Saturday, 14 January 2012

The Joy of Sox

Saturday morning chores to catch up on. The worst of which is doing the washing. When I was done I had, as ever, loads of odd socks. How does that happen? In a house of four adults (or three adults and a teen) how can we lose so many socks?
As I was messing around trying to match up stray socks I found myself thinking about the phrase "pull your socks up". When I was young I heard it all the time - it was used at home and at school, to me and to others, with tedious repetition. 
Usually it was delivered as an ultimatum. "You'd better pull your socks up or..." Or what? Or you'd get detention, lines, extra homework, whatever. From time to time at home it was: "You'd better pull your socks up or you'll feel my hand. Do you want that to happen?" I didn't at the time and the threat was never carried through. Ironically, since adulthood my answer to the question would be an emphatic "yes".
Somewhere over the years I'm sure I've been told that the origin of this once-popular British idiom had a spanko element. That bending over to pull up socks was an expected precursor to corporal punishment.
But I've just had a bit of a Google around and haven't been able to find anything that backs that story up. Perhaps it was just a bit of spanko wishful thinking.

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