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My Sister’s Birthday

“Oh that’s not fair!” I sulked. “She came to my birthday party.”

“Yes and your sister knows how to behave herself… unlike you David.” mum replied. “Close your eyes.” she said.

I closed my eyes tight shut as mum rinsed the shampoo from my hair. Jug after jug of water ran off my head and over my face, splashing off my shoulders and into the bath. Once rinsed, I opened my eyes.

“Now I want you to be a good boy and stay in your room until the girls have gone. Do you understand?”

“But I don’t want to stay in my room when Janet’s having a party. I want to join in.”

“You want to tease her friends, make fun of their dresses, pull their hair and be the centre of attention David.” my mother stated. “And for that reason, you shall stay in your room… out if sight, and out of mind.”

“Well, what if I get bored and just decide to come downstairs?” I said.

“Well you’ve got plenty of books and games to play with… you shouldn’t get bored.” mum replied as she held open a big towel. I stepped out of the bath and wrapped myself in it as mum took to my hair with a hand towel. “And even if you do get bored… I think you’ll find something to do that doesn’t involve disturbing your sister and her friends.”

“Well…. what if I get hungry?” I said. “I’ll have to get something to eat.”

“I think you’ll find it in yourself to wait ’til the girl’s have gone.” mum said. “Now
come on, put your vest on.” she said.

Mum held the gathered vest for me. I pushed my hands into the armholes and she pulled it over my head and onto my body. “Hey this is one of Janet’s vests!” I yelped, noticing the lace trim.

“It is.” mum replied. “And this is a pair of her knickers.” she added, holding a pair white knickers also with lace trim.

“I’m not wearing those!”

“Oh yes you are.” mum said calmly. “And then you’re going to wear one of Janet’s party dresses.”

“Why?” I sulked as mum picked up my foot and stuck it though one of the lace trimmed leg holes. “I’m not even going to her stupid party!”

“No, you’re going to stay in your room and be a good boy…” Mum said as she put my other foot through the knickers , “…but if like you said, you have to come downstairs for whatever reason, at least you’ll be wearing a pretty dress and the girls can tease you for a change.” she explained with a mischievous grin.


David just stuck out his bottom lip and I knew I had him. I pulled the knickers all the way up and told him to tuck his vest into them. “Aren’t they pretty?” I teased.

“They’re horrible.” he sulked.

“Well the sooner we find you a nice dress to cover them up the better.” I grinned before leading him by the hand to Janet’s bedroom. He glanced around nervously at the pink and purple décor. For many boys, there is nothing closer to an inhospitable alien landscape than a girl’s bedroom. His jaw visibly dropped as I opened her wardrobe to reveal a resplendent display of frocks, skirts and blouses.

“Can you see anything you like?” I said to the bemused boy, “Maybe a nice pink one?” I suggested.

He shook his head and stuck out his lip.

“What about this one? Boys like blue.” I said, pulling out a pale blue frock with with a large frilly collar and lace trimmed sleeves. “No?” I put it back and pulled out a green spotty frock. “This one then.”

“I don’t want to wear a dress.” he moaned. “Everyone will laugh at me.”

“Not if you stay in your room, be as quiet as a mouse and as good as gold.” I informed him as I began to unfasten the buttons that ran all the way down the back. On his face was a look of sheer defeat. He clearly couldn’t believe I was making him wear a dress, yet appears to know full well there is nothing he can do about it. “You’re going to look so pretty in this.” I said once I’d undone all the buttons. “It’s a pity no-one’s going to see you.” I said as David began to physically tremble.

He murmured what sounded like a final appeal as I laid the unbuttoned dress on the bed. I looked him up and down. His pale thin legs emerged from lace trimmed knickers, into which a matching girlie vest was tucked. Shyly, and reluctantly, he stepped toward his sister’s bed and approached the dreaded dress. “It’s not fair that i have to wear dress.” he sulked.

“It’s entirely fair.” I said as he stepped ever closer to it. “Hold your horses David. You’re not quite ready yet.” I grinned. “You haven’t got any tights on… or a slip.” I teased as I opened one of Janet’s drawers.

“Why do I have to wear tights too?” he complained as I chose a nice lacy pair.

