Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Scott’s Story – Part 4

The ‘Continental’ Suit

My Aunt Violet never married; she was far too independent to tie herself down. A single minded woman who enjoyed travelling; she spent a lot of her holidays with friends in France; friends she'd made on earlier trips abroad. 

When Aunt Violet saw me dressed in my new school uniform she told mum how much smarter I looked and commented favourably on my bare legs which she said deserved to be seen. 

“Lovely smooth legs like yours Scott, should never been hidden under long trousers. It’s about time you were put back into shorts. I hope it bucks your ideas up too! Back in the 3rd Form… you’ve really let the side down, haven’t you Scott?” 

I hung my head in shame: “Yes, Auntie Violet…” 

“Your mother’s to be congratulated for taking you to the School Outfitters to be measured up for short trousers again… you shouldn’t ever have been allowed ‘longs’ in the first place in my opinion. Now on the Continent lots of boys… boys older than you Scott continue to wear short trousers and very smart they look too…” 

Mum prodded me and I was forced to tell Aunt Violet that it wasn’t mum who took me to the School Outfitters and bought me short trousers for school. It hadn’t been mum’s idea at all and so I had to tell my aunt what had really happened… 

“It was Emily who took me to the School Outfitters…” 

Aunt Violet looked at mum with a quizzical expression on her face. 

“Emily is helping me look after Scottie,” mum explained, “When he was held back and demoted to the 3rd Form, I thought Scott should have someone to look after him and to baby-sit for me until I got home in the evening… make sure he did his home-work and help get him ready for bed. That sort of thing… After all Scottie’s a Third Former now and some of the boys in his class are still only just thirteen and you know how boys of that age need looking after…” 

Mum’s logic was impeccable and I could see that Aunt Violet readily agreed with the argument. I’m sure mum had emphasised how young some of the boys in my class would be just to remind me of my juvenile status. 

“You mean to tell me, Scottie, that Emily took you to the School Outfitters and had you put back into short trousers?” 

I flushed fire-engine red with embarrassment: “Yes auntie… it was Emily’s idea to buy me short trousers for school.” 

Mum came to her own defence: “I had no idea Scottie would be allowed to wear short trousers to school. You see Violet, I thought that although short trousers are compulsory for boys in the First Form… and you remember the fuss Scottie made when he had to go to ‘big’ school wearing them…” 

“You don’t need to remind me Susan… such a fuss! All because of a pair of short trousers! Just because he was going up into the big boys’ school, he thought he’d be allowed to wear long trousers… the very idea!” 

“Yes, Violet dear… such a fuss… but if you’d let me explain,” Mum continued, “Emily had the idea that if Scott was to be demoted at school, wouldn’t it make sense for him to be demoted in some other way too; his school uniform for instance? So she very kindly checked the School Uniform Regulations for Scott’s school and found that whereas short trousers were compulsory wear for First Formers there was nothing in the regulations saying that long school trousers were compulsory in other years. Indeed as far as Emily can tell, long trousers are only really ‘optional’ as far as school uniform goes, so there’s nothing to stop boys from wearing short trousers for school right up to the Sixth Form!” 

“So Emily took Scott to the School Outfitters and while Scott was in the fitting room, she went through the uniform regulations with a very helpful lady assistant and she agreed. Short trousers were perfectly acceptable for Scott to wear to school…” 

This must have given Aunt Violet her idea to help with a very special addition to my new short-trousered wardrobe. Therefore before the next visit to her friends in France she obtained my measurements from the School Outfitters. On her return I was taken to Aunt Violet’s house for a ‘surprise’. 

Emily came too of course and looked thrilled when Aunt Violet produced a substantial cardboard box and placed it on the table. I’m afraid I looked on nervously as Emily was invited to open the box. I could see the words Scolaire Garcons and Tailleur printed on the side of the box. Even with my dismal grasp of French I could guess what was inside. Actually that’s not quite true. I might have been able to guess the box contained clothing for schoolboys, but there was no way I could have imagined what the clothing would be like! 

There was a rustle of tissue paper as Emily looked inside the box and her face lit up: 

“Scottie… it’s a suit!” she squealed with delight, “Your very own suit!” 

My heart thumped. I hardly dared to imagine that Aunt Violet had bought me a long-trousered suit, but that didn’t stop me from praying it was. However, my hopes were dashed as Emily rustled the tissue some more and the twinkle in her eye told me all I needed to know. 

How my heart sank! First out of the box was a short grey suit jacket. Was it my imagination or did the jacket look as if it would hardly reach my waist? The question was quickly forgotten when Emily lifted out the suit trousers. I say trousers but there was hardly anything to see! Just two holes for my long legs and one for my waist joined by the flimsiest piece of material imaginable. I could see straightaway the trousers of my continental suit were far, far shorter than even my shortest school trousers! 

