I was desperately trying to tell myself that my accelerated heartbeat was due to nerves and not dread but I wasn’t doing too good a job of believing myself. I didn’t think I would stand up to a lie detector test, let alone convince a judge and jury. Judge and jury in this case came in the combined form more commonly known to the world at large as Gordon Hilliard. My boyfriend. My Lover. My Top.
I suppose you need some background material to know why I call him that, don’t you? OK then, here goes.
Gordon and I are your normal, healthy, garden variety gay couple. We met four years ago at a party – he was a friend of the host and I was brought along as one of a group by a friend of a friend. It was, if I remember rightly, a mediocre party made great by meeting Gordon. We got on from the first moment we both made to grab the same bottle of beer from the kitchen worktop which was set up as the bar. A minute or two of laughingly insisting the other take it was ended by him closing the matter by leaning in and saying he was an old fashioned gent and he saw it as his duty to provide the drinks on a ‘first date’. I was attracted immediately to the possibility that that aspect of him might be real and not just a chat up line.
‘Gents’ were few and far between those days and at 29, I was getting a bit bored with bad lads and flighty one night stands whose only interest was the physical. Don’t get me wrong; been there, done that, taken the precautions, but it was getting old hat. I think I was ready for something more meaningful. I wasn’t letting the words ‘settle down’ even think about setting a toe inside my mind, let alone going for a jog at high speed, but I suppose it was the start of a need for coupledom that was sneaking up on me without my realising it.
According to Gordon, our real first date wasn’t until the next evening and to this day, we still bicker good naturedly over when we should celebrate our anniversary. He says a date has to include coming to collect me and seeing me home afterwards and that’s why the party doesn’t count. I say it counts as part of our relationship because we spent the rest of the evening talking only to each other and ended up smooching in the garden.
And my instincts were right – he was a gent. Don’t get the idea that he’s a fuddy-duddy or socially inept in modern life, he isn’t, but I think the way we started off joking with each other gave us a theme to work with as we got to know each other. Yes, he does have good manners and is nicely spoken but it doesn’t make him stand out in a crowd as odd. He doesn’t F and Blind all over the place – the man doesn’t even drop his aitches - he has to be pretty wound up to swear at someone. He just knows how to behave correctly for the occasion and going out with me was an occasion he obviously thought deserved a bit of effort and I wasn’t going to argue with that. I was courted with skill and I loved every starry-eyed, idealistic minute of it.
There wasn’t any question of him not being attracted to me – the way he looked at me told me he wanted me. I imagine my looks in his direction told him the same thing but I think the depth of our desire gave us the strength to hold back, to not cheapen it by rushing things. To be honest, I think we were surprised by how quickly we took to each other, on all levels, and that made us want to do things properly. We were enjoying the build up to what we knew would eventually happen. We took it as slowly as we could before passion finally got the better of us after a romantic meal for two and launched us into the next stage and, consequently, into bed. It was worth the wait. Double win – on top of being a gent, he was fantastic in bed! I already knew he was a great kisser – holding back on sex didn’t stop us from snogging – and he was pretty deft with his hands when it came to rubbing, caressing and tormenting me to distraction. There were many a night that he took me home and I went through my front door with buzzing in my ears and double vision – and those were the effects on the top half of my body; the further down you went, the more intense the reaction. I’m surprised it didn’t explode!
We switched sexual roles fairly regularly – none of this crap about him always being the ‘man’ and me being the ‘woman’ that people always seem to assume happens - but there was a natural preference from both of us for him to top. It was the position we gravitated towards those times that we were too excited to think about being polite and asking what the other preferred. Generally though, if he starts off proceedings, it means he wants to top but I can do it either way – a look, a touch, a stance, an approach; without the use of words to break the moment he knows what I’m seeking and how I want him to respond.
Yes, there are times when we both want the same thing but at the first sign of me resisting his ‘I’m-in-charge’ mode and pushing him back on the bed to move over him and he’ll submit to my wishes happily enough – he’s never said as much but I guess he feels that it happens seldom enough that he can concede and let me have my way from time to time.
Those other times. . .? Oh. . . there just aren’t words good enough to describe it. He is a keen swimmer so he has superb upper body strength – his torso is to die for - and being encased within the border of his arms as he holds himself over me with ease is a big turn on for me. His arms may not tremble but my body certainly does.
I love our lovemaking. The man really knows the meaning of the word diversity – he does things to me that make me blush when I think back on them. There are times when I’m the centre of his attention for hours on end, when he holds me down with nothing more than the look in his eyes and pours his love into me through every pore, every touch, every sensation, every stroke, and every whisper. Other times it’s as though I’m not really there with him. Don’t get the wrong idea about that, he’s not rough with me; he’s just in his own place in his mind. With his eyes closed and his head thrown back, I’m a tool for his own enjoyment. And his enjoyment is to go as slowly as possible for as long as possible whether I’ve climaxed already or not. If that’s using me for his own needs, bring it on – I love it.
Whatever he says, he’s wrong. Well, about this, he is. Our relationship started on 26th March, the day after Tracey’s birthday party. The day I turned up at his rented flat with my heart thumping and a sense of anticipation running through me. I don’t say that it started then because I came to pick him up – that’s just something I like to tease him with – but it was standing on his doorstep with that feeling of trepidation that made me realize how important he could become to me. The night before had been a party and that means that when you get there you’re already in the mood to have fun – no point in going otherwise. So, with the hyped up feelings and the addition of alcohol, things that seem great and wonderful under the blanket of nightfall and flashing disco lights, may not be as you thought once the sun comes up. Sometimes you think that you’ve met a great bloke and you find out sooner than you think that you’ve made a mistake. He might still be a great bloke, of course, just not as great as you remembered or his day persona isn’t as great as his night persona. A pitfall of being carried away with the emotions of the moment. So the next day, or the next meeting, is generally a moment of truth…. Was it me that liked him or was it only my hormones talking?
I was sure that both I and my hormones were pretty impressed with him – all I had to find out now was if he thought the same. The night before, we made plans to meet up the next day and I hoped he wasn’t regretting the arrangement.
I do remember that when he opened the door to me, we both grinned at each other innately for a second or two before he invited me in while he found his shoes and his keys. I leaned in to give him a kiss on the cheek as the door was closing and he was hovering as though he wanted to do the same. We sort of rocked back and forth hesitantly for a while before we both started to laugh at ourselves. We must have looked like two of those nodding dogs that used to sit on the back shelves of cars years before. After slipping an arm round his waist and pulling him near, I kissed his lips – neither lingering nor in a hurry to have done with it, enough for him to return the motion and confirm that we were kissing each other, not just me kissing him.
He was as nervous and excited as I was. How did I know… his socks and his hair. He had odd socks on and his hair had that artful casual over-fluffed look that shows you’ve spent ages fiddling with it. I know that because I had done the same – although I did manage to match my socks.
And I knew then and there that this was the start of something good.
We got on famously. We both like sports – swimming for me, tennis for him, and cycling for the both of us. He loves Indian food, I prefer Chinese and we both dislike ready made frozen pizzas. We have a similar sense of humour although we have constant arguments over whether Austin Powers is funnier than Blazing Saddles.
