Considering it was purported to be a maid's uniform and since maids clean houses, he had assumed it might at least be worn while cleaning the house. He had obviously misjudged the situation. If he and Mary had taken their time and discussed the intricacies of the various uniforms on the websites and the implications of various features, as she had suggested, this would not have happened. This is especially true with her knowledge of fabrics and sewing. But he knew what he liked and she gave him enough rope to hang himself. That's exactly what he did. He now had total ownership of the entire catastrophe.
Maid Ronda had completed her first task by cleaning up Ron's workbench and shop area in the garage and sweeping the garage floor. But, judging from the way she felt and looked, it was likely to be Ronda's last task as well. The shop area was one of the dirtiest places in the house and had always been Ron's responsibility. The new uniform, while not ruined was horrible dirty in addition to being wet from perspiration and perhaps stained. At least he hoped it wasn't ruined, but he didn't know for sure having no experience with satin clothing. She had been careful not to get oil, grease, paint or solvents on it but airborne dirt was unavoidable and once the uniform was soaked through from perspiration the dirt would stick to any wet surface.
She had gotten the workbench cleaned up and everything in the shop was now in its proper place leaving a clean flat work surfaces. Maid Ronda had accomplished what Ron had put off for over a year. The piles of stuff that spontaneously accumulate between the cars were gone. They are always the first sign of the return of disorder to the garage and the last to get cleaned up. Maid Ronda had even taken a risk and gone outside making several trips to Mary's garden shed moving things that didn't belong in the shop or garage. Their yard is fairly private so it was worth the risk of embarrassment to get stuff back to its proper place. But it was one of the hottest days of the summer and those forays outside in the heat had no doubt taken a toll.
Thank goodness the garage is air-conditioned, but it's not set up as the coolest place in the house. After several hours standing and walking in four inch heels on the hard concrete garage floor and in the grass on trips to the garden shed, her feet and legs were sore. She would have taken the heels off but there was no place to sit down and she couldn't see the shoes through her full petticoat. Also, wearing a corset she couldn't bend that well, and the tiny buckles that held them on weren't worth the effort. Better to live with the discomfort.
Mary's prediction that she couldn't last an hour in "those shoes" may have been hyperbole, but it was fundamentally true. And these shoes were lower than the spiked heels the model wore in the picture, so it wasn't really an apt comparison.
That girl in the picture looked so perfect and happy with her duties as a pretty little French maid. Somehow his experience after four hours had been much less glamorous. It's not as though Ron didn't know that advertising only accentuates the positive and that reality seldom lives up to fantasy, but some lessons must either be relearned, or reinforced throughout a lifetime.
As she headed up the stairs to report that her first task as Maid Ronda had been completed, she couldn't help but dwell on Mary's comment about an eight hour work shift. What if she demands that Ronda finish out the day? Ron had promised "a good faith effort" and had reassured her many times that he "would do this". Mary is going to be really pissed when she sees what has been done to the uniform on which she worked so hard. And when he says that he can't do this anymore after just a few hours, he knows exactly the look he'll see on her face. He hates to see that expression because it means failure.
She had put many hours into assembling materials and making the uniform he had picked out, and will at the very least be disappointed. Worse yet, she had advised him against that particular uniform. He hated to disappoint her, but this was a matter of survival. He'd just have to tell her, the deal's off and let the cards fall where they may. She would just have to appreciate the fact that it just didn't work out.
In addition to the airborne dirt, foundation and other makeup were all over the white lace collar and he had wiped his face on the pinafore not even thinking about the makeup he was wearing. It had left a massive smudge. The makeup on his face was now no doubt a giant smudge as well. He had even removed the wig and the pretty little hat affixed to it. He hadn't even thought about how horrible he must look right now compared to the picture of feminine beauty she had so meticulously recreated before she left him down in the garage.
The feeling of euphoria that overwhelmed him when Mary tightened that corset and he got his first glimpse of Maid Ronda had given him such hope that Mary's fantasy would work out for both of them. If she wanted her husband to role play that he was her cute little French Maid, so be it. It's not as though anyone else would ever see him. And she had done such a good job at creating Ronda. Mary deserved to be rewarded for her efforts, not let down.
Also, as he thought about it, he really enjoyed being Maid Ronda for that brief moment before the shoes and the heat started commanding his attention. It was something deep inside him that he had never experienced before. With the final pull of the corset strings, something happened that he instinctively related to. We are each made up of various sub personalities and Mary had awoken a hither for unknown one that must reside deep within his subconscious. When he saw that girl in the mirror, he knew it was something he wanted to explore. "What a wimp!" he thought to himself. "I told her I'd do this and here I am wimping out. I'm not going to let her down. Besides, I want to know how this plays out. Who is that girl in the mirror?"
