‘Manners maketh man’, I was taught as a child,
Which hardly implies women might have run wild.
In fact, the opposite still rankles true,
General Public all too curious about anything we do,
The thrust (if you’ll pardon the lurid expression)
An unfortunate subtext of silent repression,
The ‘unspoken given’ of generations
Confining rights and expectations
To those who’ve always worn the trousers
While those in full frocks looked after their houses,
Replicating the post-war dream
Of Men back to work with women to clean,
Elegantly styled in the manner of Dior,
Clothes far from appropriate for scrubbing the floor,
That shapely elegance held in place
With girdles wide disguised in lace
-Quite some structural engineering,
All that’s ‘ungainly’ disappearing
Under ruthless bonds of wide elastic
Which make the figure look fantastic,
Leaving rather too much to imagination,
This fabulously asphyxiating fashion sensation,
The connection, by this somewhat circuitous route,
Opportunities knocking for the suit,
The sharp coiffure, the fabulous barnet
(Never forgetting Ena Sharples’ hair net1
A veritable symbol of national pride
To put on a show come Hell or high tide…)
The moral, then, if there’s one to be found
Is, ‘Ladies, be proud to stand your own ground.’





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