“Because they’ll make your legs look pretty.” I said as I helped him into them. “Aren’t they nice?” I asked as I stood him up and pulled them over his knickers.

He just looked down at himself and stuck out his lip that little bit further. The petticoating pamphlet was right; once they’ve got their knickers on, they know there’s no turning back They might not enjoy it but they will accept it. What the pamphlet didn’t mention was just how much I’d enjoy it… and he’s barely dressed yet!

Next came the slip… a petti-slip to be exact. I made him give me a twirl before helping him into the dress. I took my time as I fastened the long row of buttons up his back. “Now you’ve got to promise me you’ll keep this dress on all afternoon.” I said.

“I’m not.” he grumped. “I’ll take it off as soon as I’m in my room and I’ll put my own clothes on.”

“I had a feeling you’d be thinking that.” I said. I guess he figured I was still fiddling with the buttons. He he was aware that i was stitching the top few together he’d have protested more.

“What’s that?” he whined as I wrapped a broad chiffon sash around his waist.

“It’s a sash.” I said as I tied it in an ornate bow at the small of his back. “Now keep still.” I instructed.

“What are you doing?”

“I’m stitching the bow to stop you from untying it… and if you can’t untie your sash, you can’t take your dress off.”

“It’s not my dress.”

“It is whilst you’re wearing it.” I said as I turned him to face me. “Now I’ll warn you David, if you take it off you’ll be sorry. If you damage it you’ll be sorry. If you disturb or disrupt your sister’s party in any way, you’ll be sorry.” I explained. “If you think otherwise, you’ll be sorry.” I added. “Do you understand?” I asked.

He hung his head, stuck out his lip and murmured “Yes.”

“Well I hope so.” I checked the time. “I’m going to tell Janet that you’ve gone out with your friends, so she won’t even know you’re here… so unless you want her to see you, you’ll be as quiet as a mouse won’t you?”

He hung his head and nodded.

I routed out a pair of Janet’s shoes which I guessed would fit him, and they did. “Come on… I’ll make you some lunch before Janet gets back.”

“I’m not hungry.” he sulked.

“Well I’ll make you a packed lunch, then you can eat it in your room when you are hungry.”

He looked up at me and forced a compliant smile through his frown. I could feel the fear radiate from him as I led him to his own bedroom. In retrospect, maybe I should have felt a little guilty as I basked in the warm glow of complete control, but that’s guilty pleasures for you. I’d only recently come across the concept of petticoating and although highly unusual, it’s a highly intriguing concept… put a boy in girl’s clothes is like putting them in a straight jacket… it renders them powerless and completely obedient.

He didn’t say a word when I gave him his packed lunch in one of his sister’s pink lunch boxes with a silhouette of a ballerina, and the words ‘love to dance’ in glittery italics on it. Adding insult to injury, I gave him a drink of juice in a pink Minnie Mouse beaker with a curly straw. He sat on his bed with his head hung low. “Now are you sure you’re going to be a good boy and stay in your room?”

“Yes.” he murmured.

“And you’re going to keep your dress on until I say you can take it off?” I asked as I looked him up and down. He screwed up his face and nodded. “Well I certainly hope so… otherwise you’ll be sorry.” I reminded him as I took hold of the door handle.

“What if I need the toilet?” he asked. I advised him to go before the girls arrive. “What if I need to go again?” he asked.

“You’ll have to either risk being spotted on the landing, or hold on ’til they’ve gone.”

“But what if I can’t hold on?” he whined.

“Shall I put you in a nappy?” I threatened. Not that I have any. The petticoating pamphlet does mention the benefits of diaper discipline, but since that’s generally reserved for bedtime I figured they wouldn’t be necessary. I threatened him further by suggesting I could borrow some nappies from a neighbour. He shook his head, I shut the door and returned downstairs to make the final preparations for the onslaught of girls.


It felt like the longest afternoon of my life. The girlie giggles and yelps echoed up through my carpet. Footsteps sounded up and down the stairs as regular as clockwork and I was convinced that at any moment, my door will open and I’ll be seen, exposed and humiliated. I spent each and every one of some two-hundred minutes fearing I’d be found by one of the girls mistaking my bedroom door for the bathroom door. Part of me wanted to rip the dress off, especially since my own irrefutably male clothes filled my drawers and wardrobe… but having tested the stitched sash and failed to undo the buttons, my only option would be cutting it off. I don’t know what Mum would do if I did take it off… all she said was I’d be sorry. If she hadn’t been so vague about the consequences I’d be better placed to weigh up my options. So I sat, silent and still, staring at dress that encases me. “Stupid girls!” I muttered as their shrieks and shrills echoed though the floor.


