client could elect to wear a crisp, new uniform, or a used one, depending on their preference.

Most of the other costumes, for sissy girls, sissy maids and babies, were hand made and stitched from delicate and expensive fabrics and had so many frills and flounces that it made even my feminine mind boggle that someone born to be male would wish to have the humiliation of wearing them.  Anyway, it was part of my role to select the clothing to be worn from our storage facilities and to arrange for the garments to be freshly laundered once they had been vacated by their wearer.  Invariably, they had to be dry-cleaned but as we had an arrangement with a company that supplied such a service the costs were relatively inexpensive.

With one exception, who I shall come to shortly, the esteemed clients were generally of the same category.  Middle-aged males of slightly different heights, weights and hairlines, all nicely docile and submissive once inserted into their feminine costumes.  They looked nothing like women or girls and could never pass as a female unless they underwent radical medical procedures, which of course they never would for it would mean the end of their careers.  They looked somewhat cute and feminine, but that was as far as it went.

Probably the most amusing one was the client I had who was a high ranking civil servant.  He was the most senior civil servant in his department, with power over the hundreds of other civil servants who worked there (mostly women, it should be pointed out).  He was a "Sir" and had had various orders and other decorations conferred upon him by the monarch over his career, but his greatest pleasure was to be dressed as his female secretary in the classic secretary outfit and then made to bend over for punishment.  He was well over six feet and broad with it, so it was quite a challenge to find the clothes and shoes for him (he took a size thirteen in shoes), but it was accomplished.  It was funny to see this tall, powerfully built man, who made me look tiny by comparison, tottering about in a tight skirt and high heels.

I must mention my most favourite client.  Let's call him Glen.  He is a very different client from the others.  For a start, he is considerably younger and more feminine in every way from the other clients.  He had just been elected as an MP and was considered to be something of a high-flier, possibly a future leader of his party.

Glen came from a wealthy family and was the youngest of three children. He was the only boy and his birth was greeted with great joy by his parents, who had wanted a boy so far had only two girls.  Even as recently as the seventies, a boy was still considered more valuable than a clutch of sisters.  The only person not happy with the fact that Glen was a boy was Glen himself.  As he emerged from baby and infant hood and realised, as we all do, that there was a great gender divide, Glen realised that he had ended up on the wrong side.  In his heart and soul, he wanted to be a girl.

To this end, he tried to include himself in the activities of his sisters as early as possible.  At first, his sisters obliged him, the elder girl dressing him in the flower girl costume she had worn at a cousin's wedding.  With his golden ringlets, slight figure and feminine features, Glen made a very presentable girl and wearing a dress felt so right to him.  But when his parents found out about it, they were very angry.  Glen and his sisters were punished - the girls confined to their room whilst Glen was spanked with a slipper and told in no uncertain terms that he was forbidden to wear female clothing in future.

Glen was unhappy.  His sisters were sympathetic, but could do nothing to help him.  Glen could not resist the urge to dress up and was caught wearing one of his sisters' dresses.

After this, Glen found himself packed off to the same all-boys boarding school that his father had attended. Glen was miserable there at first and wrote to his parents, begging them to let him come home.  He received a brief response which ran as follows "You need to become a man and persevere.  One day you will thank us for this".

Glen quickly gleaned that he would need to suppress his inclinations towards femininity if he was to survive in this exclusively male environment.  He was a bright, clever boy and took advantage of the much better than average education that was being offered.  He soon gained a reputation as a swot.  He was less successful on the sports field but acquitted himself well enough.

Just under half a mile away from the school was the St Agatha's School for Girls.  Whilst the other boys were fascinated by the budding female bodies that populated the school, Glen was tormented by the uniforms, though he never let on of course.  Glen's outlet from relentless study was the drama society which put on three Shakespeare plays a year.  Although Glen was a better actor than most of his peers, the lead male parts went to bigger, more masculine looking lads.  Girls from St Agatha's were brought in to fill the female parts and Glen envied them as they wore elaborate and embroidered dresses. Glen longed to fill the parts of Juliet, Portia or Cleopatra but was never to be allowed to do so.

Academically, Glen was successful, gaining top marks at school and going on to Cambridge University where he earned a first class honours degree.  He considered an acting career but decided to go into politics and proved to be very accomplished at it.  Of course, some years before, he had escaped from his parents so that he was at last free to indulge himself.

I gradually got all of this out of Glen over a fairly long period.  I felt desperately sad for him and so I was much kinder to him than to the other clients.  Glen liked best to be dressed as a sweet little girl, with lots of frills and lace, and he looked very feminine and adorable.  Over time, I persuaded him that he would look better and more sophisticated dressed as a woman of his own age and so he did agree. Glen made a very convincing and attractive woman and he was determined to dress that way out of the public gaze.

I was Mistress Z for just under two years.  The money I had earned was phenomenal.  In my last year at university, I was able to purchase a top of the range sports car and had the pleasure of seeing the jaws of my fellow students dropped as it roared into the campus.  I ate out in fancy restaurants and wore designer clothes.  I had built up a healthy deposit towards buying my own flat once I graduated.

But the decision to go was not mine.  Mistress X decided that new blood was needed to keep their offering fresh and exciting and so both Emma and I were dropped.  We were not altogether sorry.  We had our final exams to study for and interesting and fulfilling careers in law to look forward to, but we would miss the money - and the fun.