Elizabeth 01: An IntroductionbyYDB95©
It was nearing the end of a chilly, but not too forbidding day in Westfordshire City. Elizabeth hurried up the high street, clutching her cloak tightly around her to keep warm as she anticipated the hot mineral bath just a few blocks away. The sun, already barely visible behind the clouds and drizzle of the season, was vanishing behind the long row of old, cold and yet beautiful brick buildings lining the avenue, and a gentle sheet of rain was barely visible in the light of the ornate electric lamps on either side of the street. Inside the street-level shops, the occasional electric light and the more common oil lamps cast a warm glow on the shoppers and the wares they were considering; and the streetcars rushed by up and down the low-sloping hill, the occasional clopping horse and rider dodging them as they went. Other pedestrians raced by Elizabeth on the sidewalk, hoping to avoid the hard rain that seemed to be coming, but Elizabeth herself was in no hurry. The baths would be worth waiting for, they would be all the more refreshing should she endure a bit of rain just beforehand, and her clothing would be dry when she returned to the pleasantly heated dressing room.
The thought of returning to the dressing room, though, was an unwelcome event to look forward to just then, for it would mean a return to the chilly and lonesome evening after the incomparable companionship that awaited her in the baths. Some months having passed since her last relationship had ended, Elizabeth was not looking forward to winter alone in her bed each night. But oh, the joy of the baths that would revive her in the meantime!
Elizabeth was happy, for she was always assured of a welcoming audience at the bathhouse. The odd and intimate attention bothered her no longer. It was a satisfying reward for having learned to love her body after so many of the girls at school had encouraged her so to hate it. Nowadays some said Elizabeth was too proud of her uniquely beautiful body. That mattered little to her, although she wished that the girls back at school could know that.
A few, of course, did know it, and it ate at them that Elizabeth -- Gorilla Lady or the She-Man, as some had called her back in the gymnasium changing room -- was now considered such a belle in some circles. That, naturally, made a sweet reward for Elizabeth.
The reason why she was thusly honoured was not discussed openly in Westforshire City society; but the ladies who frequented their bathhouse, and the young men who dated some of the loose-lipped of that group, often whispered about it enviously or admiringly or both in their more intimate corners. It was not because she was exceptionally pretty, though she was, with her thick curly chestnut mane, dark eyes, full hips and bottom, long legs kept discreetly swathed in a long skirt most of the time, and elegantly small breasts which she kept modestly bound in the latest in lacy brassieres from the boutiques on the high street. It was not because she enjoyed the run of an entire floor of one of the bigger mansions on the edge of the city, although she did, in exchange for some light nanny work and writing services for the man of the house. It was not because she was among the successful young generation of professional women who were transforming the city so rapidly, though she was, with a successful editing practice in a downtown office. It was not even because she had had the occasional tryst with a member of Westfordshire City's young male population; she had, but so had most single women of her young and liberated generation. No, Elizabeth was an honoured and anticipated guest among the ladies of the bathhouse for a more intimate reason than that, one that was impossible to miss in that insular but open community where none could hide certain things and most did not try.
Elizabeth did not know why her most intimate distinction had befallen her. Having never seen either of her parents in the nude that she could recall, she did not know if either or both of them experienced the same affliction. She had seen her sister in the bath enough times to know that not all members of her family had it, in any case. Nor could she recall just when she discovered that she was unusual; it had not been obvious to her at first. The changes of puberty had taken their course with her as with everyone, and back in those days of her early teens, she had found that she liked how she looked as a brand new woman. Exploring herself down between her thighs as she had done from a very young age indeed, she enjoyed the fuzziness newly embracing the most intimate part of her body. When examining herself in the mirror after a bath, she found she liked the dignified, mysterious look the new triangle of hair added. She did not object particularly to the lighter, but still visible, sprinkling of hair that appeared under and on her arms, on her legs, and even a bit between her (also new) breasts; but nothing compared to the new and naughty pleasure of knowing she now had hair between her legs.
