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Youth be known - shadows of echoes of memories of songs
j4
j4
Youth be known
The scene: Newmarket Road Tesco.

I load the conveyor belt with a couple of cut-price bottles of Jacob's Creek, some ready-made pasta salads, a ready-made stir-fry, a couple of tins of dolphin-friendly tuna -- we're looking at a fairly dull middle-class lunch-break shop -- and then walk to the end of the checkout with my reused carrier bags, returning the cashier's automatic "hello" with a slightly distracted smile and a "hi", and wait for my shopping to start rolling towards me. The cashier picks up a bottle of wine, looks at the bottle, looks at me doubtfully, and then says "Could I see some ID please?"

I look back at her, momentarily confused. ID? For buying alcohol? I'm old enough that I don't expect it any more, but still about three years away from being flattered by it. But my brain catches up, and I say "oh, yes, hang on," and start ferreting around in my wallet.

As I'm fishing my driving licence out, and then as she's counting on a year at a time (I can see her lips moving) from 1978 to 2006, I suddenly realise what's going on. I'm wearing a knee-length grey skirt, grey woollen tights, a blue and grey stripy shirt, and black round-toed velcro-buckled sandals... Oh dear, oh dear.

I am in Tesco, at lunchtime, trying to buy wine, and I am wearing school uniform.
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Comments
martling From: martling Date: January 30th, 2006 02:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
*giggle*

Oh, and prod re: 11/12th?
j4 From: j4 Date: January 30th, 2006 02:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ah, sorry, yes, it's my turn on email, isn't it... :)

vinaigrettegirl From: vinaigrettegirl Date: January 30th, 2006 02:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
You got away with sandals at school?

(That has made me laugh more than anything in the last week: thank you VERY much!!!)
j4 From: j4 Date: January 30th, 2006 03:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
You got away with sandals at school?

Heh. Well, they're closed-toe sandals (maybe sandals isn't the right word -- what do you call school-shoe-shaped shoes?), and I wouldn't have got away with them when I was still in uniform because they've got a bit of a platform/rise, but I could have (and would have) worn them in the sixth-form.

Sixth-form was "own clothes" but with a raft of rules and regulations about not wearing "pelmets" (extremely short skirts), not having skirts trailing on the ground, not wearing boots ("you're not going mountaineering, are you?"), not wearing "beachwear" (anything with shoestring straps) or "indecent" tops (anything with low cleavage). And ABSOLUTELY NO TROUSERS because we were supposed to look like women. And oh it would have been so much simpler and smarter if they'd just specified a uniform.

And so (being a contrary teen) I took the letter of the law and twisted it beyond recognition. I mean, the rules didn't prohibit specific colours or fabrics, so there was clearly nothing wrong with garish kipper ties, or psychedelic print dresses, or chequerboard tights, or lace gloves, or a scarlet crushed-velvet skirt-suit, or even a gold lamé dress and matching platform shoes (all obsessively accessorised with matching jewellery and nailvarnish)... was there? :-)
From: bibliogirl Date: January 30th, 2006 03:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
A gold lamé dress to school? Madam, I salute you (as I spent my sixth-form years, and most of those since, in jeans/leggings and t-shirt or jumper or both, depending on the season)
j4 From: j4 Date: January 30th, 2006 03:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'd have been happy to wear jeans and t-shirts if it had been allowed -- I only went to such ridiculous lengths because I objected to being forced to wear skirts. I mean, I can see what they were trying to do (teach us to dress smartly or smart-casual as we'd have to for a job), but when I want to do that, I wear black trousers and a blouse. Easy, smart, and (you'd think) fairly unobjectionable for a 20th century Western woman... but apparently not feminine enough for Loughborough High School.

I believe they let their girls wear trousers these days, though, now that there's a new headmistress who isn't completely insane. :-)
perdita_fysh From: perdita_fysh Date: January 31st, 2006 08:37 am (UTC) (Link)
One of my colleagues here was telling me the other day that his daughter has to wear a suit for sixth form, and I thought that was actually a great idea. They get to look different to the younger kids, and more grown up, and get the feel of working in a business like atmosphere. Plus getting comfortable with wearing a suit in an easy environment, as they do take some getting used to.

