Creative Writing: Dressed-Up Like Dominoes

Victorian women

I was so frail back then, and my attire would suggest no less. It was all virginal white – reams and reams of white lace and hand-laboured embroidery, lettuce-like frills spilling around my slip of a figure. Great feathery plumes sheltering my face from the sunlight and covering my semi-permanent, startled gaze.

The frills of my dress served to decorate my spineless back. And it was spineless – like a Jellyfish! My usual style of confrontation was to hover and float about an issue until a man noticed and took over.

This was to be the only time I ever challenged anyone. Autumn 1898. Here, alongside another woman decked-out in the delicate uniform of conformity and widely accepted femininity. Yet she was all black with just a few accents of white.

Like dressed-up dominoes, the two of us were pitted between two upright wooden posts to contain the action. We raised our tiny clenched fists and we began our tussle in front of an audience exclusively of men.

Fighting women – a spectacle so absurd men could pay to watch, and women to enter. It could only ever happen between these two wooden posts and it was two men who would blow the starting whistle.


2 thoughts on “Creative Writing: Dressed-Up Like Dominoes

  1. Interesting piece. It is unusual to think of women of that era, of that class in society engaging in fisticuffs with one another. The idea of wearing hats during a boxing match now just seems so silly. Immediately when I looked at the face of the woman in black I imagined she’d be saying something like “I’ll teach you to make eyes at my beau, Elizabeth Antoinette Carter! And now for an honest to goodness thrashing, in front of all the men-folk!”
    It’d be interesting to hear a perspective of this event from one of the women ‘after’ the fight, who knows maybe a Women’s only Victorian Fight Club might have emerged.

    1. Thank you 72! It was part of an online Creative Writing class I’ve been doing at Oxford University’s Department of Continued Education. This image really drew me in and i felt inspired enough to attempt to put a few words to it – seems it had the same effect on you. Glad you found it interesting and thank you for taking the time to feedback. Have a great week!

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