Last week I published some excerpts from Will Henry’s book, Modern Spanking, all about F/M domestic discipline. This week the focus turns to sorority paddling and girls’ club paddling. How much of this actually went on in the past and how much still happens today is the subject of much speculation. My own suspicion is that sororities may have mimicked their Greek brothers in the 40’s and 50’s and there may well have been “Hell Week” paddlings for pledges. Richard Windsor has chronicled some of this on his blog, although many of the grainy B&W photos you see there look staged with much laughing and smiling, even from those on the business end of the paddle. Still, where’s there’s smoke, there’s likely some fire.
Here are a few “true accounts” collected by Mr. Henry, no doubt embellished to provide salacious details. Notice that girdles appear to be commonly worn articles of underclothing. That dates these anecdotes quite a bit. (Even I remember girdles, and boys, lemme tell ya’, if your date wore one, your chances for any action were about as good as if she were wearing Kevlar body armor. )
At any rate, on to Mr. Henry….
Another source of teenage paddling is the initiation. In recent years, paddling had made something of a comeback as an initiation hazing practice. In the thirties and forties, paddling was an accepted initiation ordeal both in college and high school fraternities and sororities. However, paddling went into decline in the late forties for various reasons, and appears to have virtually disappeared from the collegiate scene except in isolated instances. In the past few years, paddling has begun to return to favor in high school sub-deb clubs and secret sororities as well as in the boys’ squire clubs. Although still officially disapproved, paddling has also returned to a limited extent among school sponsored organizations, some of which are coeducational.
However, modern initiation paddling has, for the most part, lacked the excesses that once helped to cause its decline. Today the paddle is used with more discretion, and often in the spirit of good natured horse play. In addition, the paddle is often not used solely for hazing purposes; it is also used to enforce the organization’s rules. As a result, it naturally has an effect on the young pledges’ behavior, as he or she definitely wants to keep the number of paddle swats to a minimum and behaves accordingly. It is therefore not surprising that parents, observing the beneficial results obtained by the paddle, have in some cases concluded that the same type of discipline should be employed in the home.
Barbara L. is a high school sophomore of sixteen. Like many of her generation, Barbara is a tall, long-legged girl who already stands 5 feet, 8 inches in her stocking feet and is still growing. A well proportioned and pretty honey blonde, she is one of the leaders in her class and is extremely popular. Barbara attends high school in an exclusive suburban area in the Midwest. In her school and in other high schools in the area, subdeb clubs for girls and squire clubs for boys are quite the “in” thing. There are a dozen subdeb clubs, for example, in the school Barbara attends. “You would have no social life if you didn’t belong to one,” according to Barbara. “It’s not that it’s intentionally snobbish. It’s just that practically all of the social activities are organized around the clubs, and if you’re not in one, you are simply out of luck. There’s enormous pressure to join, I’ve known girls who really didn’t want to, but even their parents insisted.”
In the school Barbara attends, freshmen are customarily excluded from such organizations. Girls are “pledged” during the fall of their sophomore years. There is an implicit but very strict agreement between the clubs that once a girl has pledged a club, the other clubs will not accept her for membership for any reason. This leaves a girl effectively to the club she originally chooses. At Barbara’s school, new pledges are not put through an initiation and then accepted as full members. Instead, they must go through a “pledge training” that extends from mid-September until spring vacation in April. During this period, they are virtually the slaves to the junior and senior members of the club. Pledges must follow special rules and regularly submit to hazing. In most of the clubs at Barbara’s school, spring vacation is Hell Week and formal initiation follows.
“As a freshmen I had seen the sophomore girls who were going through their pledge training, and I knew it was going to be an ordeal,” Barbara says. “However, I knew I simply had no choice and that I would have to put up with it. Although I was prepared for the worst, it turned out to be even more of an ordeal than I had imagined. I was sought after by several clubs and will never forget what an instant comedown it was to go from rushee to pledge. The club I selected held a party for us new pledges. There was twelve of us, all wearing our Sunday best. After being sworn to secrecy, we were then formally sworn in as pledges.
“The minute that happened their friendly attitude vanished, and we didn’t see an active’s smile again for months. We were promptly marched down to the basement, and lined up according to height. George, a senior boy who had been selected from one of the squire clubs, as pledge trainer for the initiation took over at that point. We were made to unfasten our stockings, pull them down, and then kneel on our bare knees in front of him on the hard cement floor. We had to remain there for nearly an hour while George let us know in no uncertain terms that we were strictly “scum,” that our bodies belonged to the club and that they could do anything they wanted to us, and so on. We were all considerably shaken, needless to say.
