By the time I hit thirteen years of age, I felt I was all grown up, a man of my own. Suddenly I hated all the clothes my parents bought me because I felt they were old fashioned. In the first place, what business had my parents and elder siblings choosing for me what to wear?
At thirteen, I started to deeply resent being told what to do, because I felt I was old and intelligent and independent enough to make my own decisions.
I hated being told to tuck in my shirts. I hated being forced to comb my hair “properly”. I would sulk and utter expletives that I can’t write here, and all because I felt someone was trying to boss me around.
When I got to the age of fifteen, I started to notice some girls at school and in the neighborhood that also felt they were all grown up, were big headed like me, and did not want their parents and any elder siblings to “teach them” anything.
For some reason, these little ponytailed girls felt they would look much better if they wore makeup. These little girls especially had a thing for lip stick and things like nail vanish and eye liner.
Later, as I got more experienced in their ways, I started to hear some harrowing tales. Tales of little girls-turned big girls that would run off with their mothers’ or big sisters’ make up kits and smuggle them into school so that they could experiment with their friends.
Then they would all head to the only mirror on the school premises and congregate before it to admire their makeup exploits.
Ironically, this would last only a few moments before the girls embarked on getting rid of the makeup before it caught the wrong eyes (read teachers) because obviously makeup or even jewelry were a definite no-no in school.
Of course, there were always the diehards –the daredevils that always the risk and went right ahead into the classroom with their makeup intact.
But woe unto the girl that got caught, because that would automatically earn you the “right” to some base form of corporal punishment, one of which infamously entailed being “decorated” with the dry bones of an animal such as a dog and that would dangle down one’s neck from a rope.
Other times, they were whisked off to the teachers’ backyard vegetable garden for what came to be the ultimate punishment –digging. In fact, those days, I hated farming, and considered digging a punishment.
Other times, the naughty makeup offenders would simply have their names entered in the dreaded teacher’s Black Book. In school circles, you know how being in the black book is tantamount to being a criminal or society renegade.
There are seasons when the makeup craze hit crescendo, in which case the teachers would employ extra surveillance measures to smoke out offenders. It involved girls in the school being required to line up for physical examination by what was called the “senior woman teacher”, who would be on the lookout for any signs of nail polish, lip stick and any other such.