Enough similarities to make it comfy; enough differences to make it interesting.
He taunts me saying I’m a fuss-pot when it comes to clothes but he’s a slut for cashmere jumpers - I wouldn’t like to try and guess how many he has. They are gorgeous though and I’m not above ‘borrowing’ one when he isn’t looking – and as much as he moans that I stretch them, I think he likes it as it gives him an excuse to cuddle up to me. He says he’s just cuddling his jumper.
I found him to be gobby, inventive, prone to mischief, intelligent, fun to be with, intoxicating, sexy, impatient at times, selfless, sincere and within six months he had moved in with me, stolen half of my wardrobe space and changed my cereal brand.
I was never happier.
Gordon was two years older than me, topped me by 2 inches at 5’10, neither skinny nor overly heavy. We both have light brown hair although I wear mine longer than he does but his is thicker with a slight curl to the ends if he lets it get beyond his shirt collar. We do not mention receding hairlines within his hearing – not unless you want to be Looked at – hey, everyone has their weakness and honestly, it’s not at all noticeable as long as he keeps his hair short. The suits and casual clothes that he wore were good at hiding his body. That makes it sound as though it needed to be hidden, but it’s not true. What it means is that his jackets and tops hide his muscles from public view so when you get down to the last layer it’s the best sort of surprise to receive. He’s fit – in all senses. He’s also funny, smart, honest, sexy, caring, kind and passionate about making a difference where he can.
The sight of him suited and booted did odd things to my psyche from the very first. He was wearing casual clothes at that party, of course, and on our subsequent dates as well. I knew he had suits, I’d seen the jackets hanging over the backs of chairs as he took them off when he got home from work but it took something like two months before I saw him in all the gear. That was the evening we went to the theatre and he came straight from work, meeting me in the foyer. I think I drooled. I know I didn’t catch half of what the play was about.
He has an odd job really - he’s a genealogist. Sounds impressive, doesn’t it? What it really means is that he works for an investigation company that tracks down possible heirs to intestate estates. It involves a lot of travelling and a lot of time spent in the car driving about the country chasing down people and getting them signed up to his company before one of the competitors get to them. Yes, it’s business because his company gets a percentage of the windfall but I think he enjoys it more because of the personal aspect of the job. Bringing good news to people of an unexpected influx of money and sometimes letting people know they have a whole branch of family that they knew nothing about. He enjoys dealing with people and all the old dears love him as well. When he comes home late, which is often, I tease him about being kidnapped by one of his purple hair brigade so they can feed him endless slices of cake and cups of tea. He gets thank you notes sent to the office quite regularly. Of course, they aren’t all nice old folks who are properly grateful; he’s had people try to claim there were no other family members thinking they would get all the money that way – fortunately it’s not up to him to decide who gets what or who is deserving of it.
He loves it – says it’s stimulating with a visible outcome that he gets to witness. Not like my job, which is also investigation, but without that personal touch. I wouldn’t like his job - all that driving about, physically chasing down dead ends – I like more reliable sources to work with and getting my answers at the click of a button – I’m not very good at waiting. I work for a national bank as a fraud investigator. It’s work that I can do from home with only the sporadic need for a visit to the office. When I moved in with Gordon, I was twenty miles further away from my office but I was nearer to a rail link into London so if I went in after the height of rush hour, the extra miles were hardly noticeable. Rather than paying rent for a small one-bed flat in a noisy block of six, it made sense to contribute that money towards the running of Gordon’s two-bedroom house complete with bijou garden and power shower. It’s what’s known as a starter home, but seeing as we won’t likely be increasing our family in any way, the size of it will suit us for years to come or until one of us wins the lottery. There’s a small office off the front entrance that suited me perfectly once I cleared out all of Gordon’s unpacked storage and made him put what he wanted to keep in the loft and throw away what he didn’t.
We both have good jobs which we enjoy and which seem to be recession proof. People have to die, unfortunately, and amazingly, people still do it without leaving wills, which is what keeps Gordon employed.
I was busier than ever as more and more people looked for ways to earn money – identity theft and account takeovers. False banking transfers. Stolen cheques are rare these days with so many transactions being done by credit cards but they themselves produce their own type of misdemeanour – card details being copied and cloned, card-reading devices on cash machines. Money laundering. I deal with it all.
I like the mental challenge of getting to the bottom of the frauds – a lot of the cases are small time crooks, but we still get the occasional organised gang that look on it as a full time business. Those are the ones that take time and skill to crack, but I get them in the end. Hey, I’m good at my job, no point being all humble here.
Gordon laughs at us and our careers; says there are too many similarities. Both investigators, both dealing with money, only I’m after taking it away from people and giving it back to the institutions and he’s after keeping it out of the government coffers and dishing it out to the poor. He says we’re the modern day equivalent of Robin Hood but that I’m not to get ideas about building a tree house in the garden.
So, you get the idea, yes? Bluebirds were a-twittering, all in the garden was rosy, the future looked bright, love had us all cosied up and feeling smug, a picket fence and roses for round the door were the next things on our shopping list. Everything was perfect, yes? Well no, actually. It wasn’t quite perfect. And no, I didn’t expect things to be really perfect – life doesn’t work that way outside of the movies and I’m not stupid enough to think that it did. Gordon and I had our moments, he annoyed me with things, I pissed him off with others but we worked our way round them and moved on. Generally. To me, perfect isn’t not having any problems in life, it’s having them, coping with them and working through them together to the satisfaction of both parties. And that was the problem I had – I wasn’t always satisfied with how we dealt with things.
Gordon has always been more in charge in our relationship, not because we took a conscious decision to make it that way; it was just the way it worked out. In any couple there will normally always be one with more definite ideas on things than the other – it doesn’t mean to say that the other is downtrodden or anything. Just that natural leadership will come to the fore occasionally. And that’s how it was with us. I would defer to him in all manner of things just because that was my character, I suppose. I was easy going and didn’t feel the need to be in charge all the time. It happened in loads of different areas: he suggested Austria for our holiday and I was happy to go along with it as I’d never been there. He suggested we go out for a meal – if I wasn’t too tired I jumped at the chance to be wined and dined and I was confident enough to say ‘you pick where’ when asked because I knew he would take my likes into account. He asked what I wanted to watch on TV and nine times out of ten I would say I wasn’t bothered and would let him choose as I generally had my nose in a book anyway. He suggested I get my hair cut and I told him to leave my locks alone.
Don’t get the feeling that I’m a wimp - I’m not meek or mild and if need be I can take the lead if no one else does it. But Gordon was comfortable doing it so it meant that I didn’t have to.
It was just that sometimes when we were having. . . I wouldn’t say they were arguments, although obviously we have those the same as any couple. . . it was more times when Gordon had told me off for something – maybe for not being as polite as I could have been to someone, or for being miffy with him over something that I knew made sense but just didn’t want to admit to, then even after he’d ‘had words’ with me, I felt that something was missing.