Emily was thrilled to bits and wanted me to try on my new suit immediately, but Aunt Violet told her that: “Scottie, as a special treat, will be allowed to wear his new suit this evening. I’ve a couple of dear friends coming for cocktails…” 

That was all I needed to hear. Bad enough to have to wear the dreaded suit… worse, much worse to have to wait knowing I’d be made to wear it for the first time in front of my aunt’s friends. 

The wait was intolerable. We had tea, but the sandwiches and cake turned to ashes in my mouth. I could barely speak, so dry was my mouth. I was told off for fidgeting when I tried to imagine how it would feel wearing my continental suit by feeling the hem of my grey school shorts. I knew the lower curves of my bottom were uncovered when I sat down since I could feel my bare flesh pressing onto the chair seat. Then I pushed my fingers a little higher, trying to visualise what the continental shorts would be like… 

“Scott Harris!” Aunt Violet snapped, “Stop that at once! I do hope you’re not going to fidget all evening in front of my guests… If you can’t keep still I shall have you put your hands on your head and make you stand on the naughty stool where everyone can see you… Is that clear?” 

I said that I understood and that I’d be on my best behaviour. Me, fifteen years old, and being treated like… like… Well, I felt like I was meant to feel… like a naughty, very nervous schoolboy. 

Six o’clock came and Aunt Violet turned to Emily: 

“Emily dear, why don’t you take Scott upstairs and help him get changed into his new suit?” 

Emily didn’t need to be asked twice and jumped up, “Come on Scottie… bring the box with you.” 

My feet felt like they were made of lead as I went to the table where my new suit had been left in its box. I lifted it up and could have sworn the box was empty if I hadn’t seen its contents with my own eyes earlier. I held the box in front of me with my arms stretched out and carried it as if it were about to explode in front of my face. 

Mum and Aunt Violet watched as I slowly climbed the stairs and then carried on chatting to each other as if sending a fifteen year old boy off upstairs to change into the shortest of short-trousered suits was a most natural and commonplace event. I wondered what I’d look like when I came back down again. 

“Isn’t this exciting?!” Emily trilled as she opened the box. She was clearly enjoying herself immensely: “You’re very lucky to have such a generous aunt… It’s not every boy who’s given a brand new continental suit! Hurry up Scottie and take off your school uniform. I can’t wait to see you in your smart new suit!” 

I hesitated. I was in no hurry to try on the new suit, no matter how generous my relative. However I knew it was pointless to tarry as I would only prolong the agony. I would have to take off my school uniform and get dressed in my new suit at some point, so with a heavy heart I started to undress. 

I still felt very uncomfortable taking my clothes off in front of Emily, but she was so mater-of-fact about it, she might well have been a school matron. In a way her studied disinterestedness served only to embarrass me further, making me feel even more like a little short-trousered schoolboy than I already was. 

Within a few moments I was standing dressed in just schoolboy underpants, long grey school socks and my polished black school shoes. I looked and felt ridiculous as always. 

“Hurry up Scottie,” Emily said as she laid out my new clothes, “You can take off your underpants as well… there’s some continental style ones for you to wear with your new suit. You won’t be needing your socks or shoes either… get a move on.” 

I complied and in a few moments more was standing bare-nude before Emily. My hands hovered nervously at my sides. I so wanted to cover up, but Emily would have none of it, telling me not to be silly and that she wasn’t interested in seeing my ‘silly little willy’. If that was the case, then why not let me cover-up, I felt like saying, but by then I knew better than to argue. Besides, I said to myself, it’s not a little willy… Just because I didn’t have any hairs didn’t mean my penis wasn’t as developed as any other boy my age. It was so unfair of Emily to say things like that, but she certainly knew how to put a boy in his place and she knew how effective her words were and how much they stung. 

Then Emily produced the continental briefs. They certainly were brief! I was astonished. Emily handed them to me and told me to get a move on. I took them and bent over to step into them. I drew them up my long smooth legs. They were lighter than my regulation school underpants and I guessed they were soley designed to enable a boy to wear his shorts as short as possible. That must have been why the continental briefs hardly covered my bottom at all, with nothing more than a thin strip of material between the pouch and the upper curves of my bottom where the material widened just below the waistband. At the front the pouch was very snug and narrow; like at the back the material widened a little below the waistband. I’d never worn anything like them before. Not even the briefest of swim-trunks had felt like these underpants. If these were the underpants I had to wear, it didn’t auger well for the short trousers. 

The trousers proved to be worse than I thought. My bottom was completely bare for about three inches above the tops of my thighs! I couldn’t believe that boys, older boys, anywhere on the continent would be seen dead in these short trousers. 

