RICHARD ORD: Rebel without a pair of sensible trousers

James Dean
James Dean

I noticed my son heading off to school in a pair of unflattering shorts the other day.

Nothing unusual in that you might think, there was a time when short pants were de rigueur for schoolboys. My heart would skip a beat at the sight of our two angelic sons heading off to school in their shorts, school caps and matching ties.

But this is my fashion conscious 16-year-old man-boy-thing Bradley.

The sight of his hairy knees heading into school doesn’t so much make my heart skip a beat as make me want to skip lunch. It’s not a pleasant sight.

And by ‘fashion-conscious’ I mean he normally dresses like a walking Sports Direct advert who wants to put your windows out. You know the look; all stripes, logos and trainers with soles like tractor wheel treads.

That’s outside of school, of course. In school, quite rightly, they have a strict school uniform policy. You break it, you’re sent home.

So how come he was heading into school, minus his school trousers?

“We’ve decided it’s non-uniform week,” he told me.

“Who’s decided?”

“Me and Jamie,” he said, referring to his school pal/partner in crime. “We’re seeing if we can go a week without wearing the full uniform.”

“But why shorts?” I ventured. “It’s minus two degrees out there.”

He sighed. “If you wear jeans or tracksuit bottoms, you’ll get pulled by the teachers and sent home. When they see you in shorts they think there must be a genuine reason for you to be wearing them. I mean, who wears shorts in winter unless they’ve had some sort of accident?” Quite! I’m beginning to wonder if that accident was him being dropped on his head as a baby!

If nothing, it gives me a brief insight into the workings of the teenage mind. And like the hairy legs, it’s not a pleasant sight.

I’m assuming this is all part of the teenage rebellion stage. I seem recall sporting a frayed denim jacket, long hair and about a gallon of half of patchouli oil for school one summer way back when.

Just like the powers that be at Bradley’s school when faced with such acts of defiance, I suspect the teachers were left quaking ... with laughter.

Rebellions come in many different forms, so my wife and I should be grateful our Brad’s isn’t exactly rocking the establishment. It’s not James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause, more Rebel Without a Pair of Trousers!

Had Marlon Brando as troubled biker Johnny Strabler in The Wild One employed our Bradley’s act of rebellion, his most quoted exchanged with Mildred in the movie may not have stood the test of time.

It may have gone like this...

Mildred: “Hey, Johnny, what are you rebelling against?

Johnny: “What’ve you got?”

Mildred: “Well, we’ve got a particularly stringent school uniform policy.”

Johnny: “I’ll fetch my shorts.”