That things hadn’t reached their proper conclusion and something within me would make my breathing become short as he built up to his conclusion as to why I was at fault or how I could have done things better.
And then it would end. I’d agree with his points, say sorry and promise to not do it again, we’d get on with doing whatever it was we were doing beforehand and that was that. Only, it wasn’t. I was left feeling on edge and I had no idea why. It was as though the words we said to each other didn’t do the deed. We meant them, both of us, but somehow they weren’t always enough. Yes, they worked fine for the small silly things like apologising for not picking up the dry cleaning or forgetting to buy new batteries for the remote control, but for the bigger things, I’d feel a sense of anti-climax that threatened to overwhelm me and left me frustrated and lost when our ‘discussions’ ended. Something was missing and I was going mad trying to figure out what.
At first I thought that I was embarrassed at being told off by him, but it went deeper than that. I’ve been told off before as an adult. . . reprimanded in University and other earlier jobs for shoddy work or being late – no one goes through life without ever experiencing something like that – and I accepted the criticism and carried on.
It was shocking to realise that I didn’t mind being told off by Gordon. I didn’t like it but I didn’t mind it. I accepted that he had the right to do so. What worried me was that he might mind telling me off, more to the point; he might mind that there was a need to tell me off! A couple of times I’d caught his look of exasperation or the tightening of his lips as, once again, I’d allowed myself to get wound up over something and caused some sort of scene in front of him. How long would it take for that exasperation to turn to anger at my behaviour?
It took me a long, long time work it out and even longer to come to terms with it and understand it – if I ever did, that is.
What made it all clear to me was a visit from my parents. They came down to stay with us in August one week before my Dad’s birthday with the idea of us all going into London for a show and a meal. My sister was supposed to be coming as well although she and her husband were going to stay at a hotel in central London and stay on to do some sightseeing and shopping with some friends. They stood us up without a by your leave. We waited outside the theatre until we could hear the last call for people to take their seats by which time we stopped trying to phone them and went inside - just for my mother to get a last minute call as we passed into the box we had hired saying that they weren’t coming. Gordon was relieved we had at least heard from them, my mother and father were disappointed and exchanged worried looks, me: I was furious. Not because of the tickets that we wouldn’t get our money back on but for Sherry’s inconsideration.
I should explain at this point about my relationship with my sister. We got on well as kids even though she used to boss me about and force me to play with her and her dolls – that’s what comes of having a sister older than you by four years – she thought she was in charge all the time. By the time I was ten and she was fourteen we had gone our separate ways as far as pastimes were concerned. I was into playing football and falling out of trees and she was into fussing with her hair and sighing deeply over boys – although she still tried to boss me about. Another five years on, I had caught her up with regards to the boy sighing part, although I did it in private where no one could see. I didn’t think my parents would stifle their humour and try to keep a straight face as they had done with her, had I asked them at such a tender age if they thought that so and so from round the corner was dreamy. By the age of nineteen I was out. I never told Sherry; I left that for my parents to do as we were both away studying and she had a steady boyfriend who lived the other end of the country so we rarely coincided in our visits to the family home.
The first time we got together after ‘the announcement’ was a bit odd. I was more than happy with my sexuality and was relieved that my parents hadn’t reacted badly to the news. I think they were disappointed at first, or maybe worried would be a better description. Worried that I would have a hard time of it – that being gay would cut down my chances of finding someone to be with. Obviously they didn’t know, or if they did they kept it to themselves, about the general sluttishness of gay teenagers who, on top of having the expected hormones to cope with, also had the angst of which direction to point those hormones in. Once the direction had been sorted, I was like a hyped up racehorse being let out of the starting gate at the Grand National. During my university years, if it moved, I went after it. And eight times out of ten, I caught it. The men were the only things I caught though – I was careful and I believed in condoms with a fervour that was almost religious. And it wasn’t always sex – a night of snogging could send me to bed with a happy smile on my face and a damp flannel on my bedside table.
So, I was well into my role of ‘gay man’ by the time Christmas dinner was organised at my parent’s house and Sherry came home for it, leaving her boyfriend to make the trip alone to his parent’s house where she would be joining him for New Year. I was perhaps a bit too much into the role. I’d enjoyed the opportunity to experiment and not be held back by sensible advice and shocked faces. That included, to my eternal embarrassment now, the most horrendous clothes and affecting mannerisms that are normally seen on sit-coms that have the obligatory gay character in them. And, please, let’s not talk about the hair – why, oh why wasn’t there a law against people under the age of 21 from buying hair dye - I’ve burnt all the photos since except for the ones my mother managed to snatch from me and hide. Oh, I didn’t get as far as flouncing or being in danger of permanently damaging my wrist bones by flinging my hands about all the time, but I was well on the way to it that Christmas. I also wore what I thought people thought that gays always wore – part of that was a defence, part was bloody mindedness. I assumed people would have expectations of me once they knew I was gay so I did my best to fulfil them. Basically, I stereotyped myself. Sherry looked at me like I was an alien. I kept catching her looking me up and down as though I was something that even the cat would be ashamed to drag in.
I’d been practicing my huffs for months so it seemed like the perfect time to put one to good use. I decided she disapproved of me and my choices and I was surprised to find that it hurt. We didn’t fight; we didn’t even argue but it was like being faced with a stranger all of a sudden and the nearest we got to discussing the subject was when I made a deliberate sarcastic comment about being forced to play with dolls when I was a child and this was the consequence.
We grew apart after that, distance lending a helping hand as she went north and I went south. I was always ready to believe she thought the worst of me for being gay and I never gave her the chance to confirm or deny it as I kept our conversations to a minimal and allowed nothing more meaningful than polite family talk and general enquiries after health and work. She never phoned me to tell me her news and I did likewise – we used our parents as go betweens for updates. It may sound strange but I think a lot of families are like that – just because we have siblings doesn’t mean we have to live in each other’s pockets or even get on that well, sometimes the only thing that bind us is a chance combination of genes.
Of course I went to her wedding four years later but long before then I had woken up to the fact that I looked like a prat and had reverted to wearing Levi jeans and t-shirts for every day, cashmere jumpers for special occasions. I even had a proper suit! I think by then Sherry and I had got out of the habit of knowing how to talk to each other. Absence doesn’t always make the heart grow fonder; sometimes it makes it forget. I was happy for her though and I wished her well.
Anyway, I held my tongue all through the interval, the second half of the play and the journey home. But it was impossible to miss that the evening had a damper thrown over it. It was meant to be a celebration and would have been the first time that Sherry had met Gordon and it was ruined. My parents had already met him several times and were as charmed as I had been by him but I suppose I wanted to show him off to all the family. I was annoyed and I wasn’t above letting it be known. I didn’t go as far as sulking but I was definitely in a bad mood and Gordon felt the brunt of it when we got home. I was careful enough not to pick a fight with him in front of my parents but once they went to bed I couldn’t help myself. I was narky and someone had to pay. I moaned at him and was generally nasty on the subject of my sister and what a cow she was and that she had slighted him by not coming that night.
