Am I alone in indulging in my favoured scenario, that of maternal discipline involving mackintosh punishment and regression to childhood?
My Mother instructs me regularly to "slip on my mac" whenever rain is in the air. Naturally I resist the "invitation" to do so, after all, I'm a fashion conscious 14 year old boy. However, Mother is insistent, and before long runs out of patience, as she holds up the traditional navy blue school gaberdine and nylon mackintoshes.
"No one else in class wears one,and everyone looks at me! I want to wear an anorak like everyone else when it rains"
"Nonsense. They offer no protection whatsoever when it rains. No child of mine will be allowed to wear an anorak. Come along. You've pushed my patience long enough. I'll ask you to put this on one last time" she replies ominously.
"No!I don't want to wear the macs. They make me look silly" I continue.
"Well that's it. Come here. You're behaving like a little baby."
I'm pulled towards her, my trousers and pants are quickly pulled down and I'm pulled onto her ample lap. She pulls me towards her with her left arm, pressing me against her ample bosom, as she leans over me to take a firm hold. SHe begins to thrash me with her right hand across my bare bottom, but I begin to struggle, attempting to kick out with my legs, encouraging Mother to simply tighten her hold on me. Once I'm reduced to tears, I'm brought to my feet. A hanky is held to my nose and I'm instructed to blow.
"If you behave like a baby, you'll be treated as one" I'm told as I'm ordered to lay down on the bed, my legs lifted over my head, and a cloth nappy placed beneath me. She fastens it expertly with a large nappy pin, and then threads a blue pair of plastic pants tightly over the nappy.
"That's a good boy,now let's put this little blouse on you" as she threads a baby's white blouse complete with Peter Pan collar, blue piping and frills, over my shoulders, turning me around to button it up at the back. A pair of light blue shorts is pulled up over the plastic pants, the bulge clearly evident underneath. Throughout I continue to snivel, tears never far from the surface. A pair of white ankle socks and sensible black leather shoes completes the outfit.
"Now I won't ask you again. Arms in" as the school gaberdine mac is placed over my shoulders. She turns me around to face her as she unbuttons the storm flap to fasten the top button. I notice that it buttons on the girl's side for extra length and a more suitable fit for my slender frame. As each button is fastened, it's acccompanied by a babyish commentary from Mother
"Head up.... there's a good boy.... now let's get this top button fastened...... there we are.... now the collar hooks.....and the next button..... and now the storm flap.... goooood booooyyyy! .....And now the other buttons.... and the next... one more.... there we are.... all snug as a bug..... just the belt now.... nice and tight.....there, all done. Look how it falls to your calves, and how the skirt flares from your waist, just like a little girl's. This'll keep you nice and dry and warm. But where do you think you're going? You've still got to wear your nylon mac.... oh yes you do.... that's enough of that....come here....... head up..... let's fasten the top button..... look at the rounded collar on this mac.....there we are....goooooodddd boooooyyyyy. Now let me smoooth those creases...... there we are..... that's better. Now let's have a look at the length..... yes it falls almost to your ankles... now let's fasten the other buttons..... there's one....and another....and another.... one more.....theeeeerrrrrreeee we arrrreeeeee.... all done"
Mother informs me that she needs to put on her own trenchcoat and brown nylon mackintosh, I move towards the front door, as we make our way to the shops,
"Just a moment" she instructs me. "You'll need to put on your hood"
"But only girls wear a hood" I protest, as she returns macked up, fully buttoned and belted.
"Well you ARE wearing girl's mackintoshes, so I guess it makes no difference" as she pulls the gaberdine's hood up over my head, pulling the retaining strings tightly, fastening them in a tight double knot, and fastening the strap across my throat. "Only Mummy will be able to release that knot, so you won't be able to fiddle with it"
And with one last flourish, a transparent patterned rainbonnet is fastened over the hood, despite my protests. This is also secured with a tight knot of the ends, rendering me captive inside.
As I'm taken by the hand, I catch a glimpse of a 5 year old girl in the mirror, ready to brave the elements once again in her traditional mackintoshes. It reminds me that I WILL wear a mackintosh for many years to come.