Friday, 17 April 2015

Older boys punished by being made to wear short trousers was a popular theme in PPM in later editions. Matron always had strong opinions on discipline and this exchange showcases that. Interesting too, to see letters from Helen Good, an advocate of pyjama discipline who was once very prominent on sites such as ours.

Dear Matron

I feel I must join in the debate about the merits of short trousers for older boys.
Up until about twenty years ago it was not unusual for me to come across boys in their late teens who still wore short trousers. It is much more difficult today to encourage or indeed enforce such behaviour. Twenty or thirty years ago a community would see an older boy wearing grey flannel schoolboy shorts, or outside play shorts and think it was none of their business. Times have changed, possibly for the better possibly not but with the advent of social media and instant worldwide communications nothing remains "behind closed doors" anymore. Sometimes a boy would continue to wear short trousers merely because his youth was being extended beyond what was considered normal. Today we complain that children grow up too fast and mourn the loss of innocence in the very young, yet now we condemn as if it is some sort of child cruelty, a boy who wears short trousers past toddler age. When I was young, boys who were six foot tall would still be playing games outside wearing their short trousers. Indeed my own brother continued to wear shorts after he started work at the local Co-op for quite a few years. As long as they were presentable and still fitted, my mother saw no reason to purchase him longs. In my own experience I always expected any boy under my tutelage up to the age of at least twenty, to wear short, school boy style trousers during the day, especially when he was outdoors. Ironically, when he was safely ensconced indoors for the day, he would be wearing long trousers in the form of pyjamas. Pyjamas would be donned and worn around the house until the wearers prescribed bedtime. Shorts are a splendid item of boys clothing that are dismissed too quickly by society today I fear.

Helen Good

It would be marvellous if we could return to the good old days, at least as far as older boys wearing short trousers is concerned. But as you say, times have changed and I do not think we shall see this again.
My own brother too, wore short trousers out of school from 15 to 19 at my mother's instruction and generally accepted her decision.  This was 20 years ago and even in those days you did not see many boys over the age of 13 still in short trousers for school (I think several Prep schools still had boys of 13 wearing compulsory shorts as part of their uniform at the time).
You write:-
"I always expected any boy under my tutelage up to the age of at least twenty, to wear short, school boy style trousers during the day,".
What exactly do you mean by "tutelage"? Were you a private tutor? A school mistress? Perhaps you could explain.
I completely agree that children nowadays grow up too fast and if boys were kept in short trousers as part of the school uniform to 15 or 16 that would slow this process down. I remember reading about a school in Scotland where boys wore short trousers until they left at 18. Unfortunately the school closed down in July 2000.

Dear Matron

Obviously I owe a duty of care to past employers and the young boys I have tutored, but I will endeavour to answer your queries as best I can. Over the course of more years than I care to think about I have been witness to more than one instance where a boy, having been home tutored, has worn short trousers beyond seventeen. The mention of the school in Scotland reminded me that one of those instances occurred there but I shall not reveal the exact location even though this was many years ago. This particular boy's mother found it difficult to come to terms with the changing, modern world of the 1970's and sought to protect her son from, as she perceived it, it's immoral ways. Simon was dressed in traditional school uniform when I first encountered him, which included grey school trousers. I admit my first impression was that of a younger boy. Simon was sixteen at the time but, wearing  shirt and tie, cap and blazer,  originally I assumed he was a younger brother.

It was partly my subtle recommendations of the benefits of short trousers that Simon was re-introduced to them. His mother was very encouraging if not a little annoyed that she had not thought of this herself, but nevertheless she and Governess invited me to accompany them when they took Simon to the boys outfitters shop in town.

As we sat on the bus that Saturday morning, Simon repeatedly enquired as to why we were heading into town, however we remained silent until we entered the shop. Simon was most perturbed to discover we were purchasing schoolboy short trousers and grey knee socks for him to wear during lessons and in addition some play shorts for him to wear outside of the classroom.

Indeed Governess had to tan his backside to cure his tantrum and it was a very tearful and subdued Simon who sat on the bus heading home and his mother sent him straight to bed upon our return.

It was part of my duties to report to his mother or Governess if Simon failed to present himself for lessons correctly attired and that first week he twice tried to attend lessons wearing longs. Although I always felt guilty as he would invariably be punished after I informed on him, I felt I had no choice and finally Governess confiscated his two pairs of long trousers.

Simon frequently attended Church, or the Kirk as it was known, on Sunday mornings, wearing his new style school uniform and not once did I hear adverse comment from any of the congregation or the minister, who was, I believe one of the earliest female ministers of the church, about Simon's appearance sudden adherence to short trousers.

