|Joan Baker is hanging around with the disreputable Vic Coles in her home town before she goes to the Chalet School.|
Yes; but the real question with THAT one is exactly what sex was Vic Coles, anyway?...!
Tisn't clear from the text, and though I know I assumed it was male when I first read Problem, when I reread it more recently, I did start to wonder...
Ray *dragging everything down to the gutter*
*makes inviegley drabble noises*
|But Ray you were wanting CS bunnies...|
|I assumed Vic was a bloke on first reading, but now I'm wondering. Don't we see some adult disapproval of him/her/it? If so, wouldn't they say something about the impropriety of Joan hanging out with (shock, horror) a BOY? In EBD's world girls don't seem spend time on their own with boys.|
|Then they go off to university in a different country, with girls (and boys) with much more experienced backgrounds, and absolutely no clue of how to interact in it.|
|I think the triplets' social circle and knowledge of the world was much more restricted than that of other girls their age at that time. They didn't know anyone outside the small expat School/San community. They hardly knew anyone who wasn't a teacher, a doctor, or a CS girl. More importantly, perhaps, they didn't know anyone whom their parents didn't also know.|
|Just been re-reading Adrienne, in which Janice says that she supposes they don't have time to think about boys much because they're too busy with school stuff, and then Ailie says that she wouldn't mind going out to dances but she'd never be allowed, but that she doesn't want to get married before doing anything else with her life and have umpteen kids like her Auntie Joey.|
|Francie sighed. "To be absolutely frank with you, Penelope, I miss all the boys, that's what's worrying me most. Don't you ever want a date? Why are all these girls so, well, indifferent to dates and men and all that? Why, you know perfectly well that any female back home who didn't have her Saturday night date just wouldn't rate at all."
Penelope's face took on the uneasy experession that Fancie had learned to associate at Fairfields with any mention of dating.
"Yes, I know. But they don't go in for all that until later on, in England," she said. "Not until school's over, or anyway only during hols. Thinking very much about boys is soppy. That's how the English look at it."
Francie said in amazement, "But that's absolutely mad! What's wrong with boys? Why, half the world is boys!"
"I know," said Penny, "but they don't think of that. It - it's just considered soppy."
"What's soppy? What's wrong with dates? In Jefferson --"
"It's different here, Francie. It's no use arguing with me about it, I didn't make the rules. I'm only trying to explain the difference," said Penelope reasonably. "I don't mean girls here live in a nunnery, necessarily. We go to parties sometimes, we dance with men. Only, as long as we're at school we're supposed to keep our minds on - shhh." The games mistress had blown her whistle shrilly, demanding silence. The girls all stood at attention.
|of course Marie von Eschenau and Len Maynard got engaged while still at school, but they seem to be exceptions, and neither Marie or Len is really shown as dating the men they eventually get engaged to.|
|Alison H wrote:|
|...I do find it wholly unrealistic that Len in the late 1950s would've got engaged to someone she'd never been "out" with.|
|But it's not like she didn't know him well. He was an almost constant visitor and family friend (more, even) since she was small. Why would they need a date, since they knew each other to that level?|
But how well can you really get to know someone when you only see them in company with lots of other people? And Reg would always be to a certain extent on his best behaviour with the Maynards, since Jack was his boss. I think you need to spend an extended amount of time in someone's sole company to know whether you've really got anything to say to each other.
|I've also wondered about this difference between American & British books, and to what extent it reflected cultural norms. The only other fiction I can think of in which this sort of culture clash is put so explicitly is in Michelle Magorian's Back Home, which involves the return of the heroine after evacuation from England during WWII.
I actually suspect the American books reflected only a certain subset of American teens, but that this subset may well have been held up as the norm.
|I wonder whether some of the differences in the portrayal of British/North American attitudes towards dating are class rather than nationality based.|
|So, did the American and British books really reflect the attitudes of the two countries at the times? Both my parents grew up in the 1950s and they said they dated while they were in high school and went to mixed parties and socials (often held at the schools). My mother also said that boys were a common subject of discussion among her and her friends. But I don't know anyone who grew up in Britain then so I don't know what it was really like there. Perhaps some people here can tell me?|
|Also, didn't women's colleges in the fifties and sixties have housemothers and curfews and things? So they would continue to live a sheltered life.|
|It was similar in 1950's Britain. My parents grew up then & said they hung around in mixed groups & went to the local Youth Club & dances where they would have met boys. Although they were probably what EBD would have called "local village children" as they both come from working class backgrounds.|
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