A brief introduction is in order; Mistress Alison is a good friend and a very knowledgeable and experienced Mistress, she has also been a frequent contributor to PDQ. She is now available to answer questions from both Mistress and sissies alike, assuming a respectful tone of course. These email conversations may well be included at some future date in PDQ though a request for privacy would be respected. Feel free to write her at email@example.com and please don't waste her valuable time asking "where / how can I find a Mistress?"
Dear Mistress Alison
I am a British Indian woman living in the English Midlands and I was interested in the things Maya (October 2020) wrote to you about and previously also another lady correspondent called Pippa (August 2020) about making her marriage into an FLR. In your reply to Maya you said that even in the UK many professional Indian women, doctors, accountants and the like, defer to their husbands and sons at home and are taken for granted by them. This is certainly true in my home. We are both doctors, my husband is a paediatric psychiatrist and I am in general practice, but he treats me as if I were of no account. Although ours was an arranged marriage it is otherwise good, he is not a bad man, never violent or swearing, other than the way he thinks my opinion is of no value in any important matter and always he expects me to be putting him first.
In recent times the media has been full of items describing Britain as a racist country and saying that ethnic minorities face discrimination everywhere. But this has never been true for me at work, my English colleagues and my patients have always treated me with utmost respect and friendliness and the only place where I feel like a second class citizen is in my own home. I even have to be like a servant to both his parents whenever they visit and agree with all their criticisms of me. I am longing to change this. In particular I do not want our son, now 12 years, to grow up to have the same view of women as his father which he is showing every indication of doing. I am thinking maybe petticoat discipline will help prevent this.
In thinking about this I remember what my great grandmother used to tell me about her life in India before the war when she worked as an amah (nanny) in the household of the DO (district officer) looking after two young boys and their slightly younger sister. She said that a very prominent feature of the nursery was the cane, which she was expected to use on the boys, but not the daughter. They accepted their punishment from her because the alternative was to be reported to the memsahib, which would result in them spending the day dressed as little Indian girls before getting a far more severe caning than the one they would otherwise have received. This was called putting them in native costume and they hated it more than anything else because it meant they were seen in humiliation by the other servants. Being caned by her meant they could cry in the privacy of the nursery, and afterwards be comforted, but if their mother had seen them weeping she would order them to be given “something to cry about” an instruction for them to be caned again with greater severity.
Great granny said that the DO always seemed in awe of his wife who was very imperious with everyone including her husband and there was always gossip among the servants that the memsahib was in the habit of using the cane on her husband at night, and she thought this might be true because it was often not where she had left it the previous day. She found this quite amazing as in Indian homes husbands and sons were treated almost as gods and their word was law.
Despite the hardness of the discipline both boys adored her, and she said they shed many tears when around the age of 6 or 7 years old they were sent away to school in England. Throughout her life both of them wrote to her regularly, always addressing her as “Darling Amah” and when later she fell upon hard times they assisted her financially. The girl very much followed after her mother’s footsteps and was always remotely aloof and made her very much aware she was a mere servant. Immediately after the boys leaving the cane disappeared from the nursery and quite soon after that the family employed an English governess to take over the daughter’s schooling. She was offered a much lower status job as a maid of all work but she left and shortly afterwards got married.
So there is the evidence that petticoat discipline can work on children, but I do not think it will ever be possible to change my husband and the things you suggested to Maya would not work for him. He does not drink alcohol or look at other women, and apart from his superior attitude to me he is a good husband. But do you think petticoating would work to stop my son growing up to be the same? If you do then please suggest some ways of doing this.
I very much look forward to having your reply.
Thank you for your letter and the fascinating insight into the world of pre war India.
The regime your great-grandmother described to you was not at all unusual at the time, when it was normal among certain English classes to delegate all childcare to professionals, what today we might call it outsourcing. Very young children were looked after by a nanny and might be presented to their parents, suitably clean and shining, only once a day, usually just before bedtime to say goodnight. It was very common for boys to form an extremely close attachment to their nanny whose influence over them often continued well into adulthood. At seven years old boys were sent to a boarding prep school and then at thirteen to a public school. At all stages rigid discipline was invariably enforced with the cane or the birch.
In his biography Lord Curzon, one of India’s most prestigious Viceroys, details the vicious punishments and cruel humiliations meted out by his governess, Miss Paraman, saying “No child well born and well placed ever cried so much or so justly.” It may seem harsh, even cruel, to our modern eyes, but the intention was to produce another generation of stiff upper lipped military officers and colonial administrators; men who would be resilient enough to cope with the horrors of war or endure extended periods of isolation and loneliness in remote corners of the world and be able to deal with any crisis with unflappable calm. It is now fashionable to sneer at them as a bunch of inbred, effete toffs or to despise them as monstrous racists, but both are crude caricatures and whatever faults they may have had they were competent at running a huge empire efficiently and largely without corruption. Very often the wives who accompanied them were much tougher than their husbands and ruled their households with an iron hand, so it is very likely that your great grandmother was right and her employer was being caned by his wife. Whether this was purely for punishment or at least partly sexually motivated is impossible to say, but it is interesting to note that behind the governance of a third of the world’s population was a group of implacably strict female disciplinarians.
Before I attempt to answer your particular question, I am going to ask one. The same question I posed Pippa (August 2020) in my reply to her, “Do you have a clear idea of what you wish to achieve?” Because if it is merely that your husband treats you with a little more respect then you can probably get the result you want without resorting to petticoating. However, the very fact you have written to me suggests that maybe this is not all you want. I suspect that you would like to be much more like Pippa, but you fear you will be forever like Maya; only you can decide what you want and how far you prepared to go in order to get it. As I advised Pippa; before beginning a journey you should know where you want to end up.
