I am a 50-year-old male and I became addicted to girdles, corselettes and corsets after encountering them in my home, and in homes of my aunts, as a little boy in Ireland. By age 11, I was wearing some of our live-in housemaid’s rigid and boned long-leg panty-girdles and found it most pleasurable. Our maid, Mary, wasn't too pleased and occasionally reprimanded me - but still did not tell Mummy. Due to my addictive persistence, she astonishingly chose to accept it as long as I limited my girdle dressing to only one or two garments from her corsetry wardrobe. This I realised after she kind of teasingly warned me not to soil her ‘Roll-ons’. This is the word she used to describe her girdles. On another occasion when she was displeased with me, she shouted "And take off my roll-on” in front of a male worker. I was brash and brazen enough to tough it out and made no reply.
Remember this was all about 1967/68 and at this time in Ireland it was practically mandatory for teenage girls to be well girdled. One day when I was this age (11), Mary’s friend, also called Mary, and who occasionally also worked for us in our business, said to me that I needed to be wearing a Girdle. (I was a bit chubby). I wanted to continue on this line of conversation and see if I could get her to buy me one - with my money - but someone else came into the conversation. I found at the time this statement to be extremely erotic and I still recall it in that manner to this very day. I replay it over and over in my mind at least once every day. I think her statement was born out of the fact that one night I saw this girl (who was about 14 at the time) come out of our bathroom and pass me by in the corridor in a gorgeous diamond laced LLpanty-girdle, pantyhose and bra. She just smiled at me and I was all agog and trembling. I still have very fond memories of this vivid girdle incident. Soon after this she said again that I needed to be wearing a girdle because I was too fat. I couldn't believe my ears and asked her what do you mean, and she reiterated in all seriousness that I needed to wear a girdle. Then we were interrupted. I have always wondered if this was really because I saw this Mary in her fine expensive gloriously decorated panty-girdle.
I remember another special girdle episode from this time. One of our waitresses took a very bad tumble in the kitchen and her skirt and work smock rolled up her body. I had a full-on view of her lovely long-leg panty-girdle as far up as her tummy. This girl would have been about 18 and she wasn't badly hurt.
I also presume that her friend, our in-house maid, told her that I frequently borrowed from her corsetry drawer. (This in-house maid, who was 16/17, had an amazing and vast collection of heavy style, mostly back boned panty-girdles and they were a much better better fit than my Mummy’s ones. Mummy had girdles, but as a large lady she mostly went for very firm corselettes. Besides they were way too big for me.
My Granny and two maternal aunts were definitely traditional corset wearers and I could easily gauge this from getting those lovely hugs. I do not know if they were encased in Spirellas or Spencers or just off-the-shelf type corsets like Symingtons, Twilfit or Liberty. Another aunt on my Dad's side was definitely a Spencer wearer as I heard her daughter ask her a couple of times “Mummy, are you wearing your Spencer?” When I was even younger I remember this aunt declaring (in my company) to other ladies and in front of my Daddy that the corsets of the 1930s were definitely the worst. They were like wearing armour-plating (or something very like that). This aunt did not give out hugs as she generally did not like children and she was very haughty, poised, polished, snobbish, domineering and cold. She wasn't a very big woman, but she had a very bad back and this and her rigid Spencers, always gave her the appearance of been extremely stiff, slow-moving and totally ramrod-straight.
By this stage I was extremely interested in corsetry and was wearing girdles when I could, however, I soon craved the greater restriction and complexity of traditional laced corsets.
I remember passing the corset display windows in the local high street and trying to get a glimpse of those wonderful control garments, without attracting undue notice. I remember my heart beating like it would burst and hyperventilating. Simultaneously, I was all a tremble and blushing profusely. The agonizing part as a boy was that I could never enter these sanctuaries. The exception was when Mummy brought me into the big department stores, but I was always left on the boys’ and men's couches that seemed to be set at the perimeter of the corset departments. There were various strategies and methods of course to obscure male surveillance. However, sometimes the numerous styles of corsetry on the mannequins could be discerned from this distance, but not in great detail. It was impossible to hear the earnest and protracted conversations that occurred between the clients and the exquisitely groomed sales ladies and professionally trained corsetieres (who were still fairly prevalent at that time). At this age of about 11, the most fascinating thing to watch was a Mum bringing in a young adolescent daughter or daughters. Already from personal home experience and TV/Print media I was something of an expert on brands, makes, styles and control levels. It used to drive me into a frenzy speculating what kind of girdles these young teen ladies were to be fitted into. I was so green with envy and rankling with frustration.
