Haven't contributed anything to this blog in a long time, Bea would not be impressed.
Below is a story (with illustration) posted elsewhere, so some readers may have read it, for those who haven't hopefully you will enjoy it.
“This is a most unfortunate turn of events.” Caroline’s mother sighed wearily, unable to disguise her annoyance.
William, always anxious when his future mother-in-law became vexed, was somewhat relieved that at least this time he would not be the subject of her ire. Nevertheless, he did feel a slight nervousness in the pit of his stomach and as there were no pockets in his fitted jacket he felt his trembling fingers reach for the pure silk shantung of his pressed pleat trousers. He hated this outfit but at least it could, albeit at a stretch, be considered an almost manly shade of deep coral, unlike the pale lavender palazzo pants he had to wear yesterday.
“Yes most unfortunate, Mother.”Caroline repeated in a grave voice “You were quite specific about my dress size; these gowns are far too small for me. I could not possibly try them on. How very… disappointing.”
William regarded his fiancée with a look of incredulidity and was about to say something but a stern look, perceptible to no one but him dissuaded him from uttering a word. He was acutely aware of Caroline’s abhorrence of all things inordinately feminine, frills and flounces were looked upon with scorn, silks and satins rarely tolerated and when they were, would take the form of a mannish shirt or a plain top. Her reluctance to conform to her mother’s view of femininity was a constant source of friction between them and William, much to his discomfort, was usually caught in the middle. However, once the young man was safely ensconced in their palatial home Caroline’s mother seemed to be drawn to her future son-in law, fussing and fawning over him as if he was a favourite pet. With this new distraction in her life she seemed less inclined to badger her daughter about her decidedly unfeminine sartorial choices. Naturally this suited Caroline perfectly as she had more important things to think about than fulfilling her mother’s ideal version of the ideal and dutiful daughter. For his part William considered her mother’s attentiveness as merely a passing enthusiasm as the newest addition to the household and believed that once she had gotten used to a masculine presence in the house her attention would again revert to Caroline.
Unfortunately for William, it did not work out the way he expected, she seemed to become more attached to him and as the weeks passed he was pulled inexorably into her orbit. Despite the cavernous size of the house he was unable to escape her constant attentions and had almost by default become her companion.
Of course he had complained to Caroline, on the infrequent occasions when she was present in the house, but she had only to smile at him and he would have done anything she wished. After all she had chosen him when she could have had her pick of any man. Remarkable as this was, what amazed him even more was that she had never baulked at his dreadful, embarrassing secret. In fact, she said it drew them even closer. He often wished he could be more forceful and insist she inform her mother that he should, at the very least, be allowed choose his own clothes. Well… at least twice a week…if, of course, that would be agreeable with her mother. But she always managed to either distract him with her charming smile or chide him in a severe tone depending on how thin her patience with him was. Either way, he never found the courage to deny her mother’s requests, no matter how demeaning.
Now in this alien environment of an exclusive bridal boutique, Caroline’s austere look was quickly followed by her disarming smile and once more he was both relieved and confused in equal measure but it had the desired effect and his heart fluttered like a love struck Romeo gazing at his Juliet. Unfortunately, the moment did not last very long.
“Do stop fidgeting William.” Caroline’s mother said brusquely, snapping him back to reality.
“Oh Martha, leave the poor boy alone.” Mrs Fitzmaurice, her friend, intervened and slid a reassuring arm around his shoulder. “It’s understandable that a young man would be slightly uneasy in these surroundings.”
“Yes, Martha .” agreed Mrs Cavandish, another companion, as she moved to his side in a show of support and caressing his cheek in a most affectionate manner.“You are far too hard on William.”
“Don’t you worry, William.” Mrs Claybourne, yet another friend joined the conversation in his defence, taking his hand and stroking it she added with a light laugh “We are here to protect you.”
William grateful for their support and protection smiled appreciatively and lowered his eyes respectfully, a gesture he had only recently come to learn was greatly cherished by these and the other society matrons in his future mother-in-law’s circle. For all his faults- and he had many- he was a quick learner and had adopted this pose on a regular basis and although he knew it made him seem more docile it was a price he was willing to pay to avoid Caroline’s mother displeasure. He was aware that if she fell into a foul humour he would bear the brunt of her exasperation for days. With no guarantee that his fiancé would be around to protect him he would have to rely on these ladies to provide a bulwark against her domineering mother. Of course it was degrading for a man to seek sanctuary in the company of these middle-aged ladies but in the weeks that he had entered their home his timidity had become so ingrained he felt he had no other option.
