A 21st century tale
By Eve’s Rib
14: ECCE HOMO
“OK, Gina,” said Leo that evening. “I’ll wear it. Just this one time.”
“Good,” said Gina, brightly. She didn’t seem surprised.
“You’re sure this is what you want?”
“Darling, a woman knows what she wants. Thank you for doing this for me.” She gave him a peck on the cheek. “Now run a bath, and I’ll show you something important.”
Leo did as he was asked. When the water was ready, Gina led him into the bathroom and told him to get in. As he undressed she took a plastic bottle out of the cabinet.
“This,” she explained, unscrewing the cap, “is a wonderful thing produced by Nova Huomo. You may have seen the adverts.” As Leo settled into the steamy waters, she emptied a capful of lotion into the bath. It started to smell like flowers.
“What’s that? Perfume?” Leo grunted.
“Soak in the tub and rub yourself properly. I’ll tell you when you can get out. But for goodness’ sake do NOT put your head under, understand?”
Leo lay back in the bathtub. The warm water and the scent made him want to doze. He could survive one evening in a dress. It would be enough to assuage his guilt over the affair with Kelly, and after that he would draw the line again. Gina wouldn’t expect him to turn into a Brian; she wasn’t as hardcore as that.
All of a sudden he heard Gina’s voice telling him it was time to get out. He slowly sat up and rubbed his arms and legs. To his shock, his body hair came away in his fingers, even his pubes. A film of short, curly hair lay on the surface of the water.
“Fucking hell,” he said, frightened.
Gina bustled in and held up the bottle again. “It’s a depilatory, darling. Give yourself a good scrub and it’ll strip the hair all off easy as can be. You don’t want body hair to show.”
“What’s it matter if hair shows?” cried Leo.
“Did you ever see a hairy woman in a dress?” She put the bottle back in the cabinet. “You’re going to learn what women used to go through to look nice for men.”
She waited for him to dry off, then dusted him with a powder until he smelled like a bouquet of flowers. Leo examined his new self in the mirror, naked and soft-looking like a child. This was more than he’d bargained for. Shaking his head, he was on the brink of reneging and refusing to proceed any further when Gina was at him again, wrapping something around his torso.
“Now this is what we call a reinforced basque,” she said. “You’ll need to put this on tomorrow night with your panties and stockings. It hooks up at the back, you feel?” She tugged hard and the basque, a black satin sheaf with whalebone supports, clasped him in a vice. She tugged again.
“Oof — Gina, that’s too tight. Too tight!”
“This is normal. It gives you a terrific figure. Holds in that belly you’re developing, see?” She made the basque even tighter. “Uncomfortable, huh? Well, I hope you’re sorry about what you lot have put women through all these centuries. Your chickens have come home to roost.”
She was grinning playfully, clearly enjoying her exercise of power.
“I can hardly breathe. Can’t it be at least a little looser?”
“You’ll get used to it. There. Now, I’m going to undo it and you can try putting it on by yourself.”
It was a relief to feel the basque loosen and come away. It was like wearing a corset. But Gina stood waiting, and Leo wrapped it around himself, felt for the strings, for the hooks, held his breath and squeezed himself in. So she’d got him dressing himself, now! If only he’d pulled his finger out and got a bloody job! But she was the boss, all right. She stood there, with a smile that spoke volumes.
“Tighter. Come on, tighter! That’s not good enough.”
Leo pulled, squashed, tried to breathe. He was in. The basque held his torso firmly, giving his waist a sculpted look.
“Oh, you’re going to look wonderful. You’re my little baby.” She hugged him.
On the day of the dinner, Leo made Gina’s breakfast and saw her off to work as usual. Later he did the shopping for the dinner. On the way he saw a group of young boys and girls clustering outside the arcade. It seemed like all the boys — was it really all? — were wearing either short dresses or miniskirts with little pleats, dangling handbags and bangles and fussing around the girls like puppies anxious for approval. It was easy to see where the future lay. Although his generation was ambivalent about the genderquake, the pubescents weren’t. There was no uncertainty here: they knew exactly who wore the trousers. You couldn’t blame them — this young generation of boys was completely outclassed and had given up. But at least they would have some memory of trousers. As Clyde Rock had said, the boys now toddling in the kindergartens would not have that privilege. Theirs was a future of petticoats and ribbons, of lipstick and handmirrors. Men were doomed: he felt like a speck of sand in the path of a gigantic wave.