“Emily,” I pleaded, “there must have been some mistake. I can’t wear these… they’re far too small… and… and they’re too tight…” 

Emily pooh-poohed my objections, saying that my aunt was given my measurements by the same lady who’d measured at the School Outfitters. 

“It’s the continental cut,” she informed me very knowledgeably, “boys clothes are cut differently on the continent… You’ll soon get used to it.” 

I wasn’t so sure about that. But although the short trousers were undoubtedly tight, the ‘legs’, such as they were (in other words all but non-existent), were tailored so as feel almost loose when standing upright. I found out later that this of course meant that when I sat down, the short trousers rode up alarmingly! 

The short suit jacket simply drew attention to the short trousers as it only came down as far as my waist. Worse still was that I had to wear short socks which Emily bent down to turn over so that they hardly come over my ankles. T-bar sandals and… you won’t believe this… a small black beret completed my new continental suit and I was ready to go back downstairs… 

I felt very strange indeed as I descended the stairs. I kept plucking at the ridiculously high-cut legs of my continental short trousers in a vain attempt to lower then sufficiently enough to at least cover the exposed flesh of my bottom. It was no good. The waist was too tight to allow for any downward movement of the shorts and as I stepped down the stairs, each tread brought with it more humiliation as the front of the shorts rose even higher until the front of my thighs were bared up to the level of my hips! 

I was sick with shame as I entered the living-room where mum and Aunt Violet were preparing for their guests.
Mum was thrilled and turned to my aunt: “You’ve done us proud, Violet! Scottie looks marvellous! He really does look so charming in his new suit, don’t you think? Smart, very smart indeed… Turn round Scottie so we can have a good look…. Oh Violet, how can we ever thank you?” 

I had been silent, but from the way mum looked at me, it was clear I was expected to say something. 

“Scott… what do you say to your Auntie Violet?” There was a stern edge to mum’s voice. 

I knew what I was meant to say, but hesitated. Mum did not look happy. Then Emily stepped up to me and took my hand: 

“Don’t be shy, Scottie. Now be a good boy and thank your Auntie Violet for your lovely new suit.” 

I mumbled out my thanks, but that wasn’t good enough for Emily. 

“I don’t think your auntie heard that… Now come on Scottie, say thank you properly, or Auntie Violet might tell her guests what an ungrateful boy you are and make you take your new suit off and put it back in the box. I can go and get the box right now and bring it back downstairs so it’s ready for when your aunt’s friends arrive…” 

Much as I wanted to take of the horrible continental suit, the thought of having to undress in front of everyone appalled me. 

“Thank you Auntie Violet,” I said as clearly as I could manage, “Thank you for my new suit.” 

“I’m so glad you like it Scottie,” she replied, “Step over here. There’s just one little thing…” 

I stepped forward nervously, half expecting a leg-slap for being so tardy. But my aunt simply reached up to set my beret at what she called a ‘jaunty angle’. 

“There, that’s better. Now you do look like a proper continental schoolboy. Yes, a very smart young boy!” 

I wonder if you can imagine what it felt like to be dressed in such a brief and revealing suit. I continued to pluck at the hem of the little short trousers, but more out of habit than of hope. I knew my long, smooth legs would remain horribly exposed from ankle to the very tops of my thighs. It was simply awful! 

The door-bell sounded. My heart stopped. Auntie’s visitors! 

Surely Aunt Violet could see how distressed I was? Surely she would let me escape upstairs? I wouldn’t have to stay and let her friends see me dressed as I was, would I? 

I looked pleadingly at my aunt; I looked at mum. I couldn’t bear to look at Emily, the twelve year old girl mum had asked to look after me. I felt so ashamed. My bare thighs rubbed together as in desperation my fingers plucked ever more urgently at the hem of my little short trousers. 

“That will be Rosemary and Carol… Why don’t you go and let them in Scottie?” Aunt Violet asked as if it would be an honour for me to answer the front door. 

I hesitated and looked down at my long bare legs. I couldn’t stop myself as again I plucked uselessly at the hem of my short trousers: “Please auntie… Please may I change back into my school uniform?” 

“Well, that’s a first!” my mum exclaimed, “I never thought I’d live to hear Scottie actually ask to put on his school uniform!” 

The doorbell rang again. 

“There’s no time for that now, Scottie,” Aunt Violet said, “Get a move on and answer the door.” 

I did as I was told and walked like a condemned man along the hallway towards the front door. My hands shook as I reached out to open the door. I took the opportunity the opening of the door provided to hide myself from view. It was more an attempt to shield myself from the prying eyes of someone passing by the house than to hide myself from my aunt’s guests, since I knew they would be afforded plenty of opportunity to see my humiliating new clothes. It did feel very unsettling to open the door and feel the chill outside air on my exposed legs. The thought of appearing outside, in public, in my continental suit was enough to make me feel faint. 