“I can see there is no need for me to come to your aid, darling.” Caroline laughed lightly as her mother stubbornly continued to frown.
However, his practiced display of demureness and deference could soften even the most austere and demanding of female hearts and Caroline’s mother was no exception.
“Well, perhaps I may have been a little tetchy.” she conceded begrudgingly but her face began to soften, “But this is a most annoying development. I was assured by Madame Margot that she would have Caroline’s exact size. We cannot decide on her bridal gown by just looking at it on a rack or hanger.”
“I am so sorry Lady Congrove.” A deeply apologetic voice called from across the room as Madame Margot entered closely followed by an assistant.
“This is most embarrassing.” Madame Margot proffered her apologies and added a curtsy for good measure.
By now William had retreated to a place of safety and tried to blend in with the rails of bridal gowns but the hue of his deep coral pantsuit made that difficult, thankfully all eyes were on the two women. He observed Madame Margot take the impact of Caroline’s mother anger and although empathising with the unfortunate dressmaker he was greatly relieved that for once it was not him that was the subject of her wrath. Madame Margot was suggesting several other styles that would be similar but Caroline‘s mother annoyance was inextinguishable and she continued to upbraid the misfortunate woman.
“Have one of your assistants model them for us.” Caroline’s mother finally demanded.
“I had thought of that your ladyship.” Madame Margot replied sheepishly and took a step back before continuing “But unfortunately none of my girls are the same dress size.”
A grave silence fell on the room as Caroline’s mother’s face took on a dark expression.
“Perhaps…” the voice of Madame Margot’s assistant nervously broke the stillness, drawing the attention of both women “Perhaps that young lady over there would oblige us. She appears to be just the right size.”
Every pair of eyes in the room turned on the figure in the deep coral pantsuit and after a few moments the air was filled with the sound of female giggling. Even Caroline’s mother was not immune and joined in as William’s face turned crimson.
“Preposterous!” she exclaimed “That’s not a girl that is my darling William, my future son-in-law. Although now that you say it, he does have the delicate features associated with our sex.”
“You silly girl.” Madame Margot scolded her assistant “I am so sorry for this girl’s idiocy, Lady Congreve. ”
The laughter petered out and a strange hush fell on the room as every woman present mentally measured William.
“No… wait…perhaps the girl is right.” Mrs Cavandish said as all the women, now with curious expressions on their faces, slowly advanced on the young man.
“He does have a certain …”Mrs Claybourne mused out loud.
“Girlish charm.” Mrs Fitzmaurice added helpfully.
“Exactly.” her friend replied as she repeated, “Girlish charm.”
William winced but before he could protest the assistant had her tape measure around his waist and Madame Margot was running her eyes over his body mentally calculating the young man’s contours.
“Yes, yes I think it would work.” she said. “Not perfect of course, your ladyship. But good enough to model all the gowns.”
“Gowns!” William repeated “You…cannot…”
The women now excited by this strange idea babbled frantically to each other, drowning out his protests.
“The bosom, Madame.” Her assistant said a little tentatively “We could use some foam or similar material.”
It took William a few moments to realise the women considered this ridiculous idea to be a serious proposition and he decided to move towards the door, however in those few seconds of hesitation he had become surrounded by every female in the room and now had no means of escape. His eyes searched for Caroline but saw she was in conversation with her mother and Madame Margot.
“What a splendid idea.” Mrs Fitzmaurice chirped and beaming at him added, “You would be doing us all a great service and ensure we have not wasted our time coming here today.”
“Yes wonderful.” Mrs Claybourne agreed “It would be a shame to leave without seeing these beautiful gowns modelled.”
“Please…ladies…I must…I can’t…please…” an incoherent stream left his mouth as panic rose up from within.
He barely noticed his feet touch the floor as the two women, followed by the rest of the entourage, steered him across the room towards a pair of large double doors with the nameplate Dressing Room 1. He continued to object but his pleadings were lost in their chatter.
