I’ve always wanted to go to work in shorts and plimsolls and fly a flying boat in the South Pacific accompanied by an errant Jack Russel terrier with an eye patch. (That may sound familiar to those of a certain age! https://youtu.be/YdFN6agkNnQ ) I do get to wear the shorts, ‘pilot’ a big truck and wear outrageous socks with steel toe capped boots. The JRT I’d love, but for the meantime I share my pad with two Guinea pigs.
When I started driving trucks I used to wear my old piloty white shirts and black trousers and I kept getting mistaken for a police officer when turning up to places. So, wanting to look smart for clients, I went in search of suitable ‘trucking gear’ to wear. I discovered you could get polo shirts with your company name embroidered across one’s left boob, very smart I thought! Trousers were a little more tricky. It seems that manufacturers think there is little call for heavy duty, washable, trousers (that don’t need ironing!!) for girls! I’ve ended up wearing men’s ones (no change there then, the aviation industry was just as bad!) and using a belt to gather in the mass of excess material round the waistline. Add a checked shirt and chew a piece of straw and I’d do a great impression of farmer Giles!
Come the summer months the shorts appear! These too are from the men’s department. They are however not just any shorts, but M&S shorts! Classy! It took me a few years of trucking to be brave enough to bare my legs. Somehow shorts & steel toe capped boots looked quite cool on blokes, but me….. Then one summer day, stuck in a jam on the M25 (for a change) watching the in cab temperature rise steadily to 40 degrees, and no air con, I decided things had to change! I don’t ‘do’ hot, anything above 22 degrees and I start to melt (does being a Scot have something to do with it I ask myself?). The situation became so bad, that at one point I took a peak down my shirt to remind myself what coloured bra I’d put on that day, black. Could I get away with stripping off and pretending it was a bikini top?! As the sweat poured and I contemplated this move the traffic began to clear and the world was saved from that vision!
So shorts it is! From April to September usually, or a little later if I’m feeling brave. There are some who wear shorts all year round but I’m not that hardcore! Somehow, in shorts I don’t feel like I’m ‘at work’. I’m sure someone, somewhere could do a paper on the psychology of short wearing in the workplace if they haven’t already done so. The only downside comes when you have to ‘drop and swap’ as we say in the business. Unhooking a trailer (the back end) from the tractor unit (the front end) and hooking up another trailer. This involves unplugging and plugging in the air and electric coils, the ‘suzies’ at the back of the unit. Being big and beefy, most blokes seem to be able to do this from the side, thus avoiding contact with grubby suzies (could sound suspect out of context), but being ‘a weak and feeble woman’ I sometimes have to straddle them to get enough leverage against the air pressure. Resulting in this…
Finally, there is the question ‘to vest or not to vest’? After a long hot summer one ends up with a truckers’ tan, bronzed to just above the elbow and pasty above with a wee tanned ‘V’ below your neck. Jolly annoying when one wants to glam up in a short sleeved dress (yes it has been known!). With the advent of air conditioning bare chested beer bellies or string vests seem to be thing of the past except perhaps amongst foreign drivers for some bizarre reason. Bare chested girls appear still on calendars and occasionally as art work on trucks. One doesn’t wish to be the cause of a pile up after all! 😎