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Synopsis: In which Kay discovers that her nephew Tom is being dressed as a girl to make him behave himself.

 

Petticoat Boys
by Emily Ross

 

Part One – Tammy

 

One day I was passing my sister Jill’s house on the way home, so I decided to drop in on impulse and say hello.

I rang the doorbell but Jill didn’t seem too pleased to see me. "Oh I thought it was the new television we’re having delivered," she said before inviting me as an afterthought. "Come and have a cup of tea, Kay," she said.

I followed her into the kitchen. "Greg’s still at work," she said as she filled the kettle. "He’ll be back soon."

I nodded. She asked about my children Jason, 15, and Jack, 11. I asked about my 13 year old nephew, Tom.

"Oh, he’s fine. He’s done really well at school this year and as a reward we’re sending him off to a summer camp in three weeks," Jill told me proudly as she’d poured the boiling water into the teapot.

"Is he around?" I asked casually. "I suppose he’s out playing with his friends."

"No, he’s here," she said. "He’s playing in the back garden."

I walked over to the window and looked out expecting to see Tom kicking a football around the lawn but all I saw was a short-haired little girl playing hop-scotch on the patio. I watched for a few seconds before I realised that the little girl was Tom.

He was wearing a little girl’s knee-length party dress in a pale pink colour. It had puffy short sleeves and a white lace trim. It tapered to a thin waist before flaring out. I guessed that he had at least two petticoats on underneath. The dress was very girly and made him look like an eight-year-old girl with short hair. In keeping with the dress he wore black Mary Jane shoes and white ankle socks.

I watched him hop across the patio. "Jill, he’s wearing a dress," I said, stating the obvious.

"Yes. Isn’t he cute?" She poured the tea into two mugs.

"And he’s wearing lipstick," I added.

"Just a delicate pink. He looks so sweet."

"And if I’m not mistaken, he’s wearing pink nail varnish too."

"A really nice shade."

"But why?" I asked.

"Why not?" she asked in return as she poured a glass of fruit juice.

"Boys don’t wear dresses," I suggested.

"Oh don’t be so fuddy-duddy," she retorted. "Boys can wear whatever they like these days."

"And is that what Tom likes? Wearing dresses?" My cross-examination continued. It seemed a little odd for a 13-year-old boy to dress as an eight-year-old girl.

"Sometimes," she said handing me a mug. It was as if there was nothing unusual in Tom’s habits. She went to the back door, opened it and called out, "Tammy, honey, come and get your juice."

The boy-girl stopped playing and skipped towards the house. He came into the kitchen and politely said, "Thank you, mommy. Oh hi, Auntie Kay."

"Hi, Tom." I couldn’t bring myself to call him Tammy. I wanted to pay him a compliment like ‘that’s a nice dress’ but somehow it wasn’t appropriate. He picked up his glass and took a sip.

"Tammy," said Jill, "why don’t you go upstairs and put on your new wig for Auntie Kay?"

"That’s a good idea, mommy. I won’t be five minutes. Excuse me."

He put the half empty glass down. His manners were perfect and I noticed that each time he had called Jill mommy, just like a little girl.

I sat down at the kitchen table and Jill sat down too. I was curious now. "So how did it start? Has Tom been wearing dresses for ages? Or did he come down to breakfast one morning in a little floral number? Or did he ask Santa for a dress for Christmas?"

"It’s a long story."

"I thought it would be. I’m listening."

"It started a year ago. Tom wasn’t doing very well at school. He kept getting into trouble. I decided to do something drastic; I couldn’t let it carry on." She sipped her tea.

"You went for petticoat discipline?" I asked guessing what had happened.

"More or less, yes. I’d read a few books about behaviour among young boys, including two that advocated petticoat punishment. The idea was that if the boy misbehaved, he should spend some time dressed as a girl. If he behaved he could dress as a boy."

"And you decided to do this with Tom?"