“Still on our knees, we had to copy the club rules which George read off. I wouldn’t have believed that there could be so many rules. They regulated every facet of our life, and some of them were ridiculously petty. We could date only ‘approved’ boys, that is, members or pledges of certain squire clubs. We had to dress exactly as they required, for example, girdles were forbidden at all times. We had to make certain evenings were available for club activities, and also had to make ourselves available to run errands and perform chores for the members.
“Next, we were handed our pledge ‘tools’—a small black notebook with numbered pages and a wooden, unvarnished paddle. We were instructed to keep the notebook, which was described as our ‘punishment books’, in our possession at all times. We were forbidden to have the paddles with us at school, but were required to have them at all club functions. As we soon learned, it was the practice for a member who spotted any rule violation to write it down in the pledge’s punishment book along with the member’s initials. At the following pledge meeting, the member who detected the offense had the privilege of correcting the guilty pledge. We were told that the paddle would not be used to haze us; that it would be used only for rule violations and therefore it would be our own fault if we got paddled.
“Although some of the girls at least pretended not to be scared of the paddle, I must admit that I was good and scared and I decided that I would follow the rules to the letter. I will never forget my first violation when I innocently assumed that the rule against wearing girdles did not apply when one attended church on Sunday. After church Louise, a junior member of the club, came up to me and asked if I weren’t wearing a girdle. When I protested that I thought the rule did not apply on Sunday, she asked for my punishment book. I suddenly realized that I had left it in another purse. As I limply tried to explain, she glared at me and told me to get it to her right away. That afternoon I took the book to her home, and stood there haplessly while she noted my offenses in the book. As she handed it back to me, she remarked sweetly that she hoped to see me at the pledge meeting.
“The pledge meeting was scheduled for the following Tuesday after school, and I spent an anxious two days. I kept running into Louise at school, and the idea that that pert Junior who wasn’t even as big as I was, was going to paddle me was almost unbearable. I was pale and my long legs felt weak under me as I went to the pledge meeting, which was held at one of the members’ home. Was my face ever red when we were lined up and Louise announced that pledge Barbara had been naughty and would have to be spanked for her own good! I soon learned that I wasn’t the only pledge in trouble, but this was small consolation.
There were eight of us to be punished. The four lucky pledges were told to line up facing one wall, told to put their noses against the wall, and not look around under any circumstances. The idea behind this, I later learned, was to give the pledge the full effect of hearing the paddlings while she could not actually admit that she had seen one. Although we didn’t know it at the time, the members were always concerned that there might be some school investigation of the paddling practices, and they were continually taking precautions designed to minimize the effect of any such investigation.
“Under the club rules, we then learned that they issued demerits for rule violations and double demerits for more serious violations. I had earned a double demerit for not having my punishment book with me and a demerit for wearing the girdle. Each demerit had to be paid off with five paddle swats. That meant that I was to get fifteen swats! For a girl who had sworn I was going to follow the rules to the letter and keep the number of swats to a minimum, it was a real comedown to find that only two other girls had as many demerits as I did. I felt utterly foolish and scared to death as I handed the paddle to Louise. I might add that I had had no previous experience and had no idea what a paddle would feel like.
“The eight of us were lined up and told to touch our toes, while keeping our legs stiff. As I bent over, my skirt was quickly yanked up in back to the waist. I was wearing only a pair of brown panty hose and felt quite embarrassed, although the other girls likewise had their skirts pulled up. Louise soon taught me what it was like to ‘get the board.’ My, did that paddle ever sting and burn. Around me I could hear the pops of the paddles on the other girls’ panties and could hear their outcries. Although it hurt my dignity something awful, I soon joined them in howling as the paddle set my plump hips afire. I couldn’t help bending my knees although I could dimly hear Louise ordering me to stay in position. How I managed to I’ll never know. My bottom was burning up and the tears were streaming down my face when it finally ended.
“That was my introduction to the paddle. In the weeks that followed, I gradually got used to the idea of bending over for a dose of the paddle on my panties. I thought it was awful at first, and wondered how I’d ever get through it. They never really overdid it, but as far as I was concerned the humiliation was worse than the pain. Of course, I did everything to keep the number of addle swats to a minimum. In addition to the paddlings for violations of the club rules, there were the usual initiation type stunts but it was the paddling I really worried about.
