Posted at 16:15 on 30 Nov 2010 by Pandora / Blake
On the way to Scotland on Friday, the new intake for Mrs Darling's Academy kept closely in touch via Twitter. It wasn't until Leia-Ann posted a message worrying that we'd be punished for traveling in jeans that it occurred to me that we might not be supposed to. We'd been told to bring smart, sensible and ladylike clothes, and it was made clear that jeans and trainers were expressly forbidden at the academy itself, but surely the rules would only apply once we arrived? The others, mostly traveling in warm and comfortable clothing like me, agreed. At least if we were going to get into trouble for wearing jeans when we arrived, I wouldn't be alone.
I wasn't as shocked as some of the others when we were met at the airport by an intimidating Miss Hammond-Grant rather than the friendly Amy Hunter we'd been led to expect. She put us straight into character, and I was happy to go along with it (although not entirely sure how to respond, since I wasn't really going as a character). Not only was there an actual school bus waiting for us, but the driver was in on it as well. The first thing that happened was our phones were confiscated, so there was nothing to do on the hour long drive to the unknown but talk.
Our chatting and joking had an edge of nervousness which I think made us a bit more manic. Discussion ranged from ferrets up trousers to normal, out-of-character gossip. Whenever Miss Hammond-Grant interjected with a reprimand about the inappropriate nature of our conversation I lapsed into silence, unsure how to respond. We giggled together in girlish solidarity, but I think I wasn't the only one to feel a bit nervous and uncertain. Was I meant to be conversing in character? What would that involve, anyway? And perhaps most importantly, would we all (except Catherine Thomas, impeccably dressed in a smart skirt and jumper) be in trouble on arrival for our comfy, unladylike attire?
My feelings about the prospect were mixed. Half of me was cross and indignant at the idea that we might be punished for breaking an unannounced rule, although given we hadn't been told we'd be put straight into role and immediately cut off from the outside world, it didn't seem impossible. And yet - I wasn't likely to get into trouble deliberately, so if I wanted to play I'd need my tutors to be mean. Wasn't this exactly the kind of unfair punishment I preferred?
It was an emotional tension that would characterise my experience of the weekend, as I slowly assimilated the realities of social CP roleplay, and its many differences from private, romantic D/s. My natural earnestness and obedience ceased to be an advantage as the naughtiest girls got to play the most, leaving me feeling excluded from the fun at times. But I never quite felt at home deliberately acting out, which tends to make me feel uncomfortable and attention-seeking. Trying to resolve my eagerness to please with my desire to be punished was a steep learning curve, and I think my real kinky self got as much out of Mrs Darling's Academy as nervous new girl Miss Blake did from her finishing school lessons.
In the end, we were only lectured for arriving in jeans. After the nervousness of the bus journey, we were treated to our first sight of the castle we'd be staying at for the weekend - the most luxuriously appointed roleplay venue I've ever heard of, which really enhanced the experience (even if it was painfully cold). Piling out of the bus with our scarves and suitcases, looking in awe at the snow-covered turrets of our new home, being greeted by the glamorous Mrs Darling and read the academy rules in the luscious oak-paneled drawing room - it was a treat for the mind and senses. I'd amused myself on the train north with the similarities between this and going to Hogwarts, and it was no less magical. Immersion in role was effortless as we were given a tour of the castle and shown to our dormitory rooms.
In fact, no-one was punished on that first night (except Leia-Ann Woods for smoking, but we only heard that story afterwards). Lucy and Amy decided not to push us too hard at first, given the intensity of our arrival experience, and especially since so many of my classmates were meeting them for the first time. They dropped out of role briefly during dinner, and the ease with which they switched in and out of character made the whole thing feel more natural for me. Our first lecture that evening on grooming and presentation felt very informal, almost not in role at all, except in the real sense in which my glamorous friends were sharing their expertise with us, and we genuinely wanted to learn. For all our tiredness (and I don't think any of the girls were tireder than our tutors) it was an interesting and informative lecture, and really helped my headspace. I didn't need to put on a role in this context; they actually knew more than me about these things, and I could accept their authority without any need for pretense.
I have huge amounts to say about the rest of the weekend, and I'll do my best to share as much as possible with you (it'll take several posts, I think, although I'm still wondering how to split it up into manageable chunks). For now, I'll leave you with some links to other posts from my fellow finishing school girls:
Adele/Haron: Finished off - or, To be a lady
Emma-Jane: To Darling's we are sent
Eliane: Eliane at Finishing School
Leia-Ann: Finishing School Part 1