Peter’s mother visited Margo's Hair Salon every fortnight and as a result, knew the proprietor, Margo very well. As well as the usual soap operas, holidays, celebrity gossip and current affairs conversations, Peter himself is often the subject of their biweekly chats. Like many sixteen year old boys, he gets up to mischief once in a while, but since he got in with a certain 'crowd', his mother fears he's headed down the wrong path.
“When he was little I'd threaten him with a dress... which always did the trick.” she reminisces. “But he's too old for petticoating.”
“Petticoating?” Margo asks.
“You know... a naughty boy plus a pretty dress equals a good boy.” Peter’s mother replies.
“You put him in a dress when he was naughty?” Margo quizzes, clearly taken aback at the revelation.
“Yes, occasionally... more often than not just the threat of a dress would curb his behaviour.” she replied. “You must have heard of petticoating?”
“Well... I'm familiar with the concept, but haven't heard it called 'petticoating' before.” Margo replies, “...and I had no idea people actually did it.”
“Only when he was really naughty. He used to look quite sweet in a dress... obviously he hated it but...”
The door opened and a customer entered. Margo welcomed the lady and asked her to take a seat. Margo changed the conversation to one more 'mainstream' as finished Peter’s mother's hair. Before long she was finished. Peter’s mother paid, booked her next appointment and left.
A fortnight later, she returned to Margo's. “Good morning Heather, how are you?” Margo asked.
“Fine thank you.” Peter’s mother replied.
As Margo begins doing Heather's hair, the usual small talk begins and it doesn't take long before Margo brings up the 'petticoating' conversation again. “You mentioned you used to put your son in a dress when he was naughty, but if he hated it so much, how did you actually put him in it?”
“Well, the first time he flat refused to wear it a threw an enormous tantrum... I’ve never agreed with corporal punishment so I wasn't prepared to physically force him in to it.”
“So what did you do?”
“I waited a few days.” Heather replied. “...then one Sunday morning he woke up to find the dress was his only option.”
“And he just wore it?”
“It was either that or spend the day naked.”
“What was it like?”
“Just a plain frock I found in a charity shop. Nothing special, brown plaid with short sleeves and a belt I recall.”
“Did he have just that or did you buy him any more?”
“Oh after a while he had quite a few.” Heather replied. “On several occasions he'd be playing up in town and I’d threaten him with a 'dress day', which usually stopped him in his tracks... but occasionally he'd go too far so I marched him into the nearest charity shop and buy him his next frock right in front of him... he never knew when he'd end up wearing it but he knew it would be soon.”
Margo smiled as she visualised the scene. “Did you hold them against him in the shop?”
“Of course... I think he hated that more than actually wearing it, and I made it perfectly clear to the assistant that it was for 'him' because he'd been naughty.”
“It must have been a very humbling experience for him.” Margo said. “Did you make him wear knickers too?”
“Oh yes... but they didn't come from the charity shop.” Heather replied. “Girl's shoes and socks too.”
“Poor thing... it sounds delightful.” Margo replied. “When was the last time?”
“Oh... it'll be around the time he started high school, so five, maybe six years ago.”
“And you haven't needed to petticoat him since?”
“Well he was getting too old for it and it was only necessary on the odd occasion.” she replied. “Once every month or two I guess... plus once they've got a games console, the threat of losing that is usually enough.”
Margo grinned. “It sounds like you're an expert on passive discipline.”
“I wish.” Heather replied. “Recently he seems to be going off on a tangent.” She tells Margo about the crowd he’s in with and what she suspects he's been getting up to. Before long their privacy is disturbed by a customer entering the salon so they change the conversation. Eventually Heather's hair is done so she pays, books her next appointment and leaves.
A fortnight later, Margo eagerly awaits Heather's arrival. At the first opportunity, Margo says, “You'll never guess what I found at the family advice centre!”
“What?” Heather asks. “Oh.” she says as Margo shows her a 'Proactive Parenting' pamphlet titled 'Petticoating for Boys'. She quickly scans the twelve tips and says it's all good sound advice.
“Obviously I couldn't help but think of your Peter, and the pamphlet does say that petticoating is ideal for boys before, during and after puberty... so maybe Peter isn't too old after all.”
“Well he is sixteen... he's not a little boy any more.” Heather replies as she peruses the pamphlet. “It wouldn't be anywhere near as easy as it used to be.”
“How's he getting on anyway?” Margo asked. “I think I saw him the other day on the museum steps.”
“That's where he and his so-called friends hang out.” Heather sighed deep and long. “It's only a matter of time before the police bring him home... or worse.”
“Sounds like he needs some new friends.” Margo says.
“Yes... but try telling Peter that.”
