In the 1970s, I attended a boys grammar school in the south-east of England. We had all the traditions of such schools – uniform, homework, the use of surnames only for pupils and, of course, corporal punishment.
Though the cane was available, the usual instrument of discipline was the slipper – actually a gym shoe. Most of the teachers were male, as you might expect, but two or three were women. Of these, Mrs W, a slim, attractive woman in her late 20s who taught us French, was an enthusiastic user of the slipper.
The most memorable experience for me occurred when I was 14. Dave Dennison, another boy in the same class, and I collaborated on a system to cheat in a test, believing, of course, that we would not be found out. Had one of us done so perhaps he might have escaped, but two sets of identical answers rather gave the game away.
Retribution arrived the following day, when we were sent for at the end of a gym lesson and, without being allowed time to change out of our gym kit, despatched to see Mrs W in the French classroom, a secluded room at the top of the building.
There was a short and distressing interrogation, during which we could offer no defence, before the slipper was produced from a desk drawer. It was a large one, with a thick and supple rubber sole.
Mrs W positioned herself in a convenient space and gave Dave a series of crisply-delivered orders. “Come here, Dennison. Stand there. Face that way. Feet together. Touch your toes.” He bent forward. “Right down, boy! I want those shorts tight!”
Dave reached further forward, drawing his gym shorts taught across his young buttocks. Clearly he did not have anything on underneath. Neither had I!
Mrs W smiled slightly, and having got him where she wanted him, took her time over the remainder of the treatment. Thwop! She brought the slipper down hard across the centre of the waiting cheeks and stood back.
To me, observing, it seemed that she waited several minutes though it could only have been seconds. She was well-known for letting the pain of one blow sink in before applying the next. Thwop! And another pause. Thwop! Dave gasped. Thwop! His buttocks clenched strongly.
Thwop! I became conscious of the beginnings of an erection. Thwop! Mrs W waited again, giving her victim time to wonder if there was another to come, before saying: “Stand up.”
Dave stood, red-eyed, and, clutching his hands to his rear, began to wriggle while Mrs W gave him a short lecture about future behaviour. Though her voice was stern, the twinkle in her eyes suggested she was enjoying the evidence of his discomfort.
Eventually she allowed him to go and turned her attention to me. “Now, Benson, ” she said quietly, “come here.” Though I had seen exactly what was required of me, the same ritual instructions followed. “Stand there. Face that way. Feet together. Touch your toes.”
My gym shorts were old ones which I had grown into and I was acutely conscious of how close-fitting they were. Nevertheless, she continued. “Get right down, boy!” and, as I obediently reached further forward, “Yes, that’s nice and tight.”
I waited for what seemed an age. Crack! The slipper landed across my bottom. The first one was always the worst.
I waited again. Crack! Pain surged through me. Now the pauses seemed like hours rather than minutes. Crack! The painful sole came down again. The sting welled up and had time to die down.
Crack! Though the buttocks were made tender by the previous strokes there was no residual instant numbness to prevent me fully experiencing the full smart of each new whack. Crack! Oh God! I’ve lost count – how many more? Crack! Yowch!
From a distance, I heard: “Stand up, boy.” I stood, pain still coursing though my behind and my usual adolescent cockiness replaced by sensations of submission.
Mrs W clearly loved every moment of it. I endured the lecture hoping that she did not notice signs of my erection, now thrusting out of the front of my shorts. If she did, she gave no sign. Possibly the best and most memorable thrashing I ever had.