Peter and I sat in my bedroom, sent there to keep out of the way while my mother and sister busied themselves getting ready for my sister's wedding. "I think weddings are a bore, don't you, Peter?” "Yeah", he replied, as he turned over the page of his comic.
Peter, my cousin, had to stay with me for the wedding. Like me, he was slightly built, but as friends we enjoyed having a rough and tumble, throwing stones, and poking fun at girls. They seemed boring, as they only talked about clothes and seemed to giggle at everything from behind their hands.
The house was full of noise, doors opening and shutting, calls of "Have you seen this", "Where's my hat", etc.
The doorbell rang again, "Oh Michael, will you see who it is, please". I sighed and ran down stairs and opened the front door. A telegram boy stood there with a silly grin on his face. I reached to take the message, but he leered "What about my tip, then".
I called out that it was a telegram. My mother called back "Bring it up to your sister's room and give him two shillings from my purse". I did as she asked, making sure I dropped it so he had to scrabble in the
dust to find it, poked my tongue out and slammed the door.
I ran upstairs to my sister's room and entered, gaping at the normally tidy room which now looked like a jumble sale, with clothes lying all over the bed and her wedding dress and those of the bridesmaids hanging up on the wardrobes. She was sitting at her dressing table in her nightdress complaining that nothing would go right, and I was surprised to hear her curse as she smudged her lipstick, which she claimed to have done for the hundredth time.
My mother took the telegram and gave it to my sister. "Mum, it's for you, not me". "Really! Well, who could be sending me a telegram, then?"
"Well open it, and then you'll find out". Poor Mum, she did the same thing with letters, always holding them and wondering for at least five minutes, before actually opening them.
My mother tore open the flap and read the message out loud "Sheila and Wendy ill with chicken pox can't make it". Good, I thought, we won't have them snivelling here. They were my two cousins who were going to be bridesmaids.
"Oh no, Mum!” cried my sister, "Nothing is going right! What shall we do?"
I turned and went back to my room and told Peter. "Good!” he said "They're both a pain". We grinned at each other, turning back to our comics. "The fuss weddings are, I wish it was over, then we can get at the grub", he added.
The house seemed to have gone quiet and peaceful at the news, but that did not last very long, as I heard my sister run down the stairs. "Well, I think it would work, who would know? I'll ask Dad and Uncle Jim and see what they think."
Five minutes later, our door opened and my dad came in. "How're you doing boys? I've come to ask you both a favour, and I won't blame you for refusing."
My Uncle Jim came in too. He looked at Peter and said "The thing is boys your sister's bridesmaids have chicken pox." "We know", I said.
"Well, that means Jean has no bridesmaids and this is her big day and neither of you would be page boys because you thought they were sissy. Don't blame you. It's not a thing I would have wanted to be at your age", said my father, "but now it seems that Jean's dress has a very long train that she needs help with. We don't want to spoil her wedding, do we?"
"Well, I suppose we can do that for her, Dad, can't we Peter?"
Peter looked up, "We haven't got to wear those sissy page boy suits, have we?" he asked.
"Er, no, not really, but your sister thinks that if you wore the bridesmaids' dresses, it would be better, as you're not the smartest two I have ever seen, even if you have new suits."
"What!" we said together, "She wants us to do what?" I turned to Peter, "She wants us to dress as girls! You must be kidding!"
"Boys, it's only for a couple of hours, and then you can come back and change." "But Dad, wearing stupid dresses and acting like two soppy girls! What will my mates think if they ever found out? Supposing my friends at school saw me, what do you think they would say? I'm not doing that, not for anything!"
My father looked at me. "Well, I had thought that maybe if you did, that bike you had your eye on would make up for what you are doing for me and your mother."
"The same goes for you Peter" said my uncle, "I think you would both deserve a reward if you did it. I know it's a lot to ask any boy. Think about it for a few minutes. We'll be downstairs."
They both left the room. "Crikey, Peter, what do you think?"
"I don't know. I mean, will we have to dress in knickers and things?"
"I don't know. I expect so." I stood up, "Mind you, I would like that bike, wouldn't you? After all, I suppose it would be a laugh." I felt myself wavering and looked at Peter. "Yeah, I guess so. What do you think?"
