A Sobering Experience

Let’s just say that ballerinas don’t typically know how to “cut loose.” Most of my friends in high school spent most of their free time in the studio, and no one gave a second thought to going to a party. Needless to say, college was eye opening for me. I was dazzled by the way that crowds thumped to blaring rap and electronica, the way that drinks were poured generously among strangers, and the sexually charged energy and desperation of sleepless and overworked college students ready to let loose. I loved the way that alcohol made my skin prickle, and the warm, giggly feeling that filled my body when I’d had just enough.

Everyone in college drinks, age aside, so I never really worried about getting caught. Of course, I’m pretty risk averse, but I had only heard of a couple people getting the dreaded “MIP” on campus, so it wasn’t a justified fear. One night, though, I was invited to an off-campus party hosted by some guys from my university’s music department. They lived in a fairly small house, and it was absolutely packed wall-to-wall with theater, dance, and music, and art students. I’d had a rough week with dance and my other academic courses, so I was definitely ready to drink the night away. Three cups of spiked punch later, I was flirting with a hot dark-haired art student, playfully asking if I could borrow his beanie. Truth be told, I was still a virgin and was increasingly worried that I wasn’t attracted to men at all. But when I was just drunk enough, I could almost convince myself that I wanted to…

KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK

I was interrupted from my flirting when I heard the unmistakable cry of, “Police! Open up!” The eyes of one of the hosts went wide, and suddenly the previously buzzing room fell into silence. I could still feel the music pumping downstairs, but upstairs the boys were frantically turning off lights and hiding jugs of punch. As the officers knocked, a full-blown party tried to disappear on itself. The scene struck me as a little silly. I mean, there were already two officers at the door and they had now been waiting for an uncomfortably long time. The knocking was getting louder still, and I wondered when the music bros would lose their front door by having it kicked in. Not a pretty thought in January.

“Go into the bedroom!” one of the music students shouted, clearly agitated, “turn the lights off and be quiet.” Growing nervous, I followed along. They shoved the sweaty male guests and now-sniffling females into bedrooms. I curled up on the hardwood floor and hugged my knees into my chest. Beanie dude had disappeared. A girl from the theater department was sitting next to me and she looked like she was about to cry. Predictably, it only took a few minutes for one of the stern looking female officers to appear at the bedroom window. Even though it was January, the window was open because it was so damn hot in the packed house. The officer’s face was narrowed into a threatening stare, and her flashlight was pointed directly at us.

“They’re hiding in the bedroom!” she called to the other officer, “come out right now or you’re all getting MIPs” she shouted. Fck. I couldn’t get an MIP. The dance program would be furious. My parents would be furious. Hands shaking, I tried to think fast. The boys were intent on leaving the door locked. They were frantically milling about the living room mumbling about their rights and which of them should call their lawyer parent. Slowly, I arose and walked toward the front door. They had locked it and put a chair in front of it. Idiots.

“I’m going home,” I announced, and I walked out into the night before they could stop me. I left the door open and slowly approached the two angry-looking female officers. I was suddenly very skeptical about my plan, mostly because I didn’t have one. “I opened the door!” I squeaked, gesturing to the obviously opening door and then waiting for one of them to speak. The officer who had been at the window spoke first.

“What is this? Who is hosting this party?” she demanded to know. I didn’t know if I should sell the music boys down the river, so I prevaricated.

“I’m sorry, ma’am,” I said, “I don’t actually know because the thing is, I was invited by a friend of a friend.” She stared back in silence. I was telling the truth, technically ish. I knew the names of the boys who rented the house, but I didn’t know them personally, and had been invited by a mutual friend.

“Do you have an ID?” she asked. My heart dropped. I didn’t want to get punished with an MIP just because I opened the door.

“No,” I lied. I had my student ID, but I wasn’t about to fork it over just like that.

“You don’t have ANY type of ID on you?” she snapped incredulously, “what if something happened to you?”

