Westbank Reminiscence Group (Chris Milne, Beatrice Bisset)
There wis twa daunce halls that we myne o afore the war, the Locarno in George Street, an a placie aff Justice street...bit if ye gid tae the second een ye warna up tae much, ye war a certain kinno lassie. Afore the war, only bad quines wore make up, street walkers an the like. Nae respectable lassie wad hae worn make up afore the war, fowk wad hae thocht ye war faist. Afore the war, lassies didna smoke or ging intae pubs, either. No! Nae decent lassie wid hae dreamt o gaun inno a pub, the men wad hae thocht ye war loose. Ye jist stood ootside an waited if ye were oot wi yer da or yer lad an they decidit that they winted a dram. Ye jist stood ootside an waited till they come oot. An whyles ye waited a lang, lang time in the cauld. They micht hae gien ye some pennies tae ging an buy a baggie o chips or a hett pie, tae keep yersel warm while ye war waitin.
The war changed aa that, the Second World War. We started tae weir make up then. We shaved aff wir eyebroos an pinted on a thin line wi a pencil far wir eyebroos hid been... aabody thocht that wis bonnie, jist like the filmstars, ye ken. And far afore the war naebody wore make up, durin the war we clartit it on, thick, bricht reid lipstick, an wir faces war near drooned in cream an pooder.
Fin we gied oot dauncin, we'd hae rolled wir hair roon curlers, an held it in aboot wi a net...an invisible net. They snagged affa easy fin ye wir pittin them on, tho, an tore. We'd pit on a skirt and blouse tae makk wirsels as bonnie as we cud tae get a click. Durin the war, stockins come in, sheer stockins. Bit maist folk cudna afford them, so we pintit a line wi a pencil doon the back o wir legs tae look like the thin seam o the stockin. That wis aa richt till it rained, an then the pencil line ran doon yer legs an streakit yer skin!
The loons dressed up as weel. Nae like nooadays, neen o this jeans an trainers. Their sisters wid hae cleaned their sheen for them afore they gaed oot tae the jiggin....We'd tae clean oor brithers' sheen, that wis lassies' wirk. Tae keep their hair tidy the loons caimbed Brillcream through it; a fite, thick cream. Fin they pit on ower muckle, their hair stuck tae their heid , aa shiny, wi a hair pairtin as straicht as a ruler.
Jazz bands played brass instruments.. there wis een or twa guitars, bit naething like there is nooadays. An we did real dauncin then, quicksteps an waltzes ye ken, wi steps that ye learned. Loons an quines dinna daunce wi een anither nooadays, they daunce at een anither. They dinna even haud hauns fin they're dauncin.
Nae aabody met a lad at the dauncin. Some o's wauked the mat. Waukin the mat jist meant that ye wauked up n' doon Union Street, like aa the ither young eens. If a loon saw a quine he funcied, he'd gie her a wolf-whistle, or a nudge, an they'd jist start newsin. Then, if they liked een anither, they'd arrange tae meet fur a proper date.
If ye war really serious aboot a lad, ye'd tae takk him hame tae meet yer ma and da. If yer ma and da didna like him, that feenished it. Ye didna get tae see him again. My frien wis affa keen on a lad, bit her folk didna like him sae it niver gaed farther. She grat an grat, she wis jist hairtbroken ye ken. Bit that wis the wye o't in thon days, ye'd tae dee fit yer folk telt ye!