Then there was the mail order catalogues like Oxendales (I think) that fueled more ferment and when discarded made their way into my scrap books. Sadly, these were all discovered or captured by our live-in maid, Mary, or else Mum and I never saw them again (I was never sure). Regardless, neither of them said anything to me about my ladies’ corsetry scrapbooks, and I figured better than to ask. More excitement and unrelenting torment and stimulation arrived in the form of the daily newspapers and ladies’ magazines. In contrast, the porn pictures that occasionally passed around the boys school yard at my boarding school, held zero appeal for me.
These images and my home encounters so much fired my imagination (I so deeply envied girls and ladies that they had sole access to such intricately beautiful intimate and comforting garments.) It is such a glorious experience to feel one’s corset or boned girdle hugging and providing a protective layer and a confidence booster ( at least I think so.)
Encounters Well anyway, one occasion I well recall is when my austere, fastidious aunty came in visiting. She had a teenage daughter, Joanne, who was about nine years older than me. I would reckon this was about 1966/7. They were coming from shopping in town and aunty declared that Joanne had purchased new foundation garments. It so happened that Mummy had a visitor with her in the sitting room. This lady, a Mrs. Bennet, was another type of prim and proper local school mistress and would have been aged about 40 at the time. Well, by some means it was established that Joanne was wearing one of her new girdles. I don’t know if they were Spencers, they might well have been, as this was my Aunts preferred choice. Well lo and behold and completely oblivious to my presence, Mrs. Bennet summoned Joanne to check out her new foundation garment. I was and still am incredulous about what happened next. With Joanne standing abreast of her, Mrs. Bennet reached under her pleated knee-length skirt and felt the legs bands and back panels of the girdle and then announced her supreme approval and satisfaction with the chosen garment. I was absolutely agog. Joanne’s expression was one of pride and timid embarrassment. I was fascinated and intrigued that a young teenage girl could be the recipient of such a personalized inspection. While I’m on the subject there were other close encounter girdle moments that I found most erotic and tantalizing. One day, about 1969, I emerged from the bathroom, and Mummy was helping Mary to load clothes into the dryer. This was the time that tights were really taking over and I heard Mummy ask our maid if she wore her tights over or under her panty-girdle. As you might expect she replied that she wore them under. On another occasion, when our-live in maid Mary was getting ready to go out on a date, I heard the other Mary ask her if she was wearing her new panty-girdle. The answer was affirmative. This is the same Mary who in all seriousness suggested that I needed to be in a girdle.
Then a day (circa 1967) arrived when I am consumed with an overwhelming desire to check out what Mary, our resident domestic maidservant, wore as undies. I very guiltily crept surreptitiously upstairs to Mary’s bedroom. I rounded the corridors and entered her bedroom and my heart felt like it was about to implode. It was all boom-bang –a – bang – boom. I was full of trepidation and simultaneously tried to keep an ear out for footsteps on the corridor. I was also probably blushing to the roots. Our home was an old period style house and expansive with adjoining restaurants and other businesses in a small busy scenic tourist area. Correspondingly, the furniture and dressers were antique and massive. I commenced pulling out the wide and deep chest of drawers on the dresser – starting from the top. On the very bottom drawer I struck gold. I was bent over pulling out the bottom drawer and I fell over when its contents were revealed. Eureka!!!! I was much more than I could hopefully imagined. Mary, a big boned religiously-minded country girl, had a veritable arsenal of formidable very high quality expensive girdles. Mary was obviously a committed girdle lover.
There must have been in excess of 20 girdles in her drawer. They were size 30 waists – a size that fitted me perfectly. I would have thought then and even more so now, that Mary was wearing a size too small as she was more to my mind a 32-inch waist and she had very pronounced hips. The girdles felt very weighty to my probing hands. They were made up as follows: most were very high-waisted versions with long legs. Many had the smooth and sleek satin backs. Almost all of these had two to four bones in the back – two long and two short ones and most often smaller bones in front and maybe on the sides. More than half of her high-waisted long-leg panty-girdles’s were of the side hook and zip variety. These seemed to have been her older girdles due to signs of use and wear on them. For some reason, she must have changed or gained a preference for high-waisted long-leg panty-girdle’s without zips, as many of this variety smelled of newness and showed less signs of wear. All of them came with garter tabs, but the suspenders had been removed and there was no sign of suspender buttons anywhere. All her panty-girdle’s were rigid firm control styles. A couple of her girdles even had delicate leaf and floral embroidery on the lace tummy panels. Mary by this time was firmly committed to wearing tights under her panty-girdle’s. There were no light panties anywhere in sight. At this time, it should also be known – almost by mandate - that all ladies and girls in Ireland still wore skirts and dresses – never trousers.