I peered round the door and saw two ladies of my aunt’s age as they stepped across the threshold. In order to close the door behind them I was, of course, obliged to show myself. 

“Oh my! What a smart young boy! You must be Scottie…” one the ladies said as she took off her coat. Aunt Violet stepped into the hallway to greet her guests. “My but it’s getting chilly out there… Good evening Violet. This smart young boy must be your nephew.” 

My aunt nodded: “Take their coats Scottie then you can come in and introduce yourself properly.” 

The ladies handed me their warm coats. Somehow they made me feel even more exposed than I already was. Perhaps it was the reminder of how chill the evening air could be at this time of the year and how I would soon feel its cool breath tickling my bare legs and thighs. 

I hung the coats up and made my way back to the living-room were everyone was gathered. I stood quietly to one side in the vain hope I would be left alone. Instinctively I tugged at the hem of my little short trousers, still thinking I might be able to somehow pull them down far enough to at least cover the exposed lower curves of my bottom. It was no use of course, but it didn’t stop me from trying. 

Emily saw me: “Stop fidgeting Scottie and come and show everyone the new suit your auntie bought for you.” I hesitated. “There’s no need to be shy. I’m sure your aunt’s friends would love to see your new suit.” I moved forwards. “It’s a continental suit, isn’t it Scottie?” 

I felt myself blushing furiously as Emily forced me to speak: 

“Yes…” I stammered. 

The two ladies looked me up and down; two pairs of eyes scanning me like lasers; noting every detail of my clothing. I squirmed and rubbed my bare legs together as I was examined closely. 

“Turn around Scottie and let Rosemary and Carol see your back as well,” Aunt Violet ordered. 

“Well I never! Do continental boys always wear such brief short trousers, Violet?” 

I could just about feel the ladies eyes as they saw how bare my legs were; how my thighs were completely exposed; how the curves of my bottom cheeks were plain to see. 

“I mean to say, Violet, you can see Scott’s bottom quite clearly. What do you think Carol?” 

“Yes, Rosemary… Yes, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a boy wearing such short, short trousers. Yes I can certainly see the lower curves of his little bottom quite plainly.” There was a pause, before my aunt’s friend continued, “But then I suppose a boy of Scott’s age shouldn’t be too concerned…” 

“… Yes, that’s a good point Carol dear… How old are you now Scottie? No let me guess… Let’s see, if you’re still wearing short trousers… are you wearing short trousers to school as well, dear?” 

I was forced to reply that I was indeed going to school in short trousers… 

“… then… as it’s only First and Second Year boys who wear short trousers, I’d say that Scottie was twelve or thirteen… at most.” 

Out of the corner of my eye I could see Emily had a broad smile on her face. I could tell she was bursting to tell auntie’s guests the truth. 

“He’s quiet tall for thirteen, Rosemary… Don’t you think?” 

“Even so Carol, he can’t be any older than thirteen… Boys don’t wear short trousers to school if they’re older than thirteen… surely?” 

“Perhaps you’re right Rosemary, after all you can see Scottie’s legs are very smooth… aren’t they smooth Violet?”

“… and what about Marjorie Miller’s son Eric? Look how he’s shot up in the past few months, Carol. He must be nearly as tall as Scottie… and Eric’s not even twelve yet!” 

“Mind you he wears long trousers. Apparently his school changed their uniform regulations only last year, Rosemary. Such a shame Eric’s school has such a nice uniform and the First Form boys looked so sweet in their little grey school shorts. I imagine Scottie must look just as sweet when he sets off to school in his short trousers…” 

“That’s all very well Carol, but how old do we think Scottie is? Twelve? Thirteen?” 

I couldn’t believe how embarrassing it was as the ladies discussed my bare legs and tried to guess my age. Worst still was the knowledge that in a few moments they would be told precisely how old I was! 

Emily could hardly contain herself. She knew how wildly wrong Aunt Violet’s friends were in their estimation of my age. How I wish I had been twelve or thirteen, if only to avoid the impending embarrassment when my true age was revealed! 

Finally the ladies made up their minds: “I don’t think Scottie can be any older than twelve-and-a-half. What do you think Carol?” 

Her friend agreed. 

So there I was standing bare-legged in front of the four women and a grinning Emily being taken for a twelve year old. My heart thumped. I knew the truth… 

Emily could contain herself no longer. She leaned over and whispered something to the ladies so that I couldn’t hear, but of course I could guess what was said. They both turned to look at me and gasped: 

“Never!! Surely not, Emily… He can’t be! But he’s wearing short trousers! I didn’t think boys wore short trousers at that age…” 

“Ask him then…” Emily challenged them, her eyes sparkling with excitement, “Ask Scottie to tell you how old he is.” 