He put up with it for all of 10 minutes and then told me to put a sock in it. And that we had no idea of why my sister hadn’t come although he didn’t think it had anything to do with him or with me and us being gay. That if she had some kind of problem that way she wouldn’t have agreed to come in the first place. As tellings off go, it wasn’t a long one and it was carried out almost in a whisper so as not to let my parents know but it still struck home all the same and still produced that same feeling in me. He got into bed and asked if I were going to join him but I made my excuses and said I wanted a drink of water first. He looked at me oddly and accepted my excuse, along with a kiss before I left him to wrap himself up under the blankets muttering a caution not to take too long.
In the kitchen I found my mother had got back up again to do the same as I had – get a drink of water – and she caught me on the hop as I went in. You get used to having your own home and being able to walk about as you please so even though I knew she was in the house, it startled me that she was in the kitchen. Luckily, I was wearing pyjama bottoms – another time and she would have found me in the buff and I know that she’s my mother and has seen it all before but she hasn’t seen mine for about twenty-five years and I’d prefer it to stay that way.
We had a small conversation over the show we’d been to see and her plans for redecorating the living room when her and my father went home and then she asked me what was wrong. Silly of me to think that she didn’t know me enough to figure that one out!
She ignored my denial completely.
“Come and sit down and tell me.”
Does anyone ever get anything past their mother? I hadn’t done to date so I don’t know why I even tried. I sat where she indicated and thought about how to phrase it.
“I’m not very happy that Sherry didn’t bother to come tonight. I would have thought that she was dying to get a glimpse of Gordon at last and apart from that, it was Dad’s birthday night out – she could have made more of an effort to turn up.”
“Perhaps something important came up.”
“What could have been more important than Dad’s birthday, Mum? She knew he was looking forward to it; that was just pure selfishness on her part.”
“Rob, please! You don’t know what happened and until you do, it’s better not to jump to conclusions. Maybe they had a problem at work and were delayed too much to get here in time. Maybe she had a migraine at the last minute. . . or a flat tyre – we don’t know. I can see you’re upset about it, but try not to let it over-ride everything else. Yes, it was disappointing but we had a good time in spite of Sherry’s absence – concentrate on that. You’re very quick to find fault with other people at times, you know, and sometimes there are no faults – just circumstances that you know nothing about. Darling, try not to be so hard on your sister without all the details to hand because it’s not really fair to judge her with only one side of the story.”
I wasn’t quite ready to let go of my bad mood though and she sighed as she recognised that.
“Have you been giving poor Gordon a hard time over this?”
I was rather surprised by that question and my head came up to look at her in puzzlement.
“Why do you say that?”
“Because it’s what you’ve always done, that’s why. Whenever anything upset you or made you angry, you’d have a tantrum and take it out either on your bedroom door or on your father and me. I doubt you’ve changed that much and we aren’t about now so I guess that Gordon gets the brunt of it. Sulks and grumpiness all over the place – honestly, I don’t understand how we never turned completely grey by the time you were twelve.”
I laughed at her exaggerated account – I had never been that bad.
“No, don’t worry, I gave up sulking ages ago and the doors in this house are too flimsy to withstand being kicked.”
“Good. If I find out you’ve been making his life a misery over this I may just well give him a few tips on how to deal with it.”
My puzzlement was obvious. “Eh?”
“I shall tell him exactly how well grounding worked on you when you were a child. You hated it but it was the only way to stop you in mid-strop and make you realise you’d gone too far. Don’t tell me you’ve forgotten?”
I made some non-committal comment about not remembering it much and the moment passed. She rose from the table, patted my shoulder and told me not to be so rigid, that I needed to lighten up a bit – and it’s odd getting those sort of life skill lessons off of your parents, I can tell you – and ordered me back to bed.
Oh, it was all said as a joke to lighten the atmosphere, I know that, but it struck home like an arrow straight to the heart of the problem and I went to bed with my mind whirling in discovery.
I never did find out why Sherry never turned up that night but I did discover something else. . . what was missing in my dealings with Gordon. There was no follow up; no consequences. When we went to bed that night he was very loving; I was held safely in his arms and petted gently as he felt my need for reassurance and comfort but I was thankful when he finally dozed off. As I turned my mind to the scene at the theatre and correlated it to Gordon and myself, I spent a sleepless night tossing and turning while in his sleep, Gordon moved to the very edge of the bed to avoid being elbowed to death.
My parent’s visit had, inadvertently, brought it home to me why I felt unsettled. Gordon had never threatened, or promised, penalties for my bad behaviour and without being aware of it, that was what I had been waiting for after being told off by him and why I had been left feeling out of sorts. To me it was part of a pattern that, although at the time I had rebelled against, I had come to depend on. Or at least accept as normal and in its own way. . . comforting? To know that if I did A, then B and C were surely going to follow. It let me know where I stood. It’s not hard to work out, is it? We’ve all seen Supernanny and know about consistency and the Naughty Step. But that was for children – did it count for adults as well? It seems that it could.
It was quite a shock to know that I was so dependent on that sense of structure in my life and to know that it had shaped me so much and to the point that I felt my relationship with Gordon was being altered by it. My conscience was alive and well and preparing a booby-trap for me. I was reminded of an anonymous quote I came across once ‘A conscience is what hurts when all your other parts feel so good’. I didn’t realise at the time how much impact the idea behind that quote was going to figure in my future.
So, why was it a problem now? Why hadn’t I felt this way with previous boyfriends? That one didn’t take long to solve. My other relationships had never been so meaningful to me. I’d loved them at the time and maybe they had loved me as well but they were still more casual than lasting. And none of them had got to the stage of telling me off for something that didn’t concern them as individuals so the situation never arose. Gordon was the one that took things to a deeper level between us by pushing that little bit further. As had my parents done years ago, by nature his love for me, and our love for each other, he had earned the right to call me to task if I misbehaved. By 5am I came to the conclusion that he had also earned the right to impose some kind of consequence as well. What I didn’t know was whether he would feel the same way.
I had no idea whatsoever of how to bring the subject up or a clear idea of what it was that I wanted from him. I couldn’t insist that he do something he didn’t want to but I thought it fair that he knew what was on my mind. Afterwards, if I had to cope with my feelings on my own, then so be it. Before that happened though, I had to get things a bit clearer in my own mind so I took advantage of my own area of expertise and went investigating. There are very few times when I wished I wasn’t so expert in what I do but that was one of them.
It took a lot of reading – some of it fairly scary if not downright daft – to find something close to what I wanted. I looked at some gay sites that dealt with discipline and honestly, you don’t want to know what I found. That wasn’t at all what I wanted – leather and chains is so not my style and it all seemed like one big game no matter how they dressed it up. I stayed away from the fantasy sites that were clearly there to be read and accessed one handed and carried on looking all the while trying to clarify to myself what it was I was looking for. The Internet holds all the information you could possibly need but all of it is useless if you don’t know what to put in the bloody search engine. Google was definitely not my friend!
After deciding that this was something between two people, not specifically two men, I took out the gay aspect of things, and ended up at quite a few sites that dealt with domestic discipline between men and women, quite a few Christian based actually, which to be honest was a bit of a strange discovery. I chose to read the ones that didn’t offer photos.