"Well, we could, and anyway, like Dad said, it would be for him and Mum." "O.K. then, we'll do it-yes?" "Let's get it over with, then."
We went downstairs and into the front room. "Dad, we'll do it-but you do really mean that we can have those bikes if we do?" They both grinned and clapped us on the back. "Thanks boys, we knew you wouldn't let us down. You'll have those bikes first thing Monday morning, that's a promise."
"Well, what do we have to do?" Pete asked.
"Right, boys, you go and find your mothers and they'll help you."
I went upstairs to my sister's room and told them that we were going to do it. My sister grinned, "Thanks, Mike", she said. My aunt appeared, "Is everything here for Peter?" she asked. She looked at me. "I think you'll both make smashing girls" she laughed, "Well Jean, not many brides will be able to look back at their wedding and say they had two such very unusual bridesmaids!"
She picked up the dress that Peter was to wear and asked for the underwear. `Oh, God!' I thought, `We'll be wearing everything after all, knickers and bra - the lot.'
"I think we're lucky that they're about the same size as the girls."
My mother insisted that I had a bath and then come to her room, which I did after drying myself. I was handed the white silk knickers to put on and as I drew them up I felt very silly, noticing the lace trimmings on the hem and embroidered pink roses. I slipped off my dressing gown and my mother slipped my arms through the straps of the satin bra, which had cups made of very fine lace that formed a small pair of girlish mounds that surprised even my mother, "I thought that I would have to pad them out, but you seem to have enough there."
"Oh, have I?" I said. Next, she took the waspie and put it around my waist. "I think this will pull you in a bit, as your tummy is fat and it will give you hips like a girl's." She drew the laces together as it cinched my waist. "There, that's better. It's not too tight, is it? I've a good mind to make you wear it all the time," she laughed, "and keep that tummy in! - too many sweets!"
She told me to thread the dangling suspenders through my panties and handed me a pair of white silk stockings. "Mind you don't ladder them, they're very expensive." As I drew them up my legs I noticed the butterfly motif on the ankle. Mother showed me how to fasten them to the suspender and tie the bow to hide the suspender clasp. "We'll make a girl of you yet." she said. I blushed and felt stupid. "Oh mum, don't be silly."
As I tried to hide my embarrassment, she held the petticoats up and put them over my head, arranging them around my hips, smoothing the satin top one over the doubled net. "Oh my, they're so pretty," she said, "just look at that lace." The satin overskirt was shorter than the others, on which treble flounces of scalloped lace were sewn. Again I raised my arms to allow her to put on the matching satin camisole top, which had a band of matching lace with a peach satin bow in the centre.
"Well, I don't know, you look very pretty already. Now let me do your hair. This is the first time I've been glad you wear it long."
I sat down and felt my hair being swept up on top of my head and curled into a bun. Mother took a round doughnut of false hair and pinned mine into it and slid some combs into the drawn up hair to hold it in place, then took the two hanks that hung each side of my forehead and rolled them into curlers with setting lotion. "Now, while they dry, I can finish your hair." She took a large peach satin bow and fixed it to the back of my head, just below the bun. By now I had forgotten that I had protested a short while ago and had begun to feel a pleasure at being dressed as I was. Somehow it felt nice to feel the tug of my stockings and the sense of my breasts cupped in the bra felt quite pleasant.
I realized that I was sitting like a girl, with my hands resting demurely in my lap, and felt that it was also nice to have all this fussing over getting ready. I supposed that this was normal for a girl, but I was a boy. So why did I feel this? Maybe there was more to being a girl than I realized. My mother was now placing a headdress of silk flowers in peach and white with narrow ribbons that hung each side; then a gold locket at my throat.
"The lockets were for the girls, but you might as well wear them. Now, we'd better put on some make-up."
"Make-up!" I gasped, "Like a girl?" "Certainly; we want to look our best, don't we? And it will make you look more feminine."