The fact that Mary had selected Maid Ronda's first assignment as something Ron himself had wanted done, rather than housework that she might have otherwise done, was not lost on him either. This really was for the two of them. Maid Ronda wasn't Mary's maid, she was their maid.
Mary plays the long game. They both do. That's why they are both so successful. They are both willing to forgo short term benefits for larger long term gains and that has made their lives and their relationship better. They are each meticulous to avoid any hint of selfishness in their dealings with the other, leading to the "last cookie dilemma", or the "ceremonial ice cream bowl presentation", or various little oddities that serve as near daily reminders not to give into any temptation to be selfish with the love of your live.
They are each hesitant to eat the last cookie. He usually does her a favor and eats it, but only after offering it to her. And there are some cookies she likes more than he, so she gets the last one. And while he normally prepares ice cream or cuts pieces of cake for the two of them, he always offers her the choice of whichever bowl or plate she wants. And that holds true with everything. Whenever he is tempted to be selfish he thinks; "Remember what's really important!" and the answer is always the same; she is the most important thing in his life. No doubt she does the same. But, every time he does it he realized the fundamental flaw in the gesture; there is no scarcity of resources and they could buy all the ice cream or cookies they want. But that's not the point.
He knows his health and comfort are of paramount importance to her and vice versa. By the time he reached the family room, he had regained his resolve. Mary could see that Ron was soaking wet and unsteady on his feet. She quickly had him sit down, removed his shoes and began massaging his swollen feet. She never expected it to be this bad. "I can feel that your hose are wet and gritty. And, your dress is dirty and completely wet from perspiration. It's a total mess. Let's get that off of you." Of course her first words would be an expression of concern for his welfare, she has her priorities straight.
How much water loss is needed to sweet through five layers of corset and a thick satin dress? He must be dehydrated by now. "Did you drink any water out of the downstairs refrigerator while you were cleaning up?" she asked. He had, but it clearly hadn't been enough to stave off a mild case of dehydration. "Well let's get that uniform off of you and get you rehydrated, cooled down and cleaned up." She wasn't going to ask him why he didn't stop. She knows why. He's objective oriented and once he has set his mind to something and has devised a plan he goes after it until it is achieved. Apparently, Maid Ronda does that too.
Removing the wet girdle, fishnets and pantyhose reminded Ron of a snake shedding its skin. He could feel the grittiness in the hose. The fishnets were totally ruined from kneeling and snagging and would not be replaced. As she helped him get the scruffy uniform off they were both surprised how filthy the once soft white petticoat had become. Ron had swept the garage floor with a broom and the dust cloud it created must have gone right up into the petticoat and all over the wet uniform as well. That was never a problem when wearing trousers, but Maid Ronda should have used the shop vac.
Unlike a "real" sissy maid, Mary had given him wide latitude in choice of a uniform and she assumes no mantel of authority other than being the acknowledged "boss" during Ronda's two eight hour shifts per month. For some, it would take tremendous will power not to say, "I told you so". But, she would naturally forgo that momentary reward because once again, she plays the long game. These are two intelligent loving people who have no need for one-upmanship. It would serve no purpose and only further bruise his already hurt feelings. Actually worse than that; it would put him on the defensive and needlessly invite a response.
Ron thanked her for massaging his feet and helping him get the uniform off, and they both realized that neither one of them had a clue how to clean corset. "That's what the Internet is for" Mary said. "It is after all, your corset, so it's your responsibility. I'll show you how to launder the rest of the uniform though and you can iron the dress and pinafore when they have been washed and dried."
Ron apologized for the condition of the uniform and admitted he should have given more thought to comfort rather than looks. He said "Don't worry, I gave you my word and I'll stick with it. But, this uniform is hot as hell."
Mary smiled "While your sense of commitment is laudable, I wouldn't subject you to any unnecessary discomfort or danger. You see, I thought that uniform might be too hot for you, but you had your heart set on it, so I figured why argue about it when I could let you draw your own conclusions. I enjoyed making it so it wasn't a waste of time and you will undoubtedly be able to use it in the future for less arduous tasks.
Anyhow, while I was making it, I made this short sleeve cotton dress without the high collar. It looks very similar to the one you selected but would be cooler and more comfortable." As she reached into a box she pulled out what she described an a summer uniform and said, "If you don't insist on the fishnets you can ditch the pantyhose and all that other stuff that was needed to hold them in place and you can just wear these frilly panties I made to go with the uniform instead. You can wear gartered stockings with it or no stockings at all, as you choose. I don't want you to be uncomfortable. That's also why I had you get the two inch pumps.