What Elizabeth did not know at that tender age was that she had much, much more hair between her legs than most other girls her age, or even many adult women. She was not long in learning. Upon her earliest realizations of her distinction, owing to her sister, cousins and a few close friends who had occasion to change clothes in her presence, Elizabeth found she enjoyed knowing she was different in such a private way. Her ornate lady-garden looked more feminine and delightfully mysterious than any other she had seen, and it felt lush amidst her fingers on the increasingly common occasions when she was alone in her bedchamber and free to indulge herself. Even the effect of its bulging and peeking out from behind her underclothes before she put her dress on in the morning made her feel delightfully grown up and sensuous. As her woman's body blossomed, Elizabeth had no inkling at all that her unusual intimate characteristic should ever be cause for shame or embarrassment.
She had learned it soon enough, though, and in the rudest of ways, when she was sent off to school at fourteen. Elizabeth could no longer recollect whether the rude looks and nasty comments had begun on the very first occasion she was compelled to change her clothing in the school gymnasium. She imagined now that the naïve girl she was then had little cause for fear on that first day she removed her dress, happy as she was with her body's unique details in those long-gone days. But the teasing and tormenting had not been long in coming, and they remained burned on her memory even today. "Gorilla Lady"... "Junglepussy"... "Hey, this is the girls' room! Got a cock hidden in there?" Day after day, term after term, the other girls had sentenced Elizabeth to several years of self-doubt and humiliation over the characteristic that had once brought her such tenderly erotic joy in the earliest days of her young womanhood.
And she had tried to change and conform -- how she had tried! There was the hair-removal tonic ordered discreetly from a newspaper advertisement -- it had burned her tender skin and turned her once-lush hair brittle, but it had not removed it. Rather, it had had the perverse effect of making her pubes stand out straight, so that they were even more noticeable than before and poked her chafed skin when she put on her underclothes in the morning. There were also her vain efforts at trimming the hair down to the nub, which made her pubes shorter but still quite visible, followed closely by a misadventure with a razor that made her private area itch so that she could barely sit still in the classroom. This had not silenced her tormentors in the girls' room, who commented on the possibility of offering their fathers' services in teaching her a better shave than that. And in any case the hair had grown back, if anything more full and wild and visible than before. When all else failed, Elizabeth had resorted to wearing her underclothes into the bath, resulting in harsher comments than ever from the bullies who knew they had won, as well as miserable afternoons in damp skirts afterward.
Ultimately there was no choice but to ignore the taunts and accept that she was who she was. This she did, and with time she even came to rediscover the love for her body that she had known not so long before. Braving the nasty comments from her classmates, Elizabeth had forced herself to feign pride in her natural uniquely endowed body until she once again felt it for real. Eventually the taunts had died down to a more manageable level. She never quite ceased to attract the occasional stare and snicker in the changing room, and some of her tormentors became quite agitated at the realization that their victim even seemed to enjoy her gift. But most of the girls, at least, lost interest when they saw that Elizabeth did not appear to care anymore.
Care, though, she did, and the lesson she had learned was still with her all these years later, after a successful run at university and several years of happy life in bustling Westfordshire City. Those depressing days at school had had a paradoxical effect on Elizabeth, for had since grown almost too proud of her body and its unusual degree of hirsutism. From the first time she'd been to the baths -- a week or so after turning seventeen, the youngest age allowed -- she'd gone in with her head held high and her chest thrust out and wearing a smile...and, of course, nothing else. No shame, no apologies, no explanations, and no clothing. From day one, she'd turned heads in the bath, even heads of ladies who'd seen hundreds of other naked bodies. That she was different caught their attention; that she was proud earned their respect. Even those who did not find her attractive admired her confidence in accepting who she was; but many did find her attractive as well.
