MUM'S THE WORD
BY MAIRE NICSUIBHNE
THE LAST THING I expected when I sent my daughter to a respectable secondary school in the outer suburbs was that within two years I would be spending many an evening in the role of Group 4 Security Guard. Nor did the mothers of her two friends as we arrived to help police a disco arranged at the nearby boys school.
It was nearly evening and already Tara was outside on the job, her torch cutting a swathe through the shrubbery. Azalias, hydrangeas, wisteria trembled under her scrutiny.
Inside the labyrinthine corridors, Sonya and I prowled the lavatories a favourite place for illicit smoking or the snatched embrace. Nothing.
Our unwritten orders were to ensure the revellers were escorted from one secure environment to another and stayed there without access to sex, alcohol or drugs, while, at the same time allowing them to have a whale of a time together. The mothers began to wilt.
A loud knock almost shatters a corridor door. I open it. Tara has completed her garden patrol but is drenched. "Some little brat shut me out. Probably mine. I'm not complaining. May the rotten weather continue. It limits the options of what can be got up to in the bushes."
We return to ahe hall and scrutinise 150 odd gyrating 12 14 year-olds for missing faces. No apparent absentees. Despite a strict ban on alcohol and two determined matrons posted at the entrance, some of the boys show signs of drunkenness.
To our relief they are given short shrift by a group of girls we eavesdrop: "Imagine playing tonsil tennis with a drunk. Yuk!" says a little girl in a black mini-skirt. "Did you know that when you kiss someone his bacteria remain in your mouth for six months?" A look of queasiness is obvious on a number of faces. "How to get rid of it? Anti-bacterial mouthwash." A tycoon in the making, she proffers a bottle of a well known brand at 50p a gargle.
Elsewhere our reminders to behave are met with scorn.
"That would not he hard. There are no temptations. This place is full of well fit RHs. Not." (Meaning "There are no attractive Raging Hormones boys here").
Confident, witty, with skirts a good half-thigh shorter than when they left home (something of a puzzle as they were not rolled up at the waist), the girls dance to lyrics that aptly describe their attitude, "You got to say what you can say. Don't let anybody get in your way." (Oasis) Conscious of the lead girls hold in the school league tables, they also physically tower above their male counterparts, at this age, with an air of ungracious condescension.
1 remind them of common politeness, "When someone asks you out at least refuse in a charming way which won't hurt." This advice elicits the usual ridicule. "Get real."
Poor boys. No wonder they drink before facing this mob. Who could blame them? By the end of the evening I need , a few stiff ones.
Several hours later, well fortified from Tara's flask, we conclude our night's work a success. Nothing worse than four incidents of snogging quickly broken up and we have learned a few things. This was not the best venue for a disco. There should be no access to a garden or any room off the main hall and no long corridors to sneak away to.
We raise a toast to, "Mothers united. Always one step ahead!" "Not so fast girls," says Sonya returning from a final patrol. "I've just discovered the secret of the short skirts!"
All had passed their skirts to each other in ascending order so that no matter how long the legs, each got the equivalent of a mini skirt. To achieve this sleight of hand, or leg, only one extra skirt need be concealed.
Mothers United. Always one step ahead. Not.