Downstairs the girls played dancing games, pass the parcel, paper fashion and a host of other party games. They ate jelly and ice cream, drank fizzy pop, gossiped and giggled. Janet: the birthday girl loved every minute of her party. She was glad her usually horrid brother had gone to one of his friend’s houses and wouldn’t be back until the party was over… otherwise he’d be teasing and taunting and pestering the girls as he and many other boys invariably do. Eventually the party drew to a close and Janet’s friends were collected by their parents. Unseen from the upstairs window, David watched them climb in to cars or walk down the street, each wearing a pretty party dress just as prissy as his own. “Stupid girls.” he sulked.

Once the girls had gone, Janet’s mother says “That was a lovely party wasn’t it? Why don’t you go and tell your brother that he can come downstairs now?”

A perplexed expression swept Janet’s face. “But… he’s at his friends isn’t he?” she quizzed.

“No.” her mother admits. “He’s been up in his room the whole time, being as good as gold and as quiet as a mouse.”

Janet doesn’t believe her mother. “But, he’d have come and teased us.” she figured. “…and I’ve had heard him.”

“Like I say, he’s been as quiet as a mouse.” her mother smiled.

“Janet goes to her brother’s bedroom. “Are you really there David?” she hollers.

“Don’t come in!” David yelps as he sees the door handle turn, but it’s too late. She sees him.

Janet is dumbstruck when she sees her brother wearing one of her dresses. Her jaw drops. She gasps. “Why are you wearing my things?” she asks in a most accusational tone. David does nothing but blush. Janet turns to the door and yells “Mu-um! He’s wearing one of my dresses!”

Their mother had already followed Janet up the stairs and eavesdropped from the landing. She steps into view. “He is.” she says, before informing Janet that it was her idea. “Putting him in a dress ensured that he’d stay in his room and not pester you and your friends… and now your friends have gone we can all go downstairs and enjoy the rest of the day as family.” she explained, turning to the crimson cheeked boy. “Why don’t you give Janet a twirl so she can see how pretty you look?”

David didn’t move a muscle. “Can I take it off now.” he whined.

“Not yet, let’s have some cake first.” he mother replied. “Come on… I won’t take no for an answer.”


I felt so stupid as I followed my mother down to the kitchen. My sister followed me and teased me, telling me how pretty I look. The dining table is full of bowls and plates bearing a scattering of crisps, half-eaten cakes and sandwiches, sausages and pineapple on cocktail sticks and a large bowl bearing half a jelly. In the centre is the remnants of her birthday cake covered in pink icing. Mum offers me a slice and I nod, but make sure that my lower lip remains out as a statement of my disdain. Mum gives me one of those looks. “Yes please.” I murmur. Mum cuts me a slice and put it on a paper plate. It, like the cake is pink. I take a hesitant nibble and like all cake, it’s sugary and sweet. I take a bite and my mother asks me if it’s nice. I nod and chomp.

Janet shows me some of her birthday presents and I feign interest. She tells me the highlights of her party; who won pass-the-parcel, who won musical chairs, who ate too much cake. Then she looks me up and down and asks why I didn’t come to her party when I’m wearing a party dress. “Because everyone would have laughed at me.” I mumbled.

“Putting him in a dress was the best way to make sure he did as he was told and stayed in his room.” Mum claimed.

“I’d have stayed in my room if you didn’t make me wear a dress.” I claimed.

“We both know that isn’t true David.” Mum said. “Now why don’t you help your sister clear the table?” she asked.

“OK.” I moaned.

Janet stacked the plates and dishes and put the cutlery in a beaker and the leftovers in a bowl. I ferried them to the kitchen where Mum filled the sink with hot soapy water. I returned to the dining room and fetched the bowl and beakers, before helping my sister tidy up the discarded wrapping paper from pass-the-parcel, the sweet wrappers from the goody bags and the empty cup-cake cups. We stuffed them into a carrier bag and I stuffed it in the kitchen bin. “You’re being very helpful.” Mum smiled. I didn’t respond save for forcing a reluctant smile. Mum looked me up and down and smiled at me. I knew what she was thinking.