“I have my dorm key,” I offered strategically, “that has my picture on it. I just don’t bring a wallet with a formal ID, so to speak, because I don’t want it to get stolen or whatever.” That part was true. Actually, I didn’t know if I had an ID. I was drunk, and quite frankly, I was getting really cold since I had taken a cab and not bothered to bring a coat. The other officer seemed to feel bad for me.

“Let’s let her go home,” she suggested, approaching the house to deal with the real issue. There were already a few students trying to sneak out windows or the front door, so the nice officer turned their attention away from me.

“Fine. Go home. Get out of here,” the less-nice officer nodded curtly. I nodded with tears in my eyes and turned to scuttle away. “Wait!” she said, and my heartbeat picked back up. “You don’t have a coat or proper ID. How are you going to get back to your dorm?”

“I don’t know, Ma’am.”

“Can you please wait? You’re not in trouble. I’ll drive you home once we address the situation here.” She seemed calm and sincere enough, so I nodded. It was starting to snow again, and honestly, I didn’t know my way home anyway. We were deep in a residential neighborhood, and it would take nearly an hour to get a cab at this point. After 30 minutes or so, the officers emerged from the house and my new friend gestured to her car. I followed her, pausing slightly when I got to the front doors.

“I’ve never, you know, uh, been in a cop car before,”  I said lamely, “should I sit in front?”

“Unless you’d rather sit in the back with cuffs on.” She hopped into the driver’s seat and buckled up. I slipped in and sat silently beside her, my hands in my lap and my eyes wide.

“I’m really sorry,” I said, “about them locking the door. That was lame. Thanks for, you know, all you do and thanks for the ride and stuff and I’m sorry if you’re mad at me.” My pitiful word vomit seemed to soften her.

“It’s ok, kid,” she said finally, “Just be careful when you go to parties. You had no idea whose house you were at. You don’t have an ID. I’ve seen a lot of bad things happen to kids when alcohol is involved, and I can say that getting an MIP is the least of your concerns.”

“Yes, ma’am,” I agreed demurely.

“If you were my daughter,” she emphasized, “I would be livid about that behavior. I would spank the living daylights out of my daughter, even if she was in college.” I gulped.

“My parents never spanked me,” I offered, “When they’re disappointed, I just get the silent treatment for a while. That’s why I didn’t want to get in trouble tonight. It’s awful when they’re upset with me.” I looked down at my hands. “But if it makes you feel better, like technically just to clarify, I did sort of know whose house it was, and I had my student ID.” I held my breath after letting my confession out.

“I’m sorry to hear about your parents,” the officer said, “It can really hurt to not be forgiven. I believe in dishing out a stern spanking, but then accepting the apology and moving forward with a clean slate. I think it allows everyone to feel better moving forward. But given the fact that you were drinking underage AND you lied, let’s just say that your punishment would leave no doubt about how much trouble you were in.” We were already pulling up near my dorm, so the officer slowed the car down and threw it into park. She placed her hand on my arm and said gently, “You know, you’re really lucky that you didn’t get in trouble or get hurt tonight.” I nodded solemnly. “You seem like you feel pretty guilty and crappy,” she pointed out, “so if you want, I can give you the same type of spanking that I’d give my own daughter, and then you can wake up tomorrow and start fresh.” My eyes went wide at the proposition. I was incredibly nervous, but I also thought about how nice it would feel to have someone actually care enough to mete out discipline. Ever since college, I felt like I didn’t have a lot of direction. My dance professors were tough but not necessarily personable, and my parents barely had time to talk to me.

“Ok,” I said slowly, “I’ll let you spank me.” My hands were shaking a little bit, but I knew that I needed something to make the guilt go away. The officer moved the car to a dark, empty parking lot across from the dorm and relocated to the back seat. I followed compliantly and waited for instructions.

“Ok honey,” she said softly, “I’m going to lay you across my knees and pull your skirt up, ok?” I nodded shyly and let her grab my hand and lead me across her lap. As promised, she pushed my tight black mini skirt up to reveal my bare bottom. My black thong provided no protection, but at least it left me with a little modesty. The officer rubbed my cheeks with her hand for a moment. “I never got your name,” she pointed out.

