Sending the boys off to school in a uniform every day sounded a bit stuffy to me at first. And, to be perfectly honest, more than a little daunting. What I’m really trying to say is…I am not particularly skilled in the ways of removing wrinkles. I believe the politically correct term is ironing impaired. I also have a fear of heavy, awkward, relatively unstable appliances that are extremely hot.
Resigned to put them in polyester if it came to that, I got over my initial fears and set out for the store. As with most delusional thinking, it passed in the face of concrete evidence to the contrary and the entire family has warmed up to the idea of school uniforms for one reason or another.
First of all, they are not the pressed collars, creased slacks and itchy socks I had envisioned. In primary school (which is generally preschool through 5th grade), they wear a white or light blue polo shirt and school jumper (sweatshirt) with black or grey trousers (politely refrain from calling them pants, that’s short for underpants in this neck of the woods) and black shoes. It all sounds terribly comfy and the boys seem to agree.
Secondly, they are cheap. You can find school uniforms everywhere, even in the grocery stores. The shirts are sold in packs of two or three and work out to about $3 each. Trousers are under $10, even for a top of the line brand with an adjustable waistband. So, counting socks, both boys are all set up with the basics for about a hundred bucks. Seriously! With shoes and the jumpers, we’ll go a bit over $200 total. Now that’s something to write home about!
My favorite part is where I don’t have to iron anything. (insert audible gasps from the neighbors here) This is due to the fact that, unlike most of the people I have met here, I actually plan to utilize the clothes dryer located in our house. I am aghast at how many people I have met–professional people, people with multiple children, people seemingly normal in every way imaginable–who tell me that they have dryers, but they simply don’t use them. Ever. Well, maybe once or twice in December. I have popped into a friend’s house on more than one occasion to find her husband ironing away, briskly working his way through a stack of line dried t-shirts, linens, pajamas and trousers while taking in a little telly through the French doors. Amazing. I should also note that said English people are likely equally aghast at the fact that I don’t iron unless I absolutely have to, i.e., when my husband is out of town and I have an engagement at a five star venue. In a nutshell, never.
When I ask them why they don’t use their dryers, they scrunch up their noses and grumble about the fact that it’s expensive, but I suspect that there is more to the story. I sense a mixture of habit, tradition and preferring not to be like all those bloody lazy yanks, except they are too polite to share that last bit.
I will admit to buying a clothes horse and testing the waters. You can still catch me hanging the odd linen or synthetic item up in my kitchen, but I’m not currently willing to iron the itchy wrinkles out of my nightshirts on a regular basis. Upon receipt of our first electricity bill, I may be ironing along with the best of them, but for now, I am blissfully toting load after pint-sized load out to the dryer in the garage where they dry in an hour or so and become relatively wrinkle free in the process. That is, of course, if I collect and fold them when they are still warm…hey, maybe that’s it! Maybe they just don’t want to be tied down with all that hovering about to pluck the clothes out in that ever-so-precious ‘wrinkle free window’. Maybe they like the idea of ironing when it darn well suits them. As for me, I”m contemplating buying an even bigger dryer.