May 5, 2010

"The sultan has a duty to the harem. You will be called upon countless times to perform duties only a man can carry out successfully."

"For example, you will: change flat tires, put on snow chains, unlock locked bumpers and carry in bulky packages."

A line from an obituary that I put at the end of this post from last Saturday. It's about my old teacher, Mr. Hannan, who wrote a novel about being the only male teacher at an elementary school. The name of another teacher comes up in the obit, and it sends me into an old memory:
Mr. Ginter! The man whose office I was sent to by teachers who didn't like my short skirts and long bangs! Ha. He tried to reason with me, hypothesizing what if a girl came to school in a bikini. What would happen to the poor boys? I reasoned back: I was not wearing a bikini, but a skirt — in the length that was fashionable. Let the girls wear pants then, but don't force me to wear a skirt that's the wrong length.
Here's a picture of me from that era, but that's not a mini-skirt, it's what you call a skort, and I would have been disciplined for wearing that even if it had been knee length.

55 comments:

James said...

WOW!

They had color film back then?

David said...

I can see why you would want to post the photo--hubba, hubba.

(Shameless grovel before Althouse, trolls. I admit it.)

Irene said...

Was the 1960s term for a "skort" culottes?

Big Mike said...

James, I do believe you're in trouble.

edutcher said...

Very demure, Madame.

I've always gotten a laugh out of women asking me to run and roll up their car windows because it's raining. I always tell them, "But you're equal now. you can do it as well as I, maybe better". Of course, chivalry wins out because I like the lady in question and she asks me nicely.

But I do identify with the idea that 'man's work' still exists, Gloria Steinbrenner notwithstanding.

Irene said...

Was the 1960s term for a "skort" culottes?

I think culottes were longer.

Ann Althouse said...

"Was the 1960s term for a "skort" culottes?"

The term "skort" was used in the 60s (and also the 50s). It refers to shorts that are fashioned into something like a skirt.

"Culottes" referred so something longer. A regular skirt length, but with hidden fabric going between the legs. I had horrible dark green wool culottes that were knee-length and looked enough like a skirt that I could get away with wearing it to school -- though it was against the rules.

That photo was taken by my father -- more than 40 years ago. By the way, I am wearing Mary Quant false eyelashes.

As my whimsy leads me.. said...

By my sophomore year in high school, girls were allowed to wear pantsuits and culottes--but only if the culottes were pleated, so that they looked like skirts. That was also about the time that "midis" and "maxis" came into style, so the length issue eased. By the time I was a senior, we could wear jeans on some days, but it didn't work for me because I was in a back brace for scoliosis, and jeans couldn't accommodate it.

Toy

Irene said...

People in our unfashionable neck of the woods called all short, skirt-like pants "culottes." Thanks for the explanation.

I also had an experience with a woolen "skort;" it was part of my uniform at Catholic high school. It was a progressive, "cool nun" kind of place. I stopped sending the school alumnae money after I Googled some of the sisters' names and found that they had signed Code Pink petitions.

The eyelashes are fabulous. Even Latisse can't produce a look like that.

Pogo said...

'Mr. Ginter! The man whose office I was sent to..."

And today, decades later, there are few rules for many schools about what cannot be worn, nor any concern about sex.

This has not been an improvement.

Trooper York said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rick Lee said...

That picture reminds me so much of Junior High. If I had known you, I would have had a huge crush, but would have been scared to death to talk to you.

JAL said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JAL said...

More on skorts ....

They could look like really short skirts, but in fact had short-like legs. The one I had wrapped around the shorts part and could be flipped around to the other side to for a different color. They didn't really last long as a fashion statement, me thinks.

When I went to school (in the north) girls could only wear pants (they didn't make girl jeans much)to school if the temperature was below 10 degrees.

We were at Merlefest the other day and I was marveling at how the girls were trying to maneuver in their teeny tiny short dresses and skirts so as to not show us their [teeny tiny] underpants they sat on the ground.

Culottes (which can be quite cool looking these days) was/were what Dale Rogers wore.

Robert said...

The first thing that comes to mind is ZZ Top.

"SHe's got legs..."

But did Ms. Althouse know how to use them?