A fortnight later, Heather is having her regular appointment at Margo's and Margo comes up with a very interesting idea. “You know, you'd only have to petticoat Peter once, and providing his so-called friends all see him in his petticoated state, it'll be job done.”
“Well it'd certainly encourage him to distance himself from them... and them from him.” Heather agrees. “But as I said, petticoating a sixteen year old isn't as easy as petticoating a ten year old.”
“Yes... I’ve been thinking about that.” Margo replies. She looks at Heather through the mirror. Heather is sat in the large leather chair with her hands on its arms. “Now, imagine your hands are tied to the arms, And your feet are tied to the pedestal, and that you're Peter... what would he be able to do in order to stop me from giving him a complete make-over?”
“Erm.... not much apart from shake his head about.” Heather replies.
“Exactly, and I'm no stranger to cutting the hair of children who just won't keep still.” Margo replies. “It dawned on me the other day that petticoating need not involve a dress, as a feminine hair cut may be just as effective.”
“So basically, you're suggesting I bring him in here and we tie him to the chair, do his hair and somehow make sure his friends see him?”
“In a nutshell, yes.” Margo replies, “Although I was thinking hair and make-up... a female head rather than just female hair.”
“Hmm... the hard bit would be getting him in here in the first place... he seems dead set on being a long haired scruff.”
Throughout the following days, Heather spends many a moment pondering Margo's idea. She's certain that should Peter’s friends she him looking feminine, Peter would be too ashamed to seek their company for a good while. All she has to do is get him in the salon.
After one of many conversations with Peter regarding what he's going to do with his life, Heather has an idea. He's left school, doesn't want to go to college, so won't end up at university... and none of the jobs available are good enough for him. He wants to be a graphic designer but isn't prepared to study for the qualifications... and this is where one of Heather's old friends could come in handy.
Jennifer works for a large printing company who's offices are in the centre of town. Heather has the idea of telling Peter that she's arranged him an interview as a junior graphic designer, but he would have to smarten himself up for the occasion.
So Heather rings Jennifer and arranges to go out for a drink and catch up. Back when Peter was young, Jennifer was fully aware of his occasional dress days when he was naughty, so the thought of petticoating him once again shouldn't be too much of a shock. In fact when the conversation moves on to Peter and the path he's headed down, It’s Jennifer who suggests putting him dresses again.
“It's funny you should say that Jen.” Heather says, “Because I’ve been thinking the exact same thing”
Jennifer listens intently to Heather's plan... and although she can't arrange an interview as such, she can arrange an appointment to view his portfolio. “We often see young designer's portfolios and on occasion, they've been so impressive a role has been created for them.”
“And the idea of him attending this appointment completely feminised isn't too repulsive?”
“Well we wouldn't refuse a transvestite or transsexual... so a petticoated boy won't be a problem.”
“So... how are you planning on getting him to wear a dress for the occasion?”
“Actually I was thinking more along the lines of a trouser suit... something fitted and feminine yet not so much so that I can't convince him it's merely a tailored suit.” Heather replies.
So the appointment is booked and Heather proudly tells her son the good news.
“Really?!” he says enthusiastically.
“Now it's just an appointment so they can see your work... if they're impressed then you might be offered a job.” she explains, “I’ll buy you a suit and some smart shoes, but you'll have to get your hair cut.”
“Well if it's just an appointment, surely I can go as I am?”
“No Peter... a friend of mine has gone to great lengths to arrange this for you... so I want you looking decent... if you can't make an effort with your appearance they're not going to take your portfolio quite so seriously.”
“OK.” he replies, clearly not keen on smartening himself up for any occasion.
When his mother presents him with his suit, he's too ignorant to realise it's a woman's suit, nor does he notice the plain white shirt is really a blouse. His appointment is at 1pm and she's booked him a hair appointment for 10am. He doesn't once question her motives until she takes him to Margo's.
“This is a ladies salon Mum.”
“Well she can do men's hair too... and I can trust Margo to do a good job.” his mother reassures as they enter. “Hi Margo.. this is my son Peter.”
“Hello Peter.” Margo says, looking him up and down. “Your mother tells me you've got an important interview today.”
“Well, it's just an appointment so they can look at my portfolio.” he replies, raising the A3 black folder he's carrying.
Margo tells him to remove his jacket and to take a seat. She changes the shop sign to 'closed' and turns the latch. She's been looking forward to today. In the back of the shop, Peter and his mother Heather stand waiting. Heather peruses the walls, covered in hundreds of photos of different hair styles, Peter looks out of place and Margo wonders if he has any idea what they've got in mind for him.
“Well, take a seat Peter.” Margo says, turning the large leather chair around for him. He sits and Margo places a pink plastic shawl around his shoulders and tucks it into his collar. “Sorry about the colour.” she says in a friendly voice, “We don't have many young men in.” she adds before turning to his mother. “Now what did you have in mind?”