As the door closed behind him he gasped audibly as his eyes darted about the large room, bridal gowns and accessories appeared to occupy every available space, some on rails, some laid carefully over chairs, others on mannequins, shoes stacked neatly on metal frames. William felt his knees tremble at the sight and looked towards the door for a chance to escape but he saw Madame Margot turn a key in the lock. He now knew he was well and truly trapped with no means of liberation. His head fogged and his body becoming strangely detached from his brain by this dreadful turn of events, he was only vaguely aware of instructions being issued and hands moving deftly and quickly over his body. It took him several seconds to realise his top had been removed.
“What is this for?” Mrs Cavandish asked pointing to the wide bandaging around William’s chest.
“N…no…please Caroline…not here…”William blurted pleading with his fiancée who was now by his side and reassuringly holding his hand.
Caroline stepped closer and kissed him on the cheek.
“It’s quite all right darling.” she reassured him quietly unfolding the tightly bound fabric.”You are among friends no one will judge you here.”
“William has a regrettable condition for a male ladies.” her mother explained to the women looking on with wide-eyed curiosity as Caroline completed her task and a modest yet fully formed female bosom revealed itself on William’s chest.
The spectacle was greeted by gasps followed quickly by admiring exclamations.
“May we…would he mind…” Mrs Fitzmaurice asked, clearly perplexed by the unveiling of William’s perfectly formed feminine bust.
Instinctively, William raised his hands to shield his protruding mounds which instantly drew a strong rebuke from his future mother-in-law.
“William.” she snapped in a manner that he knew and dreaded. “Did I give you permission to cover your bosom? Please do not be rude to the ladies.”
He reluctantly but quickly obeyed and dropped his hands.
“That’s better. This day is stressful enough without your display of girlish modesty.” she chided him but in a gentler voice and gestured to her friends to inspect the protruding glands. “You should be proud of your beautiful breasts now let the ladies examine them.”
There was no need for a second invitation and immediately William felt hands cupping his shameful secret.
“Remarkable.” Mrs Claybourne said as she held both breasts in her hands as William wished the ground would somehow open and he could slip quietly away. The other woman smiled as she added, “Just like a girl’s, so pert and firm.”
It was bad enough that Caroline had told her mother of his mortifying condition, who in turn had informed Jenny, her lady’s maid. The girl, when Caroline or her mother was unavailable, was now tasked with binding the hideous things in the wide stretch fabric every morning and removing it in the evenings. As he quickly discovered it was also obvious, from their furtive glances at his chest, the housemaids now also appeared to be aware of his embarrassing secret. But he had little time to dwell on that now.
Mrs Fitzmaurice edged her friend aside and a different pair of hands now fondled him. A deep shame was etched on his face and it did not go unnoticed.
“No need to be embarrassed William.“ she said in a sympathetic voice “Two of my maids are at least a size smaller.”
“I’m sure you would like to have them covered, darling.” Caroline asked, coming to his rescue with Madame Margot in tow.
“Yes…yes…”he blurted and continued a little louder than he had intended “I have to get out of here.”
“William! You know you cannot disappoint the ladies.” his fiancée replied sternly as she gestured to the eager female faces, her tone almost indistinguishable from her mother’s and making abundantly clear to everyone in the room that she would brook no dissent. “But first we need to cover those breasts of yours. That is what you want, isn’t it.”
The words could not leave his mouth, he could only nod his agreement and swallowed hard as his saw Madame Margot pick up a box and open it.
He gasped as he saw her hand the item to Caroline’s mother and felt a queasy sensation begin to form in his stomach. Unable to face the humiliation he closed his eyes and felt unseen hands slip the brassiere up his arms. A silence fell on the room he could hear the laboured breathing of every woman present. He felt a single tear roll down his cheek.
“It’s only fitting that Mother puts you into your first brassiere.” Caroline voice whispered in his ear and he felt the cool elastic stretch under his arms and across his back. There was a noticeable tugging as her fingers nimbly fitted the hooks into the corresponding eyes.
Another tear escaped from his firmly closed eyes and made its way down his cheek as he now felt her hands slip inside the brassiere and settle his breasts in the cups, he felt her warm breath on his neck as she adjusted the shoulder straps.