“Shae,” I answered.

“Ok, Shae. I’m going to give you, say, ten swats for each offense. Ten for drinking underage, ten for not bringing a real ID, ten for barely knowing whose party it was, and ten each for lying about the ID and who owned the house. Oh, and ten for skimping on a jacket. That’s only sixty, ok? That should be a good first spanking.”

“Well… ok… but do I get a reward for being the person to open the door? And I feel like that’s double dipping, punishing me for lying about the ID but also for the ID, right?” I asked hopefully.

“You don’t get an award for doing the right thing,” she said carefully, “but you can know that I’m proud of you, ok? And as for the lying, that’s intolerable. You still didn’t have proper ID and I’m not convinced that you were aware of your surroundings. So no, not double dipping.”

“Ok, Ma’am.”

With that, the officer got to work on my bottom. It may have only been 60 swats, but she had significant arm strength and made them count. Plus, my poor bottom was cold and sensitive from the winter air! The first ten made me hiss and wiggle in pain, the next ten had me audibly crying out. “I’ll add on if you don’t stop wiggling,” the officer said flatly. I took a deep breath and pleaded with my legs and hips to stop thrashing about. She applied ten swats in a row to my sensitive right sit-spot, then moved on to the left. The final twenty swats were peppered along my lower bottom and upper thighs. When the officer finished, I let out a sigh of relief. I was sniffling a little, so she helped me sit up and pulled me into a hug. “Good girl,” she praised, “you took that well.”

“I won’t let this all happen again,” I promised solemnly.

“Good. I’ll be looking for your name at the station, and you won’t like what a repeat offense punishment feels like,” she said with a smile and a wink, “Now go inside, have a large glass of water, and get some sleep.”

“Yes, Ma’am,” I said dutifully, pulling away from her hug and wiping off the last of my tears. Before I exited the vehicle, I turned around and asked for her name.

“Officer Black,” she said, pointing to her badge, “which is the color your bottom might be if you don’t take it inside in the next five seconds.” With a mock salute, I dashed out of the vehicle and into my dorm. By the time I had poured myself a cup of water, I realized that I wasn’t feeling buzzed in the slightest anymore. Man, I thought, nothing like a bare bottom spanking to sober you right up! 

Meeting Dr. Doom

As I sit in the waiting room at the tiny University physician’s office, I feel like a walking stereotype. I’m a dance major at a large liberal arts school, and I recently had to confide in one of my instructors about my eating disorder. I’m irritated with myself but I don’t quite know why. Eating disorders persist despite the victims intelligence, confidence, happiness, and desire to be healthy. I keep repeating that it’s not my fault; I’m not making fellow dancers “look bad,” and I’m not a burden for needing to seek help.

My eating disorder had started over a year ago, when I realized that dance in college was a whole ‘nother ball game, so to speak. No matter what I told myself about how talented I was, I couldn’t help but think that I would be as talented as my intimidating classmates if I could just be more thin. More beautiful. More graceful. Lean. What started as a promise to eat healthy spiraled into near-starvation, compulsive exercise, and eventually vomiting. After coming back from a summer dance intensive feeling ill and looking like a string bean, I was forced to have “the talk” with one of my favorite professors. She said that I would have to see one of the university’s physicians to get a letter of approval for my participation that semester. I whined, but there was nothing I could say to change her mind. She was kind but firm about the requirement. “It’ll be fine,” she had promised with a reassuring smile, “Dr. (let’s call her Doom) is fantastic.”

So, there I sat in the doctor’s waiting room, at 9am sharp on a Monday, pretending to study from my Italian textbook while listening to my heart thud in my chest. When my name was called, I shuffled down the narrow hallway into a small exam room. My backpack and rain coat were drowning my small frame, and I kept my eyes down. My palms were sweaty and my heart was thumping ever faster, but I promised myself that the appointment would only take 20 minutes. I’d promise that I was getting better- eating more- and she would let me go. The doctor hadn’t quite greeted me yet. She was sizing me up while applying an inhuman amount of hand sanitizer to both hands. The doctor was tall, with sharp facial features and a cold, demanding stare. I felt about two inches tall when I looked up at her from the exam table. I know that she works for the university’s athletic department. She’s probably used to fixing the broken bones of soccer stars and managing the illnesses of football players four times her size. I imagine that she’d rather be doing anything but talking to little, silly me. Finally, she breaks the awkward silence.

