Monday, March 14, 2016

Bridesmaid Brother

There is a site called Petticoat Discipline Quarterly that I'm sure most of you know. As the title suggests, it is dedicated to disciplining men by forcing them into women's clothing. In the beginning, under the editorship of the late Susan MacDonald, the site often published letters from other, real-life publications (dedicated to "alternative lifestyles"), along with their own reader's letters. Gradually, the input from the readers completely replaced the reprints from other magazines.

In 2007, Ms. MacDonald passed away and Auntie Helga took over the editorship. In my opinion, the quality of the material went south from that point. There had been some fishy letters before, but since the takeover, most of the content seemed, at least in my opinion, to be made up. Another change that the new editor brought on was making the archive of back issues available only against payment.

Inspired by these changes, I started writing fake letters to Petticoat Discipline Quarterly - always with the intent to send them, but in the end I never did. The letters are, or at least should be, basically stories in a very concentrated form. Accordingly, they were very exciting to write, but also took a lot of time, time that could have been spent writing actual stories, so I eventually stopped writing them. Looking at my archive with dozens of pages of those unfinished letters, I can't help but regret the time wasted... However, it turns out that one can find an occasional finished letter among the garbage, so as I'm probably not going to send them to Auntie Helga (the one time I did send her something, it took her months to publish it), I might as well post them here.

Older brother under younger sister's thumb

It is not common practice, but it is neither unheard of for a brother to act as a bridesmaid at his sister’s wedding. Of course, this is usually the case when the sister is senior to the brother. My son, however, was already twenty six years old when his twenty three year old sister informed the two of us rather matter-of-factly that she expected him to be her bridesmaid.
For a moment I thought that the two of them were having a joke on me until I saw my son’s horror stricken face.
“Please don’t do this, Jenny,” he whispered – almost crying – but after a mere second of silence from his younger sister, he meekly stood up and left the room.
I wanted to ask Jenny what was the meaning of that, but she started talking about her professional successes. She had started her business at 20 years, and three years later she already had fifteen employees. I listened to her with interest until Sam, my son, reappeared, wearing my floral blouse and skirt set, white shoes with a four inch heel, nylons over his apparently shaved legs, full makeup and a straw hat with a veil to match his clothes.
I watched him bashfully approach us and sit down on his old place with my mouth gaping open.
Without further ado, Jenny told me about how she had been forcing him to wear skirts and dresses since their early childhood. Being a single mother, I didn’t get to spend much time with my children. I always had the feeling that something was amiss, but I just couldn’t put my finger on it. They have both done well in school, there were never any complaints from our neighbors, as they grew older they learned to keep the house themselves, so I really couldn’t complain. However, now I learned that all this time, Jenny had been forcing her older brother to wear girls’ clothes – first from her older friends and later on, when he grew up, my own. Once she had reached puberty, Jenny has grown quite taller and stronger than Sam, but I was amazed to hear she had him in dresses when he was only nine years old – she was only five at that time! Once he was ‘properly dressed’, he effectively became her servant. All of the housework, I learned, was the fruit of his labor. Besides making him to do both his and her chores, she also made sure he did his schoolwork and, after she was 13, defended him from bullies at school.
Naturally, I was upset to learn the torture my son had gone through, but I was even more angered that Jenny had kept this a secret from me.
“You’d only have stopped it,” she replied.
Perhaps I would have, I thought. However, before we could discuss the matter further, Jenny told me that she was taking Sam – Samantha, as she called him, sorry, her – to stay with one of her friends for to prepare for the wedding, which was to take place in a week. Dressed as he was, might I add.
Again, this too came as a shock, but it had given me time to think. Ever since Jenny had left, the house wasn’t as tidy as it used to be and Sam’s performance in college severely deteriorated – I had all but given up on him ever finishing his studies. Now, I could see the reason for than.
I haven’t seen my son until the wedding. I must admit, he made a very pretty bridesmaid – he fit in very well with Jenny’s friends. After the ceremony, I had a word with Jenny – I told her that I harbored no hard feelings for what she had been doing to her brother, but I told her that I expected her cooperation when she returned from her honeymoon.
In the mean time, I dealt with Sam my own way. Once the three of us met again, it was Jenny’s turn to be shocked when she saw her brother dressed in my clothes. When he returned home with me after the wedding, he had found all of his clothes locked away. Stubbornly, he persisted in wearing his bridesmaid’s gown for the next day, but when I sent him to the store for milk and eggs, he gladly changed into my clothes.
Following Jenny’s plan, he graduated from college a year after that. During that time he was only allowed his own clothes for classes and exams. After his graduation I was happy to give him back all of his old clothes, but when I realized that he was back in his old tracks, I immediately gave them all to the Salvation Army and replaced them partly with my old clothes, partly with new clothes I bought for him.

My son still lives with me, but he is now known as Samantha. Jenny called in a favor from one of her business partners and got her older sister a job as a secretary. At times Samantha will launch into one of her tirades how she has had it and that she will go out, buy her some men’s clothes and never come back, but I know it’s only to annoy me. Just to be on the safe side, though, Jenny and I have arranged a breast augmentation surgery for Samantha’s 30th birthday. It will be a gift she won’t easily forget.


Annabelle Brito said...

I enjoyed that website as well.

rocketdave said...

