Never mind where you stand. Much more importantly – how do you stand?

OK – here’ a thought. I was getting dressed this morning – as you do, obviously – and making very heavy weather of it. It’s typical of life, isn’t it? I’m barely functioning, my life signs would lead a medical professional to shout, ‘Clear!’ and do clever things with paddles – and life hits me smack between the eyes with one of the fundamental mysteries of the Universe.

Where’s my other sock?

Where do they go? There were two of them yesterday. I distinctly remember one on each foot.

(You know it’s going to be a bad day if, around 11.00am, you discover you have both socks on the same foot. My advice is to go back to bed. The day’s not going to get any better and removing yourself from it could possibly save lives.)

Anyway, I was trying to decide what to wear. A sentence that in no way conveys the truth, which is that I haven’t done this week’s washing and I’m down to one pair of jeans, an old t-shirt with lily pollen stains that are never going to come out and the very last pair of knickers in my knickers drawer. The ones that are always last choice because the elastic’s gone, or they were accidently boiled, or they’re scratchy or whatever. I keep them, always intending to cut them up for dusters, which would be a fabulous idea if I ever did any dusting.

I’ve lost the plot again. Where was I? Yes. Getting dressed.

I glanced casually in the mirror – more to assure myself I’d got everything in the right order than actually to admire myself – and suddenly thought how round shouldered I was.

I do not have excellent posture. In fact, I always have to make a conscious effort to stand up straight because I’m a child of the 60’s and that was when the Twiggy pose was fashionable.

You know – legs slightly apart, pigeon toed, shoulders forward and hunched, chin down and looking upwards with heavily made-up eyes. At school, we spent hours in the gym toilets – because they had full-length mirrors, before anyone asks – getting the pose just right.

Anyway, that got me thinking. Can you estimate a person’s period by the way they stand?

Images of people in the Middle Ages show them assuming very angular poses. Whether naturally or as a result of the artistic limitations of the day is uncertain.

Tudor women were, apparently, forced to stand with their arms forwards because their skirts and sleeves were too full to let them hang naturally at their sides.

Egyptian people apparently shuffled through life with their heads, shoulders and feet all facing in different directions.

And don’t get me started on what was going on in Manchester when Lowry was around.

I’m sure there are many other examples out there and that I’m going to need to find the missing sock and make another mug of tea (not in that order) to get my head around them.

What do you think? Am I right?

On another note we are off to Devon next week. Hazel keeps referring to it as the "Two Go Mad In Devon Tour" so be afraid, be very afraid.

Here's the itinerary - most of the libraries are selling tickets so please phone ahead to book yours if you haven't yet:

Tuesday 14th May:

10.30am book signing at Waterstones Exeter 252 High Street, EX4 3PZ Exeter, Devon

2.30pm Churston Library, Broadsands Road, TQ4 6LL Paignton

Wednesday 15th May:

10.30am South Molton Library Amory Centre, 125 East Street, EX36 3BU South Molton

2.30pm Sidmouth Library Blackmore Drive, EX10 8LA Sidmouth

Thursday 16th May:

7pm Tiverton Library Phoenix House, EX16 6SA Tiverton, Devon

Friday 17th May:

2pm Cullompton Library 2 Exeter Hill, EX15 1DH Cullompton

7pm Tavistock Library The Quay, Plymouth Rd, PL19 8AB Tavistock


  • Lynne Hazell

    See you at Churston on the 14th!

  • Jill Burton

    Having worn clothing of various eras for extended periods I can tell you that a lot of it has to do with what you are wearing. The Elizabethan stance in particular is dictated by the skirts – in fact there is a contemporary quotation from a woman saying that she wants her bum-roll (aka Scotch farthingale) to be such that she can rest her arms upon it.
    If you ever see a dance group purporting to do historic dance from a period when corsets were worn & they don’t have the appropriate “stays”/“bodies” you can be sure they’re not doing the dance properly.

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