“Well something smart and tidy... but I'm open to ideas.” Heather replies.
Margo opens up a styling book in which she's pre selected a few ideas. “Well, looking at what I’ve got to work with, we could do something like this, or this, or that's nice.” she says, pointing out various styles to Heather and Heather alone. “What time is his appointment?”
“Oh not until one o'clock.” Heather replies.
“Well we've got plenty of time... maybe some highlights would be nice.”
“Don't I get a say in this?” Peter asks.
“Of course.” his mother replies. “Would you like some highlights?”
“Not really... I don't even know what they are.” he replies.
“Well, with mousey hair like yours, highlights give it a bit of colour.” Margo says.
“I thought I was just going to have a trim.”
“You are... but you want to look your best this afternoon don't you?” his mother says.
“Yes but...” Peter replies. “I just don't want anything too drastic... I like it as it is.”
“Why don't we give it a wash first, then we'll decide on a style.” Margo suggests.
“OK.” Peter replies.
Margo picks up a compact digital camera and takes a couple of photos of him. “It's always nice to see a before and after.” she says before reclining his chair so his head rests comfortably over one of those hairdresser's sinks with a cut out for the neck.
Peter looks up at the ceiling as Margo gently lathers his hair. “It must be nice having somebody else wash your hair?” his mother asks.
“Hmmmm.” Peter replies, clearly at ease. What he doesn't realise is that as his hair is being shampooed and rinsed, then conditioned and rinsed, his mother is preparing the ropes.
“Right we'll just rinse off the conditioner.” Margo says, “Just keep your eyes closed because it could sting.” she adds, making sure Heather is ready. She leaves the shower head running over his hair and on the count of three... they both swiftly secure his wrists to the chair arms.
“Hey what are you doing?” he snaps as he feels the ropes tighten around his wrists. He raises his head to see his ankles being lashed to the chair's footrest. He tries to shift his arms but they're already secured. He waggles his feet as much as he can but Margo grabs his ankles so his mother can tie them securely. “What are you doing?” he shouts.
“We're going to give you a hair cut.” his mother replies matter-of-factly.
“I know but... why are you tying me up?”
“Because you probably won't like it.” his mother replies as she begins to untie his shoelaces. She smiles at her bemused son as she slips his shoes off. “You remember when you were little... I used to make you wear a dress if you were naughty?” she says as she pulls his socks off.
“Yeah.” he gulps, glancing at Margo nervously.
“Well, today is similar... but you won't be wearing a dress.” his mother says as she slips a patent leather court shoe on his foot.
“What... no... wait... I...” he stammers, struggling to free himself, glancing from Margo to his mother as the second shoe is put in place. “What are you doing to me?” he asked as his chair was returned to its upright position.
“We're petticoating you Peter.” his mother replies. “You can't stay on the straight an narrow. You insist on hanging out with that mob and I know you're getting up to no good with them.”
“OK OK... I’ll stop seeing them, just don't do this to me, please.” he begged. “Get off me!” he barked as Margo began to run a towel through his hair.
“Peter...” his mother said, pulling a roll of gaffer tape from her bag, “You can either stop shouting, or I’ll stop you shouting.”
He fell silent as his jaw dropped. His eyes opened as wide as they could. “You're going to gag me?”
“If need be.” his mother replied. “Now, Margo is going to do your hair and your make up whether you like it or not... and then I'm going to take you to your appointment, and on the way we'll walk past the museum where hopefully your so-called friends will see you.”
“But... I can't go looking like a girl!” he pleaded, “And please not past the museum.”
“Of course you can, and they're expecting to see you looking feminine.” his mother replied. “Not your friends obviously... they'll have the surprise of their life seeing you in your high heels and a trouser suit, made up like a city girl... you're only hope is they won't recognise you.” she smiled.
“And if I refuse?”
“You're not in any position to make demands Peter.” his mother replied. “Now will you stop asking questions because Margo's got a lot of work to do?” she added, twirling the roll of gaffer tape around her index finger.
“You're going to ruin my life.” he said, sounding on the verge of tears.
“You haven't got a life to ruin.” his mother replies. “You've no job, no education, virtually no prospects... all you do is hang out with that rabble, smoke cigarettes and probably other things too, you spray your 'tag' across half of town, break in to derelict buildings, cause mischief, dump shopping trolleys in the canal...”