“No need to be upset, darling.” Caroline’s mother said affectionately as she felt his breasts through the brassiere’s lace and satin cups, “It’s not as if this is the first time others have seen your bosom. You are among friends and family. Now dry your eyes, like a good girl.”
“As you can see ladies,” Madame Margot addressed the women who were clearly fascinated by the young man before them, she placed her hand under his left breast “This particular brassiere has the effect of pushing up and enhancing the bosom.”
He slowly opened his eyes and despite the deep shame and distress engulfing him the smiling, empathic and encouraging faces of the ladies present offered him a small degree of calm. However this was short lived as he now saw Madame Margot and her assistant busying themselves arranging various voluminous gowns on the chairs and sofas throughout the large room. His anxiety quickly resurfaced.
Nooooo… a silent scream roared inside his head, oh no…please…no…
He had been so overwhelmed by the events of the last few minutes that he had not noticed his pants were now around his ankles and his legs were being lifted one at a time as the last vestige of his male, albeit nominal, male clothing was removed. It was only the ladies excited voices that snapped him back into the moment.
“Oh Martha!” Mrs Claybourne gasped as she walked behind to inspect him “You have put him into a girdle.”
He had become so used to wearing these hideous, repulsive feminine foundations that he had almost forgotten he was wearing the dreadful garment.
He felt a hand on the heavy satin at his rear and he shivered as Mrs Fitzmaurice ran her hand down the corresponding satin panel at his front, letting it linger between his legs for a moment that felt like an hour.
“And stockings!” Mrs Cavandish exclaimed as she fingered the garters holding up the sheer hosiery.
To his consternation, the other ladies made a similar inspection and from the corner of his eye he could see the smirks on Madame Margot and her assistant.
He felt tears of abject humiliation welling up once more.
“As we girls know only too well,” Caroline’s mother addressed her friends in a matter-of-fact tone, as she tugged at the girdle’s wide heavy elastic waistband pulling it up an inch “males have very little control over their base desires and have a ghastly tendency to become excited when in the presence of our sex. Docile as William is, he is still a male and a prisoner of these disgusting cravings. Like all of you, my household is staffed exclusively by female servants and it would be most inappropriate if he surrendered to his male lust and such an objectionable display was witnessed by my housemaids. As you can see the girdle is quite effective in ensuring the male organ is kept under complete control.”
“Quite right Martha.” Mrs Claybourne agreed “And as we can see he is nice and smooth , just like a girl. No dreadful male bulge.”
“A good firm girdle keeps our bodies under control.” Mrs Fitzmaurice said approvingly “Why should it be any different for a male, although we never considered such a delicate soul as William to be associated with that appalling and beastly sex.”
“Yes, he is such a sweet, adorable creature.” Mrs Cavandish concurred, adding her reassurance ”And no need to feel embarrassed William I am wearing the very same style. A little constricting perhaps but my figure is all the better for it.”
“He is such a sweetheart. It is why I’m marrying him.” Caroline said as she hugged him closely, her hand falling to his satin clad buttocks, drawing him closer. “Isn’t that right, darling.”
By now words were beyond William and he could only nod and watch in horror as Madame Margot and her assistant approached with a bulky garment carried between them.
“As the style you requested is ballgown, Lady Congreve,” Madame Margot said “I would suggest a seven tier petticoat.”
“Seven tiers?” she repeated as she examined it and obviously impressed gave her approval“Yes it does look delightful.”
“Yes, your ladyship.” Madame Margot said as her assistant held up the voluminous underskirts. “Seven beautiful layers of very stiff and gathered petticoat netting, the outer layer has lace around the bottom of the hem. It has an inbuilt silk slip for the bride’s comfort so she will not itch. The netting is so stiff a crinoline is not required as its stands alone. Wearing this under such a beautiful gown will make the bride feel truly feminine.”
The underskirt was laid on the floor in front of William who stared at it in terror.
Caroline looked at her mother and could not hide her expression of relief that she had been spared the ordeal of donning such an exceedingly feminine garment. Of course her mother was far too busy concentrating on her future son-in-law to notice.
William, unable to comprehend what was happening, was guided into the opening and in a matter of seconds he was encased in the wide petticoat as Madame Margot ensured it fitted correctly around his hips.
