Self Expression Magazine

Curtains and Other Problems

Posted on the 28 December 2016 by Ashleylister @ashleylister
When my eldest son was about fourteen there was a fashion for boys’ hair that was commonly known as ‘curtains.'  I admit it was a fashion I wasn’t particularly fond of, but remembering my own teenage hair (styles and colours) I wasn’t too bothered when Joe’s hair was grown into the fashionable style.If I remember rightly (and actually, I was the family hairdresser at the time, so must have had a hand in this) it meant a fringe, parted into two fairly thick curtains, framing the face.The back of the head was shaved short and there was a weird pudding basin effect when viewed from the side.
Something I’m sure I got from my mom was a pretty laissez faire attitude to teenage attire and style.I’ve always loved people who dressed a little way out (my husband’s all year round shorts obsession bears this out), and I used to go out of my way to dress my children in clothes that nobody else had, mostly designed and sewn or knitted by myself.This lasted until they were about eleven when they began to show signs of gentle rebellion.I was wise enough to know that what they desired most was to fit in with their friends and peers, so Joe’s jacket with the hand appliqued Dennis the Menace on the back, or Laurey’s coat made out of a remnant of padded flowery curtain material just didn’t cut it any more when their mates were in Adidas and Nike.
I look back to my own teenage years where my best friend and I were desperate to be different.Living in London this was pretty difficult: everyone was different in London.We bought tiny kilts and wore them with skinny rib jumpers, tap shoes and stripey tights.We strutted up and down Wood Green High Road and basked in the comments and compliments.Even at the time, I was sure they were directed more at her as a tall, slim, long legged burgeoning beauty, rather than the short, stocky friend, but I comforted myself with the thought that I was generally the instigator of any particular fashion experiment.When we ventured into town on the tube we didn’t get a second glance, there were far more interesting sights.
Anyway, back to Joe and his curtains.At about this time a note came home from school, informing us in no uncertain terms that this particular hairstyle would no longer be tolerated.It didn’t explain why.Between us, his dad and I agreed that it was a ridiculous rule, but, as an act of solidarity with authority, we told Joe to brush his hair to one side whilst he was at school, and threw the letter in the bin.Shortly after this we heard that a few boys had been put to work in isolation for continuing to sport the curtains hairstyle.Despite being an ex teacher, married to an ex teacher (albeit one who defied the rules of tie wearing for thirty odd years) I have never understood the rules applying to kids’ hairstyles. I agree it’s preferable for pupils to look presentable, but surely that’s subjective anyway?And to be isolated for the curtains style struck me as quite pointless.   This view was backed up a year or so later when short, shaved hair became the rage.Lo and behold, this was also deemed inappropriate and those sporting the style were once again doomed to work in isolation.This went on throughout my son’s high school years – basically, whatever was in fashion was against the rules.  

Curtains and Other Problems

Curtains and a Flat Top

Amongst other things I once spent an increasingly frustrated and annoyed thirty minutes going over the yellow stitching on my son’s shoes with a black felt tip pen, to avoid him being excluded.  I’m all for rules, so long as they are sensible and meaningful.  In my mind coloured stitching was something that really didn’t merit worrying about.  But then I am the teacher who has been reprimanded twice  for wearing inappropriate clothing.  Personally, I thought the yellow flying suit with cartoon characters was fine for infants PE, and the red ski pants matched perfectly the vermillion in the multicoloured mohair jumper. To be warned by a member of the School Fashion Police, herself wearing a beige blouse, green pleated crimplene skirt, a pair of flat pumps and an expression of disdain simply added insult to injury.
There was another story about curtains that I debated telling here.It involved the husband, a square bay window, a curtain rail, a screwdriver, some screws, two large curtains and a hammer.But that’s another story.Suffice to say, the husband, the curtains and the rail ended up through the smashed window, the table he was standing on lost a leg and a divorce was only avoided by his firm promise to get a man in…..I’ll save the full version for another day. was 'curtains' for this week's poem due to illness. Thanks for reading      Jill Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to Facebook


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