The women turned to me again. I wanted to run away. I wanted to run from the room. I wanted to hide… anything to avoid my impending humiliation. 

Once more my fingers sought the ridiculously high hem of my little short trousers. I plucked at the material without thinking, trying in desperation to cover my bare thighs. I hardly knew what I was doing. 

One of the women spoke: “Emily says that you’re fifteen, Scottie… That’s a bit old to still be wearing short trousers… but Emily insists that you’re telling the truth and that you do go to school wearing short trousers… I find it hard to believe that any boy of fifteen would want to go to school wearing short trousers…” 

“Tell her how old you are Scottie,” Emily prompted.

It was almost impossible for me to look at the lady and tell her the truth. I hated the assumption that I actually wanted to go to school in short trousers. This was torment, absolute torment… 

“I’m… I am fifteen…” 

“I beg your pardon… how old?!” 

“Fifteen… I’m fifteen years old…” 

I felt as if I was about ten years old. 

“Well I never!” the lady said in astonishment. 

It was time for mum to explain how I came to be wearing short trousers: 

“Actually Scottie used to wear long trousers… It was Emily’s idea to put him back into short trousers when he was demoted a year at school. Scottie looked so smart in his grey school shorts that Emily and I decided that Scottie should be kept in short trousers full-time. Besides as you’ve noticed, Scottie’s got such lovely smooth legs, it seemed a shame to keep them covered up. And it’s much healthier for him to let the fresh air get to his legs!” 

“Well you’ve certainly made sure he gets all the fresh air he needs! I don’t think I’ve ever seen such short shorts!” 

“That’s kind of you to say so Rosemary, but it’s Violet that Scottie has to thank for these particular short trousers… haven’t you Scottie?” 

“Yes mum,” I answered, praying I wouldn’t be kept on display for much longer. 

“Yes, when Violet heard that Scottie was wearing short trousers again, she insisted on buying him a ‘continental’ short-trousered suit. It’s not many boys who are lucky enough to own a genuine short-trousered suit cut in the continental style, is it Scottie?” 

I wished mum would stop making me tell everyone how grateful I was for the horrible suit I was wearing. A suit that made me look and feel ridiculous, but I had to answer properly, or I’d never figure out a way of getting out of the thing, “No, mum…” 

Emily whispered something in mum’s ear. Mum spoke: “Yes, dear, that’s a splendid idea… Emily thinks we should keep Scottie’s new suit for ‘best’…” 

Oh no!! I knew what that meant! I’d be expected to wear it every time I was taken to visit mum’s friends; every Sunday for church; special days out, and heaven’s knew what else. I was hoping against hope that at most I would only have to wear the suit if we had visitors at home and that I wouldn’t have to go out wearing it. But it turned out I would have to wear full school uniform at home in front of visitors… any trips out would be with me dressed in this stupid, humiliating, short-trousered continental-style boy’s suit! 

Of course everyone thought this a wonderful idea and praised Emily for being so thoughtful. No one bothered to ask me how I felt. It seemed as if boys wearing short trousers didn’t have any feelings and weren’t mature enough to have any say in the matter! 

So I was ignored. Just like a little boy, I was left rubbing my bare thighs together and completely ignored by the grown-ups…


Scott’s Story – Part 3

I felt dizzy standing there in the confined space of the fitting-room of the School Outfitters. I was standing in front of Emily, my baby-sitter, and the lady who had just helped me into a pair of junior boy’s white regulation school underpants. Apart from these all I was wearing were my grey school shirt and school tie.

Even though I was wearing so little I was feeling hot and flustered. I watched in horror as Emily passed a pair of boy’s grey school trousers to the lady… a pair of boy’s short grey school trousers. And from what I could see they were a pair of extremely brief short school trousers (but little did I know then that short trousers for schoolboys came in even shorter sizes… a fact that I would find out all too soon!).

Emily teased me by saying that she’d selected a pair of the longer short school trousers: “The lady said they could order some shorter ones in your size Scottie, but I said we’d take these for now, just to see how you get on with them…”

The lady concurred: “Yes, these school trousers have a 2 ½ inch inside leg, which is our standard minimum size for junior boys. As the young lady…”

(Young lady!? I screamed to myself… Young lady! That’s Emily… I’m three years older than she is!)

“… as the young lady says, we’ll see how you get on with these first and in the meantime I’ll make sure we order some briefer pairs for you… just like the ones the young lady tells me you need for when you go back to school. You’re lucky that your school uniform regulations don’t specify a minimum leg length for boys’ short trousers. It’s not many schools that allow boys to wear such short trousers to school… particularly in the 3rd Form.” 