When Simon was not wearing school uniform he wore his play shorts but these were quite a bit shorter than his school ones. Made from cotton and usually in beige or brown, they had elasticised waists and he seemed quite happy enough to wear them when outside at the weekends. Although to be fair he was never outside a great deal or for very long.

After tuition was finished for the day at 5 pm, Saturdays at noon, (we began at 7.30), his governess took him away. When I next saw him at supper at 6.30 Simon was already dressed in his pyjamas ready for bed. Indeed, his mother insisted on a 7.30 bedtime for Simon throughout my time with them and I cannot deny that Simon was subject to various punishments including receiving the strap or to be accurate the tawse, on his hands and on his buttocks too. He also was subjected to the childish punishments of spending time in the corner with hands on head and early bedtimes.

Undoubtedly his mother's ability to mostly isolate him from the outside world contributed to her success in delaying his, "entry to hell's inferno," as she so dramatically described the world outside. However I did learn that Simon went on to attend university but after graduating, returned to the maternal home and once more became subject to his mother's discipline.

Helen Good

A very interesting story Helen. I am not surprised that you never heard adverse comment about Simon's appearance. Whether he is 8 or 18, a schoolboy is going to look smarter in short trousers and knee socks than in long trousers. I will also say that whenever I had charge of boys I insisted on an immaculate turn out for church - both cleanliness and smartness.
I also like the sound of the lad's play shorts, though it is a shame that he did not spend more time out of doors, as that is so important for healthy development. Short trousers in the sort of weather we are "enjoying" at the moment help to make a boy hardy and to remind him that the world is not designed around the comfort of schoolboys.
Whenever I have been asked to look at an institutional regime for boys I have, almost invariably, recommended that they be made to get up earlier and be sent to bed earlier. So lessons from 7.30. into pyjamas by 6.30 and bed by 7.30 sounds a very good rule to me.
You were quite right to report Simon if he did not come to your lessons properly dressed. It is up to the adults who have authority over a boy to decide what he shall wear and it is the boy's duty to obey them.
If Simon was not properly dressed he was disobedient and also insolent towards you. I hope that rudeness was properly dealt with.
As for feeling guilty about  Simon's punishments, I have been a school matron and visited many establishments for boys at home and abroad, and I can tell you that corporal punishment is the best way to instil in the boys correct behaviours.


A selection of Sissy Nightwear

Sunday, 12 April 2015

After Eunice wrote about her husband doing housework in his pink winceyette pyjamas and Mrs Jacobson putting in her two penny worth, I hunted out this letter that was sent to PPM by James. I wonder if his wife did return him to pink pyjamas and early bedtimes. I have also added a few, "frilly pink pyjama" images to illustrate what Eunice's husband may look like in his working clothes.

Dear Nanny Smackbottom

Since discovering your publication and reading about the many examples of pyjama and early bedtime discipline, my wife has urged me to recount to you an experience I had when I was a very naïve and immature seventeen- year old.
I was lodging with two sisters in a part of Edinburgh called Morningside, a very sedate and residential area as I am sure you are aware. As a seventeen year old, I imagined the sisters were very old, but in hindsight I would say they were both in their early fifties
After sustaining burns to my hands and damaging ankle ligaments while preventing a small electrical fire in the kitchen from becoming a serious event, I found myself in their care after my discharge from hospital.
Looking back, the sisters, Clara and Sophia, appeared to have exploited my situation to impose a form of pyjama discipline while at each step convincing me that everything they did to me was perfectly logical.
The initial problem was my difficulties in accessing the bathroom facilities up on the top floor of the lodgings  due to my injuries. I was persuaded to agree to their suggestion that it would be far simpler if I were to use a potty to go “wee-wee's.”
As the sisters explained, it was the most sensible solution to the problem and they would of course help me upstairs when absolutely necessary.
They then told me that it would be far easier for them and more comfortable for me if I were permanently attired in nightwear. Constantly being dressed and undressed, they said, would be far too time consuming and unnecessary since I would be confined indoors during my convalescence.
I could see that this made sense, only, as I pointed out, I did not own any pyjamas. Not to worry I was told, they had thoughtfully borrowed some for me from a friend. I should point out that I am only five foot one inch tall but what transpired next caught me totally off guard. It turned out that their friend had provided some of her daughter’s nightwear; she was only fourteen years old and evidently a very girly girl.
Of course first I was told, before I could be dressed in pyjamas I would need a bath, a bed bath. Needless to say a shy seventeen year old was mortified to be stripped naked and sponged in very intimate places by two females. Consequently I was quite happy for Clara to button me into a pink floral winceyette pyjama jacket to cover my nakedness. She insisted upon fastening the Peter Pan collar up to the neck to “keep me cosy.” The pyjama  bottoms really should have been put on first as, much to my embarrassment, the touch of females hands had excited me and my face was as pink as the pyjamas as they finally settled the waistband somewhere just below my ribcage whilst they discussed whether of not it would have been better if I were to wear a nightie instead.
I then started to complain about the floral pattern on my pyjamas and the general girly nature of their appearance. I was told to stop being a baby as they were only caring for me as best they could and they couldn't be expected to produce a pair of male pyjamas when I should have provided them myself.. Ashamed of my carping, I timidly acquiesced as they tucked me into the camp bed they had set up for me in the living room ,
Because my hands were swathed in bandages it was necessary that at mealtimes one of the sisters would patiently feed me, this gave them the opportunity to ensure I ate my vegetables, previously I would leave most of my broccoli on my plate. This had clearly annoyed them, but now I could not escape their predilection for serving mashed turnip and broccoli with every meal.

