Monday, October 15, 2007


Today was the first day of a new term at the school where I teach, and to start off the term on the right foot (so to speak) the students were given a stern reminder of the school’s uniform policy. Of particular emphasis were socks, which must be white and cover the ankle completely. This is taken very seriously by the school hierarchy, and is a constant source of amusement and irritation to the students.

Of course, ankles are one of the most sensual parts of the body, and must be covered up to ensure decency, and to avoid driving men wild with desire. The Roman poet Ovid for one couldn’t resist a nice ankle. In his Ars Amatoria he expresses his frustration over long skirts:

Este procul, vittae tenues, insigne pudoris,
Quaeque tegis medios, instita longa, pedes.

Far away from here, you badges of modesty,
the thin headband, the ankle-covering dress.

(Ars Amatoria, I.31-2)

And later on, he instructs his reader how to steal a glimpse of a girl's ankle while flirting at the races:

Pallia si terra nimium demissa iacebunt,
Collige, et inmunda sedulus effer humo;
Protinus, officii pretium, patiente puella
Contingent oculis crura videnda tuis.

If her skirt is trailing too near the ground,
lift it, and raise it carefully from the dusty earth:
Straightaway, the prize for service, if she allows it,
is that your eyes catch a glimpse of her legs.

(Ars Amatoria, I.153-6)


Anonymous said...

That's sane. Gosh, that poet guy was weird. That's the first person i've heard of thinking a girl's anckle is "sensual".
yr 8 Prone.

Anonymous said...

Ah, yes. They want us to be independently minded young women... by dressing exactly the same as everyone else.

I think there's a very good reason why so many think (and vehemently believe) that Ovid was a pervert.

The fact he goes around lifting girls' skirts is just one.

And the Amores? Those are the others.

Oh, and ew.