“Why did you make me wear dress?” I mournfully asked.

“To encourage you to be a good boy.” Mum replied. “You’re always teasing your sister and her friends and today of all days, I needed you to be good.”

“But why a dress?” I reiterated. “I’m not a girl.” I whined.

“That doesn’t matter. Sometimes its good for boys to wear dresses.” she claimed. I furrowed my brow, searching for the reasoning behind that statement but couldn’t think of a logical explanation. “When can I take it off?” I asked.

“You may as well keep it on until bedtime.”

“Oh mu-um do I have to?!” I grumbled.

“I think so.” Mum replied before suggesting I go and ask my sister if there’s anything else I can do.


Poor David has no idea how pretty he looks, especially when he sulks and pouts, his mother thinks as she washes the dishes. If she’d known just how effective petticoating would be she’d have done it last year and probably the year before. Maybe if he’d worn a dress then, he’d have played nicely with the girls instead of spoiling their fun. Maybe I shouldn’t have kept him up in his room this year? Maybe next year I’ll put him in a party dress and see if it helps him to play nicely with them? But then all his friends would find out and they’d tease him, she figured. “Is everything nice and tidy in there?” she asked when her two children entered the kitchen.

“Yes.” Janet replied. “We’ve made a mini buffet from all the leftovers and arranged them on the table, and we’re going to have a family party after we’ve watched a DVD.” she said.

“That sounds nice.” her mother replied. “Which DVD are you going to watch?”

“I’m not sure…” Janet thoughtfully replied. “I can’t decide between Tangled, Brave or Frozen.”

“Why maybe David should choose one?”

“That’s what I said but he can’t decide either.”

“Not Frozen.” David muttered. His mother suggested Brave, since she thinks he’d enjoy that with all its warring clans and bows & arrows. “I’ve seen it.” he replied. I suggested that he could watch it again. “But it’s a girl’s film.” he mumbled.

“I don’t think that matters under the current circumstances.” she replied. “Have you seen Tangled?” she asked. He shook his head. “Well watch that then.” his mother suggested. With head hung low, David agreed before meekly asking if he could take his dress off. “I said bedtime David.” his mother stated. He conceded and followed his sister to the lounge. His mother took them a beaker of pop each and deliberately gave them matching ‘princess’ beakers.

“Thanks Mum.” Janet said.

“Thank you.” David meekly added.

Their mother left them alone and stole a sausage on a stick from the remains of the buffet before returning the kitchen to finish washing the plastic party dishes. Afterwards, she made herself a pot of tea and sat at the breakfast bar where she enjoyed a cigarette and perused the petticoating pamphlet she’d been given. When she first read its advice she thought the ideas were wild and outlandish. In spite of its claims she imagined that putting a boy in a dress would cause a tantrum and she’s somewhat taken aback at just how effective it appears to have been. She put the pamphlet down and perused the local newspaper, before flicking through a magazine. Thirty or forty minutes passed before Janet entered with the two empty beakers. “Can I get some more juice?” she asked.

“Of course…. just don’t make it too strong.” her mother replied. “What’s David doing?” she asked. “Watching the film or moaning because he’s wearing a dress.” She presumed the latter.

“Watching the film.” Janet replied. “Did you really stitch the buttons shut so he can’t take it off?”

Her mother nodded. “Is he enjoying it?” she asked, referring to the film.

“I think so… he’s laughing in all the right places but moaning when they start singing.” Janet said as she filled the beakers. “You could have told me that you were going to put him in one of my dresses.” she said. “I’d have helped you choose one a bit nicer than that one.”

“I put him in an old one in case he really didn’t like it and deliberately damaged it.”

“I don’t think he likes it.”

“Oh I know he doesn’t, but he hasn’t taken it off and he has behaved himself, so it’s doing its job.” her mother replied. “Now I trust you won’t tell anyone that he wore a party dress on your birthday.”

“Oh but…”

“I’m being serious Janet. He’ll only get teased if people find out.”