After that first meal, I was presented with a spouted baby cup to use as a drinking vessel. It was, they said, “practical and efficient.” and it meant I could drink at my own pace as I was just about able to clasp the cup between my bandaged hands. Once again, I could not deny the logic behind their reasoning and I used the sippy cup without complaint.
Similarly, when I did dribble milk down the front of my pyjamas, I did not demur when I was tied into a baby's bib that was printed with little lambs and the words, "Mummy's Pet Lamb". The sisters explanation for the bib was, “It will save us from constantly washing your jim-jams.”
The camp bed was not at all comfortable and during the night, as I struggled to find a comfortable position, I somehow managed to tip it over and I ended up sprawled on the floor where I remained until a most concerned Clara and Sophia discovered me lying helplessly on the floor in the morning.
"You silly sausage, you should have cried out for help, we will have to think of another sleeping arrangement for you. Their solution was not at all to my liking.
It was the perfect answer they explained, as they lifted me into the infant cot.
“Now you can’t possibly fall out and injure yourself can you?” Obviously I couldn’t, but that was hardly the point.
When the rail was lifted I was effectively imprisoned in the cot, being unable to lower the rail myself I peered helplessly through the rails. Of course being confined overnight meant I was unable to access the potty and thanks to their insistence that I consumed copious quantities of milk throughout the day this was a genuine problem.
“Lift up a little dear. That’s it.” It was a strange sensation being put into soft nappies by Sophia, she pinned me into the fleecy white squares with practiced ease. “There now, all done. Nothing to get upset about was it?”
When they first suggested putting me into nappies I objected most strenuously but they explained it to me in such a fashion that it all made sense and again, I meekly concurred.
Initially the cot had been set up in the living area; obviously I understood when they said this was inconvenient. So of course I once again agreed that it would be sensible to move it into the box room.

What I was not happy about was being put down for the night at six o’clock.
I was stripped, washed, pinned into my nappies dressed in pyjamas and put into my cot clutching my sippy cup of milk. At six fifteen they would both enter, pull the curtains tightly shut, bid me goodnight and close the door leaving me helpless in the dark with no alternative but to settle down for the night,

When I dared to complain about this treatment, I was told, in a hurtful tone, that they couldn’t be expected to devote the whole day exclusively pandering to my needs. I immediately felt guilty and assured them that it was quite all right and that I was really fine about being put to bed so early.
One of my most humiliating memories was when a young female reporter came to interview me from the local free paper.
I was seventeen, it was only six thirty and I had to be awakened whilst sleeping in a child's cot wearing nappies and a pair of girl’s pink winceyette pyjamas. Lurking at the bottom of the cot were a discarded sippy cup and a baby’s bib.
“Tell me,” the reporter asked me seemingly unconcerned with my appearance, “how do you feel?”
Then the camera flashed. I made the front page with a headline that read.
Grateful Sisters Nurse Fire Hero Back To Health.
 I did not own a copy of the publication in question until my wife contacted them and managed to procure a copy.
Once my injuries had healed, the pyjamas and cot were returned from whence they came and I reverted back to toying with my vegetables.
For many years I assumed I was just rather eccentrically cared for however my wife is convinced that a form of pyjama and early bedtime discipline was used.
I would be most interested in your professional opinion.

James Pyard.

Dear James 

It is obvious that Clara and Sophia did subject you to pyjama and early bedtime discipline and what is more, it is certain that your wife wishes to recreate those experiences for you once again. You may look forward to a return to nappies, early bedtimes and frilly pink pyjamas. Your wife is probably buying you a new cot to sleep in right now.