In spite of my protests the lady appeared to think that I actually wanted to wear short trousers to school! 

I was too traumatised to say anything. What could possibly be shorter than these very brief short school trousers? I could already see plainly that with my long legs, the 2 ½ inch leg-length would leave my upper thighs almost completely bare. Surely Emily wouldn’t expect me to wear anything shorter still… would she? 

To an observer my stunned silence must have seemed as if I was somehow complicit in the arrangements for my new school uniform and that I was cooperating willingly. Nothing could have been further from the truth. But, as in a dream, I let the lady lift each of my legs in turn and draw my first pair of short school trousers in more than two years up my long smooth legs. Up they came, up and over my bottom. The sensation I experienced as I felt as the hem of the short legs of the trousers rub against the very tops of my thighs was indescribable. I felt so exposed, so vulnerable… and so humiliated! To be put back into short school trousers after over two years wearing ‘longs’ was unbelievable. It was so unfair. Boys my age just didn’t wear shorts trousers to school! 

But if the thought of wearing short trousers to school was bad enough, the thought of being seen in public wearing them was more than I could handle. I made a complete spectacle of myself by pleading pathetically to Emily not to put me back into short trousers for school. I begged her not to make me wear short trousers so that everyone could see my long bare legs. Even though I was being put back a whole year at school, the year into which I was going, the 3rd Form, was one in which none of the other boys would be wearing short school trousers. 

At my school, short trousers were a compulsory part of the school uniform for all First Year boys. Boys were permitted to wear ‘longs’ from their 2nd Year onwards, although there were always a minority who for one reason or another continued to wear short trousers during the 2nd Year, all boys wore long trousers to school by the time they went up the 3rd Year. From this you may deduce correctly that due to the wording of the School Uniform Regulations, technically the wearing of short trousers to school remained an option for boys of all ages. 

There was nothing I could do but stand and let the lady finish dressing me in my short trousers. The truth was that I couldn’t think of what else to do other than to beg Emily not to do his to me. The lady tucked in my school shirt, drew her fingers around the waist and hooked the little metal clip together. Then, as she held the waist of my new short trousers with her left hand, she took hold of the zip and pulled it up… and my short trousers were on. The lady smoothed her hands over the brief grey trousers and I felt her fingers run around the leg openings, making sure they were ‘snug’ but not too tight. When she was happy with the fit she stepped back so that Emily could see me properly… and I could see myself in the big mirror. I turned my head away quickly. I couldn’t look in the mirror. I was so ashamed of myself for allowing this to happen. 

Emily helpfully passed a pair of long grey school socks to the lady and once more I offered no resistance as she leant down and lifted each foot in turn, drawing up the woollen socks and turning the tops over just below my knees to show my school colours on the turnovers. 

The lady even helped me on with my black school shoes before taking me by the arm and gently leading me out into the shop, towards a display case… 

“Oh, no… Please… please, don’t make me wear a cap… Only first-formers wear school caps…” 

“Nonsense,” the lady chided me, “Your school’s uniform regulations only state that it is compulsory for boys in the First Year to wear school caps. That doesn’t mean that other boys can’t wear caps if they want to…” 

“But I don’t want to wear a school cap,” I turned to Emily who stood smiling sweetly next to the lady as she opened the display case and took out a cap in my school colours, “Please Emily, tell the lady that I don’t need a school cap…” 

To hear me pleading with Emily, you would have thought that I was speaking to an adult, not a girl of twelve however mature she might have appeared. It was a sign, as if any was needed, that I was quickly becoming accustomed to my ‘place’. 

“Of course you must have a school cap, Scottie,” Emily said firmly, “Boys look much smarter wearing school caps… especially when they’ve got a smart new uniform.” 

“In fact…” the lady spoke, “… I think you’ll find that at your school, boys who wear short trousers are obliged to wear a cap, whether they’re on school premises or not… yes I’m quite sure that’s correct. Yes I remember I had to consult your school’s uniform regulations the other day after a young boy made a fuss… well he had a temper tantrum actually… right in the middle of the shop… wouldn’t put on his school cap to walk home in… he had just been fitted with some new short trousers and was wearing full school uniform… in the end his mother had to give him a few sharp smacks on the backs of his legs and said she’d spank his bare bottom right there and then if he didn’t do as he was told… that bucked his ideas up! My, the backs of his thighs were bright red, but he let me put on his school cap and held his mum’s hand when they left the shop.” 

Was this what I was in for? It wasn’t just a matter of being put into short trousers again; it looked as though I’d have to be careful not to break any school rules. 

The lady pushed a cap onto my head and twisted it to fit. Then she walked around me and tutted. Now what, I thought. 