“But he teases me all the time!” she whined.

“He hasn’t teased you today has he?”

“No but…”

“Well there you go. I think I’ve put an end to his teasing and taunting ways by putting him in a dress for day.”

“I bet he’ll be back to normal tomorrow.” Janet replied.

“We’ll see.” her mother confidently said. Janet returned to the sitting room and her mother resumed reading. A while later, the film finished and David fetched the empty beakers into the kitchen. “Did you enjoy the film?” his mother asked. He did and said it was much better than Brave. “Good.” his mother smiled. “Are you hungry? Shall we finish off the buffet?”

All three of them sat around the party table and tucked into the buffet. Janet was excited and excitable whilst David was on his very best behaviour. He didn’t even need prompting to say please and thank you when offered some crisps, a slice of quiche, or a piece of cake. He and his sister cleared the table and after fetching the last of the plates and bowls to the sink, he loitered by the breakfast bar of noticed the Proactive Parenting pamphlet. “What’s this?” he asked.

“That’s where I got the idea of putting you in a dress from.” his mother replied. “It’s not just you… lots of boys are as good as girls when they’re dressed as girls.”

He gulped nervously and peered at the pictures; one boy wears a dress, the other wears a pinafore over a smart Fauntleroy suit and the third wears a woman’s apron over normal boy’s clothes. “Have a look if you want.” his mother suggested. She continued washing the dishes whilst he hesitantly opened the pamphlet. She covertly watched in her peripheral vision and almost heard him gulp. The pamphlet explains what petticoating is and when it’s beneficial, as well as advising on what types of clothes are most effective in various situations. “Am I a petticoated boy?” he nervously asked.

“Whilst you’re wearing a dress you are.” his mother replied. “You can’t deny that it’s helped you behave yourself today.” she added.

“Only because I didn’t want anyone to know I was wearing it.” he mumbled.

“Good. And if you continue to behave, no one need know.” she informed him.

“I won’t have to wear it again will I?” he asked. “It says here that petticoated boys should regularly wear girl’s clothes.”

“We’ll see.” she told him. “If I need you to behave and I can’t trust that you will behave, then I’ll make you wear it again… but hopefully next time I won’t have to stitch you into it.”

“It also says that petticoated boys should wear a nappy for bed.” he reads. “Every night!”

“They’re only guidelines David.” she told him. “Only really naughty boys need petticoating everyday.” I told him, adding “…and every night.” He gulped and looked up at me through a pair of pleaful eyes. “…but if today’s behaviour is anything to go by, you won’t need that.”

“I hope not. It’s horrible wearing a dress.”

“Oh it’s not that bad.” his mother insisted. “You only think it’s horrible because you’re a boy… it’s actually a very nice dress.” she told him.

An hour or so later, it was bedtime and David was finally released from the dress. “Take your tights and slip off.” his mother said as she put the dress on to a hanger and fastened its buttons.

“I don’t want it in there!” he whined as his mother opened his wardrobe. “Put it back in Janet’s room.”

“It needs to be in here so you know what happens when you misbehave.” his mother replied. “Now put your knickers and vest in your laundry basket.” she said as she removed a pair of pyjamas from his drawer.

“They’re not ‘my’ knickers.” he sulked.

“I doubt Janet will want them back now you’ve worn them.” his mother said. “Now you’ve only been out of your dress for two minutes and you’re playing up already…”

“Sorry.” he muttered as he pushed his feet into his pyjama bottoms.

“I hope you are, otherwise you’ll be wearing it again tomorrow.”

“Please don’t.”

“Well that’s entirely up to you.” she warned. “Think yourself lucky you’re not going to bed wearing one of your sister’s nighties.” she said. He frowned and blushed at the prospect. His mother tucked him in and wished him sweet dreams. “Night night.” she smiled.

“Night night.” he mournfully repeated. She left and turned out the light. David turned onto his side and thanked his lucky stars that he wasn’t wearing a nightie, or a nappy as that pamphlet advised. He stared at his wardrobe door, fearful of the dress that now hangs inside it… and constant reminder of what will happen should he misbehave again. He gulped and closed his eyes and soon slid off to sleep, hoping more than anything that he’d wake up in the morning to discover that it was all a dream… a very vivid dream.

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