Although I don’t remember the exact date, at the age of 13 I received my only school caning one Friday In Mid-November 1969, so it is now almost exactly half a century since it occurred, yet I remember it vividly to this day, such was the profound effect it had on me.
As I have previously stated in memories I have submitted, I believe the memory is so intense because it was the one experience I had of being caned, even if I experienced Corporal Punishment at school in different, and less severe, forms on at least 12 other occasions.
You recently posed the question, of whether recipients considered their punishments fair, and my view of this particular punishment was that it was totally fair and deserved as I had been lazy and needed the then typical ‘short, sharp, shock’ to bring me back up to speed. There was something of a ritual to the way the punishment was conducted and I can break down my reaction to it into 5 segments:
1: The sentence
After a long lecture over my lack of progress, the Headmaster informed me that having continued to make little effort he was going to give me, in his words, “a proper spanking” which meant he would use a cane instead of his hand which I’d twice felt previously.
Rather than fear, I initially felt excited. Having been spanked, slippered and rulered in the past, I’d often wondered what a caning felt like, and though several boys who had been caned had told me, I would now finally learn first- hand. The Headmaster then asked if I thought I should take down my trousers for punishment. Although there had been rumours of boys being caned with trousers down, or even on the bare bottom, none of the boys in my year who had felt the cane had been punished with trousers or pants down, though I was one of several who’d been hand spanked on the bare.
Whatever, as a consequence partly of the adrenaline rush I’d felt when sentence had been passed, and partly out of fear of further annoying the Head, I agreed that I should, after which I was instructed to prepare myself.
Thus, I removed my blazer, hung it on the back of the visitor’s chair, crossed the room to face the far wall, where I lowered my trousers and touched my toes, my bottom protected only by the white Y-fronts which I loathed wearing, but which at that point I was grateful for their protection, albeit minimal.
I would also add that those boys who were caned at our school formed a small minority, of which I was about to join.
2: Feeling of vulnerability
The act of removing my blazer, crossing the room, lowering my trousers and in time-honoured fashion, bending over and touching my toes, took me only about half a minute, but the Headmaster was taking far longer to choose the cane he was going to use. Through my parted legs I could see him kneeling beside a low corner cupboard where his armoury was stored and he picked up and then replaced at least three, before choosing his weapon, a straight rattan of just over three feet long and about ¼ inch thick, which judging by the way he flexed it was very whippy.
The initial excitement I’d felt had now dissipated, and I felt very vulnerable and just wanted the punishment to commence, as I was now nervous and felt rather ashamed bent over with my trousers round my ankles and being visible through the study windows to any person passing. Finally, the Headmaster was behind me and taking up position, and to add to my discomfort instructed me to lift my shirt. I obeyed, feeling even more vulnerable.
3: The actual caning
The Headmaster, now properly positioned, placed the cane against my bottom to gauge the distance, then the next thing of which I was aware was the swish as the cane descended. Despite my ‘virgin status’, I had witnessed boys being caned at Primary School, so had heard the swish before, but it’s different when you are the target.
There seemed to be quite a gap between the swish and the actual impact, and when the first stroke landed, as so many readers will remember, the pain is not immediate, producing first of all a reaction that it is none too painful until it takes effect, and you endeavour to keep your reactions under control. My reaction was simply to let out a breath.
As the cane was drawn back for the second stroke, I gritted my teeth. There was a delay before the swish announced its descent and when it landed it was more painful than the first, with my bum now feeling like it was on fire, but I maintained my stoicism.
I’d not been informed how many strokes I would receive, but three was the standard tariff, so I hoped that the next stroke was the last. I clenched my teeth tighter and for some reason closed my eyes. That third stroke was even harder, but I managed to remain silent and tearless. After what seemed some time, I was ordered to stand and pull up my trousers.
4: Post caning lecture
Once I’d pulled up my trousers, I was ordered by the Headmaster to stand to attention while he delivered a further lecture. This was the worst bit, as my bum seemed to be hurting more by the second, and I could not concentrate on what he was saying, conscious only of how much pain I felt, and I had the desperate need to rub my behind. In the end, I did brush my right cheek with my hand, but this did not go unnoticed, and by me no longer standing to attention was deemed as disobedience, and worthy of an additional stroke.
Finally I was allowed to pull my trousers up again, replace my blazer and leave the study when I could at last rub my backside. I then ran upstairs, as if this would dilute the discomfort, of course to no avail.
5: The Aftermath
My punishment had taken place at break-time, and lasted overall about ½ hour, what with the lectures etc, so class was in full swing when I arrived. I apologised to the teacher for my lateness, explaining that I’d had to see the Headmaster. I knew from having witnessed boys who had returned to class after suffering the same predicament that everybody would know I’d been caned, miscreants seemed to wear a far-away look, and I’m sure I was no different. Sure enough, two friends, both of whom had been caned themselves in the past, were quick to whisper: “You have just had the cane, haven’t you?”
My bottom continued to burn and sting, and I realised that I was actually trembling, which I hadn’t noticed before. I also needed the loo and asked to be excused. The teacher gave permission although asked why I’d not done so at break. I explained it was because of my visit to the Headmaster, to which a classmate added: “And where he got the cane.”
I made my way to the loo, did what I had to do and then with an eye on the entrance to be alert to anybody entering, slipped down my trousers and pants, tuned my back to the mirror and noted the angry red wheals evenly placed across my bum. I then returned to class far more composed than when I’d first arrived, and proud that I’d taken my punishment without making a sound or shedding a tear.
The lesson was a double period of 1 ½ hours and by its end the sting had given way to a throbbing. At lunch, I gathered a group of classmates, led them to the toilet and proudly showed them my stripes, earning some kudos into the bargain, for getting it with trousers down and not crying. I also showed them to one or two of the team when I played football on the Sunday. The marks had faded from view by the Tuesday and I was actually sad when they were no longer visible.
I was never caned again, although I did have to make several more visits to the Headmaster when I feared that I might be caned again. On one occasion, I did receive a hand spanking, which having been caned several weeks earlier seemed quite tame, the other occasions I escaped with a lecture.
That punishment certainly cured my laziness. Colleagues tend to regard me as a workaholic and are amazed to learn that I was once caned for laziness. It also left me with a lifetime fascination with caning and spanking, and sometimes I have the urge to feel a cane across my bum again, and experience that odd mix of excitement, fear pain and then ultimately pleasure.