When he got home he went upstairs and sat on the bed, looking at the evening dress which Gina had laid out that morning, with some French knickers, stockings and the reinforced basque, as an unsubtle reminder.
He didn’t believe this was a one-off. Was this how she meant him to dress in the future? Was she really not joking? Leo thought back eight years to when they were first dating, and reflected on how absurd this situation would have seemed then.
Yet the more he thought about it, the more convinced he was that he had to do it. Gina was a dominant woman and refusing to comply was a high-risk strategy. Many wives booted their husbands out for less. She could start looking elsewhere, for a man who was more submissive, more compliant. And he was dependent on her, with no job and no money: without her, he thought, he would be a pretty sorry figure, stuck on benefits in whatever wretched bedsit the state would pay for him to live in. There really was no way out. Sure, he was afraid of Kelly and her ballcrushing fingers, but there was more to it than Kelly. He owed Gina for his infidelity; he owed her a successful dinner.
And he thought of the fluttering boys he had seen at the arcade. If they could do it, what was he so afraid of?
“Aw, for Christ’s sake, mate, are you really not man enough to cope with wearing a frock for a day? Get it over with.”
Leo showered his now hairless body. Wrapping a towel around himself, he went into the bedroom. He ran his hands over the dress, which felt cool and silky under his fingers. Leo realised he was impatient to try it on. His hands were shaking. He held it in front of himself and looked in the mirror.
Putting the dress down on the bed he pulled on the French knickers. Then he breathed in hard as he pulled the basque around his body — with black suspenders which dangled over his panties. Then he found a pair of black sheer-seamed stockings which he drew up his legs, a bit clumsily, and fixed to the suspenders. The feel of the nylon on his thighs was delicious. Leo had always liked stockings. He had just never thought how nice it might be to wear them himself.
Now he was ready for the dress. He picked it up and the taffeta felt cool and gorgeous. He stepped into it and it rustled and clung to him as he pulled it up his body. Incredible! He zipped up, then straightened out the material before looking in the mirror. The dress was a snug fit with a lowish neck and slender straps that he shrugged his shoulders into, and at the bottom it flared out in a swathe of tulle and net. He ran his fingers down the material and along the roughness of his stockings. To his surprise he could feel his penis stirring.
He paced up and down once or twice, fascinated by the tug of the material across his legs, then he sat down at Gina’s dressing table to do his make-up. Here Kelly’s training came into its own. He painted his face with foundation, rouge, eye-shadow, eye-liner, mascara and lipstick before varnishing his fingernails. Then he got an inspiration. He put on a pair of Gina’s clip-on dangly earrings and the matching necklace and bracelet. A puff of scent and he was ready.
He looked at himself in the mirror and was satisfied. He realized it had taken longer than he expected: it was a full-time business, making oneself beautiful for women. He was fascinated and frightened by the elegant figure that returned his look. The ruched and shimmering sheath was achingly beautiful. He looked — and felt — delightful. And the exotic, tactile clothes were so exciting that he now had an erection, pushing against the constraining folds of the dress. He sat on the edge of the bed and suddenly he started crying. He was terribly confused about why. He thought about how he was a man and a man shouldn’t be in a dress. He wondered if it was wrong to feel good about something that was supposed to be wrong, to feel good about being roundly humiliated. He got himself under control, lay back on the bed, drew up his dress, and masturbated, bewildered at the new world he had entered.
I suppose I’d better get on with the housework, he thought. He cleaned up the kitchen, ironed some clothes. The chores seemed easier dressed like this. There was no denying it: he loved the way the dress caressed his body as he moved, the luxurious softness of the stockings, even the clip-clop of his heels on the flooring. It encased him, announcing itself with his every movement, refusing to be ignored. About five thirty, with the food in the oven and the wine in the fridge, he imagined the ring at the door; the mocking, arrogant female gaze; the shame of being put in his place; and he had cold feet. He was longing to go upstairs and clean off the make-up and put on a pair of jeans again. But Gina would never stand for it — and she would notice that the clothes had been worn, as she always noticed everything. It was too late now.
