Justice Is Blind
The Great War had just ended. Britain survived but sadly, my father didnt. He was one of the last to be killed before the Armistice. I was a bit of a rogue at the age of twelve. One day a couple of friends and I managed to get in trouble with the law. Because of our age, the magistrate let us off on the condition that our parents (parent) would keep us in line. If we strayed, the punishment would be most severe. We were also forbidden to chum together. The entire way home mom had an odd look on her face. My inquiry evoked a comment, Im just not sure what Im going to do with you. If your father was here he could control you. Nothing further was said all the way home. I was confined to the house after school for several weeks. When school let out for the summer the confinement became all day. To keep me busy mum put me to work doing household chores. It wasnt long before she taught me how to cook and iron. Sewing and knitting soon followed. I was being treated more like a daughter than a son. The worst part, or so I thought at the time was the pinafore she made me wear, To protect my clothing. A male apron might have been acceptable, but a fluffy, frilly pinafore?
On occasion when working in the kitchen my small size made it difficult to reach the top shelves unless I either jumped or stood on something. One morning as I dressed, mum walked in carrying a pair of her knee high, high-heeled boots. I noticed you have trouble reaching the top shelves. Lets try these; they will give you another four inches. I fussed at the idea of wearing womens shoes. Besides I knew I could never be able to walk in them. In spite of my protests the boots were soon laced on my feet. Even standing was a problem. By noon I was able to navigate, albeit slowly, around the house. By the next day I was walking as though I had always worn them. Their knee height did give my legs support and I rather like the idea of appearing taller. A five foot two boy does have problems reaching for things. I didnt care for the scratchy feeling my calves had as the tight boots pressed my coarse boy stockings against my legs. I tried them without stockings; that felt even worse. Mum suggested I wear a pair of her long stockings. She had heard that the modern girls kept them up by rolling a coin in the heavy tops and stuffing it back into the top. I was soon wearing her long silk stockings fastened accordingly. I found the feeling of the smooth hose, as she called them, nice on my bare, hairless legs. The coin scheme worked fairly well except that when doing anything strenuous they still tended to roll down. She solved that problem by buying sets of suspenders from the drapers and sewing them to my underwear. Over the next few months, as my boy underwear wore out mum would give me items of hers saying, Just wear these. It a shame to have to chase to the store every time you need something. Ladies knickers became standard attire for me. It hadnt yet occurred to me that I was adopting articles of girls clothing as part of my regular wardrobe.
One day all of my trousers and shirts were in the wash. Mum managed to find a dress that fit me. Girls my age wore short knee-length dresses. These were short. Mum wore long ones. They couldnt have been hers. I still didnt connect. This seemed to happen with ever increasing frequency. It wasnt long before I was wearing dresses more often than trousers. I protested but mum just laughed it off saying, No one will see you. For some strange reason I found that the sight of my silk stocking clad legs peeking out from my dress looked exciting. When we went somewhere I wore boys things including my old shoes. I found that the low heels now hurt my legs. The lack of support to my calves didnt help either. Periodically mum complained that it was nuisance having two wardrobes, boys and girls. If it bothered her why did she have me wear dresses in the house? I certainly didnt care for the idea. Little by little I began to wonder why. Between then and my thirteenth birthday the dresses became a larger part of my life. I dressed less and less like a boy. She wouldnt cut my hair, just gave it an occasional trimming. On my birthday my world crashed down.
Mum announced the day before that she didnt care for the way my dresses fit; by this time I had many. She announced that we were going shopping. Dressed as a boy we took a cab to downtown Manchester. At her direction the cabbie reined up in front of a drapers shop. The window was full of ladies things so I presumed she needed some new clothes. We stepped up to a counter. As the salesgirl approached, mum indicated she was interested in buying a corset. Is madam interested in a long or short style, she asked. Mums reply floored me. My son would like a very long one with breast cups and shoulder straps. The corset was for me. I fussed violently and finally broke down in tears. I slap to the face quieted me down. I was red with embarrassment as the young lady took several measurements. As she did she whispered in my ear, Youre not the first boy to wear a corset. Once you get used to it you might even like it. With that she gave me a kiss on my cheek and a wink. She brought out several with different waist sizes. Mum selected one that was six inches smaller than my waist. A good choice madam, she said, continuing, He will have a lovely shape when the laces are closed. Will he wear it home or do you wish to carry it? she talked like I was a nonentity. I think he will wear it. The sooner he gets used to it the sooner he will like it. I would never like it. I was ushered into a small room and instructed to undress. The attendant discretely left as I disrobed. Mum wrapped the corset around me and shortly had the laces pulled uncomfortably tight. As the pain enveloped me I began crying and asked, Why are you doing this to me? Im a boy. Mum ignored me as she drew a pair of shiny black silk hose on my legs and fastened them to the eight suspenders that dangled from the corset bottom. I had worn knee britches and the stockings were quite obvious on my legs when I redressed. Every one on the street would know I was wearing womens stockings. Mum paid for the corset. As she did the girl whispered, You look nice, referring to my small waist, All boys should wear corsets. Was every one crazy? We were ready to go home. The initial ordeal was over.
