The Girdle RaceAlthough this was not actually a school paddling in the true sense, it took place at college during the time of sorority hazing, when the paddle was in full use. I never pledged a sorority, but my older cousin Crystal sure did, back in the early Sixties when pledging could get pretty rough among the girls. Crystal told me some of the things they did to the pledges, including the frequent use of the paddle.
Each pledge had to make her own paddle, which was bare wood and about three feet long. The girl's task was to put her name and the sorority letters on the wood with decal stickers, then give the paddle several coats of varnish so that it had a high shine. After this was done, the girl had to visit each of her upcoming sorority sisters and request her to sign the pledge's paddle. However, there was one more thing. The sorority sister would "blot" her signature by giving the bent-over pledge a good whack with the signed paddle. Invariably this resulted in a very sore bottom for the pledge, especially if she had to obtain several signatures in a day. Crystal explained to me that a paddling was not the same as a spanking by the high school principal. Pledge rules dictated that the paddle be gripped with two hands, but only swung from the wrists. Crystal admitted that the result was not the same as a school paddling, but since those pledge paddles were so long and heavy, the momentum was enough to raise the pledge on her toes with every swat!
During Hell Week the pledge mistresses put the paddle-weary pledges through a painful game that was known as The Girdle Race. Girls wore skirts for all occasions back then, even during pledging, complete with all the under-trappings. The game was simple. Each girl had to take off her girdle and toss it into a pile in the center of the room. In addition she had to roll down her stockings, then roll up her skirt and slip and hold them up carefully using nothing but her elbows. The ob
Crystal said that this race was very painful because most of the girls wore the panties of the time--thin nylon that offered very little protection against a wooden paddle! When the time came for the race, Crystal and the other pledges were ordered to unclasp their stockings and roll them down to their ankles. They did not know what was in store for them. Then came the order to ***** off their girdles and toss them into a pile. The final indignity was to roll up their skirts and slips, while the pledge mistress explained the rules of the game--and not to let go of those skirts under any circumstances. So, Crystal said, here were about ten pledges, looking extremely foolish with their rolled-up skirts being clutched by their elbows and revealing their variously-colored, lace-trimmed underpants. The pledge mistress blew a whistle, and all the pledges raced to the pile of girdles, each girl desperately trying to find her own. As the girls bent over to search the pile, they were spanked with smaller versions of paddles which, as Crystal admitted, stung right through their sheer panties. Crystal said the noise in the room was deafening and very confusing: The shouts of encouragement by the sorority sisters, the loud slapping of the paddles against the pledges' nylon-encased behinds, the squealing of the pledges themselves as they felt the rain of spanks on their rear ends, and the grunts of difficulty as each girl tried to pull up her snug girdle using only her forearms while her elbows hugged her rolled-up skirts. Crystal admitted the scene was like something out of Dante's Inferno! Doing plenty of twists, jumps and squats, Crystal managed to get her girdle up to give her behind at least some protection from the never-ending swats from the paddles. Now she had to bend over again to unroll her nylons, and WHACK! WHACK! again came the paddle in her very vulnerable position. She had to smooth out her stockings and hitch them up to the four garters on the legs of her girdle. WHACK! again across the seat of her nylon and rubber girdle. Finally she unclasped her elbows and rolled down first her slip, then finally her creased and wrinkled skirt. Then she raised her arms to indicate that she had finished the race, and was ordered to stand to the side where she was able to see the other struggling girls getting spanked while trying desperately to pull up their rubbery underwear and sheer stockings. Finally, Crystal said, there was only one unfortunate girl left, who wrestled with her nylons and garters using only her forearms and wrists. The poor girl was made to run the gauntlet of paddles, but at least she had her skirt, slip and girdle in place to mitigate the sting of the swats. The other pledges, still panting from their ordeal, watched and thanked their Maker for allowing them to finish the race without being last!
Crystal explained that there were other features of pledging besides paddling, including numbering each square of a roll of toilet paper, eating whole lemons, and biting into a raw onion like a fresh apple. But she made it through Hell Night and was inducted ceremoniously into the sorority. However, she held a grudge against the girls who had enjoyed wielding their paddles on her, and who now had to be regarded as her sorority sisters, and after a year she dropped out of the sorority. She admitted to me that all that pledging and pain had not been worth getting into this supposedly exclusive club of girls who basically were snooty and judgmental against anyone who was not in their circle--and that included other "sisters."
Pledging changed after what Crystal went through. Most sororities no longer paddled, and toned down the pledging into less physical and more humiliating activities. My own daughters, who are now in college, tell me that their campuses are strictly forbidden to pledge candidates, with serious consequences if they do, including the dissolution of the fraternity or sorority.
Crystal is in her late sixties now, but she still has vivid memories of the night she took part in The Girdle Race.