“Somebody needs to visit a proper school barber, I think…” the lady said as she reached out and examined my hair that fell below the school cap. “We can’t have long hair letting you down, can we?” 

“But my hair’s not long,” I whined, “I haven’t got long hair… Lot’s of boys at school have got much longer hair than mine. I haven’t got long hair, have I Emily?” 

That was a stupid question to ask. What do you think Emily said? 

“Well, now that you mention it, Scottie… I mean I didn’t think your hair was that long, but since you ask, it does stick out from your school cap rather a lot. It makes you look untidy. Perhaps we ought to do as the lady suggests…” 

“It’s not just that it makes you look untidy,” the lady continued, “but school rules state that when caps are worn, no hair should be visible below the edge of the cap, aside from a permitted length fringe at the front of the boy’s head.” 

“That’s settled then,” Emily said, “We’ll get you a proper haircut to go with your new school uniform…” 

“There’s a very good, old-fashioned school barbers just a few doors down from here. I’m sure if you take Scott down there now he won’t have to wait long for his haircut. Just remember to ask for a proper schoolboy haircut… short-back-and-sides. The barber will know what needs to be done.” 

It was no use. Things just got worse and worse. Short trousers for school; a school uniform cap; long grey school socks; and now a haircut and not just any haircut, an old-fashioned schoolboy haircut; a short-back-and-sides! I knew exactly what that meant. I’d be a laughing-stock. I’d have run out of the school outfitters that second if I wasn’t dressed in my new short-trousered school uniform. The thought of leaving the shop dressed as I was, terrified me. True, I’d have to leave at some stage, but not before I’d been given back my ‘longs’… at least that’s what I hoped. So I stood there. 

As Emily and the lady talked I looked across to a full-length mirror standing close by. It almost brought tears to my eyes. What a complete wimp I looked! Even first formers wore longer short trousers than the ones I was wearing. I was so embarrassed to see my bare thighs, set off as they were between the tops of my long grey school socks with their coloured hoops and the hem of the short trousers. My new school uniform simply drew attention to my bare legs. It was heart-breaking. 

Emily and the lady both thought I looked wonderful. I felt nauseous. 

The lady said what lovely smooth legs I had and what a shame it had been to cover them up: “He’s got lovely legs. I always think it’s such a shame when boys with nice legs are put into ‘longs’… a lot of boys get their ‘longs’ far too early in any case. Why I’ve known some mothers give in to pestering and let their sons wear ‘longs’ only to regret it later and come back to tell me what a mistake it was.” 

She then went on to relate the story of the mother of two boys who gave her older son a pair of long trousers while the younger brother was still in short trousers. There was an age difference of two years between the boys and after a while it became apparent to the mother that her older son, George, was beginning to find it difficult to keep up with his schoolwork and at the same time his role of the ‘older brother’. He was a studious, responsible boy who tried to set an example to his younger brother, Alan. However Alan was much more outgoing and far less academically inclined and for the most part shunned his older brother’s advice. 

When Alan was promoted to long trousers, which were compulsory at his secondary school, the boys’ mother saw that George’s difficulties were getting worse. After six months she decided to act and the best way she felt was to put her older boy back into short trousers. 

George was then fourteen years old. At his school, there were no rules to stop his mother from putting him back into short trousers, whatever his age. Indeed at George’s school, unlike Alan’s, short trousers were compulsory during the boy’s first school year. It was during George’s second year, and his graduation to ‘longs’, that his mother came to notice her son’s difficulties. 

Not surprisingly George kicked up quite a fuss when he was told he’d be put back into short trousers. But mum knew best and in spite of George’s tears and a tantrum, his long trousers were taken out of his wardrobe and put aside for his younger brother to wear when he had grown a bit more. George was given a pair of his old school shorts to put on for his first day back at school in short trousers. Unfortunately George was going through a growth spurt at the time and the short trousers looked very short. The  hem of the shorts pressed into the very tops of his schoolboy thighs and George was close to tears when he set off for school with his younger brother Alan dressed in his school ‘longs’ by his side. 

For his fifteenth birthday, the shop assistant told Emily, George’s mum bought him a tailored short-trousered suit. It was an indication, if any were needed, that George would be wearing short trousers for some time to come… 

I couldn’t bear to listen to any more of the lady assistant’s stories about boys being put back into short trousers. I felt sorry for George and knew exactly how he must have felt. Fancy having a younger brother who was allowed to carry on wearing ‘longs’, that must have made George feel a hundred times worse. I couldn’t help wondering about the short-trousered suit his mum bought for him. I supposed it must have been for ‘best’, so he’d only have worn it on Sundays and family visits to relatives, and so on. That meant mum would have been expecting the suit to last a good long time; a few years maybe. The thought horrified me, as indeed I was sure it did George. 