It takes a strong mind to read something that is well written and not be dragged into believing everything there. I think it’s in man’s nature to admire a clever argument and a sheen of sincerity and the danger lies in getting caught up in the moment and not reading between the lines – especially when you are actively looking for answers and want someone – anyone - to give credence to your own thoughts or show you the way. However, I took what I read with a pinch of salt and tried very hard not to be indignant, on my own behalf and those of women in general.
It’s an old fashioned concept from down the ages that men were Masters and practically owners of their women and the era of that sort of thing being acceptable has long gone. It’s not PC. Women aren’t meant to allow men that kind of power over them these days and I‘m not sure that men were ever meant to want it in the first place. We’re all supposed to be manly and strong, stiff upper lips and all that sort of thing. We’re the leaders, or so they would have us think. We’re meant to be the stronger sex. As a gay man, I don’t have a female partner to compare myself against on the strength issue so I shouldn’t have a problem with that but even so, the idea took some getting used to. My partner is a man, so am I – which one of us was supposed to be the strongest? Why did I want what most civilised societies had been telling us for ages was wrong and tantamount to abuse?
And traditionally, being punished is such a juvenile consequence to bad behaviour that I worried myself silly about whether what I wanted was healthy or not and what that implied about me as a person. Was I trying to give up my responsibilities as an adult and let someone else make the decisions for me, much the same as a child would experience? No, I worked out that it wasn’t that. I remembered some words from a work seminar I once did ages ago when I worked elsewhere – about how a good manager knows how to delegate responsibilities. It wasn’t that I wanted Gordon to take over all my responsibilities but I did want to delegate certain acts to him. But would it be the start of something worse? I couldn’t quite think at the time of what that ‘something worse’ might be although I made myself choke with laughter after I woke up sweating one night after dreaming of myself speeding round the garden on an oversized trike. No, I was pretty sure I was safe in that respect.
I spent weeks worrying futilely about what people would say if they knew but I was using ‘them’ as an excuse. It took me a long, long time before I realized that I wasn’t thinking about what the mysterious ‘they’ might think – what worried me was what I really thought of myself. I was at odds with myself for wanting this. I took their voice and argued with my inner needs. I told myself that it didn’t matter that it wasn’t ‘normal’ and then I told myself that it did. I argued that I was weak for wanting this and then I argued that it was strength that allowed me to seek it. I all but drove myself to distraction.
I went round and round the whole idea until, to spare my sanity, I told myself that I had to take the view that it didn’t matter whether what I wanted could be seen as ‘childish’ by the Great Unwashed – they weren’t part of our household and were unlikely to know whether we were juvenile or adult within our own four walls and it wasn’t their business. That was a bigger thing than you can possibly imagine. Yes, it’s easy to say you don’t care if your friends, family or neighbours find out you eat Pot Noodles, wear your socks two days in a row or cry at Lassie films. Those things are idiosyncrasies of the individual and no one would think twice even to comment on them.
Allowing your partner the right to chastise you when he disapproves of something you have done is on a whole different level. That piece of information would be likely to raise an eyebrow or two and quite a lot of shocked mutterings behind closed doors. Not to mention net curtain flapping. Unless they thought it was some kinky games that we played - I think that they would understand that, if ‘understand’ is the right word to use, more than real discipline. After all, we’re gay – poofs, bum-boys, queers, take your choice – so that means we’re already weird before we even get into the bedroom, right? Well, no. Funnily enough, I don’t think I’m weird. I think I’m normal, but then I suppose I would do. I came out, not so much with a bang and a torrent of tears and angst, but with a soft, natural step and a sure fire belief that this was meant to be. When it came to accepting that I needed some kind of discipline in my life, it was another matter altogether.
Most of the sites I visited centred their ideas around physical discipline – spanking, to be precise. People will probably think that most gays are into anything remotely kinky, spanking included. Maybe they are, I wouldn’t know; I haven’t got round to doing a poll amongst my friends and I don’t suppose I ever will. Their bedroom habits are precisely that, theirs, and as much as I don’t need them to know what Gordon and I get up to, nor do I need to know what they do. I can imagine it anyway. But spanking had never been a thing of mine – a bit of light bondage, yeah, I’d had a go at that in the past and had enjoyed it, but spanking didn’t appeal to me as a sexual turn on even though I knew it must be for thousands of others. I understand the concept, I’m not a complete innocent but I hadn’t ever considered it as a bedroom activity or a type of foreplay – not for me. I’d had an experimental tap or two from a partner in the middle of sex but when it became clear that I wasn’t going to moan and writhe in joy over it, they didn’t take it further and we moved on to other things. Dunno, maybe that makes me odd! And was I odd for not considering it as a discipline tool either? Probably. But I put that down to never having experienced it as a child so no, it didn’t enter my head. I wasn’t sure what I was going to ask Gordon to do but I knew I wasn’t going to ask him to do that. I doubted its effectiveness for an adult anyway.
Anyway, the whole point is, I was fairly happy with my life the way it was. Quite a bit more than just ‘fairly’, to be honest; extremely, exceedingly, tremendously, outstandingly happy. Because I had Gordon and he had me.
Some people believe that out there, in the big wide world, there is more than one person who very nicely fits the criteria for what we romantics call our ‘soul mate’. Not everybody has the luck to find even one of those people and sometimes someone is lucky enough, or unlucky enough, to find more than one. The problem is if they find them concurrently – that’s the unlucky part. My luck held out enough for me to find Gordon and I’m not interested in the others who might be on my potential ‘ideal mate’ list. The one small blemish on my otherwise perfect life, and really it could hardly be called a blemish because my life wasn’t marred by it, was the issue of discipline.
So, could I live without discipline? Yes, I suppose I could. Could I prosper without it? I don’t know, and there’s the rub. I had this feeling, deep inside me, that I needed it. My previous boyfriends had been OK with the type of person I was, but, looking back, it was clear that whether I was a good person or not or making the most of myself or not, wasn’t their concern. And maybe some part of me wanted it to be. They weren’t that interested over whether or not I did well at work or whether I was rude to the idiot at the garage who tried to fill my car with diesel even though I said it run on lead free petrol and it didn’t bother me in the least that they weren’t.
I told them about things and they laughed or commiserated appropriately on a superficial level and we carried on talking about other things or the conversation turned to something similar that had happened to them. No big deal although now, with the benefit of hindsight, I had to question my motive in telling them so much. At the time, I thought it didn’t matter. After being with Gordon, it suddenly became important. I could see a look in his eyes when I told him these things and I was confused. He was never angry, he never shouted, but he did, sometimes, calmly ask me questions and gently probe about whatever situation it was until, before I knew it, I was spilling out all the details without projecting myself in the best light I could. He became alarmingly aware of my fears and frustrations. He took an interest in all areas of my life – it wasn’t intrusive, it was comforting in a way that I didn’t realise I was missing. I liked it.