“During Hell Week, which took place during spring vacation, we were required to follow so many ridiculous rules that it was impossible to keep track of them. That meant paddlings every day for all of us. The Hell Week paddlings were always bare bottom style, as the Hell Week rules prohibited us from wearing undies of any kind. That hurt more, of course, but the thing I really dreaded was the utter humiliation of having to bend over to have my totally bare bottom worked on in front of the other girls. During those five days, my bottom was almost continually red and sensitive from the paddlings, and the other pledges didn’t fare any better.
“It was a great relief to get the initiation behind us. In my case, however, that did not mean he end of the paddlings. From the beginning of my pledge training, my parents had been aware that the paddle was used to keep us pledges in line. It was obvious to them how the paddle really made me behave, and now I would do almost anything to avoid a session with the paddle. My mother often remarked that she and dad should also use the paddle since it got such good results.
“During the pledge training period, my parents did nothing about it as they apparently felt that I had had enough trouble on my hands. However, as soon as the initiation was over, mother told me that she and dad were going to use the paddle on me from then on to keep me in line. I pleaded with them not to, but it was obvious that they had made their minds up. From the discussions at the club meetings, I learned that some of the other girls’ parents had gotten the same idea.
“I wasn’t entirely sure that my parents were really serious until a couple of weeks later when I violated my curfew. I found myself bent over the kitchen table with my skirt up and my girdle and panties down. Mother and dad took turns wielding the paddle on my bare bottom until I had received a burning twenty strokes. Although I wanted to keep from breaking down in an effort to show them that it wouldn’t work, I wound up sobbing and promising to behave and wiggling my fiery bottom in a most unladylike way. Since then I have been subject to paddle regulations. I’ll have to admit that it works as I’ll do practically anything to keep from getting a taste of the paddle.”
Barbara’s experiences, both in her subdeb club and at home, are quite typical. However, practices vary in different parts of the country. In Barbara’s community, the subdeb clubs are rigidly structured and a girl can only belong to one such organization. In some communities, the social organization is much more loose and a girl is free to join as many subdeb clubs as she wishes, both in her own school and in other high schools where she has contacts. In such communities, the long pledge training period is not feasible and the more usual practice is a one evening “rough initiation.” Some girls join as many as five or six clubs and go through as many initiations.
Jane A. is a vivacious high school junior, who is a cheerleader and is very active socially. Jane belongs to five subdeb clubs, two in her own high school and one each in three other schools. As a result, Jane has been through five initiations. She and her best girl friend plan to join at least one, and possibly two more such clubs although that will mean more initiations.
“The initiations are pretty tough here,” Jane says. “However, that doesn’t seem to stop anybody from joining. You know, your best girl friend will say she is going to join a club and will dare you to go along with her. Well, naturally, you can’t back out though you know you’ll get initiated. No one is allowed to skip an initiation no matter who you are. The practice here is for a subdeb club to accumulate eight to ten pledges, and then hold a rough initiation followed by a formal initiation. This way some clubs will hold two and even three initiations during a school year.
“The initiations tend to be somewhat the same, although one initiation never prepares you for the next one! I always have my heart in my throat for a couple of days when I have one coming up, and my girl friend feels the same way. Last month she and I were initiated into a club at a different school. It was my fifth initiation and her fourth, but we were both scared to death just the same. As usual, we were required to go to the initiation in a ridiculous costume. This time it was hair in curlers, skirts and blouses worn inside out and backwards, one black nylon and one beige nylon held up by plain elastic garters, and mismatched shoes. We were specifically instructed to wear no underthings.
“We were two scared young ladies when we drove over to the house where the initiation was being held. Of course, the costumes made us feel silly and embarrassed. I, for one, have never gotten used to the idea of going around without a stitch on under my blouse and skirt, although that’s standard initiation practice around here. On he way there, we couldn’t help speculating as to what they might do to us. Although initiations do tend to be fairly predictable, the worst part of it is that you really do not know exactly what they’re going to do to you.
“When we arrived, we were greeted by a group of laughing and expectant girls. Most of them were carrying paddles and looked as if they couldn’t wait to put us through our paces. There is a great deal of psychology involved in making hints and threats that will make an initiate shake in her boots, and I could see that these girls knew how to do it. Despite our previous initiation experiences, my girl friend and I were both pale and trembling after only a couple of minutes. We quickly learned that there were seven other initiates, five of whom were sophomores and the other two juniors. My girl friend and I were escorted down to the basement, where the other initiates were waiting. They were costumed as we were, and were also pale and obviously scared.