Getting your son to change for the better is in many ways a chicken and egg problem; children learn by example and there is an old saying “like father like son.” Whatever you do, your son is never going to change unless your husband supports you or, at the very least, does nothing to undermine your efforts. So it is a case of having to change both or change neither.
You say your husband is not a bad man, and since he is a psychiatrist I can assume he is intelligent and well educated and must know his behaviour is contrary to the accepted norms of the society in which you live. Moreover, he should understand the human mind and what causes it distress better than most; the things that drive our emotions, both positive and negative. So I would suggest your first move should be to talk to him. A proper long, serious talk, not a quick chat as one or other of you is trying to do something else. Tell him exactly what you have told me; that his behaviour upsets you and demeans you and you are no longer going to stand for it. That things must change and in particular you want him to treat you as an equal and your son to be more respectful, as is your due. If he is the good man you say he is then he should experience genuinely regret that he has upset you, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he will be willing to change without a little further encouragement. If he refuses to talk or does not listen then the next step is to introduce an element of threat.
Whenever issuing any kind of threat or ultimatum it is absolutely vital, never to threaten to do something that you are not prepared to carry out. If he calls your bluff and you do nothing then you will lose all credibility and end up in a worse situation than before. Threats could include withholding sex, sleeping in a separate room, refusing to cook, shop, etc, right up to moving out/throwing him out and seeking a divorce.
His reaction is likely to follow one of two fairly common patterns. Either he will act surprised and hurt and say he didn’t realise how you felt and promise things will improve but do little to change because in his heart he doesn’t think he needs to; or he will get all patriarchal and say “You are my wife and you’ll do as I tell you.” If he does the latter then laugh out loud at him and reply, “In your dreams. This is the 21st century not the middle ages. Get real and get used to it.”
You must be prepared to tough out a period when he is basically sulking. But when he comes round, and most men will, eventually, especially if you’re withholding sex, be ready to tell him exactly what you want and explain the consequences of his non compliance. Tell him you are doing this because you love him and want to stay with him, but if he wants to keep you then he has to change and show you he loves you by doing it with good grace. Once he has begun to change make a big fuss of him, praise him, tell him how much you appreciate him making the effort for you, show your appreciation in the time honoured fashion in the bedroom. The combination of implied stick and real carrot will result in his improvement becoming self sustaining as he realises how much better it is to be living in a harmonious household.
With your son a slightly different approach is required. Start by allocating him some simple domestic tasks, though it might be wise to get his father to be the one who actually instructs him to do them as he will, initially at least, carry more authority. Tell both of them that acquiring the skills required to complete them to your satisfaction will stand your son in good stead when he goes to university and has to fend for himself. Start with easy things like tidying his bedroom and making his own bed, and then some simple cookery, and doing the washing up afterwards. Never mind the fact you have a dishwasher, make him do it the old fashioned way, by hand, and tell him he won’t always have either a dishwasher on hand or someone else to run around after him.
Move on to washing and ironing his own clothes. Of course he will protest at first and then try to avoid it or skimp on his tasks, but you must be firm. Keep telling him, and yourself, that you are doing this for his own good and that one day he will thank you for it. Also you can tell him that being able to do these things for himself will be a mark of his transition from a boy who is looked after by his mother to a man who can stand on his own two feet. Male pride is a double edged sword which you can easily turn to your advantage. Once he realises just how much time and effort goes into keeping him fed and clothed then he will appreciate you even more.
Once you have begun the process of retraining the men in your life, and they have started to accept your doing so, then it is relatively simple to keep extending the process in small steps. Each one trivial in itself but collectively amounting to a significant change. Be prepared for the odd token rebellion in the early stages and be resolute in not giving way. With your son just the threat to withdraw privileges, “If you’re going to act like a three old then I’ll treat you like one,” should be sufficient to quell any rebellion, provided he realises you are serious and will carry out your threat. The next step up from this is “If you are going to behave like a spoiled little girl / baby then I’ll dress you like one.” How far you wish to take the process is of course up to you, but most women, certainly the ones who write to me, get to enjoy exercising real authority over the men in their lives.
If you have read the advice I’ve given to others then you’ll know I’m a firm believer that all males should be kept in chastity and it is a fundamental requirement of any true FLR. This is as much for their own good as anything else as it helps keep their minds off sex and on whatever it is they should be thinking about. There are three basic ways to get a man into chastity, which I have described in detail before; but basically they are cajolery i.e. making it part of an ongoing sex game, stealth, doing it while he is asleep, and giving a direct order with a threat of the dire consequences of non compliance. If you want to explore this and feel you need more information particular to your own circumstances then do feel free to write again. Once any woman has her man securely in chastity then the point of no return has been passed, there can be, and will be, no going back; from that moment on he is hers to command.
Unfortunately, I can give you no such helpful advice about your in laws and their criticisms of you. Not even the power of petticoating can do anything about the conviction all mothers have that no woman is good enough for her son and is not looking after him properly. However, you might take some small comfort from the fact that when your son eventually gets married you will probably feel exactly the same way. The wheel of life will have turned yet another circle as yet another generation dances on to mother nature’s timeless tune.
I hope you find this useful and please do let us know how you get on.
I wish you well for the future.