There is a common idea out there that uniforms are attractive. Men are supposed to love certain uniforms and women apparently love a man in uniform too. A quick survey of the people I know reveals that most women love a man in a fireman’s uniform and men favour a nurse’s uniform. Not many people of either gender particularly find the ambulance uniform attractive. It is a shapeless, dull green thing. It normally comes in 2 sizes: too-small and too-big. As long as you avoid the too-small option it is actually quite comfortable to work in, except for the two or three days a year we have a heat wave in the UK, then it is heavy and suffocating.
Years ago, before the dull green uniform we had a more formal uniform: a blue shirt with clip-on blue tie and blue trousers. Totally impractical for the job we do. Before my time the outfit was finished off with a tunic style blue jacket complete with shiny buttons and a peaked cap. Thankfully the hat and jacket had been removed from issue when I started the job.
One night years ago, dressed in the blue shirt-and-tie uniform I was given a job in a night club. A member of the public had suffered an ankle injury. My mate for that night, Cliff, was excited on the way to the job because he knew that the club regularly hosted strip nights and lap dancing.
We arrived at the club. Cliff was excited and I was nervous, I was relatively new to the job and still got nervous dealing with jobs in pubs and nightclubs. We were shown in by the security guy on the door and the look on Cliff’s face was priceless. It was ladies night. The place was packed with hundreds of ladies in various states of intoxication, enjoying a night of male strippers. One unfortunate lady had been lifted by the dancer and slipped due to an excess of baby oil on the dancer’s arms and landed awkwardly, twisting her ankle.
We worked our way through the crowd to the injured patient and some of the more drunk ladies thought we were the next act. A chant started and was taken up by more and more of the crowd, suggesting we should start dancing and stripping. It was the single most scary and yet hilarious night of my career, even the confident Cliff was trembling and perspiring. We couldn’t get the injured lady out of there quickly enough! Once in the safety of the ambulance Cliff and I laughed hysterically until we were both almost crying. The lady with the twisted ankle thought it was hilarious too and joined us laughing in between gulps of the pain relieving gas, entonox.
For the rest of the shift Cliff seemed to be seriously considering erotic dancing and stripping as an alternative activity. I am sure that the ladies of the North West would be very grateful to me for talking him out of it as a career path!