I’ve always had an aversion to wearing dresses. It’s not that I don’t like wearing them, it’s that I feel naked or exposed in them. There have been many times when I’ve worn a pair of running shorts underneath a dress or a skirt, and that’s eased some of my tension even if it looks dorky! I’ve never understood it, not really. I don’t have any tales to tell of standing with my knickers (or lack of them) exposed after a gust of wind turned my dress into a turban. Nothing like that.
So imagine my surprise when I finally worked out where this aversion came from (it only took me forty plus years!)
Recently, I went to the park with my niece who is four years old and very active. I took a bunch of photos of her on the swing, the slippery dip, the rope climbing thing (no idea what that’s called) and her push bike. When I got home and downloaded the photos, I realised they were all totally and completely useless.
In every shot I could see her underpants.
And that’s when I realised where my aversion came from. As a rather active child, wearing a dress was a disaster. No matter what I did, I was showing my underpants. If I climbed, ran, sat, I was always being told, “Keep your knees together,” or “Slow down,” or “Be more ladylike.” It was some hugely forbidden thing to allow anyone to see your underpants – or so my mother thought, and maybe in the 70s this was true.
Being an active child, there was a decision to be made; to wear a dress, or not to wear a dress.
Easiest choice out. I wore pants whenever I could. I got into less trouble. I wasn’t flashing my knickers at everyone. I could do what I wanted without having to keep my knees together.
I own a few dresses, but it’s not often you find me in one. Only a very special occasion warrants a dress, but I’m never comfortable wearing one. I did get married in a dress but it touched the floor which meant little chance of flashes of underwear!
Back to my niece, I sent the photos to my sister and explained that I’d never use them due to the underpants flashing, and she laughed at me. Her view was that the pants matched the dress and covered the child, so I didn’t need to worry…but I did, and I do. I blame my childhood!
Do you have any weird childhood experiences that affect you?