John was from an island off the west coast of Scotland, and for me he personified maleness in its most beautiful form. He wasn’t particularly tall, he wasn’t particularly handsome, and he was chronically shy when he had to ask me to do something for him. But suddenly he blossomed, and at that point I became the shy one. He told me later that he fell in love with me at that very moment. I, of course, was already besotted. It seemed inevitable that one bright February morning, I was in a taxi with my mum and my uncle heading for the Register Office at Chelsea Town Hall. John wore a kilt. I wore a pink dress. A new life had begun, and I was the happiest woman in the world. John’s salary was more than enough to keep us both, so I gave up working and devoted myself to building a home and being a doting wife. My fantasy world faded into the background, as it didn’t seem quite so important anymore. If John had wanted to spank me it would have been the icing on the cake, but the cake was quite sufficient by itself. In any case, I wanted to leave any kind of decision about that subject to him. I didn’t want to raise it myself.
A few weeks later, we were invited to a ‘schoolgirls and headmasters’ party at a friend’s flat. Finally, I had a chance to show off my uniform. I remember John being rather puzzled to discover that I had this perfect outfit folded neatly in a small suitcase, but he stared at me intently as I got dressed and clearly liked what he saw. I didn’t think much of it at the time, because a lot of men seemed to like the ‘sexy schoolgirl’ look, but I was nevertheless very pleased. John had hired a gown and mortar board, and we set off in a taxi hidden under long coats. John said later that he was very proud of me that night, but it was for reasons that I could never have predicted. We arrived at about 9pm, and there were maybe a dozen couples already there. I looked around at the other ‘schoolgirls’ and immediately felt like a fish out of water. They were all wearing a kind of ‘fancy dress’ uniform, with creased shirts, ties and buttons undone, short black skirts, suspenders, torn stockings and stilettoes. It was a ‘punk’ schoolgirl look, and it could not have been more different from the approach I had taken. I was dressed immaculately in a painstakingly ironed blouse with the top button done up (of course), a real school tie tight around my collar, a real pleated games skirt, proper school knickers, white knee-socks, flat shoes and, last but not least, my prefect’s badge pinned on perfectly straight. I was really confused at first, because I couldn’t understand why they hadn’t made the same effort. And, of course, I felt like a bit of a fool, like I’d ‘missed the point’ somehow, and had taken it all far too seriously, which I obviously had. But I couldn’t take it any other way than seriously. This was my Janus outfit, and I was very proud of it. Anyway, John loved it and that was really all that really mattered. We understood each other. We understood what was important.
And then one day my dream began slowly but surely to become a reality. We’d been married for about six months when we had a letter from John’s parents announcing that they were coming down to London for their wedding anniversary and wanted us all to have dinner “somewhere posh”. We settled on the Café Royal in Regent Street (which I noticed recently is no longer there), and I started a frenzied search for something nice to wear. I eventually chose a Laura Ashley floral dress which was very pretty, and eminently suitable for an evening with the in-laws. The day arrived, and I felt uncharacteristically nervous. I fussed with the hem of the dress thinking it was too short. I agonised about what underwear to put on. I washed and dried my hair then thought it looked awful and did it all again. I’d bought a new lipstick and decided it was too red, too garish. Frankly, I was in a state. This meant that we were dangerously close to being late, which also meant that my temper flared and I became increasingly upset. John, of course, in that infuriating male way, had been ready for at least an hour. He looked effortlessly beautiful; I looked a complete mess. He said I looked lovely; I told him he was a liar. I screamed in frustration, and then my life changed forever. John took hold of my arm, turned me round and gave me a hard smack on my knickers. Suddenly I was back in my mid-teens in a frenzy of anger and embarrassment. It was what I’d wanted all my adult life, yet I was furious with him for his presumption. I span round and tried to slap his face, but he caught my wrist before I could strike. Then he kissed me very passionately and said we were leaving in five minutes. I was utterly speechless and just stared at him, bright red in the face and trembling with emotion. But here’s the thing: within five minutes I had slipped on my dress and shoes, taken one last look at my hair and make-up, and was ready to go. That single smack had calmed me down and made me aware of what I had to do. It scared me a little too, because it had hurt much more than I had expected it to, but mixed with this was the blissful understanding that John had done it because he loved me and cared for me. He had also, of course, taken a huge gamble.
We got into a taxi and sat there in silence looking out of opposite windows. When we got to Pall Mall the traffic was awful. John told the driver to stop, and said we would walk the rest of the way. On the pavement, he turned to me and took my hand. The conversation is etched on my memory:
“I’m sorry,” he said.
“There’s no need to be sorry.”
“Yes there is.”
“No there isn’t. I deserved it. You can do it again if you want to.”
