Tuesday, April 23, 2024
HomeCulture WarMy debagging debacle, or the perils of being normal

My debagging debacle, or the perils of being normal


ARE you a normal person? Terms and conditions apply. Please read the following carefully. Failure to conform to these requirements may constitute a violation of the terms of use of society.  

It will be no news to you, dear reader, that the term ‘Our Values’ denotes an ingroup to which you do not belong. We should really have a mental word filter for that egregious phrase, which instantly changes it to ‘Their Values’. You can supply an unfortunate mental image to accompany this yourself if you simply consider the news concerning the reading of stories to little children. 

As a normal person who wears corduroy trousers and likes a nice jumper, I have volunteered for a local community group. It is to do with the nursery and so a certificate is required that I have not been caught doing unspeakable things. What is the problem with this? Safeguarding is a responsible duty, of course. 

I already have a certificate like this, but it came from the Army and not the nursery. The difference between these settings is negligible, as anyone who has sat through Rifle Lesson One will know.  

The nursery does not insist on uniform, and the behaviour is better. There is Play-Doh instead of beer, but the banter is equally brutal, especially amongst the mummies. In both places, the client group is known to eat the crayons, and there is a glowering authority figure whose instructions must not be questioned at any time. 

Of course I was told off for noticing this, and also for complaining that I have to find more identity documents. It is hopeless and dangerous to object that an efficient offender would never have been caught anyway. I can’t help thinking, however, that this is another penalty attached to being normal. 

I no longer want to go abroad, ever. I like abroad, or some of it at least. It is our duty to pretend to loathe France whilst loving it. This I do half-heartedly, as I cannot help but get over-excited about any cheese I have yet to meet. 

Going abroad is a horrible. It’s not so much the new EU fingerprinting rules, but moreover the wearisome chore of queuing up to take your shoes and belt off. Anyone who has children will know that this is a cause of dread and shame and alarum. I once chased my infant son down a forbidden strip-lit corridor in my stockinged feet.  

I was disadvantaged in this desperate chase by the lack of my belt. In one awful moment, my trousers departed my waist as, hands still clutching four passports and tickets, I simply had to say goodbye to my self-respect, to secure the hope of saying hello again to my son. 

In The Meaning of Liff, Douglas Adams produced a scabrous dictionary made up of odd-sounding placenames. He supplied some definitions for them, to help you along when you drove past these curious, because unknown, villages. As I scooped up my son, gazing disconsolately at my dropped gusset, I fancied there should be one for Gatwick, thus … 

Gatwick: verb. To gatwick is to waddle with trousers about the ankles in a state of panic. E.g. Wright was compelled to gatwick after his son before a gallery of astonished strangers. 

Going abroad is ‘queuing plus’. The plus bit may entail an even worse reducer than mine. I had to go to Belgium once, where I was extremely fortunate to witness the man directly in front of me being shown behind The Curtain. 

We are all familiar with The Curtain, but it is so dreadful that no one ever speaks of it. 

This is of course the Curtain Behind Which Latex Gloves Are Employed. ‘It could have been me,’ I audibly muttered, as the man’s shock-pallid face turned to bid farewell to his dignity. ‘Thank God it was not me,’ I mouthed back at him in solidarity.  

Why do you run the risk of running trouserless into ignominy, of being investigated digitally by some ape-handed violator? It is because of people who are not normal and like to detonate those who are. For this reason, all normal people must be immiserated when trying to pay lots of money to enjoy themselves. 

I suppose if I were some depraved exhibitionist got up in a wig, I would be welcomed into any safeguarding setting and likely paid handsomely for the privilege.  

This situation is worse than going abroad. We, the normal, are not just penalised, but have to witness the celebration of perverts by a system which all but accuses us of being them instead.  

I understand why anyone would prefer to be willingly blind to the Empress Widow Twankey’s New and Invariably Obscene Clothes, but I cannot see the sense in pretending we are all secret predators when people dressed as sex demons get the red carpet. 

If you are not normal, you can get away with anything. If you are, well you must be careful to observe the community guidelines. These have been created with you in mind, so that the community can be safeguarded from any offence you and your unlicensed opinions may cause.  

You, the normal people, will have your views branded as extremist by people who win arguments by shrieking. You will not notice crime statistics and will pay more taxes to change the weather.  

Not for you the free hotel on arrival. There are no queues on Calais beach. The very least we could ask is that some humourless official asks each and every cross-Channel chancer to debag themselves before they step into their dinghies. I think it would help to normalise them. 

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Frank Wright
Frank Wright
Frank Wright is a writer from the North East of England. He lives in Hampshire with his wife and young family. Follow him on Substack at .

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