Sophie Anne Hart

Dear Helga,

I felt compelled to write in absolute admiration of your inclusion in your November, 2019 publication, a letter from the distant past, since it was addressed to the wonderful Susan Macdonald, the original and first author of PDQ, when at that time it was known as Petticoat Discipline Monthly and like yours today, was published monthly for quite some time before then becoming a quarterly publication. I remember those days of having to wait 3 whole months before the next issue was released and it was purgatory. The title of those issues was appropriately aligned to the Season at that time, e.g. PDQ Summer 2002 etc.

It was a brave move on your part, given the nature of other Readers letters, to now include this letter. The letter I am referring to was;

Letter 6
From Lara

... and your closing comments about it were so meaningful to me because having read through the letter it was exactly how I was left feeling and I am honoured to repeat those words of yours now; This is one of the most detailed and exemplary letters about boyhood petticoating that I have received in a long time.

It is to my great regret that we no longer have letters such as this published these days (except for the single (cr) annotated letter in most issues). Your own words in the opening introduction of every issue states "At its most basic, Petticoat Discipline involves dressing boys and men in girlish or baby girl's clothes" - not a single reference to adult sissies or men being made to become maids. Your photograph at the top of each new issue always, without fail, features a boy being made to wear a young girl's clothes or sometimes a baby boy who will now be brought up as a baby girl. Wonderful! There is never a picture, photograph or painting of a sissified maidservant wearing a chastity device (ugh!) thank the heavens. Please continue that theme will you?

I recently discovered a photograph in my archives which although not a direct photograph of myself nevertheless evoked a long and distant remembrance of something that happened to me when I was a young pre-teen boy. I should like to tell you about it, please.

This is that photograph I speak of; please see the attachment.

I was twelve years of age at the time and having no known parents found myself being put out for foster care under the control of the Local Children's Welfare Services. In the early 1960's, which it then was, such a Service was still Dickensian in nature. After several failed attempts by various Foster Parents I became uncontrollable, withdrawn, highly emotional, prone to frequent outbursts both verbal and physical and an extremely difficult child who no-one wanted. The reason for this was that I had a "problem". I was extremely small in stature, had not approached anything like puberty and who was about to become (in terms of my age) a young teenager and looked nothing like my age.

The school I attended at that time was an all-boys school with most of its pupils coming from poor backgrounds. They were raucous, brash, ill-mannered and all too often their fists became their words. I soon became their target. I was horribly taunted, bullied and, in their words, "given a good thumping" almost daily. In the changing room after a gym period and in the communal showers with them I was mimicked and embarrassed by them pointing at my groin and with comments such as "Haha! - You look more like a girl than a boy down there!" ...and I would start to cry which only worsened things for me and then "you even cry like a little girl" and I would then run naked into the toilet stall, lock the door and cry my heart out. I only came out when I was sure everyone else had got dressed and left to go home. Yes, boys can be horrible sometimes.

A few days later, whilst getting dressed in the morning, I remembered we had gym again that day. For some extraordinary and inexplicable reason, I suddenly broke down and had an almighty tantrum, a huge panic attack, a fit and then I passed out. When my foster mother came to my room to find out why I wasn't yet downstairs eating my breakfast, saw me lying on the floor still half naked she became very anxious and called my doctor out to me. I have no idea what transpired after that until later that day, having partially recovered but still very scared and quite anxious, was then told by my step mother that we would shortly be going out to visit a "special person". I didn't know it at the time but of course I now know that person was a child psychiatrist.

They were both shocked when I was telling them of all the things that were happening to me on a daily basis and when I was asked what had made this day so fearful that had not previously been the case I replied with one word ... "Gym". That of course evoked a demand that I elaborate further. When I mentioned the business that occurred in the shower and being cruelly cajoled with "You look more like a girl than a boy" I started crying again. My step mother tried to hush me but the psychiatrist just looked at me, expressionless but with a very slight smile on her lips and a tiny glint in her eye as she seemed to have thought or remembered something. Soon after that I was sent out of the office we were all in, told to wait in the outside waiting area and given a book to read.

It was quite some time before my step mother reappeared. She had a very determined look on her face and brokered no conversation with me other than an instruction "get in the car" and grabbing me forcibly by my arm dragged me outside to the car. I was very anxious that somehow I had done something very wrong and would be punished for it, as I always was, with a bare bottomed spanking over her knee and sent straight to bed. Thankfully that did not happen this time but after a very sombre evening meal was had I was told to go to bed since we would have a busy day again tomorrow.

I think that is quite enough for one letter. (edit: You need only to use your imagination how he was treated.)

The End
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