"I also got you a mesh corset which I was saving to go with the cotton uniform. It will be fine in the air conditioning. I saw that look in your eyes when I tightened that corset and I know you loved it, so I don't think we can do without a corset as part of your uniform. If it's uncomfortable, I would for now consider it a "necessary discomfort" so the corset stays at least for now. After you shower you can decide if you want to finish your eight hour shift with light duties or make it up tomorrow. If you want to finish out the day just wearing the corset and cotton uniform to get used to it, we'll dispense with the pumps altogether because of your feet. Just wear bedroom slippers while the swelling goes down. It's up to you."
"We'll launder that satin uniform and save it for special occasions in winter. I think that dress was more decorative than functional anyhow. Or, perhaps the duties of the girl in the picture were limited to something like serving food in a formal dining room. Perhaps you can use the fancy uniform to serve food at the family get-together at Thanksgiving or Christmas. By then you'll know how to walk in those four inch heels."
Ron said nothing. He'll let her have her fun for the moment.
"Meanwhile' I'll fix lunch while you shower. You will do the laundry." She said in a tone that reminded him that on these special days, she was not his partner, but was his boss.
After the shower, Ron felt much better and came downstairs for lunch in a bathrobe. He opted to try the new uniform and finish out the day as originally planned. This time getting dressed was a lot quicker. No hose and a cotton camisole under the over bust summer corset which Mary had him tighten and fasten himself. But, she was watching and could see the very moment Maid Ronda reappeared.
The corset would normally hold the frilly petticoat firmly in place, but the petticoat was so dirty that it was now in the wash, so the skirt was not as full as intended. Ron knew the petticoat was an essential part of the uniform and in all likelihood would never be dispensed with again. The short sleeves and lack of a high collar allowed this dress to slide in place even more easily that the first uniform had.
She had him zip it up himself saying that she was not going to dress him on his duty weekends, so he had better get used to doing it himself and she asked if he wanted the wig, which he declined. He also opted for no makeup. She then suggested that after starting the laundry, that he spend the rest of the day reading a book or just relaxing to get used to the feel of the corset and uniform and they discussed whether Maid Ronda should wear makeup and a wig. It was not a matter that would be put to a vote.
Her position was that she didn't want to see an obvious guy in a dress all day and that there needed to be some standards both in Maid Ronda's appearance and in the quantity and quality of work to be done. As stated originally, this wasn't to be a sometimes thing. It must become a routine. He agreed asking for a shorter, cooler wig and a lighter makeup regime.
Two weeks later, Maid Ronda was back, in her summer uniform with petticoat this time and she looked good. This time Mary had her doing regular housework including vacuuming. The dust cloud going up into the petticoat had dissuaded Ronda from using brooms so she now favored the vacuum cleaner even on the hardwood or tile floors. Also that day, Ronda learned how to iron satin fabric before hanging up the fancy uniform for future use. The new short simply styled wig was cooler and she now wore the same maid's cap, the two inch pumps and a much simpler makeup scheme that she had applied herself.
Over the next few months, things settled into a routine and both Ron and Mary were happy with the way things were working. Maid Ronda would remain long after her shift was over, often for the rest of the day. They were together for at least those two Saturdays each month and would spend the day talking and often working together. They were both benefiting from it.
Ron found that it was a great way to relax, and considered it therapeutic. He actually found himself looking forward to their "special weekends". They provided an escape from his high stress job that often required long hours depriving him and Mary of time together on workdays. This escape into another life is about as far away as one can get from his real life. As a one day vacation it's extremely cost effective, both in time and money. And that's not even counting all the work accomplished around the house.
As Maid Ronda he would reflect on events of the past few weeks and would see them from a different perspective. Ronda could view Ron's life in the third person and that was remarkable. She had a slightly different personality, something he found equally remarkable. With the corset, shoes and restrictive underwear, she walked differently, sat differently and even just stood differently. She spoke differently too, was more passive and was unintentionally more graceful in her movements. Mary noticed the difference, and liked it.
Ronda's was a life with no problems and no major responsibilities. All she has to do is clean the house or follow instructions and success was accomplished every time. It was like living in a world of participation trophies where everyone wins every time with minimal effort. It was in stark contrast to Ron's world where only winners get a trophy, where success isn't guaranteed and where even your best efforts might not be good enough against stiff competition, changing requirements and an ever changing environment. Ronda's world was stable and insulated from that chaotic outside world. It was safe. Ronda knew that Mary wound take care of her and that Ron would take care of Mary, no matter what. It's a fantasy, but it's a lovely one.
