“YOU’RE not going out dressed like that!”

Most parents of teenage girls will, at one time or another, have uttered that phrase. I certainly have, every time my daughters teetered downstairs in high heels and skimpy outfits.

Yet I remember my mother saying exactly the same to me. It’s hard to dictate to your children, when you can still picture yourself at their age, craving the same things - and doing them too - against your parents’ wishes.

Only last year my youngest daughter met me at a busy railway station wearing an alarmingly see-through top. I went mad and immediately bought her a respectable jumper from the nearest shop.

Yet I remember taking a ridiculously short leather skirt to a dance to change into, knowing I wouldn’t make it out of the door if I wore it at home.

I did the same with a pair of platforms shoes, sneaking them to school in my bag.

Zara Tindall has said that she would be “horrified” if one of her daughters got a tattoo.

Yet she herself was labelled a ‘wild child’ for having her tongue pierced aged 17. Would she be happy if one of her daughters did that? I don’t imagine so.

I waged a campaign to prevent my daughters - then in their early teens - from having their ears pierced. I nagged and nagged about how infection might set in, and how they would ruin their ears with such wanton mutilation.

Not once did I mention the fact that at their age I was desperate to have my own ears pierced. My mother said on no condition was that happening, leaving me feeling the odd one out, as all my friends had theirs done.

We would go shopping and while my mates had masses of earrings to choose from, I was restricted to a pathetically small range of clip-ons. It was on one of these trips that my friends persuaded me to go ahead and have my ears pierced. I was 17 and hid the crime under my hair. It was a fortnight before my mother found out, and she wasn’t happy. I didn’t take to earrings and didn’t wear them for long, so it really wasn’t worth the angst.

I suppose it was inevitable that my daughters would eventually go ahead. My eldest had her ears pierced as soon as she left for university. My youngest held out until she was 20.

I should be grateful for small mercies: many young people have piercings in many locations other than their earlobe.

Aged 17, I had my hair streaked blonde, against my mum’s advice. It wasn’t a great success and made me look like Roger Daltry. I tried from a distance to stop my eldest daughter from doing the same. She went ahead and, to my surprise, it looks good.

I’ve lectured one daughter about wearing too much make-up, but she’s never gone out in the lurid metallic shades I smeared my eyes with in the late 1970s.

One thing I didn’t even consider doing in my youth is getting a tattoo. Like Zara Tindall I would be horrified should either of my daughters come home with one.

When I was young tattoos were confined to old men who had retired from the navy or the lads who worked on the fairground. They weren’t seen as desirable and I didn’t know anyone who had one.

Now the world and his wife has ‘body art’, including many young people. But I’m not a fan and were one of my daughters to arrive home with a dolphin on a shoulder or a swallow on an ankle, however small, I’d be upset.

Tastes change over time. My daughters won’t be wearing the same clothes or make-up a decade from now, but a tattoo is there for life.


*Every month around 1,000 people across the country type into Google ‘How to have sex in a car’?

Research by the car registration firm click4reg.co.uk has found a large majority of people in Britain rely on the power of Google relating to the day-to-day running and care of their car.

I can understand people asking about car insurance, how to check the tyre pressure or change the oil, but sex?

Surely the obvious answer would be to buy a large one. I can’t see many Fiat 500 owners getting much pleasure from it.