She busied herself drawing arched eyebrows and putting eye shadow on my eyelids, then mascara to thicken and darken my lashes, a touch of blusher and a glossy soft pink lipstick. Then she took out the curlers and unrolled my hair to hang in a ringlet each side of my face. She took the peach satin dress from its hanger and held it open for me to step into. "Bunch your petticoats around you, dear, so they don't tangle while you're putting on your dress." I did so, and let her draw the dress over my arms after I had let my petticoats go, once I stood inside the skirt. Mother drew the zip up at the back and fastened the hook, then arranged the neckline which was v-ed to show off the lace and satin bow of my camisole top. The sleeves were short and puffed, with a bow on each cuff. Next, the white lace gloves that came up to my elbows with a cluster of peach bows on the wrists; then a posy of flowers with satin ribbons to hold.
"Put these shoes on and I think we can show the others what a pretty girl you are now; if that's the right thing to say."
I slipped my feet into the peach satin shoes with two inch heels that now completed my transformation.
"Well, don't you want to see yourself?"
I walked to the full-length mirror and gasped. I could not believe that the girl looking back was in fact me. I was speechless as I took in the picture of this pretty girl in a bridesmaid's dress of shimmering satin. For some time I just stood there amazed that I could look so like a girl. "Well, the cat got your tongue, then?" smiled my mother, "To be honest, I'm quite amazed myself! If I didn't know you were my son I'd think you were a girl! Now, what do you think?"
"Oh, mum, I look so like a girl - I don't know what to say! I mean, I never knew I could look - er, well, you know; so pretty! It's funny; I don't know what to say!" I felt odd and light headed as I turned to look sideways, drinking in the flow of my dress as I turned. As it flowed out, the movement lifted the hem to show a glimpse of the petticoat lace, and a shiver of excitement ran through me as I realized that I looked quite beautiful. Suddenly, I felt relaxed and very happy, and turned to my mother and shrugged, "Mum, I think it's wonderful what you've done to me; I'm not sure what I feel; I just feel mixed up! I know a boy shouldn't say it, but I think that I like wearing this dress and these girls' clothes, and for some reason I'm enjoying it. Is that wrong?"
"Mat I don't know, dear. Perhaps it's because of the clothes. Anyway, let's show your sister what her new sister looks like!"
I lifted my dress without thinking and followed my mother to my sister's room, enjoying the swirl of my skirt as it billowed round me, thinking how lovely the rustle of my petticoats sounded. The feeling of the heels made me take shorter steps, and again I felt the shiver of excitement run through me which set my nerves tingling.
The idea that I was dressed from head to toe in girls' clothes sent a delightful thrill through me; I suddenly knew that it felt wonderful.
My sister was now wearing her wedding dress, and gasped as mother called me in. "Oh, mother, he is simply beautiful; he looks like a girl, and a very pretty one, at that! How on earth did you do it?" She turned to me; "Well, my beautiful little sister, how do you like being a girl then?" When she said that I looked beautiful, I felt a spasm of sheer joy, and I said to her, "I think you look lovely, too; and your wedding dress is beautiful."
She raised her eyebrows and looked at mother, "Where did he learn to speak like a girl?"
I realized that for some reason I had softened my voice. I blushed and then retorted, "Well, it was your idea for me to dress as a girl at your wedding, not mine!"
"Hey! I'm sorry! Mum, see how Peter is getting on, as I'd better explain what she, I mean he, has to do."
Mother left us, and my sister began explaining what a bridesmaid's role is. It seemed funny at first, but after a few minutes we began talking about our dresses, and she asked me to put on her headdress and veil. I did so, and realized that I was now thoroughly enjoying the girl's role, fussing at the spray of silk flowers to get it just right, and arranging the veil at the back.
"You know, I do believe you're enjoying this little pretence of being a girl, aren't you?"
Again I felt myself blush and I murmured, "Yes, I think so."
She smiled. "I often wanted a sister, and now it seems I won't be around to enjoy her!" She gave me a hug. "Thanks, anyway, for doing this. I guess you might have a great story to tell someday, as not many boys ever get the chance to be a bridesmaid, nor look so pretty! Now, let's get downstairs!"
I held her train as we went towards the stairs, once again feeling the thrill of the dress around my body.
