Excerpt from "Coming in Costume"

Greg had more than made good on his promise, dressing us as a schoolgirl and her stern professor. I loved the short, pleated skirt of green plaid and the crisp white blouse with the Peter Pan collar the minute I laid eyes on them. Matching knee socks and black Mary Janes completed the outfit. Underneath—somewhat to my surprise—Greg insisted I wear simple white cotton panties and a stretchy training bra that didn’t quite contain my woman’s breasts. I braided my hair, tying the plaits with matching Kelly green ribbons. The final look was sassy, even suggestive, but perfectly decent. Still, the way the skirt swished against the back of my thighs made me imagine, a bit wistfully, what it would be like to be bare underneath. I pushed the thought away, determined to act respectable if that was what my husband required.

As for his costume—well, it really didn’t matter what Greg wore. He always looked devastating. He’d gone for a bookish style: a white shirt with thin blue stripes open at the throat under a corduroy jacket with, believe it or not, suede elbow patches. He must have scoured the thrift stores to find that relic, but it really fit the part. A slide rule case was strapped to his belt. Glasses with dark plastic frames sat on his nose. His black locks were deliberately mussed.

His clothes didn’t really matter, though. What made his costume convincing was his serious, even severe expression—his aura of total authority. No one could look at him without immediately understanding that he was in charge.

To complete the role, he carried one of those wooden pointers that I remembered from my mother’s photos of her sixth grade classes, at least a yard long and perhaps half an inch in diameter.

“That must be practically an antique,” I commented in the cab.

“A classic instrument of correction,” he replied. “Passed down through the family. My father used this on my brother and me when we needed to be punished.”

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