It had not been easy for Elizabeth at first. From that very first visit to the baths, she recognized once again that she was indeed unique, or at least unusual. But she'd heard enough whispers about the baths throughout her adolescence to know that word was out about any new visitor once she had been in the water. And Elizabeth did have something to prove. So, swallowing her embarrassment at the stares that greeted her on those first few visits, whether they were impressed or repulsed, she feigned a giddy confidence in her own body that eventually became real. Nowadays all the ladies of the Westforshire City baths respected and admired Elizabeth for her proud individuality, whether they found her attractive or not.
As for men, some liked it, some did not. Elizabeth had learned that there were enough of the former that she needn't bother with the latter. She had also heard more than one drunken older man declare in a barroom conversation that "the hairy ones are the horny ones!" Knowing that that belief was out there, Elizabeth was more than happy to let her intimate hair grow naturally forever after. She suspected it was more than likely true to boot, for she possessed an insatiable sexual hunger that the liberated lifestyle of Westfordshire City had served only to whet further in the few years since her arrival. Some of the other ladies at the baths rivalled Elizabeth in their appetites, but she doubted that any surpassed her. A link between the two made perfect sense to Elizabeth, and for all her teenage strife, she knew she would change nothing now.
She was also worldly enough to know that some of the male acquaintances of the bath ladies knew her secret -- after all, she and the other ladies talked about men in the baths as well. Sometimes it was almost too obvious that a young man had heard the news: if he had rarely noticed her presence in the past but suddenly his eyes lit up when she turned up in the barroom or the restaurant or the store, Elizabeth knew that he knew and approved. This had served her well in her increasingly active dating life since coming to Westforshire City. It was a near-foolproof way of discerning the men with whom she could expect her forested treasures to be an enhancement to their intimacy, and it usually was. On the rare occasion when she guessed wrong and a gentleman showed signs of dismay upon her undressing, a saucy repetition of the barroom line -- "The hairy ones are the horny ones!" -- usually put him at ease long enough to enjoy a roll in her arms. But such men never received a second invitation, for Elizabeth knew there were men available who would not have to be cajoled into appreciating her body.
Naturally, the more conservative members of the city society did not approve of the baths and their intense intimacy. For this reason, the baths were set away from the high street, up a narrow but clean alley where ladies and gentlemen could enter their respective doors discreetly and those who disapproved could choose not to notice. For all that, the baths' clientele was a fairly diverse one, both in terms of age and social status, and one and all who chose to brave the prospect of seeing and being seen without a stitch of clothing -- albeit only by those of the same sex -- enjoyed the warm, intense atmosphere and often racy conversation that ensued inside the baths.
Inside the bathhouse that afternoon, the check-in girl at the women's desk was eyeing the weather outside from a safe and warm distance, and she was a bit frustrated. It was perfect bath weather, and yet attendance at the baths was low today. None could tell why; perhaps the ladies who frequented the house all had some dinner to prepare for, or some such event. At least her job was relatively easy, though it also meant she was stuck there at the counter when she'd rather have been back in the baths.
Perhaps when her shift ended shortly, she could work in a dip before returning home. While still quite young and shy, she was coming to enjoy the camaraderie that came with baring everything for a hot, steamy bath and intimate conversation with the other ladies of the city. It was surprising how quickly the shame wore off when all in attendance were attired in the same way.
And then who should burst in the door but Elizabeth! All smiles and swishing skirts as usual, the ladies' baths' most anticipated guest pulled off her rain hat and greeted the girl, who perked up considerably at the sight. Now she would definitely find time for a bath before going home.
"Hello," Elizabeth said politely, helping herself to the sign-in book, for she knew well what the procedure was.
"Miss Elizabeth! Very pleasant to see you, ma'am," the girl said. "It's been some time, least while I've been on duty. Or in the bath." She cringed at her last observation, then quickly added, "I mean -- I just mean I haven't seen you as much as usual." She blushed, and she and Elizabeth both knew why.