On the landing, Peter came out, and we both stood and stared at each other. He, too, wore a dress which matched mine, with his hair swept up. I gave him a faint smile as I noticed that, like me, he looked as pretty as a girl.
"My word! I think we have two secret girls here that have been hiding! You look like twin sisters!"
My aunt now saw me as well, and smiled. "Well, girls, let's get downstairs. Peter, you help her, I mean him, your cousin, with the train."
Peter came beside me, grinned, and whispered, "You look great - really pretty!"
I whispered back, "So do you! What do you think, now that you're dressed as a girl?"
But before he had a chance to answer, we entered the front room. Our respective fathers stared in open-mouthed amazement.
"Well, what about the bride then, dad?" asked my sister, "I'm beginning to feel the odd one out here!", and she too grinned, "They certainly look the part; I never knew I had a sister!"
The attention now passed to my sister as the novelty of the two of us passed, but I noticed that my uncle and father gave us long looks now and again, as if they were wondering if they'd done the right thing in allowing us to be dressed.
Too late; I too noticed that we both seemed to be sliding into the feminine role as we fussed over the dress and train, lifting our skirts as we moved back and forth.
Various neighbours popped in to see the bride, wanting photographs, and they had no idea that the two pretty bridesmaids were in fact the rascals they were more used to complaining about for kicking footballs into their gardens!
Soon everyone was ready, and we discovered that we had a car to ourselves. It was thrilling as we left the house and walked down the path to the car, now taking dainty steps and lifting our skirts, bringing delighted gasps from the girls watching, at the sight of our lacey petticoats.
We heard comments that were music to my ears, about how attractive we both looked.
I now found myself loving the feel of my dress and the swish of my petticoats, and wanted to act more feminine every minute; but was afraid that Peter might notice if I did.
Once inside the car we sat back. "Well" said Peter, "Do you think it's worth all this to get a bike?"
"Yes, I think so! - Peter; are you enjoying it all? I mean; how do you feel?" I asked.
He paused a moment, looking at me, and then he reached out for my hand and gave it a squeeze. "To be honest, up to now I've often wondered what it would be like to wear a dress, and I quite like it." He was silent for a second or two and then he squeezed my hand again. "I think you feel the same; I don't think it's being sissy or anything, but like this, everything seems nicer. Can you understand why?"
I breathed a sigh of relief. "I think so too! I seem to feel that wearing girls' clothes has the effect that I want to act like a girl, and even walk like one, but I was frightened in case you'd think I was being silly.”
Peter then smiled, and, keeping hold of my hand said, "You see, even doing this feels natural now; and to be honest, I think you look very pretty."
"Thank you" I replied, "You're looking lovely too! Aren't these dresses beautiful?" and I flounced the dress out to stop the material from becoming creased.
We sat back as the car pulled away. "Listen" said Peter, "We can't call ourselves boys' names now; what name would you like?"
Something seemed to go pop in my head as I shyly looked at him, feeling an inner excitement. "I think the name Alice is very sweet, don't you?" I knew that I had spoken in a higher voice, but just felt that I had to.
"Yes, that is nice, I like that" He, too, had softened his voice, "Alice - and Anna. How does that sound?"
I reached out to straighten out a loose flower in Anna's hair. "I think that we're the two luckiest girls that I know today, Anna!" and I gave her a pretty smile.
Anna clasped my hands in hers. "This is going to be the start of a wonderful day, Alice, and I think that our dresses have made it lovely that we can share a day together as two pretty girls!"
The car arrived at the church, and the driver opened the door and helped us out. A thrill ran through me as I stood smoothing the dress, which was wafting in the light breeze and gleaming in the sunshine. We held hands and moved towards the church steps past the watching crowd of friends and neighbours, blushing at the comments about what a sweet picture we made together.
The vicar met us at the church door, saying "My, you look very pretty! What are your names?"
I looked at him coyly and said softly, "I'm Alice, and this is Anna."
"Well, girls; are you sisters? You look so alike!"
"No, not sisters, but cousins" said Anna, with a radiant smile.
MY uncle arrived at the gate and hurried to our sides; we greeted him as one: "We've told the vicar that our names are Anna and Alice" I hissed.