Nanny Smackbottom. 

Sunday, 5 April 2015

A Pyjama Punishment Monthly letter concerning a problem that has been raised quite often. The images demonstrating the various pyjamaring options were sourced by myself..feel free to voice your own opinion on this subject.

Dear Nanny Smackbottom

Perhaps you could advise on a point of etiquette concerning the correct way for our husbands pyjamas to be worn?

I was about to get my husband ready for bed as normal at seven o'clock for a seven thirty bedtime, when my good friend  and neighbour Mrs Bartholomew paid a visit after settling her own husband down for the night.
We chatted as Henry folded his clothes into a neat pile and I beckoned him toward me so I could get him pyjamaed ready for bed. I buttoned up his pyjama jacket then pulled up his pyjama bottoms, fastening the pyjama cord with the hem of the pyjama jacket tucked inside his pyjama bottoms as I always have done so. Mrs Bartholomew insists I am too generous with my husbands bedtime and she now ventured that she preferred to let her husbands pyjama jacket hang free outside the pyjama bottoms. We had such a discussion on the merits of both options without reaching a conclusion that I decided to write to your good self about the matter. Is there a definitive way ones husband's should wear their pyjamas?
Elizabeth Hardcastle

Elizabeth, I have been asked this question many times over the years and my answer remains the same. The rule is, always have the pyjama jacket tucked inside the pyjama bottoms when the bottoms have a cord fastening. When the pyjama bottoms have an elasticised waist then the choice is optional.
Personally, I would always use the tucked in approach, but I know modern females do prefer to adopt the "hanging out", look that I find untidy but that is just me being old fashioned. The main thing is of course, that you maintain pyjama punishment and I am pleased that your husband has a pyjama and bedtime that you enforce. Well done.
Nanny Smackbottom

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Another,Write to Matron Letter, about being punished in short trousers, from the archives of Pyjama Punishment Monthly

Dear Matron

Thank you for publishing my previous letter. I would be grateful if you would let me tell you more about my experiences in short trousers.
When I was18 my parents joined a Bridge Club which meant they went out every Friday evening. If I was unlucky enough to be undergoing a punishment weekend in short trousers and uniform they added to my disgrace by insisting I needed a babysitter despite my being legally an adult. I would be dropped off at the house of friends of my parents and put in the charge of their 1fifteen year old daughter Abby whom I had to address as Miss Abigail
She was told to treat me as a naughty little boy which included slapping my legs whenever she felt I deserved it. For this reason, I was always dressed in a pair of very short trousers with barely two inches of inside leg although the trousers were loosely cut allowing each leg to be lifted even higher.
Miss Abigail would make me stand on a low stool with my hands on my head, lifting each trouser leg in turn  she would apply her hand or a short, thick leather tawse which was extremely painful. Initially would inflict two to five strokes per leg leaving my thighs throbbing with pain and me usually in tears despite trying desperately not to cry.
I was rarely babysat without having my legs slapped and on some evenings I would undergo two or even three sessions resulting in very painful red legs which were strikingly obvious to my parents when they collected me later that evening.
Miss Abigail's  parents were present in the house throughout the evening and knew exactly what was happening but were quite content to give their daughter complete freedom to deal with me as she saw fit. She viewed me with undisguised contempt for being such a baby by allowing my parents to dress me as a child and for submitting to her punishments. In her eyes I was a wimp who deserved to be punished.
it is true that I was a timid boy and was far too frightened to stand up to either of my parents. In my twenties I discovered that the reason I was made to wear short trousers at weekends was because Miss Abigail's father had recommended such a punishment and my father thought it an excellent idea. They were good friends and shared similar views including that young boys should be properly controlled and disciplined.
My father's friend was delighted when he found out I was regressed into short trousers as a punishment and he and his wife and daughter saw me attired like this many times, indeed it was he who suggested that his daughter should be my babysitter when my parents attended their bridge evenings.
Miss Abigail only ever punished me as I was punished by my parents, that is by having my legs slapped. She was not allowed to spank or cane me although many was the time she threatened to do so and I am sure she would have done if permitted.
I have no doubt that she enjoyed the authority she exercised over a boy three years older than herself. She was a female bully and my timorous attitude simply encouraged her to take advantage. I suspect that had I stood up to her she would have backed off but I never did because I was scared that I would be reported to my father and an even worse punishment would ensue.


Matron replies

I suspect that you really enjoyed your sessions with Miss Abigail and hanker after those days Robert. If that is the case, I suggest that you avail yourself of someone who will satisfy your needs.