Wilburforce’s Smallclothes, ‘Are You Ready to Time Travel?’ and Eccentricity: A Discourse on Gender Roles

Herein lies the fourth snippet of The Adventurous Time Adventures of Doctor When!  To read them all, merely click on the tag by the same name (I’m getting tired of making them each individual links on every post!) and enjoy.

*

‘So when do we begin, Doctor?’ Wilburforce cracked his knuckles in anticipation. He’d been getting bored of brawling in bars and alleyways for a while now, so a new challenge of this sort was exactly what he needed.


‘Good man!’ the Doctor exclaimed in approval of his apparent enthusiasm. The Dwarf blushed, unused as he was to praise or the term ‘man’ as a fair description of his person. He was much more familiar with ‘shortarse’ or even ‘gremlin’.   Doctor When continued, ‘We’ll begin at precisely forty-five minutes past nine tomorrow morning.’


‘Is there a reason for such precise timing?’ Macaroni wanted to know, still trying to come to terms with this Mission they found themselves on.


‘Of course!’ Doctor When twirled her riding crop, ‘That’s when I finish breakfast! No need for an unnaturally early start when one’s a Chrononaut – there’s always time,’ she chuckled to herself.


‘Must we come provisioned in any specific way?’ Lasange asked, sensing this discussion was nearing its end.


‘Sensible shoes would be a start,’ the Chrononaut suggested, ‘not to mention any assorted weaponry you possess. And it wouldn’t be unwise to bring a packed lunch, dinner or breakfast – you never know when we might end up!’


Indeed, the next morning they assembled at the laboratory ready for whatever the day might throw at them. Wilburforce was wearing his favourite knuckle-dusters, made of lead and formed into raised spikes across the surface. He was dressed in brown leather boots and vest, sturdy trousers, of surprisingly tailored fit, and shirt to match. It was an unknown fact that, due to his unusual size and proportions, he was forced to make his own clothing and had become rather adept at creating practical fashion for the smaller man. It would have pained him to admit it, but Wilburforce enjoyed the process of turning mere cloth into wearable garments. In his cups, the Dwarf considered giving up on fighting altogether and opening a little shop – he even had the name picked out: Wilburforce’s Smallclothes.


The Spaghetti Sisters wore identical fighting leotards (much the same as normal leotards, only with hidden back- and breastplates made of aluminium – not much use against a solid blow, but turned the blade of a knife a treat) over identical striped leggings, which terminated inside boots with small wicked heels. They had always caused an uproar whenever they went about in public, dressed as they were, with gentlemen shouting, ‘Well, I never!’ and ladies gasping behind handkerchiefs. Each carried several pairs of daggers sheathed in various places around their respective persons, which did wonders for putting off unwanted attention when it turned from merely aghast to menacingly opportunistic.


Doctor When met them, dressed in much the same manner as the day before; the only new addition was a rapier hanging at her belt.


‘Ah, good,’ she said, ‘you’re all here. Ready to time travel?’


*

 

It’s snowing with vigour here, joy of joys – we just got rid of the last batch!  Oh well, at least it’s picturesque.

 

Weather aside, let’s discuss something!  Have you noticed that there are hosts of eccentric male characters portrayed in writing and on screen, but very few women?  And I’m talking the kind of ego-centric eccentricity that charactises the like of the new remake of Sherlock Holmes, BBC’s Sherlock, and Dirk Gently.  I love  those sorts of characters!  However, this tends to be the realm of men, to which I say, “Feh!”  Women can be eccentric the way an old cat lady is “eccentric”, which is to say closer to madness than genius.

 

Is this fair?  No!

 

Thus, Doctor When is my attempt at a female character with all the characteristics of true typically-male-dominated eccentricity.  She’s totally in control, a mad scientist with a Mission, and doesn’t appear to care much for cats.  I’m not trying to make her any less a woman for it, for all that she dresses like a Victorian gentleman (it’s purely practical in her line of work), but neither does being a woman have to define her entirely.  She’s more than just bosoms and hips, she’s a Chrononaut – capable, confident (sometimes to excess) and more than a little nutzo!

‘When do we begin, Doctor?’ Wilburforce cracked his knuckles in anticipation. He’d been getting bored of brawling in bars and alleyways for a while now, so a new challenge of this sort was exactly what he needed.

‘Good man!’ the Doctor exclaimed in approval of his apparent enthusiasm. The Dwarf blushed, used to being called more derogatory terms than that. ‘We’ll begin at precisely forty-five minutes past nine tomorrow morning.’

‘Is there a reason for such precise timing?’ Macaroni wanted to know, still trying to come to terms with this Mission they found themselves on.

‘Of course!’ Doctor When twirled her riding crop, ‘That’s when I finish breakfast! No need for an unnaturally early start when one’s a Chrononaut – there’s always time,’ she chuckled to herself.

‘Must we come provisioned in any specific way?’ Lasange asked, sensing this discussion was nearing its end.

‘Sensible shoes would be a start,’ the Chrononaut suggested, ‘not to mention any assorted weaponry you possess. And it wouldn’t be unwise to bring a packed lunch – you never know when we might end up!’

Indeed, the next morning they assembled at the laboratory ready for whatever the day might throw at them. Wilburforce was wearing his favourite knuckle-dusters, made of lead and formed into raised spikes across the surface. He was dressed in brown leather boots and vest, sturdy trousers, his least-stained pair, and shirt to match. As usual, it was rolled up above his elbows to reveal sinewy forearms, scarred and scabbed from his nighttime profession. It was an unknown fact that, due to his unusual size and proportions, he was forced to make his own clothing and had become rather adept at creating practical fashion for the smaller man. It would have pained him to admit it, but Wilburforce enjoyed the process of turning mere cloth into wearable garments. In his cups, the Dwarf considered giving up on fighting altogether and opening a little shop – he even had the name picked out: Wilburforce’s Smallclothes. The double entendre made him chuckle.

The Spaghetti Sisters wore identical fighting leotards over identical stretchy leggings, which terminated identically inside boots with small wicked heels. They had always caused an uproar whenever they went about in public, dressed as they were, with gentlemen shouting, ‘Well, I never!’ and ladies gasping behind handkerchiefs. Thankfully there wasn’t likely to be much of that wherever, whenever, they were heading this morning. Also, each carried hidden pairs of daggers sheathed in various places around their respective persons, which did wonders to putting off unwanted attention.

Doctor When met them, dressed in much the same manner as the day before; the only new addition was a rapier hanging at her belt.

‘Ah, good,’ she said, ‘you’re all here. Ready to time travel?’

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