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"A fetish is nothing if not specific."
Pablo Stubbs made this wise remark to me at
some point when I joked, with some amazement, at the effort
and expense he had put into finding just the right gymslip and
knickers for me (grey pleated and bottle green respectively).
When one is dealing with something which has the power traditional
school uniforms have for my partner, expense and inconvenience
- not to mention my own physical discomfort, British school
uniforms being somewhat less than seasonal in my desert clime
- seem trivially unimportant.
"A fetish is nothing if not specific."
My brain echoed the phrase again as we sat
the other night admiring a friend's canes. He's got quite a
few - all with distinct (and distinctly painful) qualities based
on their length and the density of the rattan they're made from.
They are sanded and varnished to precise silky smoothness. All
but one has the crook handle of a traditional English cane.
Each cane has specific value to our friend for its own sake.
As he flexed the canes, and swished them through the air, their
number (six, I believe) obviously didn't seem excessive to him.
Choosing the right one to impart the right message was an important
part of the ritual discipline he'd be administering.
For me, sitting nervously watching and listening,
which cane he would use seemed unimportant. Had he owned but
one or two that would have been enough to make me shift nervously
in my chair. The swishing of one would have made me cringe slightly,
probably visibly. For me, the detail that was important - specific
- was that I was to be caned in the specific and traditional
manner of a very strict English school. The caning would be
slow and exceptionally painful, yet I would be expected to remain
as still and quiet as possible during it. Since for me restraints
tend to make scenes easier, the authenticity of this caning
was what would make it possible for me to restrain myself.
Our friend knew this about me, knew that how
and why I was being caned was as important (or more important)
than the caning itself. So beforehand we carefully discussed
what I'd done which merited this level of punishment. As we
talked, I became a disobedient schoolgirl who deserved the sort
of strict, harsh punishment I imagined would be meted out by
a traditional (and perhaps sadistic?) headmaster at a strict
school sometime in the past. I felt guilty and nervous, my hand
finally shaking as it tapped gently on his "office"
This is the power of specificity for me. My
friend, knowing his role, scolded me and slowly manoeuvred me
into position. In the past this part has been extended by conversation,
time in the corner, essay and line writing. By the time I'm
bent over, standing on tip-toe, blushing and dying of shame
as my knickers are slowly lowered to my knees, I'm generally
already in tears. Some might think (and sadly have
thought) that the caning itself is irrelevant at this point,
that the strokes don't need to be very severe. But for me anyway
this isn't the case. Our friend didn't disappoint; each stroke
was delivered with full force, in straight lines, with a great
deal of time between each. I thanked him for each one and willed
myself to stay in position for "twelve of the best",
as befits a girl receiving such a traditional punishment.
In the morning I could see where each stroke
had left the distinctive double marks or "tram-lines"
that are the evidence of a traditional caning. I couldn't help
smiling at the proof of my "punishment" as I admired
it in the mirror. It's all about details, you know.
After all, a fetish is nothing if not specific.
Back to the treehouse