All of Mary’s corsetry to more or less degrees – was deliciously and luxuriously decorated with lace panels on the front and legs. Only about three of her panty-girdle’s were of the boy-leg waisted types. These were the girdles that I promptly commandeered from Mary as I discovered them the most comfortable for me at that time. With the benefit of hindsight this was probable a good choice as a starter girdle for a young boy. Mary quickly realized that I had developed a penchant for her girdles but curiously didn’t seem to mind – as long as I only used a couple of her waisted ones – which suited me at the time. On occasion she used to flirt with me about wearing her girdle – other times she would pat my backside to see if I was girdled and on a couple of occasions when she was vexed with me she tried to embarrass me about my girdle habit in front of other staff members. In such few instances, I feigned complete innocence and ignorance and didn’t answer.
This allowance on Mary’s part, lends me to believe that her preference was very definitely for high-waisted long-leg panty-girdle’s. Finally, there was one open style Aertex type back boned regular girdle, that I would deem to be more a girdle-ette, because it was only about 10-inches in depth and showed little sign of wear. It was hook-sided and a type of garment that would appeal or was more favoured by retired old Grannies. It was of an ugly woven white cloth type material and seemed out-of-place as opposed to the exquisiteness and finery of Mary’s lovely panty girdles. I have always wondered how she came across that one as it was definitely not in her style or age group.
Her girdles were all carefully chosen high-end types and brands. They consisted of Ballet International, a good quality Irish bra and girdle manufacturer that has sadly gone out of business. Ballet girdles are now virtually impossible to find. I suspect this is because when Irish ladies invested in a new girdle – they then wore them until they needed to be replaced. Other makes I found in Mary’s girdle drawer included: Fantasie – Exquisite Form and Warners. There may have been others but these are ones that I have a clear recollection of. There were no Corselets. In other drawers I found a nice collection of full and half-slips and of course bras. The bras were big size 38 and very delicately laced but I had little interest in them. I would have been more intrigued – even back then – if she had any full-length longline boned bras – but there wasn’t any.
Mary routinely washed, laundered and ironed my girdles and left them in the hot press for me to pick-up. The stipulation and understanding was that I wasn’t to touch her high-waisted long-leg panty-girdles. Subsequently, Mary never bought waisted styles anymore – I presume she found them inadequate and knew that I would share them anyway. Also, she never went for zip styles anymore – just the pull-ons. I mentioned previously that the zipped high-waisted long-leg panty-girdle’s seemed to be the basis of her first girdle experiences. Of course, I did experiment with them, but always while wearing underpants, in case of boyish evidence or indeed accidents. I found the heavier and higher girdles even more exciting and stimulating and I wanted them. I think it is very significant that all Mary’s corsetry was white in colour. Not a black (God forbid for such a pious innocent country girl) or coloured one to be seen. However, Mary had me know that her heavy armour was out-of-bounds. But I had to have them, so by age 16, I was going out buying my own high-waisted long-leg panty-girdle’s – but that is another story.
In later years, I have often pondered why Mary tolerated and even bequeathed some of her girdles to me. One should think that such a pious devoutly catholic girl would have seen it as a sin. However, this didn’t seem to be the case. Possibly, she got a thrill out of it. On the other hand, it was hardly her place as a maid, to complain to my parents that her son was wearing some of her control garments. The result, no doubt, would have been instant dismissal, without a reference. After all too, this was practically her home, where she lived and ate and made a relative good living for someone from her poor background and little education.
How & Why could a Domestic Maid wear such Exquisite Expensive Corsetry?
Even from that early innocent, tender and inquisitive age, I knew well that Mary’s sophisticated corsetry represented the crème-de-la-crème of girdle ware. I had already done a lot of research on girdle advertising and maintained a scrapbook of all types, makes and styles of girdles. I even had a fair idea of the prices and these were expensive.
