Letter 4
From Cynthia

Dear Susan,

Your monthly magazine is always amusing and interesting, and I must agree with your correspondents that men are just overgrown infants really. A few letters have pointed out that cigarettes and pipes etc. are really just nipple substitutes, and that the offender should be made to suck a baby's dummy, which will be much cheaper and healthier, and of course also punctures the male ego very effectively. Drinking Tetley's and other beers straight from the tin is infantile too in my opinion, and have any of your female readers noticed that the motion of the throat is exactly like a baby drinking from a bottle?

One might think that there was no rattle substitute for the grown male, but the last ten years or so have proven me wrong: it is the mobile telephone. Males tend to be irritatingly noisy - just like babies - on public transport anyway, but these things have raised the annoyance levels to new heights. I didn't think that my young husband was a typical male, but I was wrong - I suppose they are all typical really.

My husband can't go anywhere without his rattle. I really should tie a little pink ribbon in a bow around it. But the worst part is that men invariably time its use so that it will irritate as many people as possible. He won't use it in the car, or on the platform, but once we are on a crowded train together, out it comes, and he has to call his secretary.

'Hello, hello, yes its Geoffrey here. I'm calling from the train. Look, could you be a sweetie and give Peter Mandelson a call, and put off our lunch until next Tuesday? Yes that's right, Peter Mandelson. I'd like to see him, but I'm just too busy. Peter will understand, I'm sure. And ring my bank manager about that other thing. What's that sweetie, oh yes, the golf game with Tony and Alistair. Yes, Friday should be fine. Should be eight days in the week, I agree. Well, bye now, and you should see me in about an hour'.

After which the phone cover is closed with a sharp thwack. I am not making this up - sometimes he just takes it out and fiddles with the buttons, I think to give the impression that he is receiving e-mail, although his phone cannot do that.

When these things happen I just look at my feet, filled with embarrassment, and I can sense the exasperation of other passengers. And, by the way, this answers some of your male correspondents who whine about the embarrassments of petticoat discipline. What about what we have to go through with our silly husbands?

I had had enough, and so I hid his mobile phone, and replaced it with a pink plastic baby's rattle with a little ribbon around it. He must have eventually opened his briefcase on the train, or in the office, but he was very flushed and not too pleased when he got home. I told him that I was sick of the wretched telephone, and that he would have to accept being my baby for one night a week until he was weaned off it.

He thought it would just be a pleasurable game, but he doesn't read 'Petticoat Discipline Monthly'. We are well off, and I had been able to get some really pretty baby clothes and very thick grown-up size nappies for him. I had dummies and a nursing bottle, and some of Wilf's baby reins, and even a high chair. He flushed quite pink when he realised that he had to wear pretty lacy petticoats and a baby's bonnet with a flouncy brim, as well as ruffled and ribboned plastic pants and a dress, but I was insistent.

Once he was strapped into his high chair, I pulled on to his tootsies a pair of very pretty white women's bed socks, which served very nicely as booties. He was then told that he would in future carry his rattle to work in his briefcase, instead of his mobile phone. It wouldn't make any difference, because most of the calls he made were unnecessary anyway, and if he felt he really needed to talk to his secretary on the train or a bus, he could just talk into his rattle. I am quite sure that she, and all other secretaries in Britain, would prefer that arrangement with their bosses anyway.

He acts towards - or has acted towards - the woman next door and her 16 year old daughter in a very condescending fashion, and I had shared my frustration with the mobile phone fetish with her. We had agreed that it just showed yet again the self-centred babyishness of men, and that they really should all be treated like babies. So I had no misgivings about inviting them both over to see my new 'baby', who had lost his mobile phone and didn't know where to find it.

They both gave a cheer of delight, and Gillian, the daughter, was invited to give him his bottle. I produced a big bib, which I had bought at a craft fair, and it was tied around his neck with great ceremony and enthusiasm. His hands were already strapped to the arms of the chair, and so he was in a state of true baby helplessness, which is essential for baby discipline. The bottle was actually made of a flexible plastic, with little yellow ducklings on it, and Gillian thought it was a great giggle to squirt him in the face with the warm milk, until he had dribbles of milk all over his furiously blushing face and trickling down onto his bib.

This was all good fun, and Helen and I watched in amusement, but I stopped her after a while because I didn't want his new dress stained. So instead she gave him a proper feed, and when his bottle was finished popped his dummy into his mouth. We all vocally agreed that mobile telephones were really just evidence that the user was nothing but a grown up baby, and that we had decided that the mobile would be put in a drawer for a long time.

And that is where it is today. He still has to take his pink rattle to work everyday, and you can bet he doesn't open his briefcase on the train anymore - he used to do that too, because he thought it made him look important. Good heavens, you look in most men's briefcases you would only find an apple and a copy of the 'Times', which they never read anyway.

Those baby clothes are still put to good use one night a week, just to keep him in his place. And Gillian's mocking smiles are a very effective reminder of what will happen if he starts to get conceited and full of himself again. And he is a different husband altogether, much more attentive and considerate of me. So petticoat discipline has claimed another victim - and has created another happy and satisfied wife. Thank you for all the ideas in your excellent magazine,
I am yours truly,

Cynthia P.

Congratulations, Cynthia! I had never, never thought of nursery petticoating as an answer to the mobile phone nuisance, and you have given me a very happy Christmas! Now, all my male readers who have mobile phones, and I know that nearly all of you think that being dolled up in petticoats and nappies would be just scrumptious, please, if you admire and worship the female sex as much as you say, then stop using the vile things on public transport. Conversations like the one that Cynthia has inserted (a little exaggerated I am sure) impress nobody, and really annoy female passengers. So be good little babies, ok?

(Edit: Published in our Diaper Special 2001)

Return to Index
Letter 5