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.