Many readers might ask how a domestic servant could afford such elaborate and formidable corsetry. As our resident housemaid, Mary was held in greater esteem and regard than the workers who toiled in our restaurant and other service sector businesses. Her duties commenced at 7:00 am and mostly continued until 7:00 pm. – for six days a week. This work involved meal preparation, cleaning, dusting, laundry, ironing and preparing my sister and myself for school in the mornings. Then she would serve my parents their breakfast in bed. Twice a week she would bathe me and my younger sister. In 1971, Mummy brought my sister to the big department store to get her her first control garments (Gossard panty-girdles). This was one of those days that I had to wait on the sofa – outside the corsetry control zone. It was fascinating to stay on this perch and ponder (while trying to maintain a bored looking expression) as young ladies walked in with their mothers. I quickly discovered that Mummy bought my little sister four girdles that day. I remember two of them were flame red (what a provocative colour) medium control panty-girdles with a lacy diamond panel. These two were boy-leg style – complete with accompanying suspenders in the boxes. The other two were medium control, rather plain white waisted type girdle briefs (brand unknown). I don’t know if these came in a packaged box but they did have the four garter loops. Sad to relate, my sister did not stay in panty-girdlesfor very long. I think she rebelled and cast aside the confines of her girdles about 1974. Thereafter, they fell into my possession and I brought them to boarding school with me to remind me of girls, in the overpowering all male environment. The good news is that she has recently returned to them again with great gusto.
The bathing arrangement ceased in my case when I was just short of my 13th birthday, as I felt embarrassed. In the busy summer season she combined domestic duties with working as either a cook or a waitress in our restaurant. On such occasions, she would remove her panty-girdle as it served as too much of an impediment in a very busy and hot environment. Besides, her bottom was not visible jiggling due to her work aprons. Similarly, her younger slight-framed friend, the other Mary, would remove her firm control Ballet boy-leg panty girdle (no stays)when she came into work. This Mary was only about 5ft 2inches in height and slim like a Japanese lady – but she was wearing firm controls. Her other preferred panty-girdle was Silhouette – most likely – The Little X – as they were all the rage at the time. Then they would both slide back into them when they finished in the evening, to go out for a dance or a date. I really think it says something about standards and expectations of the time that this young lady, who barely had a 24/25 inch waist, wore firm control girdles. I am also 99 percent sure she never abandoned them even though her waist is quite a lot bigger now. This is the same girl who one day quite seriously and devoid of a hint of sarcasm recommended that I needed to be wearing a girdle.When the girls were working, I would often slip upstairs and see their girdles parked side-by-side on the bed frame. I also found this as a very poignant symbol of feminine solidarity – so cute – like girls sharing secrets. In the business, Mary would gain generous extra income through service tips. Also, she derived extra income by working as our nanny/babysitter when my parents wanted a night out.
I would judge that Mary was an affirmed girdle addict. By the standards of the time and because of her figure and frame she would be judged as needing a very formidable girdle. I have no doubt that the fearsome dragon ladies who ruled the roost in the various Corsetry Departments would have anticipated a very healthy sale whenever she went out to invest in a new control garment. After all, this would boost their sales commission.
My First Girlfriend
I would say that I was very fortunate, as my first real long-term girlfriend named Joyce, a nice convent girl, from 1975/76 always wore panty-girdles. These were worn even under slacks and jeans which were becoming more acceptable and prevalent for girls. Sometimes, Joyce would wear one of her long-legs which she knew I especially adored and appreciated. I used to sneak out from the confines of my boarding school to meet with her, making the whole experience even more thrilling and adventuresome. Similarly, my best friend Patrick, dated her best friend Angela. She also wore panty-girdles as I often saw the back of it when her blouse or sweater rose up her back.
In my experience, I would estimate that in Ireland, 1976 represented a watershed. Thereafter, girdles seemed to have largely vanished from the electronic and print media. They all became much less visible in shop window displays as elegant corsetry fell prone to the rantings and ravings of the feminist fashion police. They did everything in their power to declare corsets, girdles, corselettes, bras, slips, petticoats, stockings and high heels as shackles placed upon women by men. This spelt the demise of the Age of Feminine Elegance. Sadly, the jeans and let-it-all-hang-out attitude took hold. In tandem, moral values also went out of the window.
As an aside, I remember when the stunning Joyce and I were dating, I used to love yanking out the back of her peeping panty girdle and letting it snap back into place like a catapult, and she would let out exaggerated yelp of pain. She liked me playing in this way with the back of her Ballet girdles and so did I. Joyce was another Ballet brand customer. This was hardly surprising, as one of their girdle factories were in her town.
On a related note, there is another worthwhile memoir from my boarding school days, around 1976. It centered on an alleged theft investigation and a search was mounted on a boy’s bedroom locker by the priest in charge of discipline – the Bull. The Bull was hated and feared by students, as he was the one who delivered the spankings with a weighed leather strap on the offender’s bottom. (Over the pants, though) The stolen goods were discovered by the Bull and prefects, as well as a large hoard of ladies girdles and various other assortments of female undies. The student, who was in my year, was naturally immediately expelled. Given, that he was expelledfor stealing, the mind boggles about where such a reportedly large stash of ladies bras and girdles came from. Afterwards, I was immensely relived that the search was so well targeted –after all I didn’t want the Bull to find my stash of panty girdles in my locker.