We had a lovely evening, and it wasn’t till the next day that we talked about what had happened. He told me, rather tentatively, that the smack seemed to stop me fussing unnecessarily and to galvanise me into action, and I could do nothing but agree. If I was being honest, it had worked wonders and I told him so. I apologised for losing my temper with him, and promised that I would never try to slap his face again. Then suddenly he popped the second most important question I’d ever been asked: was I being serious when I’d said he could do it again. I didn’t hesitate to say ‘yes’, but I had to impress upon him that it was, for me, a serious business. I didn’t want a frivolous spanking before going to bed. It had to be real, it had to be for a good reason, and it had to feel like a punishment. And I told him that I would prefer it to be formal, i.e. not just a single smack but a proper spanking over his knee. He said he understood exactly what I meant and, silly as this may seem, we shook hands on it.
Nothing happened for quite some time, mainly because I was very careful not to provoke John. I was still ignorant about the reality of taking a proper spanking, and that made me nervous. That one smack had hurt. What would potentially dozens of smacks be like? Could I bear it? Would it make me upset that John could do something to me that caused so much pain? I simply didn’t know. Then, one glorious day, I found out. Oddly enough, it involved John’s mum and dad again. They were coming to Sunday lunch, and things weren’t going too well in the kitchen, to put it mildly. John was incapable of boiling an egg, so I was doing everything and trying to get ready as well. The signs were all there, I realised later, but I just couldn’t stop myself. We started having a blazing row, during which I dropped the roasting pan and watched in horror as the chicken skidded across the kitchen floor like it was making one last bid for freedom. At that point I lost it completely and screamed at John: “Why do I have to do everything? They’re your f**king parents!” The implications of my outburst took about a millisecond to sink in. It was exactly the situation we’d discussed, and John had to act. He knew that and I knew that, but we stood there for a moment staring at each other not quite knowing what to do next. The strange thing was that I was no longer afraid, but I had certainly become defiant, and eventually I yelled at him: “Well?”
It was all he needed. He took my arm, sat down on a kitchen chair and pulled me over his lap. Within seconds my slacks and knickers were round my knees and I was being properly spanked for the first time in my life. It hurt terribly at first because I was resisting it. I screamed, I thrashed about on his lap, I kicked my legs, I called him all manner of dreadful things. And then something changed. I still don’t understand exactly what went on in my silly little head, but after what can only have been a minute or so my feelings changed and I began to accept what my husband was doing. I closed my eyes and let him do it, and at that point I was liberated. A huge weight was lifted from my shoulders. All those years of dreaming seemed finally to have a point, and I began to cry, not because I was upset but because I was deliriously happy and more deeply in love with John than I had ever been. It was undoubtedly one of the most fulfilling and beautiful moments of my life, and it brings a tear to my eye as I write it down. I felt like I’d been tamed, but in the most positive way. I felt chastised, but again in a positive way. Most of all I felt loved and cherished by a man who was everything to me. Eventually, John let me off his lap and pulled my knickers and slacks back up while I stood helplessly in front of him. It was something he was to do every time he spanked me, and I adored it. We cuddled in silence for what seemed like ages, then set about rescuing the chicken. I hosted my first Sunday lunch for the in-laws with a glowing bottom and a glowing heart.
And so began a regular pattern. Whenever I did something stupid or behaved badly John would take me over his lap and spank me until I calmed down. We played games occasionally too. Sometimes I would turn him into a quivering piece of jelly by dressing up in my school uniform and taking a punishment from the ‘headmaster’. But mostly it was for real, and I loved it. All this sounds as though being punished was the only fulfilling aspect of my marriage, but that would be far from the truth. We were happy in many other respects, but I still believe that the disciplinary element was the glue that held it all together so beautifully.
Sadly, John died five years ago, bringing the happiest time of my life to a close. But things have moved on since, and I’m happy in a different way. I have a new job, a new flat and a gentleman friend I met a year ago who is very good to me. He knows my history, and has offered to ‘help’, but his heart isn’t in it and neither is mine. In any case, John’s spirit lives on, and I rarely, if ever, lose my temper. Looking back, it’s been an extraordinary adventure, from a youthful dream, to my first smack, my visits to Old Compton Street and an ecstatic happiness with my husband. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss John’s strong arm round my waist holding me down on his lap, but nothing lasts forever. I have left ‘school’ and must fend for myself. Continuing that metaphor, I feel pretty sure that, if schoolgirls today were spanked when they misbehaved, some of them would miss it when they passed through the gates for the last time to face the real world. It’s an interesting thought, and one that I will cherish forever.
And in many ways, I have Janus and its ilk to thank for opening my eyes to this beautiful world. They were commercial enterprises designed to make money by feeding a hungry cognoscenti, but they were also a quintessentially British form of entertainment, and they deserve a place in this country’s pantheon of sophisticated erotica. Of course, in the age of the internet, it is splashed across a thousand easily accessible websites. But, for me, nothing will ever come close to running for the 24 bus on Charing Cross Road clutching a paper bag that contained my dreams.
I would like to express my deep gratitude to Jon Rayworth, the wonderful Janus archivist, without whose help and encouragement this memoire would not have been written. Thanks Jon.