A lady seeks discipline
by Sally Cavendish
Why spanking? I wish I knew. As with many female spanking fans of my generation (I was born in 1974) it is a passion that crept up on me out of nowhere. And, no, Fifty Shades of Grey had nothing to do with it. I found the success of that ludicrous novel, later an even more ludicrous film, incomprehensible.
I was in my thirties before I first read a spanking story and nearly forty before I started writing spanking stories of my own. So what got me started? There were two triggers, completely unconnected with each other.
The first took place nearly ten years ago. My sister and I were clearing out the house of my late uncle in Lancashire when we came across a stash of what might loosely be called erotica, gathering dust in his attic. There were a bewildering assortment of books and magazines, including back numbers of Janus, with which fans of this site will no doubt be familiar. The photo-stories were pretty far-fetched, and I remember giggling at their absurdity with my sister. But there were also some nice little school stories illustrated by black-and-white drawings which, for some reason, struck a chord.
The stories were certainly far more piquant than the Enid Blyton-type yarns on which my mother and her generation were weaned. Those images of yelping schoolgirls with their knickers at half mast, their backsides striped by the cane of an angry headmaster or headmistress, were, what shall I say, intriguing. They fed fantasies which were quite new to me. Corporal punishment in school had been abolished long before my time, but which still inflame me today.
The second trigger came about six months later. I am a member of my local bridge club and often partner an old friend from my university days called Hazel. She is single, like me, and works as a freelance editor for a publishing house in Bath, the city where we both live. We often go out to the pub for a drink after the end of bridge.
We were idly gossiping as usual when, quite out of the blue, Hazel asked if I could keep a secret. Of course, I said, taken aback.
“This probably sounds silly,” she went on, stammering in her nervousness. “But I thought you would be amused to hear that I have a new career; part-time headmistress.”
I just stared at her, open-mouthed. Being a headmistress was not a part-time job, not by any stretch of the imagination. Had I misheard her in the crowded pub? Then, little by little, with many a coy blush, it all came out.
Partly to supplement her income, and partly to explore what she called a ‘secret side’ of herself, Hazel had rented a private apartment in the centre of Bristol, furnished it as a school classroom and now offered ‘disciplinary services to discerning men and women.
“It’s mainly middle-aged men pretending to be naughty schoolboys,” she explained. “But I see more women than you might think. Every client is different.”
My face must have been a picture because, at this point, she asked if I was shocked. I pondered the question.
“Surprised, yes. Shocked, no. It’s obviously something you enjoy, Hazel, or you wouldn’t do it. And why not? It’s a free country. Do you do your headmistressing under a pseudonym? Is there much money in it? Do you have to dress up? Where do you advertise? I have got so many questions, I don’t where to start.”
“Start here,” she said, handing me what looked like a business card. “It’s all on my website. Let’s talk more another time. I must get off now.”
As you can imagine, I was so intrigued by this unsuspected side of my old university friend that I checked out her website as soon as I got home. Hazel, it seemed, went under the professional name ‘Mistress Millicent’ and, in the pictures of her on the website, was practically unrecognisable.
A pair of thick horn-rimmed glasses and a severe grey wig which aged her by ten years all but obliterated the woman I knew. In many of the pictures, she was wearing an academic gown and holding a cane, against some suitably scholastic background. Blackboards and old-fashioned school desks featured prominently.
The whole set-up belonged to the same world of make-believe as the Janus stories which had so fascinated me. I had vaguely known of the existence of professional ‘mistresses’, but had always associated them with dungeons, chains, leather, PVC and the like, none of which floated my boat at all.
As well as pictures of Hazel as headmistress, the website had a long list of scenarios; imaginary role-play sessions appropriate to a school setting. They ranged from misbehaving pupils being sent to the headmistress to members of school staff being disciplined for poor performance. All they had in common was a sore bottom at the end of the role-play session, sometimes a very sore bottom, judging by some of the pictures on the site. Mistress Millicent certainly had a formidable arsenal of weapons at her disposal!
The final section of the site was headed simply ‘Making an Appointment’ and, like a moth hovering towards a flame, I read it and re-read it, until I knew it my heart.
Those desirous of visiting Mistress Millicent were asked to email her in the first instance and explain briefly what kind of session they wanted to book. Time-wasters were discouraged in no uncertain terms. The tone was brisk and professional. To be frank, I was so titillated by the thought of visiting Hazel in her Mistress Millicent persona that I immediately drafted a short email:
‘Hello, Mistress. Sally here. I just wanted to say that I love your site and am interested in visiting you in your school-room. Perhaps we could discuss?’
