Really Married

In the light-hearted 1938 spy thriller Strange Boarders, secret agent Tommy Blythe (Tom Walls) is summoned immediately after his wedding to investigate a leak of some secret documents, and has to abandon his honeymoon before it has even started. State secrecy means he’s unable to explain to his new French wife Louise (Renée Saint-Cyr), who duly assumes the worst and follows him to a seedy lodging house which is suspected as the HQ of a spy ring.

After he finds her in his room in her dressing gown, she wheedles and deduces until eventually she works out, correctly, what it is that he does for a living – something she isn’t officially allowed to know. At this, Tommy becomes masterful:

‘If you don’t do as I tell you in two seconds, I’ll put you across my knee and give you a good spanking.’

And what’s more, he bends her over and gives her a quick ‘free sample’, two smart smacks on each cheek.

She responds with unconcealed delight:

‘Darling, now I really feel married!’

What she means, I take it, is that marriage entails being with a loving man who is in charge and prepared to be physically assertive when necessary. It’s a notion not fashionable now, but commonplace enough then, in symbiosis with the romantic trope of the commanding alpha male hero and the psychological phenomenon, widespread albeit not universal, of women’s desire to submit to the right man.

Even nowadays, some husbands get off to an early start,

and some seem so eager to do it properly that they anticipate revelations that were meant for the wedding night.

And remember the tradition: something borrowed, something blue…

It’s a practice with a long pedigree.

It’s even customary at some Jewish weddings for the bridegroom to strike the bride with his shoe, to signify her submission to him in their ensuing married life. That formality is not necessarily done in the way it was imagined by an American cartoonist in 1951:

But presented in those terms, it’s a rite that signifies the bride’s passage from the care and control of one authority to another, both expressed in the same type of action (a theme that is more fully discussed and illustrated here).

In life, and indeed in comic books, the transfer doesn’t always go as smoothly as it might. That’s the essence of this 1953 romance comic story:

The title makes it worth emphasizing that, although the central character, Lucy Jordan, is only 17, she is old enough to be legally married and indeed has been, to Frank Jordan, for three months. The problem is that she respects her parents more than her husband, whom she neglects. The relationship is on the point of breakdown when the parents, sensing that something is going badly wrong in their little girl’s marriage, pay an unscheduled visit to the Jordan residence, arriving at what is indeed a moment of crisis:

And there’s the point of contention, crystallized symbolically in the spanking that Lucy deserves: will she get it from her father or her husband?

It looks as if it’s going to be Frank,

but in the event he chooses not to jeopardize the marriage further,

and, though unspanked, Lucy resolves to be a better wife to him in future.

That may be a disappointing outcome when seen purely from our point of view, but there is a healthy realism in the recognition that not every new wife will respond to the prospect of a spanking, still less the actuality, with the joy shown by Louise in Strange Boarders.

On the other hand, spanking isn’t always a matter of unwelcome, painful humiliation for the wife. The other dimension emerges in a wealth of candid couples photography down the decades,

not to mention the occasional home movie, like this one of movie star Lon Chaney spanking his wife Hazel in 1928:

(The video is here.)

Even when the one most in the public eye was the wife, not the husband, a bit of spanking was far from unknown. Here’s Milko Skofic spanking his wife in 1955:

You may well not have heard of him… but Mrs Skofic was also, and much better, known as the film star Gina Lollobrigida.

And even today, celebrity couples have been known to enjoy a bit of over-the-knee intimacy. In 2018, the Malaysian actor Henry Golding and his wife, the Taiwanese television presenter Liv Lo, did a shoot for the fashion magazine Harper’s Bazaar. One of their poses was especially pleasing:

Another notable who certainly thought a lot about spanking his wife, in the context of fun, was the cartoonist Dan Decarlo, who was married to a fetching French lady named Josie:

She was the model for the pretty girls in his toons, who were often upended and uncovered, like this:

So, not just fun, then, but sexy fun!

But that’s only one side of husband-and-wife spanking. The other dimension, which is also there in the toon, is what we shall turn to in the second part of this series.

2 thoughts on “Really Married

  1. Patron Hall says:

    Cool post. Somewhat related: Pamela Anderson has admitted to being spanked by Tommy Lee on multiple occasions, most notably during an appearance on the Ellen show. She has a new documentary on Netflix. The overall theme of the doc is home movies, through which she tells the story of her life. in the first few minutes of the movie, one of the home videos shows her mother receiving an OTK spanking from her father. Another theme of the doc is how much her desired relationship dynamics mirror the relationship between her mother and father.


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