“How does she know all this stuff?” Peter thinks as he hangs his head. Margo begins running a comb through his hair and snips away at it bit by bit. He dare not look at his reflection. Instead he stares at his lap and casts his mind back to his childhood and the occasional days he spent wearing a dress. Just like today, he didn't see those days coming either. He had no idea what was being done to his hair, and he didn't want to know... but curiosity got the better of him and he glanced in the mirror. “What are those?” he asks, seeing a myriad of flat oblongs of silver foil covering his head.
“They are your highlights.” Margo replied. “There's just a few more to go.”
He wanted so much to fight, to spit, to curse but he knew it was futile... the best he can hope for is to make a run for it as soon as they untie him. Once the last of the highlights were put in, a plastic cap was placed over his head and the chair was reclined again.
“How much shall I take off his brow?” Margo asked, wielding a pair of tweezers.
“Well... as much as you need to give him nice feminine arches.” his mother replied.
“Please don't mum.” Peter pleaded.
“Nobody's asking you Peter.” his mother replied as Margo wasted no time and took to his eyebrows with expert precision.
“Ah!” Peter said occasionally as his brows were plucked. But apart from that, he offered no further resistance.
After five or so minutes, Margo said “How does that look?”
“Perfect.” his mother smiled.
Peter’s shower cap was removed and his head hung over the sink once more. The foil was carefully removed and the highlighting solution rinsed out. Margo sat him upright again and towel dried his hair. He didn't want to look but couldn't help it. His mousey hair hung damply, with definite streaks of blonde making it look altogether more feminine. But this was nothing in comparison to his new eyebrows. Two thin arches made his eyes look brighter and wider than before. Margo began running a comb through his hair and snipped away at it some more before winding various sized rollers into it.
“Oh please not curlers.” he moaned, again sounding on the verge of tears as his transformation progressed.
“Oh yes... curls too... you're going to look beautiful once Margo's finished with you.” his mother grins.
A solitary tear runs down his cheek as one by one, his head is filled with rollers. He hangs his head, unable to remove the tear. His mother picks up a tissue and gently wipes the tear before it reaches his jaw. “One for sorrow...” she says, “...two for joy.” she adds, catching a second tear. She gently takes hold of his hand and assures him everything will be OK. “You didn't mind your dresses so much once you'd got used to them did you?” she reminisced.
Peter cast his mind back to the days when his mother made him wear a dress. He recalled the shame he used to feel when she used to hold them against him in the charity shops, making it perfectly clear to all and sundry it was for him, proudly telling the assistant that the only time he's a good boy is when he's dressed like a girl. He recalled the numerous occasions he woke up to see his latest dress hanging from his wardrobe door and knowing that no matter how much he protested, he would spend the entire day wearing it. And much to his shame, he recalled the few he liked more than the others. The feel of his mother's fingers gently holding his hand brought him out of his memories. “What are you doing?” he asked knowingly as she painted what appeared to be a clear varnish to his fingernail.
“Your nails.” she replied, before firmly pressing a ready-painted pale pink false nail in to place.
He said nothing as she applied the other four, before moving onto the other hand. He only realised that Margo had gone when she returned with a mug of tea in each hand. He looked at her and gulped. She smiled wryly at him as she placed to cups down. She picked up a large plastic cap which was placed over his rollers, before flicking an unseen switch. “It'll take fifteen minutes or so to set.” Margo said as the cap inflated with warm air... in the meantime, she and his mother had a cup of tea and a chat.
“I wonder if he's enjoying this as much as we are.” Heather teased.
“I certainly hope so... but I doubt it... he looks like a frightened dormouse.” Margo replied. “Do you think he'll be able to walk in those heels?” she asked.
“Yeah I think so... they're not too high and the heel's quite chunky.” Heather replied, “Whether he'll be able to walk gracefully in them is another matter.” she smiled. “Oh, that reminds me!” Heather grabbed her large tote bag and began to route inside.
“Here it is.” Heather said as she removed a small sewing set. “Can you recline him for me?”
Margo reclined his chair, raising his feet to a more convenient height as Heather threaded a length of cotton onto a needle. “What are you doing?” Margo asked.
“Securing these buckles.” Heather replied as she began to stitch the buckle and strap together. “Just in case he's planning on taking them off and running barefoot in the opposite direction.”
“Cunning.” Margo grinned.
Heather began stitching the other buckle and strap together. She looked up at Peter’s face and smiled at him. A look of fear, shame and shock seemed fixed in place. “Are you having fun?”
Peter shook his head but remained silent. He wondered if he'd be able to run in high heels and quickly decided that he probably couldn't. He imagined trying and failing, twisting his ankle in the process. He imagined passers by coming to his aid and their bemused looks, their smirks and giggles at the boy in high heeled shoes... the boy with girl's hair, girl's eyebrows, pink nails and smudged lipstick... clutching his ankle, unable to walk without assistance. He imagined walking as gracefully as he could, hoping nobody would discover his true gender. He imagined being recognised. 'What the fuck's Pete dressed as?' they'd sneer from the museum steps. Would he stop and try to explain? More likely he'd just keep walking... hoping they'd leave him be.