By that time I had at least six ladies girdles with me at school. These consisted of four of my sisters as she declined or refused (I don’t know which) to wear panty girdles after 1974, and they just lay in the hot press untouched. That means my younger sister only stayed girdled for about three years. So I took over them to wear, and bring with me to school. I also had the choice of about three of our housemaid’s waisted style panty girdles and she seemed to bequeath them to me. The ones Mary practically gave me were Ballet manufacture and closely resemble the vintage Berlei Gay Slant Panty Girdles that you see for sale on Ebay. At boarding school, I would slip into my panty-girdle’s after lights-out under the cover of my blankets. I didn’t dare wear a panty-girdle during the school day or classes. The girdles were a great comfort and gave me nice dreams and thoughts about girls.
There was one other great treat at boarding school and that was visiting the Matron in the Infirmary. She was a verylarge buxom, heavy-breasted, Rubenesque lady with a very kind face, who manned the Infirmary. Apart from a couple of nuns and the kitchen maids, she was the only woman in the whole school. We never had any lady teachers until my final year in secondary school (1976). Of course, she wore the standard white nurse’s uniform and stockings. It looked like she was spray-painted into her uniform and that it constantly looked like it was going to give at any moment. She reminded me of large ladies in Tom Sharpe’s novels. Matron was an attractive woman in her early to mid fifties. All the boys were in awe of her and I really think she knew this and savored the sexual power she wielded over the students. And even better to my well-honed eye she wore real traditional corsets.
One time, I got a very big wood splinter under my thumbnail. As she came close and sat on a stool beside me to work on it, I could sense her total firmness and her frame straining under the confines of her boned long line bra and laced corsets. When she moved to get a better angle I could distinctly hear her corsets creaking as they readjusted themselves. Her corset stays and bones were so visibly discernable outside her white starched uniform that I happily occupied myself counting them. This was sweet music to my ears and caused me to get very excited, but I endeavored to hide it, but I suppose highly trained nurses would notice such things. It was often possible to hear them in any situation if you got close to her as she walked. I never felt a thing and then she would always give you a hug. This was an unforgettable and timeless cherished memory. I would love to visit sick-bay and play my silent game of counting her corset bones. One time, there was a flue epidemic and I was quarantined with many others in sick bay. This was a lovely time and when she would tuck me-into bed, I often had the exciting thrill of accidentally touching her stay bones as well as hearing them. She was very tightly packed. Matron was a dream lady, so kind, gentle and acted like a surrogate Mummy to all us boarding boys. Quite apart from my corsets fetish and fascination she was just a completely loving lady. Matron was truly our Angel of Mercy in this sterile and sometimes brutally cruel all masculine bastion, full of boys with surging testosterone. As students, we were all children of traditional wealth and privilege and I felt it a very nice touch that here among us, was an icon though quickly dying facet of female wealth, prosperity, rank and privilege – namely a confident, assertive and unashamedly heavily corseted buxom Angelic woman.
There may be doubters or those born out of desired but un-experienced or un-fullfilled envy, who might challenge my account, that us young boarding school boys were comforted and attended by a lady in proper corsets and long-line boned bras and figure-hugging starched uniform. But, having been consigned to boarding school in the 1969/70 term period, then our nurse matron could/probably was born about 1915 – maybe even earlier. This is dependent upon my well-trained eye about ladies ages and detecting valuable clues from routine seemingly innocuous questions and conversation. For girls growing up in her time there were only three professions open to them. Those were: nursing, teaching and secretarial. Almost all girls in Ireland and even the UK, abandoned these professions as soon as they got married according to societal expectations. After marriage, they would have to bear children, obey their husbands as the family breadwinner and forget about a career. I am not saying it is right or wrong (but I have my preference – the 1950’s order), but that was the laid-down expectations of the time.
However, this considered analysis would place Matron well within the time period of girls going-on to wear traditional corsets and sticking with them. This would be particularly the case of girls from well-off families who paid to give their daughter a career. The whole package in terms of proper dress and decorum would have deemed these young ladies adopting corsets – especially custom made corsets, for the sake of decorum and indeed privilege.
However, I have no doubt that our Matron at that time and throughout my boarding school experience – wore real traditional corsets. It even seemed to make her more authoratative and respected. I don’t remember her name as she was always respectfully (and indeed lovingly) addressed as Matron – and nothing else. After all, she was the closest we had to having a Mum away from home and she worked her nursing duties diligently and very much as a loving Mother would.
to be continued ....