Tuesday, May 18, 2010

He Said, She Said

“Don’t do that again,” He said.
“Or what?” She replied.
“Do it again and you’ll find out,” He said.
“Tell me,” She said, a devious smile spreading across her face.
With a smile of his own, he stared down at her and said, “I’m going to spank you.”
“You wouldn’t dare,” She said, backing away from him until the wall stopped her.
He reached out, grabbing her wrist, pulling her to him and said, “I warned you.”

Most of us associate certain words, key phrases, with the act of spanking. It’s a natural connection for some who, like me, were raised in homes where spanking was part of the disciplinary process. My parents used a slew of verbal warnings ranging from the subtle to the blatantly obvious. To this day hearing one of those phrases, even innocently spoken, sends a shiver down my spine and a cold sweat to my palms.

“Do you want to go out to the car?”

Even if I did, the answer was always, no. We would be out shopping or relaxing or visiting friends and I had a habit of fidgeting. Sitting still and quietly listening while the adults talked about adult things was never my strong suit. I always had an opinion and I was loathe to keep it to myself. So, inevitably, I would open my mouth or try to leave the immediate vicinity and there would come that phrase from my Mom or my Dad.

I’m not really sure when I figured out that going out to the car meant a spanking and then coming back inside and apologizing, but I’m sure it only took a couple of those trips with Mom or Dad firmly clutching my arm and dragging me unwillingly to that fate. To this day, that simple phrase evokes images of spankings for me and I’m sure to most people the connection is tenuous at best and non-existent for many.

The point is not that I had bad parents or mean parents (if they were alive, they would no doubt argue I was more devil than angel as a child), but that the connections between phrases and spanking is often very personal. While there do seem to be some very common universal phrases, often the most powerful ones are those in which we have a more personal connection. I know when I read stories, I get a particular thrill in coming across those phrases I heard as a child, probably because I know they no longer hold any danger, but that’s beside the point.

When I write a story, dialog plays a prominent role in building the tension just before the spanking. I like to find those key phrases, both universal and obscure, and insert them into the mouths of my characters. Sometimes it adds a sense of comedy or lightheartedness to the scene, other times it strengthens the development of dominance and submissions inherit in the scenes, but it always help the scene come alive for me. I hear those words in my ears as they are written on the page and it sucks me inside the story. The characters feel familiar, like old acquaintances or new friends, but with something in common with me with which I can connect.

A few more examples from my childhood;
  1. “We’re going to have a long talk when we get home.”
  2. “Either straighten up or bend over.”
  3. “You better enjoy sitting down while you can.”
  4. “You won’t sit for a week.”
  5. “I’m going to blister your butt.”
  6. “Do I need to remind you why every room has a corner?”
  7. “If you’ve forgotten how to behave, I can remind you.”
  8. “Sitting is a privilege not a right.”
  9. “There is only one butt in this conversation.”
  10. “Nobody minds a bare bottom except the one who doesn’t mind in the first place.”
Are there any phrases or words you like to find in a story?


Paul said...

Ash, it's always great to find something of yours, at my age I like routines.
Some writers say they like them, others don't.
I can see where you got your imagination from, some of those phrases are a real turn on.
I spent my childhood in a home,
visits to the study were dreaded, as was, "hold your hand out."
The house mother was a large woman, as often as not you were grabbed, dragged over her knee, and walloped with hand or wooden spoon.
I wasn't a big kid, sometime when she lost her temper and just lashed out, you would go flying.
Not a happy time, but a long time ago.
Warm hugs,

Ashley J said...

Paul, I know I've been unpredictable this week. Schedules are more my thing, but every once in awhile I like to spice things up with something out of the blue.

As you say, when it came to discipline, my parents had imagination. I can laugh now, but growing up it never seemed all that funny.

Sounds like your house mother was a real tyrant. Almost makes me glad to have had my parents and that's saying something. I absolutely hate hand punishments, I can't even bring myself to write about them because of how emotionally enraged they make me.