Shanna said...

Cute!

That story reminds of the one my mom always tells about how she LED THE REVOLUTION on campus at her college to be able to wear pants. Heh.

sean said...

The private school girls in NYC, like my daughter, are allowed to wear pants, but of course they aren't interested. Their main aim, as it has been for fifty years, is to see how short they can wear their skirts. Also to see if they can get away with bare midriffs, spaghetti straps, etc. I feel sorry for the teachers who have to enforce all those clothing rules. I refuse to get involved in policing teenage modesty myself.

Trooper York said...

Jeez, you really love this photo! You must have posted it five or six times.

I mean I would hate to post photos of me when I was a young whippersnapper!

Daniel Fielding said...

Ann- was that a photo from your Ann Arbor High days?

Ann Althouse said...

"Jeez, you really love this photo! You must have posted it five or six times."

It's my only picture from that era that I have on line.

I think I have a picture of myself when I was 2 in Flickr somewhere.

Ann Althouse said...

@Daniel I went to Wayne Valley Senior High School in Wayne, New Jersey.

edutcher said...

Trooper York said...

Jeez, you really love this photo! You must have posted it five or six times.

I mean I would hate to post photos of me when I was a young whippersnapper!


Was that from your PT boat days, smuggling MacArthur out of the Philippines or your on the beach days in Tahiti?

Rialby said...

Yeah - you were hot. If I had been alive then I totally would have hit on you.

Trooper York said...

What about the photo you took with your brother?

That was kinda cool.

Trooper York said...

Plus you are not fair to Meade. I mean you never post his photo?

I thought Meadhouse was a partnership and all that there?

Trooper York said...

I mean you should post photos of your favorite commentors.

Like hdhouse!

Trooper York said...

Or garage mahal!

Trooper York said...

Or
Pallidan!

Trooper York said...

Or especially Titus!

Trooper York said...

It's just not fair I tells ya!

Rialby said...

By the way... when are you going to post on vera baker? The sun times ran news today about how Obama got his girlfriend a job with Roland Burris. Yes, that Rolland Burris.

JAL said...

Trooper -- Who is "Pallidan?"

paul a'barge said...

Can't get a word in edgewise what with Trooper York and all ... giving up.

EDH said...

The man whose office I was sent to by teachers who didn't like my short skirts and long bangs!

He wasn't the only authority figure from the 1960s. What about Joe Friday, and hanging out on the Sunset Strip?

Althouse looks a lot like "Edna Mae" in the infamous Blue Boy episode of Dragnet.

essaybee said...

God bless my mom for making us (her six daughters) break down the pants barrier.

"You tell them if they want you to wear a dress they can come give you a ride to school every morning."

We had just moved from mild southern climes to upstate New York mountains. Brrr.

Paul Zrimsek said...

"You, a future law professor!"

Class factotum said...

I went to Catholic school in sixth grade. We could wear pants, but they had to be under our uniform, which was a skirt. That's a great look.

Robert said...

Ann here looks like a member of the Manson family before the time when she ran away from home and met Charlie.

Trooper York said...

paul a'barge said...
Can't get a word in edgewise what with Trooper York and all ... giving up.

Come on Paul. Don't be a party pooper. I am sure the professor will be happy to post your photo!

Bruce Hayden said...

Ann, you were hot back then (still pretty good). And, I love the hair. Close to my favorite hair color. Though I was a year or two older, you probably would have scared me away.

I think the skort comes from a time when the dress code for girls was migrating from skirts to pants. What I remembered were a lot of things that looked like skirts, but weren't. Within a couple of years, the girls could wear pants/jeans.

My favorite dress code story concerned my freshman year in college (68-69). When we arrived, Sunday dinner was still coats and ties. By spring, a lot of guys were wearing coats, ties, shorts, and not much else. Maybe a T-shirt. Sometimes not even that. Sandals or even bare feet. And that was the end of dressing up for Sunday dinner.

Eric said...

Okay Ann, you were (and still are) cute. I'll forgive and forget you were an Obamarube.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Wayne Twp, musta been 1969, likely graduated with my roommate at W&M. Huh. Small world.

