Probably somewhat unusually by the 90s, Charlotte and I were sometimes smacked by several family members in addition to Mum and Dad. Our stepmum and stepdad, granny and Mum’s sister all smacked us on occasion.
This was largely fine, as they were fair and not too strict – not compared to mum anyway! It was, however, significantly more embarrassing than going over mum or dad’s knee, particularly as we got older and more aware of our bodies and the concept of modesty.
Auntie Joan occasionally bared our bums for the punishment, although luckily our step parents didn’t. And from about nine or 10 until smackings stopped at around 12 or 13, no-one other than mum was still pulling our pants down to smack our bottoms.
One of the non-parental figures who I absolutely abhorred getting smacked by was Uncle Neil, mum’s brother. He smacked us frequently from the ages of four (possibly younger, but I don’t recall), right up until we were around 10.
Uncle Neil, his wife and three sons lived in the south of England, so we would visit them only once or twice a year. However, we would tend to stay with them for a week or two at a time. They would also occasionally come to visit us in Edinburgh, and we even once or twice hired a large villa abroad, the two families holidaying together.
So despite his distance, we would see our uncle around four times a year. Whilst I loved seeing my aunt and cousins, and didn’t mind Uncle Neil in general, I absolutely dreaded the inevitable moment when he would punish us.
Invariably he would be babysitting us, with all of the other adults having gone out for an evening at a restaurant or pub. Mum and Dad (when he was there) would always thank Uncle Neil for volunteering to babysit, although Charlotte and I knew the real reason for his supposed sacrifice – he would always find some flimsy pretext to smack us.
Some of the reasons given included ‘making a bad smell’ in the bathroom, not folding our dirty laundry before putting it in the washing basket, calling their cat by a silly (but not at all rude) nickname, hiding behind the curtain (we were playing hide and seek with our cousins at the time), not saying ‘bless you’ after someone sneezed, and dozens of other ridiculous excuses to put us over his knee.
Once we had been informed of our ‘misdeed’, Uncle Neil would sit on the edge of a chair with his legs open and pull Charlotte or myself to stand between them. I can still remember him grabbing our arms and pulling us close so that our bodies were pressed against his inner thighs.
He would hold us in this position for a while (it felt like ages, but was probably only around 20 seconds), before abruptly pushing us away. We then stood a few feet away from him whilst he announced he thought our punishment ought to be a smacking, and indeed the said smacking ought to be done on the bare, as we had been particularly naughty. We would still always cry when he announced this, even though we knew all along that it was coming.
Our sentence having been passed down, he then started to bare us for our punishment. Even at a young age, I could sense his obvious pleasure in carefully removing our skirts before slowly and deliberately peeling our tights and pants down, smirking as he bared us.
Whilst in retrospect it is pretty obvious that Uncle Neil was a spanking fetishist, at the time I just presumed he enjoyed being strict with us. I believe he did smack his sons from time to time, but it’s clear he didn’t derive anywhere near as much satisfaction from punishing his boys as he did us girls.
Suitably bared, we would be draped over Uncle Neil’s knee on our tummies, and he would begin by rubbing and patting our bottoms.
Then, without warning, Uncle Neil would suddenly lift his hand up from our bottom and bring it down again, hard. He would repeat this, over and over and over, until our bums were a deep beetroot colour. The pain was absolutely horrid and I would always have a sore, hoarse throat the next day, so loud and anguished had been my screaming.
After we had been thoroughly spanked, Uncle Neil would take a bottle of after-sun lotion he had placed on the table next to him and slather it over our bottoms. It felt like the lotion should have made a sizzling sound upon contact with our burning behinds!
Our crying would gradually subside to light sniffling, and Uncle Neil would then stand us in front of him again, give us a short lecture about being ‘very naughty girls’, then sentence us to 20 or 30 minutes of bare bottom corner time.
Eventually we were told to go and change into our pyjamas before rejoining the other children in play. The whole process was deeply unnerving, but also in an odd way it was better than a smacking from mum, as at least Uncle Neil showed you some affection afterwards.
When the other adults returned, I would occasionally hear my uncle telling mum he had to smack one of us, clearly covering for himself in case he had left any marks still visible at the next night’s bath time. The reason he gave mum for the punishment was always entirely fictional, and invariably something far more serious than we had been ‘punished’ for.
Mum would give us a telling off for misbehaving for Uncle Neil but luckily she never gave us a second smacking, perhaps trusting that her brother would have soundly smacked us, or perhaps she was less uptight than usual, being in a holiday mood.
As he never touched our genitals, and as we were so used to having our bottoms bared for a smacking anyway, at the time I didn’t consider what Uncle Neil was doing as sexual or inappropriate. In retrospect, though, my own experience has certainly made me deeply wary of ever smacking any children I may have in the future.