But with the glow of his interest came the other side of the coin. He was pleased for me when something went well but I found myself dispirited when I told him something negative and he didn’t immediately tell me I was in the right or come down on my side. Oh, I got lots of praise and hugs and kisses for admitting to it in the first place and not putting a good spin on things, but there was an underlying feeling of sadness. I learnt that a small lifting of his eyebrow accompanied by a wry twist of his lips were enough to make me want to look away in shame. I was disappointed; it was a shock to realize that it was of myself, not for myself.
OK, so you get the idea. . . months of me going through the whole discipline idea with myself and then comes the fun part. Telling Gordon.
I knew something was up; had known it for a while, but every time I asked Rob if he was OK or wanted to get something off his chest, he got a panicked look in his eyes and started to look for an escape from the room. I’m sure he thought he didn’t and that I never realised that he was fobbing me off but by now, we had been together two years and I could read him like a book. I was determined though, that if he didn’t pluck up the courage soon to tell me what was on his mind, I was going to grab him by his ear, sit him down and insist that he tell me.
He was entitled to his secrets of course; being in a relationship doesn’t cancel out that basic human right, but I got the feeling this wasn’t the sort of secret that he really wanted to keep from me. I wanted him to come to me with it, but the suspense was driving me mad and I didn’t know how long I could hold out on not pulling him up over it. Is it natural to assume that if something is worrying your partner, then it’s something to do with you or your fault somehow? I started out that way but soon decided that it can’t have been. He’s not backwards in coming forward when he has to tell me something, well. . . normally he isn’t. He’s a right nag about me leaving the washing up undone and no matter how many times I tell him it’s healthy to let your dinner digest properly and not jump up straight away after you’ve finished eating to start cleaning up, he says sneaking off to slob on the sofa is taking it a step too far.
I’d gone through all the ‘normal’ scenarios I could think of but couldn’t come up with what might be making him so preoccupied. So I turned to looking from why to when. We can’t use ‘time of the month’ as an excuse but perhaps there was merit to the idea of something external, something not between us, that happened regularly that affected him.
It wasn’t monetary – end of the month and incoming bills didn’t affect him. It wasn’t his work - he was busy and talked enthusiastically about his cases – to the extent of what he could; they were covered by his ethical agreement with the bank of course. It wasn’t my work – I hadn’t had any long overnight trips for a while now and he wasn’t at all adverse to me being home at a reasonable hour most evenings. It wasn’t friends and family – their visits to us didn’t bring about his odd moments, apart from that one time when his parents came to stay and his sister went missing at the last minute on our evening out. Even that didn’t quite fit in with the pattern I’d recognized although, thinking about it, it may have started shortly after that. That led me to wonder if it was something to do with his sister. It was obvious they weren’t close although Rob had never explained why – just said they didn’t get on. Sherry was a nice enough person – I’d eventually met her and her husband a month or so ago when I went with Rob to a funeral of an uncle of his. I couldn’t see much similarity between them as far as character went although they both had the same facial features and build – something they got from their mother. Sherry was a business executive for a finance company; her husband, John, a lawyer. Both very driven by all accounts; no children, no pets, a big, big house just outside York, a smaller house in France for holidays, high end cars, a cleaner, extravagant presents for the family at Christmas and skiing holidays every year without fail. Not my cup of tea for a lifestyle but they seemed happy with it.
And then it clicked. It always happened a day or two after we’d had words about something he had done that I wasn’t too happy with and I’d told him so. So. . . he was upset at me for butting into his life? I must admit, that hurt. Hurt that he’d let it go on for such a long time, and we’re talking at least six months, without saying anything. Hurt to think that his apparent appreciation of me showing an interest and encouraging him to be the best he could, had morphed into resentment of me being bossy or interfering. I thought that’s what partners did for each other! But I hurt for him as well. It pained me that I had wounded his feelings; that it had got to the level where my love and concern for him caused him upset, where he believed that I was not satisfied with all that he was.
I did my very best not to brood over what I saw as rejection on his part and told myself that he had a right not to be harassed if he didn’t ask my opinion. That’s what I didn’t really understand though – it’s not as though he came to me asking to be absolved for things – I’m not his keeper after all – but he came to me and volunteered details and finished with a look on his face that suggested to me that he wanted my input. Why did he do that if he wasn’t prepared to listen to what I told him?
It came to a head one weekend when he’d done something and I told myself to hold back on the scolding I would probably normally have given him. He came back from the shops in an obvious bad mood and without any prompting told me all that happened at the supermarket; moaning how he always manages to catch the ‘thick bitch’ on Till 2 (his words, not mine) and how he was delayed while she worked out that a special of 2 for 1 didn’t mean that he had to go back and get another two bottles of shampoo just because the till didn’t pick up that the second bottle was the free one; that she could charge him for just one of the two bottles he had put on her belt. He had a point – I know who he means and she was a bit slow at times but that doesn’t mean that she deserves to have Rob go off on a sarcastic rant at her, and I have no doubt that he did so. However, I bit my lip and said ‘Oh’, ‘Ah’, ‘Hmm’ and ‘Ooh’ as nonchalantly as I could. He stared at me confused for a minute or two as if waiting for something. When I looked back inquisitively at him, he crumbled in a mix of tears and confusion and I almost did the same.
I swept him up and pulled him to me and did my best to stem his tears. It was instinct even though I had thought that he was upset with me. I couldn’t see him in that state and not try to comfort him although I needed some comfort myself after a minute or so because he wasn’t by any means rejecting me – he clung to me like a limpet – so I really had no idea what was going on. I could tell that talking sense was going to be some time in coming – that was easy to see by the way his breathing was catching in his chest and he couldn’t get one word out. Not any words that I found understandable at any rate.
In the end, I pulled him with me onto the sofa and let him fall into my lap where he seemed very content to stay and cuddle his way back into his own cashmere jumper, picking absently at the yarn in a way likely to create patches and for which I would, no doubt, be blamed for at some stage. I let him calm himself while I stroked his back and rocked him slightly but every time I tried to get him to speak to me, he’d start up again, sobbing softly, accompanied by loads of ‘I can’t’s’. This was him at his most infuriating.
After yet another prod of encouragement to tell me all, he made to scrabble off my lap and physically escape. No way was I putting up with that – whatever was wrong was going to get sorted out then and there whether he liked it or not. I grabbed for his wrist as he made to rise and gave him a quick slap to the hip together with a sharp demand that he behave.
I was prepared to argue more on the point and was somewhat surprised when he collapsed back into my arms, took a huge – and I mean huge – courage building breath and shocked me to my core.
Whatever I was expecting, it wasn’t for him to cry out, “I want you to punish me!” My first reaction? It was to think, ‘Er. . . I just did’. What I said was, “What?” I was convinced that I couldn’t have heard what I thought I’d heard. . . until he said it again. Even then I didn’t get it; he was referring to the smack I’d just given him, wasn’t he? Yes, okay, I should have caught on quicker but I’d been thrown for six and was more confused now than I was when I realised that I was more interested in the male life guards than I was in Pamela Anderson when watching BayWatch reruns as a teenager.
I felt a headache coming on.
“Sweetheart, I don’t understand. You need to explain. Is this why you’ve been so preoccupied and worried?”