“All done.” Heather said as she cut the cotton. “I'd advise you don't try to run in these Peter.” she said as she put the sewing kit back in her bag.
“A tight pencil skirt would have been nice.” Margo said. “That'd keep him to a walking pace.”
Heather grinned and giggled. “It would, but he'd have suspected something if I’d bought him a skirt suit instead.” she said as his chair was returned to its upright position. “Saying that... I expected him to notice straight away that it wasn't a man's suit I'd bought him.”
Peter gulped. He knew something was odd about it. In retrospect he should have known. He kicked himself for being so gullible, but he should have known something like this might happen. He has after all been petticoated on numerous occasions as a child... and each and every time he'd brought it on himself. But that was all long in the past, an aspect of his childhood he kept hidden away.
“We really should pierce his ears too.” Margo suggested.
“Yeah.... I was thinking of that, but...” Heather seemed unsure. “...yeah lets do it.” she decided. “In for a penny eh?” she said to Peter who appeared to be shamefully and silently accepting his fate.
“Ow!” he yelped as the first stud went in.
“Oh sorry Peter, I forgot to numb them first.” Margo said in a sarcastic tone.
“Ow!” he yelped as the second stud went in.
Within a minute, each earlobe is home to two sterling silver studs. Margo checks her watch. “Five minutes 'til his rollers come out.”
“I can't wait.” Heather replied. She gazes at her son. His head covered in an inflated plastic cap. His eyebrows arched and feminine. His ears glisten. His eyes heavy and sad. His mouth, silent and still. “I think three times would be nicer.” Heather suggested.
Peter’s heart sink even lower as a third stud was punched through each earlobe. Finally, the plastic cap was removed from his head. He gulped as he glanced at his reflection. Aside from the head full rollers, the arched eyebrows and his glistening ear studs, his all too familiar face sat in the middle of it all. One by one, Margo removed the rollers and bit by bit, his hair fell in loose curls around his face... his all too familiar face. He hoped the inevitable make-up would render him unrecognisable.
“I think he's actually enjoying this.” Margo said as he sat perfectly still as she applied a dusting of foundation.
“I just want it to be over.” Peter moaned.
“Oh it will be before long.” his mother assured. “Maybe if I’d continued petticoating you through high school we wouldn't be here now.” she suggested.
Margo told him what to do as she applied his eye-liner, eye shadow and mascara. She further defined his eyebrows with a pencil, all the time keeping herself between him the mirror until finally, she applied a pale pink lipstick and asked if he was ready.
Peter gulped and nodded. Margo removed the pink plastic shawl from around his shoulders an moved to one side. Peter was speechless as he observed every detail. His hair is shorter, lighter, curly and framed his face perfectly. It seemed almost weightless as it bounced with every movement. His skin was like porcelain with pale pink lips, his eyes looked bright and wide, his lashes long and dark, his brows like pencil lines.
“Well... what do you think?” his mother asked.
“I may as well be wearing a dress.” he gulped. “You've turned me into a girl.”
“Who needs a dress?” his mother grinned. “Plus, the dresses I liked to put you in aren't really suitable for a job interview.”
“Mum... I understand what you're doing... teaching me a lesson, but you're seriously not going to make me go like this?”
“I've already told you Peter, they're expecting a feminised boy... and you're far more presentable now than you were when you arrived.” his mother replied. “In fact, Margo will be wanting that 'after' photo.”
Margo, who'd been sweeping up the clippings, said “There's just one last thing for him.” she put the broom to one side, opened a drawer and removed a few lengths of ribbon. Turning to Peter she asked, “Pink, white or blue?”
Peter gulped at the prospect of having a ribbon in his hair too, not that it would make him look any more feminine... he was never going to request the pink one, but feared that would go in if he doesn't decide. “Blue.” he hesitantly said.
“I was going to suggest blue.” his mother said. “It'll bring out your eyes.” she smiled.
Margo put the ribbon in his hair, tying it in a bow slightly to one side. She arranged his hair around it, perfected the bow and trimmed the ends into snake tongues before securing it with a couple of hairpins. Then she took his photograph.
“It's got to be my best before and after.” Margo said, passing Heather the camera.
“What a transformation!” heather gushed. “You'll have to send me a copy.” she asked.
Heather held the camera so Peter could see and flicked between the two pictures for him. “You must admit the after shot is a huge improvement.” she said. “It will also be your profile picture on Facebook if you're behaviour today is anything less than exemplary.” she threatened. “And yes, I know your passwords.”
