A horrifying realisation has been made. It is mostly horrifying because it has taken me this long to make it. I have realised that, on paper, I am a textbook lah-di-dah little lady of what is considered to be snort-snort toffiness and goody-two-shoes privilage. Not just any two shoes either, but the shiny patent leather t-bar kind that girlies wear when going on special outings. It is that bad.
Ballet lessons from the age of four with the quintessential ballet mistress with scraped back black bun and ankle warmers. Private flute lessons, possible the most lady-like and ponciest instrument there is, so I could play refined classical pieces. In various choirs throughout the educational process. Taking part in dance and theatre productions for which my mother often made my costumes. Trips to the ballet, art galleries, operettas, music recitals. Noel Streatfield being a favourite of mine for many a year, especially 'Ballet Shoes' in which I yearned to be a character. A penchant for pretty things: hand-crafted buttons, silky ribbons, ornate perfume bottles, intricate embroidery. I have been known to be in possession of a Little House on the Prairie-style frock and a collection of Alice bands that were invariably clamped to my head. I even have a Degas poster on my wall and a box set of hardback, beautifully illustrated Lewis Carroll books on my shelf.
I bow my head (of gleaming locks, 100 brush-strokes before bed naturally) in shame.
So, of course, I am grateful for all the other things that are not 'on paper', as it were. The fact that I can recite all of 'Robin Hood: Men in Tights', 'The Princess Bride' and the majority of the Star Wars trilogy by heart. The endless Roman wall outings and visits to castles, acting out scenes roitously with plastic swords and shields. Having every single screen version (both silver and small) of Robin Hood there is, on well-worn video. Scratching, punching, biting my way through many a 'play' fight with those of the opposite gender, and often coming out triumphant. Being the sole member of my family who can watch whole episodes of Rome without flinching at, or turning away from, the blood, gore and violence. In fact, I revel in it. Being brought up watching, what I was amusingly reminded of the other day as being referred to by a two year old N as, 'Henry the Viv'; the Laurence Olivier version of Henry V. Having an 'Empire Strikes Back' poster in place next to a Van Gogh. Being known to shriek 'On guard, you varlet!' with violent frequency when wielding weapons throughout childhood.
Thank goodness for the counterbalance. One might have thought me a wussy, prim, thoroughly revolting and precocious girly-girl. I hope I have set the score right.