My finger must have hovered over the SEND button for at least ten minutes before I finally pressed it. I had committed to nothing. My email was purely exploratory. And yet, deep down, I sensed that I was embarking on a course from which there would be no turning back. Did I really want that?
“Yes,” said a voice deep inside me. “You really do want that!”
It was after midnight, so I was not expecting a reply from Hazel that evening, but half an hour later, there was a bleep on my phone and I opened her email, heart pounding. It was quite formal and business-like.
‘Dear Sally. Thank you for your email. I was not entirely surprised to get it. I had a hunch that my little secret world might appeal to you. But can we be clear about something from the start? You are most welcome to visit me in my school-room, but it must be on exactly the same basis as everyone else. In other words, we will not be meeting as friends, joking and larking about, but as client and service-provider. If that is acceptable to you, I am of course happy to facilitate a meeting. I look forward to hearing from you.’
When I first read the email, I got hold of the wrong end of stick and thought that Hazel’s main purpose in writing it was to make sure that I understood that she was offering a professional service and that I would not be expecting a freebie or mate’s rates. Then I re-read it and the penny dropped. Hazel was laying down the law. Bridge-playing friends we might me, but if I were to visit Mistress Millicent in her school-room, I would be there strictly on her terms and subject to her rules.
It was one of the strangest situations in which I had ever found myself. For more than twenty years, Hazel and I had enjoyed a relaxed, easy-going friendship, rooted in equality and mutual respect. Neither of us was, in any sense, the dominant partner. Now, at least for the duration of my visit to her school-room, Hazel was determined to alter that dynamic. Was I really ready for such a dramatic shift of emphasis?
It says a lot for how much those school stories in Janus had got under my skin that I had no hesitation in signing on the dotted line. After all, if the whole thing backfired, we could always laugh it off and revert to our cosy world of bridge and visits to the pub and cinema.
First thing the next morning, I replied to Hazel’s email, striking the same formal note as she had:
“Dear Mistress Millicent. Thank you for your email. I entirely accept your point about the need to keep our relationship on a strictly professional footing. I can also confirm that I would like to visit you in your school-room at your convenience, either on Tuesday or Wednesday evening next week. I would like to book an hour-long session, themed on Scenario 4 as described on your website. I look forward to hearing from you. With best wishes, Sally.”
Scenario 4, I should explain, involved a junior member of staff being summoned to see the headmistress to explain her poor performance during the previous term. It appealed more to me than the role-play scenarios in which I would be expected to play, and presumably dress like, a schoolgirl. My role-playing skills were not up to that one!
Hazel replied within the hour, confirming my appointment for six-thirty the following Wednesday. She reminded me that clients were expected to bring the fee for their session in an envelope, to be handed to the headmistress on arrival, and to be sure to arrive punctually or face the consequences.
At the bottom of the email, there were a number of boxes I was asked to tick, to ‘help Mistress Millicent tailor the session to your requirements’. The first asked about my previous experience of corporal punishment. I said none, obviously. The second asked how strictly I wanted to be disciplined. I played safe and ticked the box marked Medium. The third asked which implements of punishment I wished to be used. I ticked the box marked The Cane, which had featured so prominently in Janus. The fourth asked if I was happy for my bottom to be marked. I took a deep breath and ticked the Yes box. The die was cast.
The following Wednesday, at six-thirty on the dot, I was ringing the door-bell of a first-floor flat of a nondescript building on a quiet street on the outskirts of Bristol. Hazel buzzed me up and, seconds later, we were looking each other in the face. I had vowed that, if she wanted to stay strictly in role, I would do the same. Not a flicker of a knowing friendly wink crossed either of our faces.
“Come in, Sally,” said “Mistress Millicent”, who was dressed in a smart charcoal-grey business suit. “Thank you for arriving on time. This way, please.”
She led me along a short corridor and opened the door at the far end, which was furnished as a traditional headmistress’s study, with a leather-topped desk, a few school photos on the wall and a couple of armchairs. In the corner was what looked like an umbrella-stand containing an assortment of school canes, some crook-handled, some not. My heart missed a beat. This was suddenly getting rather serious.
Without saying a word, I handed Hazel the envelope in which I had put her fee for the session. She took it, put in the top drawer of her desk, and gestured at me to sit in one of the armchairs, while she took the other one. Then she eyed me coldly over the top of her horn-rimmed glasses.
“You know why you’re here, Sally?”
