When Mary wore the corset John had ordered from the special shop, she was not allowed to wear any other undergarment. Whenever--usually on a Saturday--John said "I want you in your corset tonight," she would shower, then wait for him in the bedroom, where she would lay the corset out ready on the bed.
When John came in, he would do the laces, as she, in proper 19th century style, grasped the headboard and tried to breathe. Then she would put on what John picked out. Usually it was something fitted, but not always.
This evening it had been pearls and a sundress: the blue one she had just taken off and laid beside her on the special bench, covered with the pink cloth, where she had to sit to wait for John when she was going to be punished. For as soon as they had gotten into the car to come home from the party, John had said in an even, quiet, furious voice, "When we get home, you will go to the punishment room, and take off your dress, and wait for me on the bench."
The evening had started off so well--when John told her to wear the corset, it always meant he wanted to make love to her, later, and she had been feeling so sexy. Maybe that was why she had spoken so thoughtlessly at the party: she had been thinking of his way of stripping off her dress with one motion, and taking her bottom in his enormous right hand, so powerfully that it took her breath--already constricted in the corset--quite away. And that feeling, of being caught between his hand and the corset he had put her in, to make her his plaything. . . remembering that feeling tended to make her forget other matters.
She heard John come into the punishment room, behind her (she must always wait with her back to the door, to show her submission). He came around to face her, and she saw he had a rope in his hands. She looked into his dark eyes, pleading, but, silently, he proceeded to tie her wrists in front of her.
"Please, John," Mary said.
"No, darling. I'm afraid I'm going to have to punish you severely for what you did tonight at the party."
"But I just--"
"You just started a rumor that's going to spread like wildfire."
"But it's true! She did sleep with him!"
"It was twenty years ago. This discussion is over, and you just earned yourself a much worse spanking than you were going to get a minute ago."
"Yes." He moved back around behind her, and pulled her hair so that it was over her right shoulder, then put his hand on the top of her head and firmly bent it forward.
"You're going to stay in this position for ten minutes to think about how sorry you are, and how sorry you're going to be. Then you're going to get on top of this bench, with your face down and your bottom up, and your bound hands in front of you, and I'm going to paddle you until you can't sit down."
(As opposed, say, to my very favorite lingerie, the lace thong, which is I think much more straightforward--though in the color white, which is my favorite for it, it is obviously the play at innocence that adds that final frisson.)
The perfection of this photograph is clearly, then, in the way it elaborates the central element of the corset itself into a constellation that focuses the corset's essential BDSM hotness into a kind of searing flame of submission. Each of those six elements occurs on its own in countless photographs, but the achievement what I think of as breathtaking hotness seems to happen when a single trope (here, the corset) is elaborated, visually, into other supporting elements.
That elaboration, in turn, makes me want to elaborate myself, in my own familiar way: that is, narratively.
Why is she wearing the corset? Because her Master (the pearls and the notional age--judging from the back--of mid-20's to mid-30's make "husband" the natural choice for the role) commanded it, of course.
Why only the corset? Because her Master likes it that way, so that he can enjoy her, taking the long, dangling laces in his right hand, like reins.
Why are her hands bound and her head bowed? Because she's going to be punished.
Why the pearls? Because she went to a party where, of course, her offense was committed.
How did her hair get over her right shoulder? Master put it there. Why? So he could see her back while she had "penitent time."
Some girls might wonder why we cry when Antigone kills herself; I wonder why I can't keep my hand away from my lap when I think about why a girl in a corset's head is bowed. (OK, I wonder about both things, but this blog is dedicated to the pursuit of the latter question.)
Photo credit: Benini photography, courtesy of the wonderful Sir Dušan G.