That got a wiggly sort of nod of his head, then a shake, then a stronger nod while his shoulders went down.
I won’t claim that the following conversation was easy to understand; it wasn’t. There was lots of mumbling, lots of fidgeting, lots of stuttering. Incoherent mutterings about love, disappointment, Pot Noodles, security, his parents, the theatre trip, something about an oversized kiddy-bike (I still don’t understand that bit and I’ve never managed to get him to repeat it), shame, my eyebrows, women’s rights, more about love. He had to go over it a couple of times before I got the gist of most of it and I know it must have been torture for him to do so, but I swear to God, it wasn’t easy to listen to either.
I was pretty astounded by what he was telling me and I must admit my very first reaction was rejection. He felt that sensation run through my body, I know he did. His body went stiff and he tried to pull out of my arms, rigid with humiliation, and I held him close on nothing more than instinct and the certainty that if I let him go, we would never get this far again in the discussion. I shushed him and kissed his forehead and asked that he let me explain.
I knew about the concept of domestic discipline; I’d had an old boyfriend who wanted to go that route but it didn’t appeal to me at all. I’d felt like he was playing at being something he’d read about and he wanted to follow some list of rules that he swore had to be included. It totally put me off. He couldn’t give me any sort of reason why he wanted to do it; just that he wanted to and I figured out in the end that he wanted me to prop up his fantasy. I declined and eventually our relationship fizzled out as he tried over and over again to push me into being part of something I didn’t want. He got brattier and brattier by the week hoping, I think, that I would become exasperated enough to react to him as he wanted and instead, I got fed up with it in equal measure. Maybe I could have said yes had he been honest with me over what he wanted or had we been together longer and I felt the need or the desire to meet his needs, but, there, the circumstances were against us – or so they felt to me.
I told Rob all about it, about how silly it had all sounded, about all the things that Steve had expected of me; setting lines, corner-time, mouth-soaping, supervising his food intake, making decisions for him that he should be capable of making for himself; treating him as a child in an adult’s body, basically. About how I was completely yipped by the whole idea. I wasn’t really sure then if that was what Rob was after as well, although as I retold the story, I thought not, but I was prepared for him being offended or upset at my rejection of the idea because I needed to explain to him why he had felt that in me. I hadn’t been prepared for him to laugh.
It was so funny seeing Gordon’s face telling me about mouth-soaping and all the rest of it – it was a cross between horrified bewilderment and a mute appeal to please agree with him that it was an absurd concept that no sane man could possibly want. It must have been the first time that he’d told anyone because I could see that just with the retelling of it, it was perplexing to him. That was so not what I wanted. But it helped me to not feel ridiculous in telling him what it was that I did want. Whatever I could come up with wouldn’t be as bad as that. I didn’t give myself time to think about whether he would agree with me, whether he would think that a genuine life style discipline need would be worse or better than a game version of it. I couldn’t go there - the time had come for talking and for putting self doubt to one side. The fact that he hadn’t run screaming from the room gave me the courage to carry on with the knowledge that he would at least hear me out.
I smiled at him and offered an apology for laughing, “Sorry. . . but. . . mouth-soaping?” and I shivered theatrically. He raised his eyebrows and pulled a face of distaste before he relaxed into the back of the sofa and arranged me to sit more comfortably on his lap and asked me to explain properly before he decided that it would be the ideal answer for my foul mouth against supermarket workers. I felt confident enough to scowl at him.
I went over it again – without references to Pot Noodles this time – all the while sitting upright on his lap with my hands clasped together and my eyes firmly fixed on the blank TV screen across the room. His hand didn’t once falter from its reassuring stroking of my back.
I told him all about feeling that something was missing between us when I had done something wrong. About how I knew that it wasn’t him that was imposing that feeling on me, that it came from myself, some deep part from inside of me that wasn’t happy with myself and thought that I needed to pay a price for my misdoings. How not getting that obvious and tangible end to the issue, made it hard for me to let it go.
And as I was explaining it, another thing clarified itself in my mind. I felt that I owed it to Gordon as well. That sooner or later he was going to become angry on his own behalf for my inability to control myself. I don’t think he is anywhere near that stage, not anger at least, but there had been a disappointed sigh or two in the past about things and I could see that it might become a problem in the future. I would prefer that he had an outlet for his disappointment - I wanted to prevent future problems as much as solve current ones.
OK, so that wasn’t what he was after and I was so glad I hadn’t had to make a choice over that scene once again. Perhaps I could have said yes this time round and if I had, it would only have been because this time, it was Rob involved and I think my love for him would have pushed me to consider it more seriously. I didn’t need to though and for that I was thankful.
So. . . he felt my disapproval when we spoke of the things he had done wrong. How do I deal with that? Do I need to back off and not bring him to task or do I need to step up to the plate and go that one step further? All or nothing? I couldn’t see how I could not give him my opinion when he so clearly asked for it; even if he didn’t, wasn’t it my obligation as someone who loves him to express my views on what he does and how he is. How could I call myself his partner if I refused to show my level of care for him in that way! I hadn’t ever said anything with the idea to make him feel bad; it had been to point out another angle or another view. Something that would make him stop and think about why he had reacted as he had.
Yes, sometimes I had meant to scold him, to tell him off – especially when it was something we had already talked about and he’d said himself that he would try to improve on that area of his life. He has virtually no patience whatsoever in shops and will huff and puff and roll his eyes at whatever school-leaver is behind the till and doesn’t know how to put a new till roll in or, God forbid, is talking to someone instead of doing their job. OK, that one annoys me as well but there are ways of dealing with it that give you the moral high ground and is just the right way to do things. Rob gets too riled at what he sees as their ignorance to remember that at times. He’ll walk out of shops when faced with un-attendant assistants even though he’s already found what he wants and is only waiting to pay. I think he’s used to his computer doing exactly what he wants when he wants that he’s not used to shop assistants who can’t give the same service. OK, computers aren’t always so well behaved either but they generally don’t ignore the user and start talking to the printer about what the fax machine gets up to every Saturday night.
So. Where did we go from here?
I was so frightened of Gordon saying no, and possibly even more frightened of him saying yes. Another part of me was frightened that it wouldn’t work even if he did agree. That the hopes I’d put in this as something positive for our relationship would prove unfounded. I was quickly running out of fright!
He asked me specifically what it was that I wanted him to do and I had no ready answer for that. I remember telling him I thought we could come up with something between us but I suppose I was hoping that he would make a suggestion and take the onus off of me. Which wasn’t fair of me – I shouldn’t connive so that I had an excuse to blame him at a later date for whatever it was that he did to me.
He asked how my parents had punished me as a child and I told him that I was normally grounded or had my privileges taken away from me. When pressed for details, I explained that it meant no playing out after school, no friends round, extra chores, no pocket money and no TV although I was allowed books and the radio. A combination of any of those things depending on the crime.