“Well, I think…”
“You’re here, Sally, because you’ve let yourself down and, more to the point, you’ve let the school down. You used to be one of my very best teachers, but your standards have been slipping, and slipping badly. Very badly. You’ve been turning up late, missing classes, not getting the best out of your pupils. It won’t do, Sally. It really won’t. I hope I don’t have to remind you of your conditions of service?”
“I’m sorry, I don’t think…”
Without saying a word, she crossed to her desk, opened one of her drawers and fished out a document, which she handed to me. It was about six pages long, on A4 paper and headed Staff Handbook.
“Paragraph 23 (c) is the one you need to refer to,” said Hazel. There was still not a hint of a smile on her face.
I looked up the relevant paragraph, hands shaking. It was crisp and to the point.
“Where, in the opinion of the headmistress, a member of staff has consistently failed in his or her duties, the headmistress may, at her absolute discretion, administer corporal punishment to that member of staff.”
“It could be hardly be clearer, could it?” said Hazel, rising to her feet. “You have consistently fallen short of the standards of behaviour I expect from my staff, and you must face the consequences. Stand up. Come along, come along. Now I want you to stand in front of my desk with your hands at your side. That’s right. This will not be pleasant for either of us, but you can’t say you haven’t deserved it.” With which she reached into the umbrella-stand, fished out a cane and gave it a theatrical practise swish.
To say I was terrified would be an understatement. I had entered so deeply into the role of a slovenly teacher who was about to be chastised that my whole body was trembling. But I also felt a quiet sense of elation, as if I was on the threshold of a whole new world of experience.
“Your punishment will be in three instalments,” announced my ‘headmistress’ in an icy voice. “I am going to give you six strokes of the cane for your poor time-keeping, a further six for missing classes without good reason and a final six for failing to set a good example to the pupils in your charge, Is that quite clear?”
I nodded numbly.
“Good. Now I want you to bend over and place your elbows on the top of my desk, while I prepare you for your punishment.”
Again, I felt a frisson of terror mixed with excitement. I was wearing a navy blue pleated skirt over flesh-coloured tights and a modest pair of white M & S knickers. How much of that lot, if any, would I be allowed to retain?
The answer came quickly enough. With a practised hand, Hazel flipped my skirt above my waist and folded it up out of the way. Then she peeled down my tights. I felt horribly exposed. Like most women, I am very self-conscious about my bottom. I am a generous size 12, so there would be plenty for Hazel to work with! But I was determined to take my punishment with as much fortitude as possible.
There was a short pause, then a swishing sound, then a loud crack as the cane landed flush on my knickers, causing me to gasp in pain. Bloody hell! Had I really paid good money for this?
I knew, and Hazel knew that I knew, that I could call a halt to proceedings at any minute. But I also knew, and Hazel knew that I knew, that I would never forgive myself If I wimped out. Such is the unspoken compact between the dominant and the submissive. And so the caning continued. I had asked for a medium punishment and, although the cane strokes stung like hell, it was not as if Hazel was putting maximum force into the beating.
After my first six of the best, it was no surprise when Hazel leant forward and carefully peeled down my knickers. I was now the very image of those bare-bottomed, well-striped schoolgirls in the pages of Janus. A fantasy fulfilled!
Hazel didn’t rush. She took her time over the next six strokes, gave me a few minutes to recover, then laid on the final six with calm, metronomic efficiency. I stayed bent over the desk, awaiting instructions, which duly cane.
“Now, Sally, I want you to stand up. Do NOT replace your clothing. You can now go and stand in the corner, with your face against the wall, and reflect on why you have been punished.”
I was familiar with ‘corner time’ from my perusal of Janus and, to be honest, was secretly delighted to have this element in the time-honoured ritual of corporal punishment incorporated into the script. Any embarrassment at having Hazel ogle my striped backside was more than offset by a sense of achievement. I had taken my punishment bravely, as I had promised myself I would.
“Well done,” whispered Hazel, when she finally released me from my place of shame in the corner. “You took that very well for a beginner.”
“And you were the scariest headmistress I have ever met,” I whispered, returning the compliment. “You don’t have a glass of wine for a naughty girl, by any chance?”
As we emerged from our respective roles, we hugged each other tight, then collapsed into fits of laughter.
This was nearly five years ago. I still visit Hazel in her school-room three or four times a year. We still act out little school role-play scenarios with the earnestness of method actors. And I still willingly get a sore, striped bottom and pay for the privilege.
Whatever would the other members of our bridge club think?
© Sally Cavendish 2021