I was always under the impression that the letters published on PDQ were made up... I certainly hope that's the case anyway. I mean, petticoat discipline can sound sexy as an idea, but in real life, it strikes me as something that could really mess up a kid. I have been aware that there's been a drop in quality since I first discovered that site many years ago, but I hadn't given much thought to the whys and wherefores or made the connection between that and the change in editors.

It is a shame that the archives were placed behind a paywall, but I wasn't too bothered by it, since I'd already printed out my favorites among the letters and stories from that site well before that occurred. I wish I could claim it was because I was smart enough to be concerned about the potentially ephemeral nature of content on the net, but it was probably more likely due to the fact that it was during a time when my access to computers and the internet was somewhat limited. I wish I'd had the foresight to do that with more stuff; there are other stories I enjoyed at one time that now appear to be permanently lost.

Nowadays, I only visit PDQ to check out thew new Christeen artwork at the start of every month.

Anonymous said...

Nice story. I also like to read the letters on PDQ, and really enjoy the artwork from the artists who post there. Christened new work is now available on Andy LaTeX's blog.

Carrie P said...

Enjoyed the story Rosie although having sisters of my own the blood relationship aspect is still a bit weird for me but no way as weird as the father/son relationship. I know at least one particular family where there is an unnaturally close brother/sister relationship and often wondered if there was another, perhaps CD dimension to it. Funny I don’t mind it in other families but could not in any way imagine it in my own.

The David Greene story was interesting but for me CD fiction set in the future is difficult to get into and I much prefer the past.

Regarding PDQ I agree wholeheartedly the letters section is pure fiction and not very good fiction at that. Sometimes it’s as if the same person has written most of the letters, eventually I gave up reading them. It also seems to have become more commercial orientated than when Susan McDonald was in charge but that seems to be the way of the world these days. Although the posts featuring Penelope are always worth reading as indeed is Christeen’s wonderful art. Castre’s stuff is quite good too but then I would say that as I have a thing for the more mature woman.

If the letters were precursors for your stories then it was time well spent.


rocketdave said...

Carrie, if you have an aversion to CD stories set in the future, you might not care for the idea I've been slowly developing for a CD comic that takes place in a Star Trek-esque environment. Actually, part of the reason I haven't pursued that concept more zealously is because I worry that it might not have such broad appeal.

To be honest, I tend not to read stories in this genre that have sci-fi or magical themes. Most forced feminization scenarios already require enough suspension of disbelief without adding blatantly fantastic elements into the mix.

I can't say I care for Castre's art on PDQ. Personally, the people in their compositions are just too mature for my liking.

Right, I should probably say something specifically pertaining to this story. If I'd read "Bridesmaid Brother" a few years ago, I might have had to alter the text slightly by adding "step" in front of the words "sister" and "son," etc., but I guess I've built up a tolerance for reading about this type of thing. However, it would disturb and gross me out no end to think about a scenario of this nature occurring within my own immediate family.

I can't help wondering if Jenny's spouse will suffer the same treatment as her brother... that is, assuming she's marrying a guy.

Carrie P said...

Hi Dave I really can’t explain why I’m not all that keen on this genre based in the future but your comment has got me thinking about it. All the more strange as I like both genres separately and am a big Star Trek fan in all its franchises although watching the prequel Enterprise could be hard going. For me it is probably all about the clothes specifically late 19th – mid 20th century, sci-fi clothing tends to be either utilitarian or just plain bizarre.

I may have said this before but the more I’m exposed to people’s comments and opinions about this type of material- more to the point, what specifically turns them on - the more I realise that there are so many layers to the genre and it is not as straightforward as I once thought. Some, for whatever reason, have only a very narrow range of triggers, a little like a set lunch or dinner menu whereas others can choose widely from the a la carte menu. I’m the former, only certain things will pique my interest or as Bea would say push my “hot buttons” whereas many others, perhaps like you, are not as restricted.

So Dave, I guess there are as many people who will like it as not like it. A whole comic sounds like a seriously big undertaking but anything you create tends to work whatever the context so I’d have little worries there. Hope it works out.


rocketdave said...

Hi Carrie. I think a comic of any sort would be a big undertaking, but I'm not sure it occurred to me just how much extra work would be required to do something in its own universe. Of course, I'd have an existing show to work off of as a template, but I don't want to copy it too closely, which means inventing my own look for things: uniforms, sets, etc. It's a lot of effort for something that I initially conceived of as just sort of a one-off send-up of workplace feminization stories like the kind Bea sometimes wrote. Yeah, sci-fi clothing can be bizarre, but- without going into specifics- thinking about that is actually what put this idea in my head in the first place.

Despite how many stories in this genre there are, there are only a small number of authors who manage to push my buttons for me, so I believe we're not dissimilar in that respect. In my mind, my stupid comic would really be more of a parody than something that is intended to be read for the titillation factor. Again, that might have a somewhat limited appeal, but it still could be an amusing little side project.

Also, I agree with you about Enterprise. I understand it improved late in its run, but by then, I'd mostly stopped watching. It's the only spin-off I never saw in its entirety. I was excited when they cast Scott Bakula as captain, but the franchise was clearly running out of steam at that point. I'm looking forward to the new show that's coming out in 2017 at least.

A new fan said...

I am wondering if there isn't some way that we could gather and view stories that were offered on PDQ before they put up the wall. I'm sure I have some saved. I will have to look at the Wayback machine and see what is sitting there. Maybe I can add mine to the Wayback machine archive.