"Yes, well, I'm sorry I haven't been able to visit this week," Elizabeth said gently. The courses of things dictated otherwise, if you see." She nodded slightly at the word "courses," and the girl understood immediately. There was an unwritten, but very strictly observed rule among the ladies of the bath club that one did not attend the baths when her monthly issue was at hand. Elizabeth, having just weathered the last of the scourge of Eve that morning, was very much ready to enjoy the hot tingly water for the first time in more than a week.
"I see," the young girl acknowledged. She was young, but old enough to know just what Elizabeth referred to, and old enough to understand that even their new liberated generation did not discuss such things directly, even at the bathhouse. She would have to remember not to take such notice the next time a frequent customer disappeared for a week. But it was impossible not to take notice of Elizabeth at the baths!
Elizabeth, having signed her name in the log book, accepted her changing room key from the desk girl and walked on down the hall toward the ladies' changing room. She was also more than happy to see the changing room was not crowded that day. A few other women were busy with dressing or undressing, and those in the latter camp perked up a bit when they saw who was joining them. Elizabeth returned their smiles. It was always stimulating for her too, but she was just as happy not to have too large of an audience when she undressed. Even though the attention was now positive rather than negative, it carried an unfortunate reminder of the days when the other girls would stare in horror at her private endowments. There would be more than enough attention shortly in any event.
Elizabeth opened her locker and removed her damp cloak. With the warmth from the soap stones used to heat the baths, it would be nice and dry soon enough. She then kicked off her shoes and, gathering her skirt up, sat down on the bench. First it was off with one stocking, then both. She laid them neatly on top of her shoes, then stood up and put them in the locker. Next, not bothering to look around and see if anyone was watching -- for she knew full well they were -- she removed her bodice and hung it carefully next to her cloak. Reaching back, she quickly and expertly undid her brassiere, which she laid neatly on top of her shoes and stockings. Finally, it was off with her skirt. In keeping with a private tradition that she had enjoyed for some time now, Elizabeth eschewed any underclothing beneath her skirt for a day or two once she was free of the scourge, so she was bare beneath it today. She unbuttoned her skirt and slid it neatly over her hips, revealing at last the glory of nature that had made her such an honoured guest at the bathhouse.
Elizabeth having long since sworn off any of her youthful ideas of trimming or shaving or otherwise removing anything (for she remembered too well both the misery that had inspired those efforts and the further misery they had engendered), her pubic area was remarkable. Eight inches or more across, hip to hip, broad and deep and with stray hairs creeping up towards her navel, it was twice the size of anything the other women in the changing room had to show for themselves. On this occasion, none was a newcomer and all knew what to expect. When such was not the case, Elizabeth could tell immediately by the way they would try but fail to look away -- her great tangle of hair was that unique in this liberated yet too uniform time.
After securing her locker, Elizabeth turned around and, head held high as always, strode toward the pool door. There were modesty cloaks available for women who did not wish to prance around the locker room or pool area stark naked, but Elizabeth had never once used them. She saw no point in hiding behind anything for those few moments when she would inevitably be laid bare in the water in any case. Today, between the weather and the preceding week with its mess and inconvenience, the pull of the warm water and the glorious freedom of nudity were irresistible.
The bath was lit warmly with electric lights that had been present for five or six years, and the painted stone walls reflected the warm glow pleasantly on the water and the bathers' bodies. There were perhaps a dozen women in the large shallow pool; most of them knew Elizabeth but a few were relative newcomers. The changing room door made an unavoidable report when it opened, so a new entrant into the inner feminine sanctum was guaranteed an audience whether she liked it or not. With the exception of the most absolutely uninhibited members of the intimate club, that moment of entry was unavoidably electrifying to the point of being embarrassing. For all her pride, first false and then real, Elizabeth always had felt that same twinge of naughty embarrassment when she appeared in the doorway to be greeted by so many eyes on her bare body. Indeed, she probably felt it more than most, for she was well aware that her uniquely lush lady-garden would garner attention no matter how often the already present women had seen it.