He checked that all the housework was done. Then he checked himself in the mirror. Were his seams straight? Was the hem of the dress straight? Was his make-up OK? Stop worrying, he told himself, but he gave himself an extra puff of perfume anyway. He looked at the clock. 5:45. Time was passing slowly. Another 20 minutes before he could expect Gina. He sat on the sofa in the front room, primping his dress about his legs, running his fingers over the smooth, slinky line of his body. It aroused him and he slipped upstairs to masturbate again.
Eventually he heard her car pull into the drive. He was a bag of nerves. His stomach was tight, his hands cold and clammy. He realised that he was terrified at the thought of Gina seeing him dressed this way.
Gina parked the car. He heard the door slam and the central locking click. He heard Gina’s footsteps as she approached the front door. She was fumbling in her bag to find a key. Leo waited, almost unable to breathe, and as she came into the room he stood up and tried to grin: “Good evening, Madame.” He curtseyed — best to make a joke of it.
Gina put her hand to her mouth. She walked around him, cooing in admiration, and trailed her hand across his shoulders, his breast, his throat.
“Oh, my God, Leo, you look so gorgeous! I can’t believe it. And you feel gorgeous too.”
She ran her fingers down his body and the taffeta that encased it. It made Leo uncomfortable and he edged back, but she planted her fingers on his breast and pushed him against the wall. “You know, it turns me on.”
“So that’s what we’ve been doing wrong these last months.”
She grinned. “If we only had a bit more time... Ah, well. Later, my concubine!” She let him go. “Where’d you learn to do makeup? I thought I’d have to do it for you.”
“Uh, Brian taught me.”
“You don’t need to go so heavy on the mascara. Remember that for next time. And it's a shame your hair is short, you’re going to have it grow it a bit so we can do something pretty with it. — Now look, I’m going to have a shower. Lay out my black suit and white shirt, and get me a cup of tea,” and she disappeared into the bathroom.
Leo did as he was told. He took out Gina’s clothes and laid them on the bed. Going up and down the stairs was not easy, as the dress only let him take modest steps. As the kettle was boiling he sat down at the dinner table.
Gina appeared in the doorway. She looked fantastic in a black trouser suit, with a shirt and tie. She’d had her blonde hair cut short, just covering her ears. “You look so lovely, dear,” she said. “I want my tea. Jump to it!” And yes, there it was, as she adjusted her collar: a smirk of triumph.
Leo looked at her, glanced down at himself, and the old, familiar fear sent a ghastly tremble through his entire body. Woman and man had completely reversed roles and he no longer commanded any respect. So this was his awful fate now, for the rest of his life? He thought of Men Matter. He wondered what Clyde Rock would say if he could see Leo now: “Nice dress! Where do you keep your balls — in your handbag?” Gina’s smugness was making him feel humiliated and angry. Christ, how could he mince around like this in front of the two women from ClareCo? He could barely cope even with Gina! And as for Kelly, he would just have to handle her when the time came. He reached behind him and began to unzip the dress.
“Hey,” said Gina. “What are you doing?”
“What’s it look like? I can’t do this, Ginny. Help me out of it.”
“No way, sweetheart.”
“Help me unzip it. I can’t reach it.” He stood up and shrugged one shoulder free.
And then Gina lost patience.
“Do I have to spell it out? This evening will be a test, for both of us. I need you to be pretty and unassuming. Don’t argue with me, do as I tell you as soon as I tell you, and don’t question anything they say.”
“I don’t want to wear this dress, Ginny...”
Gina put her hands on her hips, a stern figure who would permit no insolence. “I want you in it, and that’s why you’re going to wear it. Men dressed us up in this stuff for centuries. Now let’s see how you like it.” She spoke with vicious satisfaction, as if Leo had been personally responsible for this oppression. “It’s your turn to wear the frocks — and you’ll bloody well enjoy it. Now zip up!”
“All right, all right. Just don’t bash my balls. Jesus...”
“Jesus has balls too, so I’m sure he’s keen you leave him out of this.”
This struck her as rather funny, and she smirked again as Leo grumpily zipped up his dress.