“So… your professor sent you here for an eating disorder?”

I choose not to answer because what she really did was make a statement, and I’m not going to reward the obvious with an answer. Seemingly annoyed by my blank stare, she says, with zero emotion or tenderness, “So what is it that you do? I mean, are you not eating? Are you vomiting?”

My face scrunches up in annoyance. No way in H-E-doublehockeysticks am I going to let this judgmental jerk get an answer out of me.

“Uhm. Yeah I guess.” I’m purposely vague and my nervousness has been replaced with straight irritation. I can feel my eyes narrowing involuntarily, as if my inner defensive brat can’t help but punish the rude question with an evil stare.

The doctor sighs and tells me that she needs to weigh me. I silently acquiesce. She has me sit back on the exam table, and explains in a business-like fashion that she has to check my throat for signs of trauma. We do the tongue depressor thing, she pokes around my throat with her cold fingers, and she stabs at my abdomen to see if anything hurts. I keep my eyes on the ceiling, feigning disinterest in this whole process. On the inside, I’m simmering with embarrassment. She finally backs up again, and returns to her favorite position: arms crossed and face set in a blank, intimidating stare.

“Physically, you look okay right now,” she says slowly, “but I have to warn you that with the vomiting and–”

“I’m not stupid!” I spit, interrupting her impending lecture, “I know that it’s bad for me. I’m working on it.” She looks a little irritated at the interruption, but she shifts tactics smoothly.

“Look. If you want to exercise the way that your schedule demands, it’s really not sustainable for you to not eat.” She continues her lecture, but all I can hear is her patronizing tone and all that I can really focus on is her un-amused stare. I have never felt so ridiculous before.

“FINE!” I interrupt for a second time, “I know I’m an idiot, ok? I know I have to eat. I didn’t need to come to the doctor because there’s nothing really wrong with me. My professor made me schedule this appointment, and I know you don’t want to talk to some dumb skinny dancer about how foolish she’s being. As long as I’m good to return to dance class, I don’t need anything else. I’m sure you have plenty of better things to do with your time and I’m sorry I had to come annoy you about my ineptitude. I’m obviously having a hard time, and you’re kind of being a jerk. You’re talking to me like… like… I’m the scum of the earth or something. So I can just go or whatever. If I’m fine to dance and all.” When I finish my tirade, it dawns on me that perhaps I didn’t need to speak quite so loudly. Dr. Doom’s eyebrows are raised, but she doesn’t look particularly surprised, nor does she necessarily look angry. The silence in the room is deafening.

“Ok,” says Dr. Doom, still eerily calm, “why don’t you stand on the ground and turn around for me?” I look back at her with wide eyes. “Stand up,” she repeats, “and turn around.” I don’t know what else to do at this point, so I stand up and turn around slowly. “Put your hands on the exam table,” she instructs calmly. I do. “I’m going to pull your pants down, and I’m going to spank you,” she says matter-of-factly. “Eating disorders are about control,” she explains, “and in my exam room, I’m in control. I’m sorry that you didn’t get the sympathy that you were hoping for, but I’m trying to do my job. I’m trying to make sure that you’re healthy and capable of performing your usual activities. So now, you are going to stay still and stay silent, and I am going to spank you for how incredibly rude you’ve been.” It is a very good thing that I’m already bent over, because I feel extremely lightheaded. Can doctors spank people?!?! I’m too humiliated to speak, so I wait to see if she is going to say anything. “I need your consent,” she finally says, “and this isn’t medical treatment, it’s a personal offer to give you something that you obviously need.” Her voice is still amazingly businesslike, a little exasperated perhaps. I’m not sure what options I have at this point.