"Sort of. I discussed it with him. We decided on a six months’ trial. He’d go to school dressed a boy but at home he’d be Tammy. As soon as he got in from school he’d slip upstairs and put on something girly. If he got good reports from his teacher he could have time off. If he got bad reports the petticoat punishment would continue. If he got really bad reports he’d have to go to school as Tammy."

"And how has his behaviour been?" I asked.

"Immaculate," Jill said. "Since then he’s got straight grade A’s and his behaviour has been perfect."

"Amazing," I said. "But you said it was a six-months’ trial. Surely if Tom has been behaving himself, you stop the punishment now."

"I have," she said.

"But Tom’s still in dresses."

"Yes. That’s his decision. He decided that he likes himself better when he works hard. He works hard because he has no other distractions here. He always stays in and does his homework. He doesn’t go out with his friends. Anyway secretly I think he likes wearing dresses." Jill smiled a knowing smile.

"And what about Greg? What does he think of his son and heir wearing dresses?"

"Oh he’s right behind it. In fact I’ve got a little photo to show you." She got a photo out of a drawer and handed it to me. It was an old photo, about 1980 judging by the fashions. It showed a pretty young girl smiling at the camera in a pretty dress."

"Recognise her?"

"No, I know it’s not you."

"Of course it’s not me, stupid. It’s Greg."

"Greg?"

"Sure he had petticoat punishment when he was young. He said it did him the world of good. That’s why he was keen on Tom wearing dresses too. It’s a pretty dress in the photo. Isn’t he cute too?"

I stared at the picture. Now she’d told me I could recognise the pretty feminine figure as my brother-in-law. "So Greg used to wear dresses as well."

"No."

"No?" I asked.

"No he didn’t used to wear dresses, he still does. Have a look at this." She handed me a picture of a woman in a black minidress. "It’s Greg. Last Christmas. Hasn’t he got great legs? I love him in that dress. You should get your Marvin to wear one. He’d look cute too."

I ignored my sister’s comments. Tom came back into the room. He had not only put on a wig but he had changed. He wore a denim mini-skirt and a tight sleeveless top that didn’t quite reach his waist and revealed a stripe of bare midriff. In the ten minutes he’d been upstairs he’d grown small breasts too – at least under the top was a padded bra. He wore nude tights and shoes with a small heel. The wig was shoulder length in a light brown colour. I was sure he’d touched up his lipstick and mascara added too. Before he’d looked like a little boy in a party dress. Now nobody would know he wasn’t an attractive teenage girl.

"Wow, Tammy, you look great," I said honestly.

"Thanks, Auntie Kay. Mommy, is it all right if I go over and see Jessica?"

"Of course it is, honey. But be back by seven for your dinner."

"Yes, mommy. See you later. Bye, Auntie Kay." He left the room and I heard the front door shut quietly.

"You let him go out dressed as Tammy?" I asked.

"Occasionally. Jessica lives around the corner. She is Tammy’s best friend. She has no idea about his real identity. Nobody could tell he’s not a girl, could they? He can’t mope around here all day. Of course he has to dress like a teenager when he goes out. When he’s at home he likes wearing girly dresses like the one he had on earlier. Also he doesn’t wear his wig because it gets too hot and itchy."

I nodded.

"You’ve got to admit he’s cute, isn’t he? And the petticoating has been so successful. I would recommend it for Jason and Jack. I’ll lend you my books if you want."

I smiled at her and said nothing. Pretty soon I said I had to go and say goodbye. In the car I thought about Tom. How could Jill enforce such a barbaric punishment on him? It was so demeaning. Yet it was very successful and he didn’t seem to mind. If anything he liked it. I tried to imagine Jason and Jack in dresses. I wondered what they would look like. Then I tried to imagine Marvin in a dress. He was slim and had great long legs. Perhaps he’d look OK. As I pulled up on the drive I couldn’t understand why I found the idea of getting my family into dresses so exciting.

 

 

 

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2002 by Emily Ross. All Rights Reserved. These documents (including, without limitation, all articles, text, images, logos, compilation design) may printed for personal use only. No portion of these documents may be stored electronically, distributed electronically, or otherwise made available without express written consent of the copyright holder.