Posted at 00:07 on 12 Nov 2010 by Pandora / Blake
This evening I was brainstorming some scenarios for a new audio piece with one of my correspondents, and in my email I ended up going into more detail than I intended about my preferences and real school experiences. I didn't have time to write a proper blogpost this evening, but thought you might enjoy some notes on my preferred punishment scenarios, and revelations from my school days...
I'm a sucker for the emotional narratives of punishment, but get bored easily with the traditional transition from petulance to remorse. Two friends punished together, each feeling worse about their friend's suffering than their own, and trying to protect each other - always good. I love noble self-sacrifice, and boys or girls voluntarily taking on punishments to protect someone younger or more vulnerable. In fact, I was raised on the sort of virtuous Victorian melodrama in which the protagonist suffers dreadful, unfair misfortunes but manages to retain a sense of adventure regardless, so I love anything centred around unfair punishments. I don't really have a "bad girl" kink, so if someone else has got me into trouble and the authorities believe them over me, that's a perfect way into a punishment scenario without the victim having to lose face.
One of my most horrible days at school was in the second term of my first year, when a group of kids who liked stirring up trouble decided to tell our head of year that I'd been bullying someone. It was completely fabricated, but the teachers hadn't got to know me yet (a few years later it would have been immediately laughed off) and it took most of a day to untangle. I spent the entire time feeling sick to my stomach, heart pounding and palms sweating. Unpleasant to live through; ideal fantasy fodder in retrospect!
One other memory leaps out at me as something I really did at school which might have resulted in a whacking if I'd been at school fifteen years earlier. I had an ongoing feud with a girl in the year above me who hated me with a vicious passion. I have no idea why, except that I wasn't the most popular kid in my year - nerdy and a bit of a misfit. But who knows what I did to get this bully's attention. Anyway, it was your normal taunting - her backed up by a crowd of mates, usually - which I did my best to ignore. One day in my fourth year, I was having a really bad day for various reasons, and whatsherface in the year above had been really getting on my tits lately, always managing to pop up with the same pathetic old jeers at the worst possible moment. I was on my way from the Great Hall to somewhere on the ground floor and her and her mates cornered me on the spiral staircase, trying to get a rise out of me. Something snapped in me. I've never, ever been a violent person, and didn't even really fight back to the sort of subtle catfighting which went on in our first year - pinches and foot-stamping in the press between classes, nothing more overt - but this time I'd just had enough. I turned around and smacked her across the face.
The weird thing is that it worked. She was gasping "the bitch slapped me!" and they were all yelling insults after me, and I was pumped so full of adrenaline I was shaking, but I walked away and after that, she never bothered me again.
If a teacher had witnessed that they'd probably have thought I'd been massively overreacting, and if I'd tried to explain myself they'd have said verbal taunts were no excuse for violence. But they'd have been wrong. It was the best possible thing I could have done, and looking back, I'm proud of myself for having had the guts to do it. If I'd been whacked for it I'd have been angry and upset at the injustice, but it would also have been totally worth it.
I find the idea of a punishment which doesn't outweigh the choice which led to it really appealing. It lends the recipient a degree of strength and self-determination which I find it easy to identify with. I think if I have a "bad girl" fantasy, it's definitely not one that fits into a remorse narrative. If my fantasy self is to be punished for something she's actually done, it's much more interesting for me if she considers it a fair trade-off; if she would make the same choice, and earn her punishment again, given the chance.