The Petticoat Club

 Favourite Places, Frocks, Out And About, Wednesday March  Comments Off on The Petticoat Club
Oct 052014
 

You may have heard tell of that shady organisation known as “The Petticoat Club”.  It sounds all sweetness and light, doesn’t it?  But the very name strikes fear into the heart of various restaurateurs in the quiet seaside town of Looe.  When The Petticoat Club meet, mayhem ensues…

It all started back in that hotbed of fundamentalism and radicalisation, The March Hare, late lamented retro boutique in East Looe, Cornwall.  Miss Wednesday – who is not known for being a “people person” – actually developed friendships with some of her customers, who were not put off by her bluntness or fondness for gin.  In fact, several of those customers also shared those attributes. One particular one, known as “Miss Jane”, would spend so much time in the shop on her bi-annual holidays to Looe, that most of the locals assumed that she was (a) also local and (b) a staff member.  Eventually, she and Miss Wednesday went out one evening in October 2013 for a spot of dinner and gossip at Miss Wednesday’s favourite restaurant, Papa Nino’s, in East Looe, which they justified by calling it the Staff Christmas Party.  It was a roaring success so they promptly booked a rematch for the following March.  Complete with crackers.

At this point, Miss Wednesday threw a bit of a curve ball.  Although none of this particular group of customers would describe themselves as “joiners”, she invited three of them to join her and Miss Jane.  It was a bit of a gamble.  Miss Jane was, she now admits, slightly peeved at the presumptuous inviting of “plus three” and more than a little worried at the prospect of meeting “other people who probably all knew each other”.  On further examination, it turned out that the other three people felt exactly the same trepidation as none of them knew each other either.  In fact, they each only knew one person in the group and that was Miss Wednesday, which isn’t exactly a glowing recommendation or a recipe for an evening of jollity.

Against all odds, it was a spectacular success.  They all “clicked” immediately and their friendships were soon cemented by that modern day ritual of  becoming “friends on Facebook”.

Ladies in retro frocks drinking cocktails

Assorted members of the Petticoat Club enjoying pre-dinner cocktails at Zute in East Looe. Photo stolen from Miss Tanya.

Why does this merit a blog post?  Because apart from the fact it shows that petticoat wearers are lovely people and don’t deserve being glared at in supermarkets, it is also proof that it is possible to make friends in adulthood.  Only two days ago, at her tailoring class, Miss Wednesday was chatting with a classmate who mentioned how difficult it is to meet people and make friends when you’re an adult and if you don’t have small children and school gates in your life.  Never a truer word spoken.  Only one of the Petticoat Club has a small child.  Two more have children (one has teenagers and the other has successfully fledged hers) but the others remain resolutely child free and are not judged for that.  Two of them dress in retro style all the time (and can encounter a fair amount of judgement for it), the others dip in and out of “vintage” as it suits them.  There is a fair spread of ages (approximately 20 years) and a massively diverse range of occupations (a frock maker, journalist, cafe owner, environmental health officer, medical secretary, pole-dancer, musician and music festival supremo).  They all have a variety of interests outside their fondness for petticoats but have quickly formed a tight-knit support group and are confident that their relaxed and comfortable friendships will last.  Despite being spiky, occasionally judgemental, and possibly grumpy.  Definitely not “people” people but despite that, all rather thrilled to have discovered such like-minded beings with whom they can let down their hair (in a manner of speaking – nothing dislodges Miss Sara’s victory rolls) and be themselves.

The Club seems to have grown again with the invitation to join us on Thursday of a Potential New Member.  She was invited by one member because it was felt that she (a) wears petticoats with style (b) is a fab person and (c) thoroughly deserved a good night out.  It appears that she slotted perfectly into the one remaining chair at the usual table and is therefore cordially invited to stay.  And if she decides to stay, it means that there’s no more worrying about that spare chair.  It’s taken.

So don’t despair of meeting and making new friendships after leaving educational loiterings behind.  It is possible.  A lot of friendship making appears to be practically tribal but the diversity amongst the “members” of some of those “tribes” can be vast.   Especially if you start hanging around “vintage” and “retro” shops and events, as people who like “that kind of thing” come from every walk of life and occupation.  Admiring someone’s frock, shoes or petticoat is always appreciated by the wearer.  If they just smile and say, “Thank you,” odds are you’ve probably made their day but you never know, they might turn out to be a new friend.  And petticoat friends are fun…

Of course, there’s always one who misbehaves.  And it’s not always Miss Wednesday…

Woman in retro frock draped over long-suffering chef.

Miss Sara assaulting the lovely Joe, who cooked us delicious steaks and didn’t deserve the grief he was given. Photo stolen from Miss Tina.

We don’t think we’re banned from Papa Nino’s but poor Joe did have to go for a lie down after his ordeal.