“You can't know my passwords!” Peter claimed.
“Oh I do.” his mother assured as she dipped her hand in to her bag and removed her iPad.
“Because you're not very bright Peter... you use the same password for everything, even your savings account.” she said as she tapped and swiped the screen. “Look...”
She holds her iPad for him to see. She's logged into his savings account. “That can't be right... I should have over five hundred.” he says.
“You did until you needed a nice suit and shoes... which came to the grand total of one hundred and ninety four pounds including a handbag.” his mother replies, pointing out the transactions.
“Quality doesn't come cheap Peter.” his mother grins. “Margo... I think Peter’s ready to pay his bill.” she says.
“Oh yes.” Margo says as she puts down the broom and grabs a clip board. She works down a printed order form, “Cut and colour, style and set, eye brow shaping, ears plus six silver studs, make-up, nails.... I think that's everything.” she says before adding everything up. “One hundred and sixty four pounds...” she says as his jaw slowly yet surely drops. “...plus ten percent service charge equals... one hundred and eighty pounds and forty pence but we'll call it a straight one hundred and eighty.” she smiles.
Peter looks fearfully at his mother when she asks Margo's sort code and account number. She looks back at him. “Did you think I’d be paying for all this?”
“Y... yes.” he stammered.
“Well you're old enough to buy your own clothes and pay for your own hairdresser's bills.” his mother explained. “That's gone through Margo.”
“Thank you very much.” Margo replied. “It's been a pleasure.” she said looking at Peter. “Do you think we should untie him... or is it 'her' now?” she asked.
“He's most definitely a 'he'... regardless of how feminine he looks.” Heather replies. “But thank you, you've surpassed my expectations Margo.” she turns to Peter. “Now you're not going to try anything stupid when we untie you?” she asks.
He hangs his head and shakes it.
“Good, now say thank you to Margo.”
He gulps, raises his head, glances at his reflection and then looks at Margo. “Thank you.” he meekly mutters.
A few moments later and he's taking his first tentative steps in his high heeled shoes. His mother has him walk around the salon a few times to get used to them, and gives him a little coaching on walking with more grace. “Now it's going to be a little trickier outside as the pavements do undulate.” she explained. “But so far so good.” she compliments.
Peter is a bag of nerves as he puts his jacket on and picks up his large leather bound folder. Any second now he's going to be on the streets looking like a complete sissy. He still has half a mind to make a run for it and sod the appointment... which is going to be humiliating beyond belief. His mother pulls the collar of his blouse outside his fitted jacket, and to complete the look, gives him a satin clutch bag to carry.
“What's this?” he asks.
“It's your purse Peter.” his mother replied, “Now keep hold of it because it wasn't cheap, and it's got your make-up inside... oh, in fact you can put this in too.” she says, giving him the order form.
“What do I want that for?”
“As a reminder... you piss me off, you pay the price.” his mother tells him in a 'don't fuck' tone of voice.
Peter gulps as he opens his purse. Inside is a small pack of tissues, a lipstick, mascara, eye shadow, etc. He puts the order form inside and closes it.
As they leave, Margo wishes Peter the best of luck, and hopes to see him again. Peter is glad to be finally out of there, but stepping out on to the pavement is like coming out of the frying pan and into the fire.
“Head up Peter... if you want to pass as a girl you've got to act like one.” his mother advises, noticing his hanging head. “You've just spent a fortune on a make over, you should look as proud as you do pretty.”
They walk a hundred yards or so and nobody seems to be staring at him... “so far so good” he thinks. They turn onto Granary Road, then cross to go through market square. “Can we go round please mum.” he asks. “People will see me if we go this way.” he adds, knowing they'll pass the museum steps on which his friends often hang out.
“No Peter... but if you're lucky they'll just think you're a pretty young woman and won't bat an eyelid.” his mother replied.
As they neared the museum, Peter caught sight of some of his friends. All he could hope for is to pass unrecognised. His mother told him to keep his head up. “You've more chance of passing as a woman if you walk like one.” she advised again.
His heart was in his mouth as they walked nearer and nearer to those who knew him. All went well until his mother stopped him and loudly said, “Oh Peter... I’ve just remembered, there's a sale on at Dorothy Perkins...”
Peter's friends were well within earshot. He glanced over his shoulder to see if they'd heard or noticed. His eyes met one of theirs so he quickly turned away.
“...and it's so long since you've had a new dress.” his mother continued, just as loudly.
“Can we just walk.” Peter pleaded in a hushed tone.
They began walking, but it was too late. He didn't turn as he heard one shout “What you wearing Pete?”, another shout “Fucking sissy!” and the others burst into a gabble of laughs and jeers. His mother advised him to ignore them as words like 'freak', 'queer' and 'tranny' faded into the distance.
