TOMBOY – By Jacqui Soo, 53 and a proud Scouser.
“You’ll never make a lady out of that one” uttered my paternal grandmother to my Mother when I was aged about 3.
How right she was. I am the only girl with four brothers. Second born and teacher to the younger three lads (and subsequently, most of their mates). It was I – not the eldest – who took them for their first pint, to the match for the first time and educated them on how to treat a girl when taking her on a date. And it was me, not the boys, who was the best footballer, so said my Dad.
I was his chippy’s mate and hod carrier and I loved mixing cement with my Dad. The viscosity was mesmerising. So much better than making batter for Yorkshire puddings. “Please Mum, don’t make me make the gravy” I pleaded on a Sunday. It is a sacrilege to make lumpy gravy and I couldn’t quite understand the alchemy involved in producing a smooth gravy from meat drippings and Burdall’s gravy salt.
They are all jealous of my footballer’s legs with chunky calves and thick, muscular thighs. But that wasn’t an accident either. From the Summer I left junior school in 1973, I started work on a milk round. 7 days a week for thirty bob. Carrying a full crate of milk from the 14th floor of a tower block down to each level gave me forearms like hams. Then there was the swimming and the hockey, netball, rounders and athletics. I was the typical all rounder. I insisted on wearing shorts. No skirts even on the sports field. My Mum even wrote me a note to excuse me from wearing a skirt to school. I hated them with a vengeance.
My Mum refused to buy me monkey boots as an 11 year old so with my wages from the milk, I bought my own. Maroon with yellow stitching. I loved them. A forerunner to my love affair with DM’s. I kept the receipt from my first pair of branded jeans. Wranglers costing £6.99 from All Mankind when I was 13. Then came the denim jacket. All that was missing from my life was a motorbike. I’m saving that for my mid-life crisis!
I love being a tomboy. It liberated me. I didn’t care if people thought I was a lad. I never wanted to be one though, I liked being a girl.
But then I grew my hair. It was after a kd lang concert where every dyke had the same haircut! This was before the variety of styles a la Beckham. So now, it’s down to my waist. I love it. It’s wild and wavy and full of all of the colours of my varied ancestry. I am a Mermaid.
I shocked my Mum in 2005 when out shopping with her. I bought a pink dress. A tomboy dress though. “I have great legs Mum and this will show them off.” Short sleeves to display my firm biceps and forearms and short enough to see the thunder thighs. Full length zipper to reveal a lovely cleavage (good bras are essential). And, to compliment the look, steel toe capped DM boots.
Butch Barbie was born.