In hindsight, I’m sure it was these stories about schoolboys being put back into short trousers that stiffened Emily’s resolve to keep me in short trousers for as long as she could. 

Despite hearing about George I tried to convince myself that I wouldn’t really be sent to school wearing short trousers. Why on earth I thought they were being bought for me if I was not to wear them to school, I couldn’t imagine, so desperate I was to think I wouldn’t suffer the same fate as George. Mum wouldn’t possibly allow Emily to send me to school dressed in short trousers, would she? I’d almost convinced myself that the short trousers I was wearing were some sort of deterrent to be used if I didn’t buck my ideas up when I went back to school. 

With these desperate, self-deluding ‘explanations’ for my situation uppermost in my mind, it was a few moments before received another shock, as I realised the helpful lady assistant assumed I wanted to wear my new school uniform to go home in… as if! 

Not even bothering to consult me, she simply turned to Emily and asked: “Would you like me to put them in a bag for you?” referring to my school ‘longs’ she was holding, “Or I should pass them on to someone who needs them…? There’s lots of wear left in them. I’m sure there might be a boy who’s moving up to ‘longs’ and would be grateful to have them. There’s nothing wrong with second-hand trousers… although,” she smiled, “it’s more usually short trousers that are no longer required by an older boy that are being handed down to a junior boy…” 

“But… but, they’re mine,” I protested, “… they’re my trousers…” 

Then it was finally brought home to me that I wouldn’t be needing my long trousers anymore, as Emily announced: 

“Don’t be silly Scottie… you’re wearing your new trousers for school…” 

My stomach did another back-flip. My mouth opened and closed, but no words came out as Emily told the lady to keep my long trousers and to give them to “… some younger boy who might need them…” 

So it was that I approached the door of the School Outfitters and prepared to go out into the street wearing my new school uniform. It was bad enough to be seen wearing full school uniform in public with nearly two weeks still to go before the end of the summer holidays and the start of the new school year, but to be seen wearing short trousers was mortifying. 

The minute I stepped through the door I felt a breeze on my bare thighs and knew this was going to be a constant reminder, if any was needed, that I had been demoted to wearing short trousers. 

Emily announced breezily that we would call in at the barbers “as the lady suggested” and see if there was time to have my hair cut… there was! It was awful, simply awful. I had to sit still and look at myself in the mirror, bare knees and long grey school socks on display, and watch as the barber ran the electric clippers up the back and sides of my head. I had to sit quietly and let my head be moved this way and that as the barber worked remorselessly with clippers, comb and scissors. Emily handed the barber my new school cap and it was placed on my head. As the lady at the School Outfitters had said, there was not a hair to been seen below the line of the cap at the sides and back of my head. At the front a silly looking little fringe of hair flopped down onto my forehead. I was about to move when I felt a hand on my shoulder and I was pressed back into the chair. The barber had seen a couple of stray hairs peeking out from under my cap, above my ears… that would never do! The scissors were produced and the offending hairs snipped off.

I was left looking like an eleven year old on his first day at ‘big school’. 

The barber had a final few words for Emily: “Don’t forget to bring him back for a trim every two weeks and we’ll keep him looking nice and smart for school…” She did! 

When we arrived home mum was thrilled to see me dressed in short trousers once more, telling me how she’d forgotten how smart I looked, “… and with a nice haircut too!”   Without a moment’s hesitation mum added I should wear my new school uniform to church on Sunday and said that she couldn’t wait to show my Aunt Violet just how smart I looked. 

Was I to be paraded in front of her friends at one of her coffee mornings too? Was I to be taken on visits to her friends to be presented for everyone to admire my new, brief school uniform? Who else would I be displayed in front of? I neither knew nor cared; all I wanted to do was to run upstairs and take off the horrible, horrible school uniform. 

Emily stood next to me and basked in mum’s effulgent praise. I wasn’t to be allowed to go to my bedroom just yet. I had to stand with my bare thighs on show while Emily smiled proudly and explained how helpful the lady had been at the School Outfitters. 

It was obvious that mum was very impressed with the result of my transformation back into a short-trousered schoolboy ready to join the younger boys of the 3rd Form. But even she was taken aback when Emily told her she’d ordered some even shorter short trousers for me to wear. To be truly effective, Emily explained, short trousers should be seen to be as short as possible. Mum nodded, but I didn’t really understand. I was too concerned with the short trousers I was already wearing. I felt round the backs of my legs as I stood facing mum and Emily. With my fingertips I felt the hem of the grey school shorts. As I moved my fingers upwards, I realised with horror the lower curves of my bottom were less than an inch inside my short trousers! I knew I’d have to be very, very careful if I had to bend forwards to straighten my long socks, or tie my shoe-laces. If I didn’t take care my short trousers would ride right up!