I went to the kind of jolly-hockey sticks all-girls boarding school where we were taught how to exit a car like a lady, to say ‘nice to meet you’ rather than ‘pleased to meet you’ (frightfully déclassé), and how to immediately, upon entering a room, tell a good Eton boy from someone who was, well, NQOCD. (If you have to look it up then I’m afraid it’s a case in point).
It was a very strict school: no smoking, no make-up, no boys. One night I was caught in an entanglement of all three. I was sixteen and glowing with naughty inevitability. And in my haste to get back into my room before the housemistress did her rounds, I’d left my coat in the arms of the local buck I’d gone to meet, and was wearing nothing but my slip. I was a beacon of silk, sex and cigarette smoke.
‘You’re on a slippery slope, young lady,’ the house mistress scolded when she apprehended me, ‘slipping down to utter degradation.’
To this day, the silk slip still makes me think of a woman on the brink of badness – still clinging on to the last vestiges of innocence but ultimately ready to accept her fate as one of life’s bad girls.
Written for Agent Provocateur, edited by Emma Salter