“We were lined up and put through a long series of exercises. It was the sort of thing you might expect in gym class but a lot rougher and considerably more embarrassing because of the absence of undergarments. How the members giggled as we were made to run in place, getting red faced as our breasts jounced up and down beneath our blouses! It was even worse when we had to stretch out supine and bicycle for them. While outskirts rode up revealing everything, the members snickered at our embarrassment. We were continually urged to exercise much faster, and threatened with long workouts with the paddle if we didn’t. We were all nearly exhausted when they finally allowed us to stop, and lined us up again.
“Blindfolds were then put on us. That always makes it twice as bad. I felt my heart in my throat as a couple of members took me in hand. In the background I could hear the commands of the other members and the shrieks of the other pledges, which made it twice as scary. I felt a glass at my lips and heard an order to ‘take my medicine.’ After just one small taste of the vile stuff, I gasped and begged not to have to swallow it. Someone began tapping the seat of my skirt with a paddle, and I was warned it would be a lot worse if I stalled. It was a full 16-ounce glass and I thought I would die before I finally managed to sit down. I later learned that it consisted of cod liver oil, pickle juice, alum and chewing tobacco.
“As I stood there trying to get that awful taste out of my mouth, I felt raw eggs being broken in my hair and mashed in good. From the smacks and shrill outcries I heard about me, it was apparent some of the girls were being paddled and I wondered when my turn would come. It came all too soon, as it turned out. Just as my egg shampoo was being finished, I heard someone ordering me to bend over. As I did so, it seemed as if several pairs of hands yanked my skirt up in back.
“A moment later there was a loud crack, and I felt the smarting crack of the paddle. Several girls seemed to be taking turns warming me up, and all of them seemed to be expert with the paddle. I knew it wouldn’t do any good to try to hold my feelings back, and shrieked from the first smack on. After what must have been about a dozen smacks, the paddling stopped and I was told to straighten up but to hold my skirt up in back. I did so, feeling both foolish and frightened as I kept expecting a new swat on my unprotected buttocks.
“I felt a couple of girls removing my shoes and stockings. Then came what must be the oldest trick in the book—walking in wet spaghetti ‘worms!’ Despite my experience, I must admit that as usual I fell for it completely, and stood there screaming almost hysterically while lifting first one bare foot and then the other in a ridiculous effort to minimize my contact with the ‘worms’. It seemed as if they made me stand there for at least five minutes, but it was probably a lot shorter. As I stood by afterwards catching my breath, I heard some of the other girls screaming as they also fell for this trick.
“Next, we were ordered to our hands and knees, and it soon became apparent that we were in a paddle line. As we crawled through the line, those paddles came down vertically on our already tender bottoms and the pained howls set up a terrific din. Our skirts were kept pulled well up out of the way in back, so that all the smacks fell on our completely exposed posteriors. Although you couldn’t tell while you were going through it, the line was really a large circle of girls.
“All the pledges had to make two trips around the circle, no matter what. Even half way through the first time, everyone was howling with anguish and some of the girls were just begging to be spared. Although I knew it was a waste of time to try to beg out of it, there were times when I didn’t think I could get through it. That paddling was one of the roughest I’ve ever had. Long before it was over, my buttocks felt burning hot, blistered and swollen. Each new smack was just agony, and no one seemed to let up. My blindfold was wet from tears and it seemed as if it would never end.
“Finally, it was over and we all heaved a big sigh of relief. We all had to cry for some little time afterward as we stood there rubbing our burning bottoms while the actives congratulated us on being good sports. After that cold cream was passed out and gently massaged into nine blistered bottoms. It helped somewhat but I knew from previous experience that it would be a few days before any of us could really sit comfortably.
Asked if her club activities had had any effect on her home discipline, Jane had this to say: “But definitely, both for me and my best girl friend. When our parents found out that we were getting the wood put to us in our school initiations, they decided that perhaps we weren’t too old to get it at home. As a result, our moms each have a paddle much like the paddles used in the initiations. However, the paddlings aren’t as severe as the initiation workouts. They couldn’t be as I don’t see how you could stand it that hard on a full time basis.
“When we misbehave, my girl friend and I have to bend over the back of a chair, usually in the kitchen and sometimes in the bedroom. The paddle is applied with skirts up and panties down. We usually get a dozen strokes for light offenses and two dozen swats for repeated or serious misdeeds. This is enough to get the point across, I can assure you.”
As Barbara’s and Jane’s experiences have shown, club initiations often have an impact on home discipline. As paddling returns to favor as an initiation practice, as it appears to be doing, it would appear that spanking will become an even more common practice in the home.
If you want to read more about paddling in college sororities and beyond, be sure to pick up my definitive anthology, Gwen’s Sorority Days which delves into every sorority spanking and paddling fantasy you can imagine.