After a short pause, he smiled wryly and said he couldn’t see how the same punishments would work with me as a grown up. I hardly watched TV anyway because I thought very little on TV was worth seeing and preferred to read. My money was my own to do with as I wanted and although he could at a push tell me I wasn’t allowed to treat myself to something for the period, if it was something that I needed and only available for a short time, it made sense to get it when I could. Plus, he pointed out that I wasn’t big on gum drops or Spiderman comics these days although he’d caught me looking hungrily at the new Dalek models one day when we were shopping for a present for his nephew. I worked at home all day so I needed to go out occasionally to stop from becoming stir crazy. We weren’t exactly the centre of a social crowd and could go for weeks on end without meeting up with friends so that couldn’t be exchanged for not being allowed out to play football or Mousetrap with my mates every day after school. And it took a lot of planning to arrange a night out with our friends due to everyone having full agendas so he didn’t think it fair to make my punishment affect our friends if we had to cancel and no way was he going out and leaving me at home. I did most of the household chores anyway but he wasn’t averse to getting me to iron his shirts for him. Oh, I dunno, it went on and on. Nothing that happened to me back then could easily and sensibly be applied to the life I lived as an adult.
We sat there for a moment thinking things over: me still on his lap, him still rubbing my back. My thoughts were along the lines of ‘Oh well, that’s that then’, but Gordon’s had apparently moved on to something new.
I suggested that I spank him. There was an urge to find something that I could do for him that didn’t squick me completely and yet allowed him to be punished in a fashion that didn’t reduce his life to that of a chastised schoolboy put in detention. A middle ground. I mentally reviewed things backwards from mouth-soaping and forwards from being sent to his room and there in the grey middle area was a promising answer. Corporal punishment.
When I voiced the possibility to him, his face screwed up in a moue of doubt which turned into a hesitant statement about him not thinking that would work. He coloured up as he said it though so I knew the idea embarrassed him horrendously – I’m sure part of that was to do with it being a much more physical consequence than he was expecting. He said he didn’t think it would be effective and when asked why not, said that, without wanting to offend, that we weren’t that different in size and strength so he wasn’t sure that I could punish him enough for him to feel remorse. I begged to differ but I didn’t tell him that – he had forgotten that those same arms that are strong enough to turn him on in bed – oh, yes, I knew exactly how he feels about that position - are also strong enough to make their presence felt on his backside. All I said was that it was worth a try if we could think of nothing else that might be suitable. I honesty think he thought that he wouldn’t feel it though – he was almost trying to let me down gently over what might be a slight to my manhood and I had to stifle back a smile.
We sat some more in silence while I gave him time to think it over. I honestly had no idea if he would agree to a spanking or not. I could feel him warring with himself as he considered his options. He wiggled quite a lot without trying to show it – perhaps he was self conscious of the fact that his bottom was sitting on the lap that I had suggested it be placed over and he didn’t know what to make of that. He likes sitting on my lap – at times it’s like having an overgrown poodle jump on me the way he will walk into a room and plonk himself down on top of me for a cuddle. He likes the closeness it gives us and even if I tip him off because I’m trying to read the newspaper, he will contrive to get some part of him lounging back on top of me before long.
I knew he had decided when he turned his head away a fraction of an inch and softly asked me if I actually knew how to do it. I assured him that it couldn’t be that difficult to master – all I had to do was take his trousers and pants down, stick him over my knee and smack his bum. That comment got an indignant swing of his head round to look at me in shock at the cavalier way I was speaking about treating his person and before he could protest, I asked him what he thought getting spanked entailed. Was he expecting a couple of taps over his jeans? That could serve as a warning if he was on the verge of a tantrum and I thought it would help to head him off at the pass but if he had already done the action, then the reaction had to be appropriate in response. His comment of ‘Well. . . I suppose we could give it a trial run’ sealed his fate and brought forth a radical change in our relationship.
We decided to sleep on it. It had been a long evening with buckets full of emotions being sloshed about and we decided that we would consult our pillows and see how we felt in the morning. It was a very odd night, I remember that. Gordon dropped off fairly quickly – the man could sleep standing up at a bus-stop if he put his mind to it – but I lay there thinking. And thinking. And thinking. And wondering if the next day would find me over Gordon’s knee. And if I did, would it be a case of lip-service to appease me or would it be the real McCoy. And if it was, would it work.
He was of a mind that we should start from that moment onwards and was inclined to let me off for the wobbly I’d thrown in Morrisons. I told him – and I can’t believe that I did – that if we were serious about it, then that day’s actions had to be dealt with because I already felt bad about it. Being let off wasn’t going to make that feeling disappear and as it was my suggestion, as such, it was down to me over whether it was included or not. Had Gordon been the one to introduce discipline suddenly into our life, then I would have battled about it being included as I wouldn’t have known beforehand what was at stake.
There was no getting away from the idea that being spanked by Gordon was not top of my To Do list. Not because I thought it would hurt terribly - I was reserving judgement on that for the time being - but because of what getting spanked involved. It would mean that I was going to be an active participant in my own punishment. OK, I know all I had to do was lie there but it was still physical involvement. My childhood punishments were not physical. They were restrictions so if I choose to kid myself that I was staying in because I wanted to, I could do. And often did. Or that I didn’t want to eat sweets that day, or play football or watch the TV. I could make believe the choices were mine. And I could do that as an adult even more so.
Had Gordon decided to follow the same line of punishment that I was used to as a child, it wouldn’t really have had much effect on me – I was honest enough to admit that. I would have been fooling myself if I thought otherwise. By accepting a spanking, I would be there, in the flesh so to speak, experiencing it in person and would not be able to deny it. With a spanking, my submission to Gordon’s authority would be total – all or nothing. Getting away with not feeling guilty as a child was OK – my conscience wasn’t fully developed at that stage – what child’s is? – but I shouldn’t allow myself to do that now – it would be cheating.
I remember silently cursing my mum and dad before I eventually dropped off. If they had been worse parents and let me get away with things as a child then I wouldn’t be facing getting my arse smacked by Gordon in the morning.
I still had doubts about it working though.
It worked. God, did it work! Astonished disbelief that took his breath away turned to distressed howls in a matter of minutes. Although I had never done it before, he quickly learned that I was a quick learner. He wiggled and writhed so much that one of the spanks landed at the top of his thighs instead of his bottom and I was fast to note the effect it had on him. That first one landed there by mistake but the following half dozen didn’t! He was very mindful of me for the rest of the day and was wide-eyed in shock every time he sat down. It curbed him of throwing himself of top of my Sunday papers though – he took to gingerly placing his bottom sideward on the sofa and shuffling towards me to get his head in my lap and ‘encouraging’ me to run my fingers through his hair by nudging me whenever I tried to turn a page. A leopard isn’t the only thing that can’t change it spots – apparently poodles can’t either.
That was the first of. . . I wouldn’t say ‘many’, but quite a few, yes. Perhaps the idea behind all this is that he learns not to do what he knows is wrong but you can’t wipe out thirty one years of habit with a single blow. He was getting better though – he was still prone to roll his eyes at people but he generally went off and muttered under his breath about them rather than telling them to their face how useless they were. And he didn’t snap at innocent passers-by when stress got the better of him. It was a step in the right direction.