“Perfect Madame.” her assistant cooed fluffing out the net underskirts as William looked on with a pained expression, still unable to grasp how he had found himself in this humiliating position.
“Yes, splendid now help me with the first gown.” Madame Margot instructed the young woman
The magnitude of what was happening seemed to paralyse him and just as he was powerless when he was placed in the enormous and heavy petticoats, he was now incapable of preventing himself being encased in this vast swathe of satin. Madame Margot and her assistant placed the gown over his head and as the assistant began buttoning the gown’s bodice from the back Madame Margot was arranging the skirt over his petticoats. Mrs Fitzmaurice and Mrs Claybourne delighted with this unfolding spectacle could not resist helping with the operation. William remained motionless as Mrs Cavandish placed his hands into matching satin opera length gloves and silently watched her roll them up his arms. As this was happening the two ladies then arranged the gown’s long train ensuring it was perfectly aligned.
Satisfied they had completed their task they joined Caroline and her mother to admire their handiwork.
“Oh…my dear William” Mrs Fitzmaurice gushed “You certainly do look the part.”
“He certainly does. ” Mrs Claybourne exclaimed, her eyes widening at the sight in front of her “Such a beautiful gown. Please tell us, how does it feel?”
“Do you feel as pretty as you look?” Mrs Cavandish asked.
His eyes remained closed but this only heightened his other senses and he was now even more aware of the tightness of his girdle and the stockings tugging on its six garters, the straps of the brassiere bit into his shoulders and the flesh around his chest. Even through his satin gloved fingers he could feel the softness of the gown. As these sensations danced inside his brain some other voice was suggesting that this may be a nightmare and he would soon awake.
His eyes opened and flickered momentarily as they began to focus and his worst fears were realised.
The reflection in the mirrored wall opposite confirmed the sensations he was experiencing were indeed reality.
“Let us see how the gown moves as you walk.” Madame Margot said gesturing him to walk but he stood rooted to the floor still transfixed on the image staring back at him.
“William!” Caroline’s mother’s sharp tone immediately snapped him back into the present and she took his gloved hand “Walk.”
The bulk of the dress seemed to weigh him down and his every step filled the air with a distinct, uniquely feminine swishing sound as the stiff netting of his petticoats swayed and moved against the heavy satin of the gown’s skirt. He could feel his breasts, now free of their binding, move within the confines of his new brassiere. It was a ghastly experience but from the look on his future mother-in-law’s beaming face, it was not one she shared. There was warmth in her smile he had never seen before and she gazed on him with unbridled affection. The others looked on as he was led around the room by his joyful and smiling escort to the sound of rustling satin.
“Such a pity it wasn’t in your size Caroline.” Mrs Cavandish consoled the bride to be.
“Yes…yes…a pity…yes…”Caroline answered somewhat distractedly unable to take her eyes from the feminine figure of her fiancée in his bridal gown.
“The heaviest of duchess satin. Such a beautiful, feminine material. ” Madame Margot announced proudly as the couple continued to parade. “Please do not take this the wrong way Lady Congreve, but he does not look out of place in the gown. It is as if it was made for him and the brassiere gives him a wonderful cleavage.”
William visibly winced at the comment his humiliation burning inside.
“Oh don’t be upset darling. It was meant as a compliment, you do look every inch the bride.” Caroline’s mother whispered in his ear “I’m not sure the gown would have looked as good on my daughter. Now let’s go around one more time before we try another gown. And perhaps we will try a suitable veil Madame Margot.”
William’s heart sank as he felt her hand squeeze his affectionately. As they passed the other ladies he looked pleadingly at Caroline but she merely smiled and blew him a kiss and turned back to the company.
They all looked on as Caroline’s mother and Madame Margot fussed over William, fluffing out his skirts and rearranging his long satin train.
“I haven’t seen your mother so happy in a long time.” Mrs Cavandish said.
“Yes, quite remarkable.” Mrs Claybourne agreed. “He really does look the part.
“I think your mother has decided on your gown, Caroline.” Mrs Fitzmaurice added.
“Oh I think she has not only decided on the gown.” Caroline said “But who is going to wear it.”
The ladies nodded their agreement and smiled.