A few months into their game and Ronda and Mary had been cleaning glass throughout the house. She left Maid Ronda upstairs changing bed sheets while Mary went down to the kitchen to prepare lunch. Suddenly, into the kitchen walked Ron's sister Judy. "Hay Mary, the garage door was opened so I just came right up. I wanted to return the water bath canner, rack and other canning tools you loaned me and to bring you a few jars of my homemade grape jelly to say thank you. By the way, your garage is so clean I couldn't believe it. You must have built a fire under Ron's butt to get him to clean it."
Mary smiled, "Well you could put it that way, but I'd rather attribute it to my sterling leadership and motivational skills. He did a wonderful job at it and has kept it straight ever since." Forgetting about Maid Ronda, she offered Judy some tea and suggested toasting some English muffins so they could sample the jelly. Mary and Judy were sitting at table waiting for the muffins to come out of the toaster when the inevitable happened. Maid Ronda walked into the kitchen in all her glory.
As she walked over to the kitchen sink to rinse her hands and put down a bottle of Windex, she didn't even see them sitting at the table. Suddenly from behind her, Ronda heard Judy's voice; "Oh Mary! You didn't tell me you hired a maid. And, what a cute uniform." The next thing Ron heard was Mary saying "Oh shit!"
Now the bubble had burst and Maid Ronda suddenly vanished. Ron was facing the sink in a ridiculous French maid outfit and found himself in an instantaneous but short lived state of panic. Well, the cat's out of the bag now! So, he dried off his hands, turned around and said, "Hello Judy, how are Jeff and the kids? There's nothing interesting happening around here, so the two of us are just trying to catch up with some housework. Mary, I didn't know we had company."
"My bad!" was Mary's reply. "I should have warned you but it happened so fast I didn't even think about it. Judy just returned the canning equipment she borrowed and brought us some homemade jelly. She came through the garage and was saying how nice it looks down there. We were about to sample her jelly. Would you like to join us and have some tea?"
Thank you. I think I will. We've been cleaning panes of glass in the interior French doors and each set has 30 pieces of glass making 60 sides. That, times four sets is 240 glass surfaces to clean and they haven't been cleaned in years. So I think sitting down would be a welcome rest. After grabbing an extra cup and saucer Ron sat down at the table. "How are you doing sis?" he said as he looked at Judy, completely ignoring the elephant in the room.
Judy was speechless and with a deer in the headlights expression she looked at Mary for support or at least a hint of how to respond. But Mary likewise ignored the elephant in the room. Guess what? Judy then ignored the elephant too. But, as Mary started to pour him some tea, Ron said, "Oh no, I should be the one doing that!" as he took the teapot from her and poured. They looked into each other's eyes and smiled. Then he offered to warm Judy's tea as well.
That did it. Judy suddenly snapped out of it and said, "Ok, what's going on here? What's all this about? You're a multi millionaire. If you want a maid, you can simply hire one, or several. Or, you could clean glass doors without being dressed like that. That's a very pretty maid uniform, but why are you the one wearing it?" she said as she looked over at Mary implying she should be the one in the maid's uniform instead.
Mary said, "Thank you. I made it, but if you want to see a really cute one I'll show you the first one I made for him. It's the one that Ron picked for himself and it's made of satin."
Then Ron chimed in, "You can even try it on if you wish. I think any explanation should be from Mary since it was her idea. Good jelly by the way. Can you stay for lunch?" He did add that he didn't want a maid because he didn't like the idea of giving strangers the run of their home and he does enjoy the housework, but that's not what it's about.
She did stay for lunch and even got to see pictures of Maid Ronda in the fancy satin uniform and made up to match the original picture that they also showed her. She couldn't believe how good Mary was with makeup or how cute her brother looked in the picture. After Mary explained that it wasn't really about the housework, but about being together and working together for two full Saturdays a month, Judy began to understand. Mary laid it out to Judy exactly as she had explained it to Ron, except it was no longer just a theory. It now had a track record of success.
"Ron is so secure in his masculinity that he wasn't threatened in the least by my request and it has worked out well for us. The uniform formalizes the arrangement and it blocks out specific times insuring that his attention will be on me and specific tasks I want him to do. On those days, I know he won't wander off with friends. I have his undivided attention and he has my undivided attention." She then explained about Ronda and the personality differences that come to the surface when the uniform is worn. Judy found this intriguing.
Ron also explained how it relieved his stress by putting him in a totally different frame of mind and that he had actually come to look forward to these Saturdays, but regrettably two Saturdays a month was the most time they could squeeze in without neglecting other responsibilities.
Although Mary's comment that first day as they removed the dirty uniform after Ronda had cleaned up the workbench and garage had been intended as a joke, it proved prophetic. At the next family Thanksgiving get-together, dinner was served by Ron and Jeff in identical satin maid uniforms each in four inch heels. They had done most of the cooking and all of the serving and all the women in the family said it was the best Thanksgiving in memory. It has since become a tradition.