“Oh. Ok. Ye- I mean, sure.” My voice is suddenly quiet and whiny, in stark contrast to my bold proclamations less than two minutes ago. Having gotten the go-ahead from yours truly, Dr. Doom takes a step closer to me. With one hand on the exam table next to me, she raises her right hand and brings it down with an alarmingly painful crack. “AH, OW!” I exclaim automatically.

“You will get precisely one reminder to be quiet,” she says in a low voice, pinching my inner thigh painfully for emphasis.

“Ok, sorry!” I whisper urgently, letting my breath out slowly as she raises her hand again. SMACK! Geez, it’s painful when she hits me. I was never spanked as a child, but good Lord I didn’t think it would hurt so darn much. SMACK. SMACK. SMACK. No one else was in the waiting room, but I wonder if the receptionist can hear. SMACK SMACK SMACK. My embarrassment is driven from my mind temporarily as I try to adjust to the pain. Dr. Doom keeps spanking both cheeks- and the tops of my thighs- while I will wiggle and breathe heavily. She moves her second hand to my lower back as she continues to smack my bare bottom. As painful as the spanking is, I feel oddly serene under her control. Like the only thing that I have to focus on is submitting to her authority, and my previously complicated emotions have simplified. SMACK SMACK SMACK.

“Do you know why you’re being spanked?” she asks, not stopping the onslaught of smacks.

“I was rude to you and it was disrespectful,” I squeak out.

“Good girl. I’m spanking you because you were rude, and also because you need to learn a lesson about control. Learning to let go is going to help you. So *SMACK SMACK* will eating.” Her swats have slowed down since I have stopped wiggling. The pain and embarrassment and stress of the whole morning get to me and I start to cry. She delivers a few more swats to the back of each of my thighs.

“I’m sorry,” I mumble into the silence.

“What’s that?” she asks, her voice finally the softest it has been all morning.

“I’m sorry,” I repeat. “Actually, I was apologizing for crying because you don’t seem like the type of person who would appreciate a crybaby, but while I’m at it, I’m also sorry for… you know… snapping at you and stuff. I know you were just doing your job. I shouldn’t have taken my nervousness out on you. I’m just embarrassed and frustrated and scared, ya know…” I start to cry harder after my admission rushes out of my mouth, and she rubs my back gently.

“It’s ok,” she finally whispers, “everything is fine. I sometimes forget to be mindful of sensitive topics. I’m a pretty straightforward person.”

“No… really?” I ask with a sarcastic smile. She smiles for the first time all morning and laughs.

“Stand up,” she says kindly, helping me up into standing position. I feel incredibly awkward standing in front of her with my leggings pulled halfway down, but I look up at her and wait for more instructions rather than adjusting them. “I’m not a psychologist,” she says carefully, “and you need to see the university psychologist. But I do know when a brat needs a spanking, and you were begging for one this morning.”

“Y-yes, Ma’am. Uh… thank you?” I mumble awkwardly, looking between Dr. Doom and the ground.

“Pull your pants up,” she says with a small smile. “I’m going to write a letter to your dance teacher that you’re ok to participate for now, but I’m expecting you to see the psychologist… and the dietitian.”

“Yes, Ma’am, I will,” I nod emphatically.

“And why don’t I give you my business card in case you have any questions,” she offers kindly. “You’re won’t be bothering me,” she emphasizes, briefly putting her hand under my chin. I nod gratefully and she hands me a tissue.

“Do you, like, want a hug or something?” I ask timidly as she moves to open the door and release me back into the world. She laughs and opens her arms slightly, so I take that as a yes. I quickly wrap my arms around her tall frame, pressing my cheek against her chest. She pats me gently on the back and holds me until I am ready to pull away.

“Be good. Take care of yourself,” she says as she walks me back to the reception area.

“Ok. Thank you,” I say with sincerity. And with that, I head back out into the bright September sunshine. My bottom is still stinging, but I hold onto her business card and smile. That was a strange appointment, I think to myself, but I might actually be back to see Dr. Doom. Maybe her doom was just what I needed to get better.