Rats! Episode 04 – Shirt Tuck!

Allow me to explain a few things about the VTCC uniform. The uniform for the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets consisted of grey wool-poly blend pants, a belt, and a shirt. The shirt was either white short sleeves in the fall and spring, or grey short or long sleeves in the winter. I think the white shirt was just polyester something or other, while the grey shirt was that same lovely wool-poly blend that smelled like dying sheep when it rained and the uniform got wet.

The belt was either a nice thick black leather belt with a heavy metal buckle featuring the VTCC crest (for upper classmen) or a white belt cut from some sort of cheap cloth strap with a simple brass buckle threaded onto it. The white belts were a bitch. The fabric strip was tough, but pretty thin, so the belts tended to curl and roll at the top and bottom edges, instead of staying straight like the upper classmen demanded they be. They also had a tendency to slide out of the buckle during the course of the day, and if your belt was cut too short, you could pop the buckle at the worst possible moment and get busted for being out of uniform. Plus the damn things yellowed badly, so the rats had to keep going back to the tailor shop to get new belts when the old ones got too… well, ratty.

But the worst thing about the uniform was a little something called a shirt tuck. This was a method of torture designed to make the uniform shirt as tight and wrinkle-free as possible on the wearer. It involved a lot of wrestling and gymnastics to hold the shirt taut while slipping on the pants and then buckling the belt very tight to hold the shirt in place. Remember too, if you were a rat wearing a white belt, and the belt was cut too short, a good shirt tuck risked you popping off that stupid buckle.

I and my fellow female buds (a bud was a fellow rat, any fellow rat, but usually referred to someone in the company you were assigned to) were taught the proper method of performing a shirt tuck by one of the upper classmen. After gathering us together in a dorm room, a sophomore cadet had us unbuckle our uniform pants, pull them down to our knees, then unbutton our shirts to the last button and throw them off the shoulders.

I should mention here that our instructor was male. I have no idea why a guy was teaching this to a bunch of women. Given the amount of clothing we all had to undo and rearrange to get the shirt tuck done right, it was the sort of thing I thought the Corps would ask a female to teach to other females, but for some reason we had a male sophomore herd us all into one room to show us how to perform the shirt tuck.

However, this was not a big deal. The VTCC had a serious policy in place about fraternization; that is, the co-mingling of upper classmen and rats, especially between female and male cadets. To make sure nothing hinkey was going on, any time an upper classmen and a rat were in a dorm room together, the lock on door was thrown to prevent the door from shutting entirely.

So anyway, we six female rats were in a dorm room with a male sophomore and everybody, including the male sophomore, had their pants down around their knees and their shirts half off. The door was pushed to, but not closed thanks to the thrown lock. After much eye rolling and long-winded exhortations by said male sophomore that he had absolutely no sexual interest in us what-so-ever (and I believe this; I think he despised us as much as we despised him, and that mutual loathing would have pretty killed any thought at a budding sexual romance deader than a doornail)… Anyway, after his little speech, the sophomore cadet told us to reach between our legs and grab the back tail of our shirts and pull it to the front. Then with our free hand, we had to pull up and buckle our pants. Once the pants and belt had secured the shirt in place around our middles, we were told to pull the sleeves back up over our shoulders and button up the shirt. With our belts so tight they cut off the blood flow to our lower halves and the back tail of the shirt pulled around to the front, you know what pulling on and buttoning that shirt did.

It gave us all one huge frikkin’ wedgie from hell.

But the fun didn’t stop there. It wasn’t enough to have the shirt pulled tight from top to bottom. It also had to be wrinkle-free around the waist. So the sophomore cadet showed us a coat hanger that had been bent and twisted into an L-shape. This was called a runner, and he took the runner and slipped it inside the back waistband of his pants and used it to smooth the wrinkles in the back of the shirt, pushing all the excess fabric into two neat little folds at either side of the waist. Voila! Wrinkle-free shirt!

Except that the male sophomore didn’t have boobs, and a shirt tuck doesn’t exactly work the same on women as it does on men.

It took me many weeks of practice and several demerits for failing uniform inspection before I finally managed to achieve a perfect wrinkle-free shirt tuck. And I did it by yanking the back tale of my shirt so far up the front between my legs, I could have diapered myself. But when I pulled on and buckled my pants, and tugged on and buttoned my shirt, and then ran the wrinkles out of the whole damn thing, I did achieve the perfect shirt tuck. I had also managed to squash my boobs flatter than a pair of pancakes, but as long as I passed uniform inspection in the morning, who gave a crud? Now my only worry was to not bend at the waist during any point in the day, because if I did, I would pop my belt buckle for sure and probably put someone’s eye out. And earn a lot of demerits in the process.

About Cynical Woman

Cartoonist, Artist, Geek, Evil Crafter, Girl Scout Troop Leader and Writer. Also, a zombie. I haven't slept in I don't know how long.
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