"Dorothy and My Grandmother and the Sailors"
from The Lottery and Other Stories, by Shirley Jackson
Weird... Of course we've all heard about sailors who have a girl in every port-- and being a bit randy, in general-- but this took it to another level entirely! Incidentally, were/are sailors supposed to have a worse reputation than members of other branches of the military? And if so, why? Simply because they're at sea, away from women, for so long? (Eh, well, back in those days, at least.) ...Anyway...
-- "My mother told us about the kind of girls who followed sailors, and my grandmother told us about the kind of sailors who followed girls."
Sheesh! And the grandmother's son was a former sailor! I wonder how "mother" and "grandmother" reconciled that with their apparent fear of predatory sailors...
-- It's interesting that they (and lots of other people) were allowed to wander all over ships that were still "on duty" (as opposed to decommissioned ships). Maybe they still allow that at times, but I've never heard of it.
-- "When it came time for us to leave the launch and go up a stairway on to the battleship, my mother whispered to Dot and me, 'Keep your skirts down,' and Dot and I climbed the ladder, holding on with one hand and with the other wrapping our skirts tight around us into a bunch in front which we held on to."
Hm... Reminds me of the "dress code" when I was in elementary school. If a girl wanted to wear a skirt or dress to school, she had to wear a pair of shorts underneath... I don't recall if that was the rule for everyone, or if it was reserved for the older students. (The school was K-6.) I guess maybe someone thought it was necessary for the older girls-- and easier to explain and enforce than rules about skirt length-- but it seems like it could encourage young kids to think about "those things" earlier than they might have, otherwise. ~shrug~