Ray's Schools Daze

I had a teacher in 7th or 8th grade at a private school that utilized "petticoat punishment" regularly. Boys with unruly hair had barrettes or bows put in their hair. Boys with dirty finger nails got pink or red nail polish. When school started in September, if a boy showed up with hair that she judged too long, she would give the offender one day to get a hair cut. The next day she would allow the girls in the class to set it (in rollers), and later style the offender's hair. Some offenses resulted in being made to wear a baby bonnet for the day. Her special punishment for boys who did not know how to behave like proper young gentleman was to be sent to the coat closet for one of the 6 or 8 dresses she had hanging there. You were then sent off to the bathroom to change and spent the rest of the day in a dress, sitting with the girls.

One day, I was caught flipping up a girl's uniform skirt with my ruler. I did not receive an immediate punishment because the teacher told me she needed to discuss this with my mother. The next day, the teacher sent me to the closet to get a new pink girl's party dress and petticoat for my special punishment. I had to hold it up in front of the class and describe the dress in detail before I was sent to put it on. When I returned, she tied the sash, put a bow in my hair and made me curtsey to the class and apologize for my bad behavior. At the end of the day I was told that my mother had agreed that I should wear the dress home. When I got home, my mother took me right back uptown to a beauty shop, where I had my hair set, my nails polished and a little makeup applied (blush and lipstick). After supper, I was allowed to change.

I'll never forgot the humiliation, never was bad in school after that, and never lost my fascination with petticoats and all things feminine.

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