A proud smile swept her face as her work was now done. They walked another fifty yards until she stopped him again. “Now... if you don't want to go through with this appointment, I’ll understand.” she said, “But you will have to get yourself a job or a college course because I'm not going to carry you for much longer.”
Peter did consider ditching the appointment, but he's come this far whether he's liked it or not. “No I’ll go.” he moaned. “I'm already the town freak as it is.”
“Good, his mother smiled.” she pulled open a large glass door and let him walk inside the building first The large foyer was sparsely furnished with only a reception desk, seating area and the odd potted plant filling the cavernous space. One wall was a floor to ceiling window, the other clad in marble with a solitary elevator. Butterflies flocked in his tummy as they neared the wide reception desk. The receptionist looked at them both and asked if she could help. “My son Peter has an appointment with Mrs Drummond.” his mother proudly announced as Peter wanted to die.
“Oh, erm...” the blushing receptionist said as she checked her computer. “Yes, Peter Jackson at one PM?” she confirmed, looking directly at Peter. He nodded and felt his new curly hair bounce around his head. “If you'll take a seat, she'll be down shortly.”
Peter and his mother walked to the waiting area and sat. “You might want to check your lipstick Peter, there's a vanity mirror in your purse.”
“But she might be here any second.” Peter replied, not wanting to be spotted in public doing something girlie like applying lipstick.
“That's precisely why you need to re-apply.” she replied.
Peter opened his purse and removed the lipstick, followed by the small vanity mirror. He applied it as best he could and asked his mother if it was OK.
“Perfect.” she smiled. “You're a natural.”
The sound of heels on the marble floor and the words, “Hello Heather, this must be Peter?” drew his attention away from his reflection.
“Jennifer.. hello.” Peter's mother said, standing up. “Yes this is him.” she proudly stated.
Peter nervously stood and shook the outstretched hand.
“Well you've certainly grown up.” Jennifer said. “I was half expecting that little boy who used to wear the occasional dress... you look beautiful... I hope your portfolio is just as impressive.”
“Erm... thank you.” he blushed. “I hope so too.” he gulped.
“Well...” Jennifer smiled, “Take a seat and we'll see what you've got.” she suggested, glancing at his leather bound A3 portfolio.
They sat and Peter shyly went through his portfolio, explaining the ideas behind each piece of work.
“Well this is very impressive considering you haven't studied... a good wide range of styles too.” Jennifer said, much to both Peter’s and his mother's pleasure. “I'd like to show this to my manager if that's OK?”
“Erm... yes.” Peter gulped.
“That would be wonderful.” his mother gushed.
Jennifer went to the reception desk and picked up the phone. After a brief conversation she hung up and returned.
“Would you mind waiting here?” Jennifer asked.
“No, not at all.”, “Of course.” they both replied.
Jennifer zipped up his portfolio and stood up. “We'll only be about twenty minutes.” she smiled. “This way Peter.”
“Oh, er...” Peter stammered, glancing at his mother, who was beckoning him to go with her.
“Don't forget your purse Peter.” his mother said as she handed it to him.
As they walked towards the elevator, Heather said to herself, “I never should have stopped petticoating him.” She gave him an encouraging wave as the lift door opened. They stepped inside and disappeared.
Inside the elevator, Jennifer looked Peter up and down. She complemented his shoes, his purse and his hair. He gulped and said thank you. “Don't look so scared Peter... I'm sure Mrs Perrin will be just as impressed.”
“Thanks.” he replied, glancing at his reflection in the mirrored interior. “Mum didn't tell me you worked here.” he said. Jennifer and his mother have been friends for as long as he could remember. She used to regularly pop around unannounced and as such, saw him in one of his many dresses on a variety of occasions when he was younger.
“You were always too pretty for a boy.” Jennifer said just before the elevator stopped. She checked the floor as the doors slid open. Two women entered the lift, nodding and smiling at Peter and Jennifer in turn. The doors closed and the lift continued upwards.
Peter remained silent, waiting nervously for the inevitable “Is that a boy!” revelation from one or both of them.
No such comments came and eventually they reached floor 17. “This is us.” Jennifer said, before leading Peter down a long corridor and into a large busy office. Again he anticipated being discovered as heads turned and glanced as they passed the many desks. Eventually they stopped at a large frosted glass door. Jennifer knocked and entered.
“This is Peter Jackson.” Jennifer said to the middle aged lady.
“Good afternoon Peter... Mrs Drummond speaks very highly of you.” Mrs Perrin said as she shook his hand. “Let's see what you've got.” she said, glancing at the portfolio he held.
The portfolio was unzipped and his work scrutinised. Mrs Drummond asked him numerous questions about what he'd done and how he'd done it. “...and this all without a formal education in graphic design?”
