I make a new friend at secondary school called Holly who invites me to her house for the weekend. We have fun staying up late and eating sweets in bed (an innocent age). On the first morning I go down to breakfast in my pyjamas - the family are all bundled up in dressing gowns. The next morning I get up to go to the loo and hear Holly's parents talking - I quickly realise they are talking about me and, of course, can not resist listening. Holly's mother says, 'She is a nice little girl, but I'm not sure she is quite the friend I want for Holly.'
Holly's father says, 'I think they get on quite well.'
What is this thing called working class? I feel uncomfortable all day and can't wait to go home to ask my Dad. Dad laughs and confirms that I am working class, but that it is something to do proud of. Mum is cross and asks why on earth didn't I pack a dressing gown as I have a perfectly respectable one upstairs. The reason I didn't take it was because there was no room in my bag.
I often wonder if this early trauma explains why I have an excess of dressing gowns hanging in my bedroom? My favourite being a genuine Japanese kimono; it has enormous sleeves with deliberately gaping holes under the armpits (not to be worn when starkers as somewhat revealing). It is sky blue and decorated with pictures of water lilies, chrysanthemums and peonies - great for tripping around the house while pretending to be a geisha. I also have a sensible shortish grey jersey dressing gown for wearing over shorts - if I ever take up boxing I could wear it into the ring. The least favourite, which rarely gets an outing, is a white towelling robe - not all flattering as it makes me look like a non-cute polar bear - think this should be discarded forthwith.