Helen Henley has the unenviable job of translating our scribble into a form which our long suffering printer can read and understand. Apart from constantly criticising our grammar and spelling she is always complaining that we never really give the female point of view or encourage our female readers to write in with their views. She seemed to have a point and to shut her up we have given her these pages with complete freedom to express her own views, select her own items and photographs. Anyone who wants to write to her – male or female – or submit photographs or ideas should do so direct to her c/o this office. Don’t bother us, except to write to ask when we are going to sack her.
I could not think what to call this piece of mine. Someone here suggested ‘Femme Fatale’ but I hope he was joking! I thought about Woman’s Page, but that would give them the excuse to limit me to just one page and I am not having that. I could not have ‘Ladies’ Viewpoint’ because I am not a lady. ‘Agony Column’ would only be true in the sense that it will be that getting it past the Editor. So just for now I will stick to the name my parents bestowed upon. me right there at the top of the page, partly to advertise the fact that this is written by a woman, firstly for women readers and secondly for men, partly because l am known around the place by a nickname which creates a lot of confusion. It is also there to serve as a banner because I am going to need my sex to rally to my support and provide me with things to write about.
Let me start right off with a matter that I think affects every one of us – having to wear masks, helmets, hoods and gas masks to please HIM. I have been doing a small survey and out of ten of my sex I have met in the last month or so, only two have said that she likes wearing anything over her face. All of us, it seems, are quite happy, indeed delighted, to wear anything on the body, arms and legs that will turn HIM on, particularly now as some of the garments are really lovely and a pleasure – and fun – to wear. I must admit to being very intrigued at seeing the styles in the catalogues, especially for ‘latex wear. I wonder what they feel like when they are on and what I feel like in them. Curiosity is one of our ‘stocks in trade’, one of our useful feminine attributes.
But when it comes to wearing something over the head and over the face I confess to being almost claustrophobic. It is not so much a fear of suffocation as having my primary senses of hearing and smell and, to some extent, vision interfered with. And because we have what we have and because they have what they have, our senses of hearing, seeing and smelling are of vital importance to us, more so than with them.
Fairly typical of the women’s view is this from Jean who wrote from Durham in reply to my query: “Personally, I just do not like anything at all over my face or mouth, in fact as regards the feeling of being in another world etc., I’m afraid all it does for me is to frighten me and it gives me claustrophobia. My husband mentioned about buying gas masks, actually the story is that we were visiting Bath during our holidays and we were just walking along a quiet street when our youngest son noticed that his Dad was missing: in fact, this happened once or twice. However, when we all met up again I noticed that he had a parcel under his arm. Well, I must admit I was terribly curious to know what was in the parcel, but he wouldn’t tell me.
When we got back home I still kept asking what he had bought. Then one night when we had just gone to bed he promised to show me what was in the parcel. I should have known! I wore it for an extremely short time and believe me I was very glad to get it off my face. I don’t wear masks very much, only when I think I have refused to wear them for a long enough period; then, I may wear one for a very few minutes, but just to please him”.
On the other hand a friend of mine tells me that she now rather enjoys the detached feeling of being hooded and masked. She got used to wearing face coverings during the time she rode pillion on a motor bike. She admits she was nervous at first, but began with goggles and a leather helmet, but later when ‘skid lids’ became compulsory, she decided she preferred a leather helmet, goggles and a face scarf. She adapted to a gas mask quite quickly once she had overcome the strange feeling of hearing one’s own breathing. I propose to continue my research (with your help) as there is no doubt that many men like to see a woman hooded, which must make her look unbelievably sinister. Still its the effect that counts, n’est pas?
Being quite unashamedly a female chauvinist sow I have always believed that mine is an enterprising sex. So I was pleased to meet Selina Simpson who has started a small business likely to become a big business. Like me, Selina was dissatisfied with what she saw in the shops particularly those Wellington hoots styled for the feet of the Duke who gave them his name rather than the delicate extremities of a lady.
Selina has opened in business in London with a marvellous overknee boot with a sensible 38mm (1/2 in) heel (shown here). They are in a very shiny black rubber on a brown jersey backing. There is a great deal of stretch in the boots so they fit snug to the legs and they roll on and off easily, so that it is really like wearing heavy, thick stockings.
Swedish made, these boots are tough and totally waterproof. Even the very best of my Atomage custom made leather boots could not be used for splashing about in puddles – and, in any case, I wouldn’t use them for this purpose. Although none of mine has ever let in water, even the best bootmaker will admit the rubber boot is still supreme when it comes to really wet weather. Trouble has been that until now rubbers looked as clumsy and uncomfortable as they felt when on the feet.
I am very pleased now with the Atomage waders, but I was, until I met Selina, of the opinion that while rubber was perfect for these and for riding boots, it was not really suitable for smart, fashion boots. I bought a pair of Italian made fashion rubber boots in Bond Street last year, but the heel came off the first time I wore them. Although they looked smart they did not have the wonderful dark gloss which Selina tells me is a result of using a particularly fine grade of Brazilian rubber. This, Selina assures me, keeps its gleaming quality – provided you use care – for longer than anything other than prohibitively expensive patent leather. Selina’s boots are not cheap, but are not as costly as the better quality lined leather boots. Selina is, at present, looking for business premises in London from where she will run a mail order business. Until she finds a permanent address I have agreed to forward readers’ enquiries addressed to me here at Atomage. Selina is also selling very smart rubber raincoats made from this same Brazilian rubber, but in a clothing quality. They are being manufactured in Scotland by a small firm who are craftsmen in weatherwear. Her first styles, in black and seal brown, which have a pure tweed lining, are very well made. She plans to introduce a spring/summer range with a cotton lining.