Spankings in our house were never given on the bare bottom – our dad usually smacked both my younger brother and I at least over our underpants.
The only exception was one day when my then 10-year-old brother James was sentenced to a spanking, and was told he would be given it at bedtime. Unbeknown to me or my parents, just before coming downstairs after his bath, James not only put on several pairs of pants (we weren’t supposed to wear underwear to bed) but also wedged a thin paperback book between two of the layers. Of course, only a 10-year-old boy who had read too many comics could think that this plan would work!
Dad fetched the wooden spatula that was kept for our spankings from the kitchen, then took my brother across his knee. Obviously, as soon as he delivered the first whack to my brother’s seat, Dad knew something was amiss, from both the deadened sound and the way the spatula bounced off his son’s rear end.
Dad halted the punishment and put his hand down the back of my brother’s pyjama bottoms and it came out holding the book. With an growl of anger, Dad threw the book across the room – narrowly missing my right ear, I might add.
Then he stood James up and without any further ceremony, one by one he took down his pyjama bottoms, then three pairs of underpants, until my brother was standing bare bottomed in front of the whole family. I was 13 by then and it was the first time for a long while that I had seen James’ bottom and willy, and he blushed beetroot red at his mum and big sister seeing his private parts.
Having cleared the decks for action, Dad put James back over his knee, his rather pudgy bare bottom clear for all to see, and smacked him till he couldn’t sit with the spatula. Needless to say, he never tried that trick again!
Other than that, spankings at our house were usually rare and quite tame, and Dad would usually have to grab and wrestle us to keep us in place to be whacked.
Things were quite different at my aunt and uncle’s house. They had three children, all younger than me, and were fundamentalist Christians. They had a purpose-made spanking paddle for correcting their children, and the kids were expected to submit obediently to their punishments.
My aunt and uncle were also firm believers giving it on the bare bottom. Perhaps they thought it safer and of course it was certainly more effective. I think they certainly believed that leaving unevenly coloured skin was a more serious offence than invading a child’s modesty, and that the shame and embarrassment of being bare bottom and bent over was as an important part of the punishment as the actual spanking.
When their children were naughty, my uncle would simply say to the offender: “Go and get the paddle.” Once it had been fetched, he would tell the child: “Pants and undies down”, or “Skirt up and panties down”, then tell them ‘bend over’ in a stern but conversational voice.
If the recipient tried to get out of position or protect their bottom, my uncle would begin counting and added as many hard swats to the child’s thighs as he had counted to before they took their hands away. He never yelled at the children and never hit them anywhere but their bottom and upper thighs, and when it was all over he would cuddle them tenderly and rub their bottom better.
As you might expect, those children behaved pretty well. They knew the rules of the house and the consequences for disobeying, and they accepted those consequences when they broke the rules. They certainly loved and respected their father, and there was part of me that was quite jealous of their relationship, as our own father was certainly more distant with us.
However, I did think it was crazy that they would just drop their pants and bend over a desk knowing their bottom was about to be whipped until it was like a ripe tomato. They even admitted to doing things which they knew would result in a meeting between the spanking paddle and their bare bottom.
I was a pretty good kid and couldn’t lie to save my life, so if I was accused of something naughty I’d done, I would normally confess, even if I knew it meant a sore bottom. But I certainly never walked up to my parents and volunteered such information!