Having recently started wearing suits to work every day, it is also not dissimilar to wearing uniform in terms of making decisions in the morning, which is great *&)
k425 From: k425 Date: January 30th, 2006 03:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
Mary Janes?
j4 From: j4 Date: January 30th, 2006 03:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
*googles* Ah, yes, that's the badger. Thank you!
k425 From: k425 Date: January 30th, 2006 04:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
When I were a lad, they were just 'school shoes with buckles' as opposed to 'lace-ups'. But apparently they've had a name all this time and I only learnt it recently so this was my chance to shine!
vinaigrettegirl From: vinaigrettegirl Date: January 30th, 2006 05:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
Not a thing wrong with it, IMHO. (I'm a stickler about sub-fusc but not about secondary-school creativity.) All very feminine, actually.
j4 From: j4 Date: January 30th, 2006 05:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
Heh, not sure I looked very feminine (I was quite keen on looking either butch or camp in those days, though not very good at either, & I suspect the result was more comical than I realised) except in a drag-queen kind of way.

When it mattered I did dress more sensibly, usually -- e.g. for the "Women in Business" seminar day thing that they made us attend, when I wore a very grown-up navy wool suit with a cream silk shirt and pearl cufflinks. (I think that's when I realised that it's all faking it, and if you fake it well enough, however ironically you intend it, it's as good as doing it for real.)

And I wore the scarlet crushed-velvet skirt-suit to my Oxford interview, and got in. :-)
k425 From: k425 Date: January 30th, 2006 02:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
*laughs*
d_floorlandmine From: d_floorlandmine Date: January 30th, 2006 03:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
[snork] Reading that nearly gave away that I was doing something other than typing up notes from a meeting with an IT Support Salesdroid ...
caramel_betty From: caramel_betty Date: January 30th, 2006 03:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
as she's counting on a year at a time from 1978 to 2006

Gasp. hoiho told me you were much older than that on Friday. The bounder!
j4 From: j4 Date: January 30th, 2006 03:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
Poor chap -- I guess he's getting a bit confused, with the big five-oh creeping up on him.
chrisvenus From: chrisvenus Date: January 30th, 2006 03:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
Mmmm.... school uniform....

Sorry, I just felt the need to add that. It would be terribly inappropriate to ask for photos wouldn't it? ;-)
truecatachresis From: truecatachresis Date: January 30th, 2006 08:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
It would indeed be terribly inappropriate.

Like you were the only one thinking that...
rysmiel From: rysmiel Date: January 30th, 2006 03:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
Envisioning this is putting a smile on my face. Which for a Monday morning with two sizable horrible worky things coming up is really something. Thank you. *hug*
hairyears From: hairyears Date: January 30th, 2006 04:28 pm (UTC) (Link)


Take a wander down Fogey Shopping Paradise (Jermyn Street) someday: all those shops selling comfy and reassuring clothes to public schoolboys that remind them subliminally of school uniform and casual afternoons in the cricketing pavilion. And, when they need a break from the stress of shopping, there's all the little caffs selling comfortingly stodgy food that reminds them sumlimibally of school dinners.

We get a lot of it in the Square Mile, too.

gleet From: gleet Date: January 31st, 2006 09:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
Last year I was at an event in some University of Manchester Building. The event was on the first floor. I popped out of the building at some point around 6 in the evening, and when I returned I got in the lift (for shame! only one floor up) while two women got out. One turned to me and asked if I worked in the building. I mistook the meaning of her question to be seeking information on finder her way around, so I looked apologetic and said, "no, sorry," at which point the lift doors closed and I ascended to the walkway one story up in the mezanine. From there I heard the woman who spoke to me ask the security guard if he knew whether he knew there was a schoolboy loose in the building. Schoolboy! It turned out I was wearing school uniform (first time I'd worn my Balliol tie in ages!).

I'm a few years older than you... I guess I should have been flattered.
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