The pain from the corset was subsiding and I felt a curious, rather pleasant sensation course through my body. It stimulated me sexually. I didnt understand why I would react that way to something I hated. The corset, I learned, was still open three inches. I knew that I would suffer the next few days as mum closed them. Yet that sensation persisted. The corset was so long and stiff I had trouble sitting in the cab for the ride home. At home there was more to come. Mum announced that none of my boy clothes were proper over a corset. In front of my eyes she put them in the fireplace and burned them. Later, when I went to my room I discovered that mum had already purchased a supply of chemises and other underwear, more stockings in assorted colors, ladies shoes of various styles, all with high heels, and to my horror a kit of facial makeup supplies. Mum was determined to transform me into a girl. On my birthday I would cease to exist; Charles would be no more. I would be a teenage girl.
On my birthday morning mum came to my room. She laced me into my corset, reducing the waist one inch more. She placed padding in the cups. I felt the usual thrill as she drew light tan stockings on my legs. Its your birthday and you will want to look nice so you may wear these black patent court shoes and a black satin dress. Since you are now a teenage girl your dresses will be fashionably ankle length, she commented as she dropped a form fitting dress over my head. It did cling nicely to my corseted shape I thought as I glanced in the mirror. I had breasts just like a real girl. A short while later she had my face powdered, rouged, my lips were done in bright carmine and my hair, now quite long was fashioned. When she finished there was no resemblance to a boy to be found. I should have been furious but I was so fascinated by my appearance I just stood and stared at my image. I was now a very pretty girl. Since I really had no choice I was glad I was so attractive. I spent the rest of the day admiring myself.
Toward evening mums sisters and their husbands stopped by to wish me a happy birthday. They were mildly shocked, pleasantly so, at my new appearance. They had suspected something after seeing me for months in high-heeled boots and pinafores. Boy to girl transformations were not totally unheard of, and I was one of them. As each one kissed their new niece I noticed the men examined my corsets with an excess of fondling. Mum then brought out a birthday cake. On the top was written, HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHARLOTTE. Charles did indeed no longer exist. I could still use my nickname CHARLIE. I received several pounds from my aunts and a second corset from mum. I knew the money would be used to buy pretty clothes.
As summer drew to a close mum made arrangements for a Charlotte ----------, mums maiden name, to enroll in school. School enrollment was quite informal and things like birth certificates were virtually unheard of. The first day of school I saw several new girls that looked strangely familiar. I realized they were my former chums. Apparently their mothers had resorted to the same measures to keep them out of trouble. While we eventually recognized each other we avoided social contact for obvious reasons. We were just nodding acquaintances. I fully accepted being a girl and in fact had come to revel in the sensations of being tightly laced and wearing pretty clothes. Boys things are so drab. Mum had long since closed my corset laces. I now had a twenty-two inch waist. In 1920 that was considered a small waist. A new generation of girls called flappers had arrived on the scene. They had the audacity to go around uncorseted or wore flimsy things called girdles. Most of my acquaintances and the general public preferred the corseted look (and feel). After much begging I persuaded mum to let me corset to twenty inches. I was the envy of my school. I loved the feeling of being embraced by a very long tight corset. If I ever had to return to masculine appearance I knew I would still have to wear my corset, peoples opinions could go to h---. Skirt lengths had become shorter. They returned to the knee length that I wore as a preteen girl. I loved to flaunt my pretty legs whenever I sat down near a boy. I would always manage to give them a flash of my stocking tops and suspenders. I never went anywhere in heels less than four inches. On special occasions I wore fives.
Senior proms were becoming popular with the new freedoms we girls were enjoying. A handsome young man invited me to accompany him to ours. I had avoided personal contact with young men because I had always thought in the back of my mind that I was still a boy. He was so nice looking that I couldnt refuse. Mum was elated when I told her. We went shopping for a formal gown. The shop- girl was amazed at my twenty-inch waist. I selected a form fitting white satin gown that absolutely clung to my corseted figure. Fit like a glove is the term for it. Mum commented that the details of my corset showed but I didnt care. I was an old fashioned girl and I knew that tight lacing still fascinated men. My beau was no exception. He borrowed his fathers motorcar for the occasion. When I answered the door and stood before him I thought his eyes would pop out of his head. He managed to mutter, Youre gorgeous. I didnt know girls dressed like that anymore. He continued to feast his eyes on my delicious shape until I put on my wrap and we headed off. I was the belle of the ball. Many of the girls were corseted but none as severely as me. The boys picked up on it and took every opportunity to dance with me, to my partners chagrin. On the way home we did some heavy petting, nothing more. I was very unsettled by the myriad of feelings I had as we embraced and kissed. As a boy I should have been repulsed, yet the girl now instilled in me thoroughly enjoyed it and wanted more. So far I have managed to hold back my desires but I know that someday the little bit of male still in me will disappear.
After graduation I went to work for the very draper shop were I bought my first corset. The corset business was still good but not great. If it werent for mothers like mine bringing in their young sons for corsets, that I enjoyed fitting and selling, and crossdressed grown men the shop might have given up the corset department. A special young man walks me home from work every evening. It looks like the male spark in me might just be about to go out.
Im sure the old magistrate I stood in front of many years ago would never recognize me. I have always suspected that he had suggested to mum, and my chums parents in secret the course of action she took. I am also certain that he couldnt see at that time what fate had in store for me. Thank heaven justice is blind or I would still be just a trouble making male.