Thursday, November 30, 2006

A telling list

Warning and disclaimer: *#$&^ XYpgzabd ~@@LKSAR #$XX^wot& *&&%@bbc etc

My eight year old son went off for his school camping trip yesterday. A week prior to that, the class teacher sent home a "packing list" for the children to practise packing their own bags for the trip. I left him to it. He's eight years old, he's plenty old enough to plan for what he will and will not need for three days away from home, or so I'd like to think. I am proud to say I managed to leave his backpack alone exactly as he had packed it.

And so he left on Wednesday.

Last night, I looked at the list again, as it was just lying around on the table, as I had nothing else to look at since we are still adhering to this no-TV during the weekdays business.

I went through the list casually but carefully, curiously, mostly out of boredom. It consists of the following items:

1. 3 sets of underwear
2. 1 sweatshirt or jumper
3. 1 pair of trousers
4. 1 pair of shorts
5. 1 set of pyjamas
6. 1 pair spare comfortable shoes
7. 1 towel
8. soap, shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste
9. book/games/cards (no computer games)
10. water bottle (leak proof and refillable)
11. flash light (check batteries)
12. camera (at own risk)
13. pencil, eraser, ruler, small notebook
14. tissues
15. suncream
16. insect repellent

And it struck me that I've sent my son off for three days with no spare T-shirt nor spare socks.

I'm pretty certain that such a list can only be drawn up by a male teacher. I say so because the list goes against the logus of domesticity, which is, as we all know, female turf.

This list is a list to show parents that the teachers have a plan. My guess is, this list was first drawn up the the female teachers, but then the (male) head teacher thought naah... it's too bloody long... and so he shortened it, and added a couple of items himself (i.e. flashlight being one, obviously), and tweaked around with the numbers a bit.

That's why the underpants are on top of the list. Clean underpants are so very important for women, the male head teacher thought. But in this case, I think he's gone over the top. Three sets of underwear for two nights? It's not like these eight year olds are going to shit in their pants or rub whipped cream all over their knickers before the orgies commence. So why three sets? An attempt to simulate the workings of the female mind! of course! an attempt to say to the mothers, "oh yes darling we know! we care! we think just like you! that's why your kids are safe with us!"

And why a spare pair of "comfortable shoes"? Surely only a certain kind of women would consider this an essential item on the list - OLD women, that is. When men think about what mothers want to see on the list, they think what their own mothers would like to see on the list. And their mothers are OLD women. There, another puzzle solved.

And "tissues", for chrissakes. Fucking tissues. How gay is that. When hetero men try to think what women want, they think what gay men want. Tell me, how fucked up is that. How fucked up our world is.

1 comment:

Jamie said...

I refer you to this article from The Times which asks the intriguing question, why are straight men such poofs?:,,1065-2466602.html