"Skort," was not a word used by the girls much, at least at my NH school. It was used by their mothers, which caused eyerolling from the daughters, who knew that this was a hopelessly wrong word. Culottes were any divided skirt or dress.

David R. Graham said...

I think the cullotte came about as a compromise between pants and skirts at least partly in relation to riding horses.

Historically, of course, women rode in carriages or side-saddle, at least mostly. There was a reason for this modern ears wouldn't approve.

Men too wore skirts or robes in some places and this created problems with horsemanship.

The culotte was a solution for both men and women in this regard. Thus Dale Evans wearing them, and other actresses in western movies. Rather common, as I recall. For example, if memory serves, June Lockhart in two episodes of Have Gun Will Travel.

As I remember the culotte in the 50s and 60s, it was, as Ann says, not particularly attractive or considered to be.

The point of female fashion and revolt was to hike hems. The skort was a short-lived compromise version of doing that. There were some in SoCal in the 50s and 60s or at least the 60s, but not a lot. And not in schools.

Some costumes on Laugh-In were skorts, as I recall. Diana Rigg may have worn them (memory fuzzy -- the famous ice rink appearance, feet first, in On Her Majesty's Secret Service). And there were some on the street and some movies, especially paired with calf-high or knee-high boots. But I don't recall Twiggy in them and the mini-skirt or mini-dress or short-shorts overwhelmed the skort fairly quickly as I recall. It was never that popular in SoCal during the years mentioned here, but it was there.

The cullotte, bloused and gathered at the ankle, has comprised a military uniform in various times and climes.

As women's clothing it always seemed to me not fashionable and originating as a compromise between a skirt and pants so that a horse could be ridden astride. Twiggy pretty much effaced it.

Edwin said...

Aaahhh, gingeeerrrr!!!!

Tiny Bunch said...

And gaucho pants were?

Skyler said...

I never heard of a skort until recently. They still call them that but they're for 2 and 3 year old girls.

jamboree said...

Cute! Kinda Tracy Flick/Nancy Drew meets Lindsay Lohan (who should keep her hair *red* dammit - what is she thinking?).

jayemarr said...

Funny how my rabid feminist of an ex-wife would have me investigate any odd noise she heard late at night. The "equality" stuff was nowhere to be found when deciding who should pay what household expenses, either.

Patrick said...

I think I can say on good authority that you were quite the hot momma back in the day... and that I'd hit that, all day long, twice on Saturday. :)

-Pat

RebeccaH said...

Good Lord. Does that photo ever bring back memories!

Fred4Pres said...

I bet Meade likes that photo.

Sure, just a reason to discuss the skort! Snort!

Donald Douglas said...

You're beautiful, Ann.

jamboree said...

re: Gender-based duties Being the little sister of a male geek, I grew up with innate exposure to geekly things from an early age - a recessive trait in me, but there. In college, whenever there was computer/audio stuff to be hooked up and if there were a guy around, I'd still let the less-exposed guys do it because they'd mostly get pissy otherwise. (That's changed at this point. I hook it up all the time now.)

However, if it were an all female house, I'd be the one called on to do it while the rest acted clueless. I still remember hooking a system up and one of my good friends getting all grateful and offering me lemonade. Weird moment. Hah.

Don't know much about cars or electrical wiring, but then neither do most of my male friends. I'd want them to do it because it's less important if they get messy, but I'd do it in a pinch. I just had to resurface my deck because the contractors couldn't seem to handle it and I couldn't see throwing more $ down the toilet. Use of power tools in the hot sun is a great excuse to reward yourself with champagne or beer ...like a day of snowboarding.

RR Ryan said...

Sean is right about girls wanting to wear the skirts as short as they possibly can. I'm reminded of a clip from the Spice Girls movie where the girls are in the dressing room and Posh asks the rest if her dress is too short. They reply in the negative. She responds by hiking it another two inches.

M. Simon said...

In that old picture you look a lot like my first (and still) mate. Maybe that is why I'm so attracted to you.

M. Simon said...

Let me add that I am a sucker for smart women. In that respect Ann, my first mate has you beat.

She saw through Obama from the beginning.

Not only that, she was wise enough to predict a rise of racism charges if he got elected.