“I did GCSE Art & Design.” Peter replied.
“Well seeing work of this standard from a GCSE student is...” she paused. “All I can say is I'm impressed and I'm sure we can create an opening for you.”
“That would be great.” Peter replied, wondering if he should explain his appearance or not. With that thought, he wondered what he could actually say to her... “I don't normally dress like this... my mother and a hairdresser tied me to a chair and turned me into a girl” ???
“Now... we have no problem employing trans people so long as you abide by the dress code.” Mrs Perrin told him.
“No I'm not 'trans'...my mother tricked me, tied me to a chair and turned me into a girl, or a girlie boy.” Peter thought.
“So a trouser suit such as the one you're wearing, skirt suits, a smart frock or smart skirt and blouse are all fine.” she went on. “What we don't want to see is very short skirts and skimpy tops... smart, not tart.” she added.
“Er... yes that's all fine.” Peter replied, still wishing he could explain his attire in a way that wouldn't sound too weird.
“Well I’ll just take some details.” Mrs Perrin said as she opened a window on her lap top. “Ok... full name?”
“Peter Joseph Jackson.”
“Date of birth?”
“5th June, 1997.”
“So that makes you sixteen?”
“Gender.... trans M to F.... address?”
“Erm.... 14 Brecon Drive...” Peter replied.
Once Mrs Perrin had all his details, she told him that he could start as an office junior on the first Monday of the following month, she told him the hours, rate of pay, holiday entitlement and so on. “It'll be a three month probationary period to see how you settle in, and providing all is well, we'll give you a permanent contract.”
“Thank you.” Peter said as she handed him a contract to sign. “This is going to be such a good opportunity.”
“Well judging by what I’ve seen you'll be an asset to the company... and you'll show the girls a thing or two about what 'presentable' means.” Mrs Perrin smiled as she passed him a copy of his contract. He quickly scanned it and noticing she'd put his gender as 'trans M to F', wondered if his should put her right. "Then again..." he thought "...if I told her I'm not trans, but petticoated... would it change anything for the better?"
They said their goodbyes and Jennifer escorted Peter back to the elevator. “I can't believe that just happened.” he said. “I've actually got a job as graphic designer?”
“Office junior.” Jennifer corrected. “It will involve some design but to begin with it'll be mainly setting out, proof reading, photocopying, printing and lot of tea making... we've all got to start somewhere.” she smiled.
“I guess.” Peter gulped as he stepped into the elevator. He couldn't help but see his reflection in the mirrored walls; from the pale blue ribbon in his hair right down to his black patent heels. “Would I have to dress like this everyday?”
“Well like she said, trouser suits, skirt suits, smart frocks, skirts and blouses are all fine... she can be a bit of a stickler for hair and make up though... but you shouldn't have any problems there... just so long as you keep it smart and not tart.”
Peter stared at his reflection in the mirrored elevator. He imagined wearing a skirt instead of these trousers... in fact he imagined wearing a variety of skirts; short, knee length, pleated, A-line, pencil, patterned, pinstriped and plain. He looked Jennifer up and down. She wore flast ballet pumps, opaque black tights and a smart corporate dress in grey.. and he imagined wearing that too.
Eventually the elevator reached the ground floor and his anxious waiting mother. “How did it go?” she asked.
“I start next month.” he replied. “I can hardly believe it.”
“Oh that's wonderful... truly wonderful.” his mother gushed. “Well done Peter... and thank you so much Jennifer.”
“You're welcome... I'm sure he'll fit right in.” Jennifer replied. “Are you looking forward to being one of the girls Peter?” she asked.
Peter felt himself begin to blush. “I guess.” he replied.
"Well I'm looking forward to you joining us." Jennifer smiled. "Now you go and celebrate."
"That wasn't so bad was it?" his mother told him.
"Well... no not really." Peter admitted. "But they think I'm a tranny."
"Well, you'll never admit it but you've always been happier petticoated." his mother replied."Shall we go and check out that sale at Dorothy Perkins?"
"I thought you'd made that up... so my friends would see me." Peter replied."not that they'll want to be friends now." he added.
"I said it so they'd notice you." his mother replied. "Friends like those you can do without... and you'll make new friends at your new job."
"I guess." Peter replied. "I'm going to need loads of new clothes." he gulped.
"Well you got £150 pounds left in your savings... that's plenty to get you started." his mother smiled.
Peter knew he should be livid with what he's just gone through. He's been held hostage, transformed against his will, humiliated in public and in the process, has had his savings account almost drained. He's got a new job and no friends... and any new friends he makes will think he's a transvestite, transsexual or whatever... but every cloud has a silver lining.