April 23, 1958

SCHOOL CAP AND UNIFORM: A recent decree from the caretaker education minister requires male high school pupils to wear school caps. He is worthy of his salary. A boy of 16, 17 or 18 years old without a school cap is like a bottle of pure alcohol without a cork – a spark is enough for him to ignite. I was surprised, however, that the minister, while making schoolchildren in the provinces wear caps, has exempted the children in Athens, Piraeus and the surrounding area, precisely where the flammable material is most likely to explode. Perhaps he thought that in the capital, being somewhat of a Sodom and Gomorrah, juvenile passions would be more likely to find an outlet. Nevertheless the school cap is a symbol of discipline, an admission of faith in the schoolroom that one is not ashamed to be seen as a schoolboy. Meanwhile, the poor school girls – at least during school hours – seem to be clearly what they are, in their black uniforms and white collars and socks. What I cannot understand is another paragraph in the ministerial decree forcing schoolgirls to become old-fashioned. Why such hostility toward the female charms, which, after all, is the purpose of gymnastic displays?… But behind the iron mask hides a trace of life and optimism that is inspired by beauty.

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