Friday, 8 February 2013

Short Pants That Drove Me Crazy

It is freezing in London and to make matters even worse I think that I am becoming like my Mum. You have to understand that my mistake is to believe that, when it is cold, you need to cover up. I am talking about wearing a coat, a pair of trousers and warm pullovers. Nothing revolutionary, really. Or so I thought. Well, clearly, I was wrong. British girls in general (and my daughter in particular) believe the opposite to be true. When it is cold, you absolutely need to show off your legs and wear just T-shirts. You see, it is all about looking cool.

Mind you, some school uniforms include short pants (knee-length). Maybe, after all, it is a national thing. You have to pretend that the cold doesn't exist. Or that you can't feel it. The sale of short pants remains strong over here, even during cold winters. Go figure.

My daughter bought shorts recently. Actually, they are so short that it is barely longer than her T-shirt. It made me wonder: what is the point of buying something so minuscule that you can't notice it?  Again, clearly, I am out of touch. For a start, everybody does it. I warned her that she would catch a cold but I have to admit that she didn't. Once again, I am not cool. I feel like I have become my Mum. She made me wear a hat during winter and I hated her for it. Obviously, I removed the hat as soon as she was out of sight. Now it is my turn to feel the same way as my own mother. Except that my daughter and her friends are wearing minuscule short pants during the British winter. Clearly, I am being punished for something that I did in another life. That's the only explanation, right? What did I do to deserve this? My Mum would have a heart attack. But what can I do? Should I force her to wear a pair of trousers?

Me being me, I had sneaked a pair of trousers in the car, thinking that she would change her mind and admit that she was cold. But no, she was fine and stayed in her short pants. I can not win. It is a cultural thing you see. British genes must include resistance to cold.

That said, apparently, as soon as she is at school she puts her track suit bottom on, with her hooded jumper. Maybe the short pants are just here to drive me crazy.

From now on, I will act cool and say nothing. She seems to be managing very well without me anyway. Great. On top of being uncool I am becoming redundant now.


  1. Interesting choices by your daughter. Shorts outside, Long pants inside...

  2. I know. I told you, I am out of touch.

  3. Barry A. Whittingham11 February 2013 at 21:41

    Hello French Yummy Mummy in London. Here are the (very) small mistakes:

    1. 'My daughter bought shorts recently. Actually, it is so short ...' This should be 'Actually they are so short ...' Shorts are plural in English (there are two legs). Don't confuse with 'a pair of shorts' which is singular!

    2. 'I was removing the hat ...' This should be 'I removed the hat ...' it is a simple past in English, not a continuous form. Are you thinking of the French imperfect 'J'enlevais?'

    3. 'To feel the same way than my own mother ...' This should be 'to feel the same way as my own mother'.

    The rest of the blog is perfect. Congratulations! Your remarks about British girls' dress in winter are very pertinent. I have something to say about this in the chapter 'Feminist or Feminine?' of my book 'François Théodore Thistlethwaite's FRENGLISH THOUGHTS'.

    Best regards

  4. All done! thanks for reading my post so carefully. I will check out your blog shortly then!

  5. I guess that's just how life was made to be....the older generation always incapable of fully understanding the younger one. For instance, I've completely given up on trying to understand why boys (mostly) would wear loose pants where the crotch is down to their knees.

  6. Your comments confirmed what I was afraid of: we are the older generation now. How come I feel 15 in my head?

  7. I came here after you followed me on Twitter. It is funny to read this as I am an English mum living in France. I thought it was French girls who did this. I see them at my daughter's school (Lycée).. Maybe it is just girls. I haven't been to the UK fr nearly ten years.

  8. Short pants didn't strike you Barry?
    "Pants" is definitely American English Shorts is British English and Pants are what you wear underneath.

  9. Barry A. Whittingham12 February 2013 at 23:42

    Hello Kerry,

    Even though the word 'pants' (and never 'trousers') is used by the Americans, I'm not sure it is exclusively American English. My grandfather, who died many years ago, frequently used the word, and he'd had very little, if no contact at all with American English. When I was a child we always referred to what I wore beneath as 'underpants'.

    On the rare occasions I go back to England I'm often struck (and even deplore) the number of American words that have been assimilated into British English. For example 'hi' ' guy' or guys', 'laid back' 'chill out' 'hassle' etc. etc. Is it condemned to becoming an American dialect? I did, in fact, notice a number of Americanisms in the above blog but thought it would be retrograde to mention them.

    Another Americanism I tend to react against is 'I feel like I have become my Mum'. I always thought that 'like' was followed either by a noun or pronoun, i.e. he's like his father, you're like me. For me the 'pure' English form is 'I feel as if I have become my Mum'. Perhaps my great age is ca I'm refusing to accept inevitable linguistic evolution.

  10. Maybe it is just girls. I wonder. That said, I don't remember wearing shorts during winter in France, despite the fact that it was much warmer. Times have changed, I suppose!

  11. No wonder I am never getting it right...

  12. Poor French Yummy Mummy. Life is difficult and there are more than American and British English. Indian English is a completely different language.

    Barry I quite agree. Sometimes my students use what could be Americanisms and I am never sure whether to correct them or not. My grandmother talked about underpants too but always referred to trousers, shorts or knickerbockers (but knickers are undergarments). Interesting and maybe a subject for more discussion but not here.

    I am of an age where "gosh!" is an acceptable form of exclamation.

    Yummy, gosh is about the same as saperlipopette !

  13. Barry A. Whittingham13 February 2013 at 23:40

    Hello Kerry,
    I'm beginning to regret having broached the subject of American English! My original intention was to help and inform but I now realize I've only confused.
    By the way, I still use 'gosh' (and sometimes 'golly') myself!

  14. Barry A. Whittingham13 February 2013 at 23:44

    As I told Kerry, I'm beginning to regret I broached the subject of American English as I now see that I have confused and frustrated you. Carry on as you are doing. The quality of your English is very high!

  15. Thank you thank you