Metro 35

Richard Herring: Don't judge children wearing pirate costumes
There's nothing wrong with being the odd one out, me hearties.

This week Richard Herring is musing on the complications of pirate/non-pirate relationships
Out and about uncharacteristically early, I passed our local nursery school just as the kids were queuing up outside with their satchels and their shining morning faces. I kept my head down lest they mocked my pard beard.
The nursery did not have a uniform or even a branded sweatshirt, so the kids were wearing their own clothes. Most of them had opted for casual garb, T-shirts and trainers, but one of the slightly older ones was wearing an impressive pirate costume.
I thought it was odd, but no one else batted an eyelid. It was like this happened every day, ‘Oh yes, that’s Ian Harris. He dresses as a pirate. We’ve just come to accept it’.
Maybe he came from a family of pirates and was wearing his peopleÂ’s traditional clothing so everyone was taking great care not to insult his culture. Having said that, he appeared to be with his dad who was in regular dad clothes, but I guess itÂ’s possible that the boyÂ’s mum was the pirate and she had married out of the pirate community but had insisted that her son was going to be brought up the pirate way. Perhaps the non-pirate dad had attempted to argue against it but had failed to make his voice heard, or possibly they had compromised and agreed that the boy could dress in pirate clothes as long as he attended a non-pirate nursery school.
His little sister was with him and she was in regular clothes too. So maybe the compromise was to have one pirate child and one non-pirate. I am not making a judgement about which upbringing is right and which is wrong and am glad they have arrived at a situation where everyone is happy. Though I wondered if the dad felt emasculated, raising the kids while his wife was out drinking rum, stealing booty and calling people Jim-lad.
I guess if a pirate and a non-pirate get married that there are some difficult decisions to make. Just as if a Christian marries a Jew there might be a heated discussion about whether any boy-child should be circumcised, in the pirate/non-pirate relationship a decision has to be made as to whether any child will have a leg or hand removed and replaced with a wooden peg or hook. At least the non-pirate father had won out on this point for the moment. I donÂ’t want to criticise the way that anyone chooses to live their lives, but to me the needless amputation of the limbs of small children is a barbaric and outmoded practice. If people brand me prejudiced for that then so be it.
Of course, it might be the father who is a pirate, but he chooses not to wear the clothes on his day off from pirating or feels that he can’t. A grown man dressed up as a pirate can get some sickening remarks in the street from the more ignorant members of society (‘Sod off back to Treasure Island where you belong!’ ‘You come over here, stealing our pieces of eight.’). But just because a few pirates have committed atrocities it does not mean that all of them are thieves and murderers. Some of them just make cheap copies of Adam Sandler DVDs or play in Adam And The Ants tribute bands. Personally, I think they’re worse.
In the future, his son will have to face the same stigma but, for now, to the other non-judgemental children at least, it doesnÂ’t matter what he wears, heÂ’s just another kid. Albeit one with a pathological hatred of Peter Pan.

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