"WHAT? Oh! Yes! um, Anna and Alice; well, you'd better come down to the gate! Excuse us, vicar!"
We fell in behind him, and once we were out of earshot, he exploded "Who the hell said you're to have girl's names?"
"Oh, father, how can we call each other Michael and Peter now we're dressed as girls? We thought that if we've got to act as girls we'd better have names to suit, didn’t we, Alice?"
"Yes; so you'd better pass the word to the rest of the family. We don't intend to be a laughing stock; and remember it was you and father who started this!"
"Ah! Yes, we did. Perhaps you're right. I'll tell your parents as soon as they arrive. You do know what you have to do…?
We both nodded, and he turned away to speak to some arriving guests. He left us at the gate with a whispered "Good luck, boys!" and hurried into the church.
We waited at the gate smiling and thanking the guests as they arrived and complimented us on how pretty we looked; both of us now thoroughly enjoying the girls' roles that we were required to play, with the silent relief that we both felt somehow completely unashamed at trying to feel feminine.
At last the car came with the bride and my father, who gave us both a wink as we helped her out. As she arranged her dress and train, I whispered to her "You had better know that he is now Anna, and I am Alice."
She looked at me in surprise. "I think you two are really enjoying this little game of pretend girls, aren't you?" We both nodded, and she said "Bless you both, anyway, for not spoiling my day!", and she leant forward and gave each of us a big kiss.
As we picked up the long lace train and slowly walked behind her I saw that she was talking softly to my father, who glanced back and mouthed silently the words "Alice and Anna?", and winked again.
As we entered the church and moved up the aisle, we could hear murmurs of admiration for the radiant bride, whom we now set off with our pretty peach satin dresses, and we smiled with inward delight at our lovely secret.
The remarks we overheard about our beauty sent thrills of delight through both of us as we arranged the train as we had been told and joined the bride and groom at the altar, one of us on each side.
After the ceremony we went to the vestry, and again we helped with the train. When they had gone in, we went back to the steps and stood side by side, holding hands. I whispered to Anna, who smiled and nodded at what I said, and as the bride and groom returned we waited at each side of the nave. When they drew level with us, we both dropped a deep curtsey that brought gasps of delight from the assembly in the church. My sister looked at us both and whispered, "I love you both for that!"
Outside the photographer fussed as we posed for the pictures. Everyone wanted to tell us what a lovely curtsey we had made; so lovely and perfectly together. We felt pure delight as we swished back and forth, remaining all the time two very demure girls. As we left in the car for the reception, my mother and father joined us. "What's this about you giving yourselves girls' names, then?"
We explained that we felt it best, and dad agreed that we had done right. Then my mother thanked us for what we had done, and asked whose idea was the curtsey.
I told her it was mine, and she said "Well, it was a lovely thing to do, and if I may say so, you certainly played your parts well. Now I expect you'll want to go home and change."
I gasped, "Do we have to?" and we both looked very crestfallen.
"But surely you want to enjoy yourselves as boys, and get out of those dresses?" We looked at each other, and then I blurted out "No! I want to spend the rest of the day enjoying this feeling, and so does Anna!"
Our parents sat there looking dumbfounded; my father looked annoyed and my mother shocked.
"But you're both boys! What on earth can you see in wearing girls' clothes?" That I could not answer, and neither could Anna; but by this time it was too late; we had arrived at the reception, and we alighted and escaped inside.
It was wonderful as the evening drew on, and we gaily flitted to and fro, delighting in our new world of showing off our femininity and the pretty clothes we were wearing.
During the evening I spoke to Anna. "When you go back home, will you still feel the same about dressing as a girl?" I asked.
"I think I will" replied Anna, "Not all the time, because I enjoy being Peter too much as well. But I'm sure that now I've been Anna for one day, I'd love to be her again sometimes."
The slight feeling of doubt and guilt that had been in the back of my mind evaporated. If it was wrong to feel the way I did, then at least I was not the only one!
"Oh, Anna!" I said, taking her hand, "I do hope that wherever you appear again in the future, your friend Alice will be with you to share your fun!"
This story continues with On The Beach