The Big Day Out, country style
‘‘Country rubbed shoulders with town, and chaos ensued as everyone cut loose...’’
In my little country town, our rugby team’s number ones are suits that first saw the light of day anywhere between 1960 to 1980.
Any man would have cut a fine figure in them when they were new. Now, not so much. The idea is that the number ones are not to be laundered or repaired in any way.
Fly zips have busted open to show off the wearer’s lucky undies.
Waist bands haven’t expanded quite as fast as their owners, and there are some stains down the front that are best not talked about.
Inside the pocket of the firstfive’s rather dapper powder blue number is a sausage he nicked off a clubroom barbecue three seasons ago.
He’s carried it in that pocket ever since. He’s a builder, so if he ever lost his hammer he’s got that sausage on hand that would handle hammering a nail into a four-by-two with no worries.
The lads, though, wouldn’t have looked too out of place in their finest livery at Christmas at the Races last weekend.
While it’s true that none of them would have been contenders for Fashion in the Field, the race meeting in the big city in our province was a chance for the country kids to get their posh on and get a bit dressed up.
I saw at least three pairs of redband gumboots, countless shepherds’ whistles, and hairdos that could be best described as windswept and interesting.
Not a lot were wearing a tie, because that would mean they’d have to stand down the collar on their checked shirts, exposing necks to the sun.
Country girls were easy to spot.
They might have been wearing a dress and accessorised with a fascinator from the Two Dollar Shop, but their inability to walk in high heels was a complete giveaway.
There were no slightly orange spray tans for our country girls.
They’re all naturally tanned already, except from two thirds of the way down their shins, where their work socks and boots hide their ankles from the sun.
Fast fashion mixed with Special Occasion Outfits (worn once or twice a year), as country rubbed shoulders with town, and chaos ensued as everyone cut loose, helped along with copious amounts of alcohol and the thrill of watching the nag they’d backed come in last.
The day after, it seemed most of the province was suffering from a giant hangover.
A colleague posted on social media that she may have gone home without her hat (it blew away in the gale force winds), but at least she arrived home with her dignity.
This town-turned-country girl was actually quite grown up and went home to her country pub, where a band played late into the night.
The place was chocka full of farmers and contractors who didn’t mind too much what they looked like as they carved up the dance floor in their redbands.
No hats, no high heels, and everyone still had their dignity in the morning.
The race meeting in the big city was a chance for the country kids to get their posh on.