The Art of Planking

Think you know what planking is? Think again. FREYA SUTTON talks you through the details…

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Plank /plaŋk/ verb: Living under the curse of an All-Girls School

Picture this: you’re in Cindies, innocently twerking away, occasionally mowing the lawn to the gem of Hakuna Matata.  When, all of a sudden, that someone you like shimmies over… Cindies is feeling (impossibly?) hotter than usual. The sparks are definitely trying to fly…

This is me pre-plank

If this was happening in a film/to any normal person now would be the time to muster up some allure.

But, shockingly, you can no longer remember how to turn it on. Or make eye contact, it appears. You are unable to do anything charming except shoot panicked looks at your bemused wingman, and when you think about it you’re not sure that is actually very charming after all. Especially when emphasised by Cadbury’s eyebrows on overdrive – clearly the only muscle still capable of movement. He may be hard (who knows! That would require social interaction) but you’re as stiff as a floor-board, frozen with awkwardness.

Planking mode has set in.

Like rigor mortis. So slow and painful, so that for a while he persists with the seductive shimmying, perhaps mistaking your static bobbing as a temporary crossed-legged busting for the toilet. Unless he is thicker skinned than a rhino, he will however inevitably get the wrong end of the plank-stick and tick you off as an uninterested cold fish. According to the Olympic Plankers, such an ordeal may lead you to run away feeling unfulfilled and/or with acute achy bones from excessive rigidity.

Do seek medical advice if this persists – apparently it is not normal.

Me in the club

Does this ring any bells with the ladies of Cambridge? Please God don’t say it’s just me. Hopefully not for your sake – instead you’ll have to live vicariously through my own retardation, there’s plenty to go around so no fighting. After achieving a particularly spectacular Planking PB this week – look out national squad – I paused to ponder the meaning of this stunted development. Just as I go to blame it on insufficient intoxication, the motto from my All-Girls School past suddenly bulldozers my thoughts:

Once a St Pauls girl, always a St Pauls girl’.

I feel a hot flush washing over me. Can it be that I am still and forever branded with the single-sex curse? I had always assumed we remained well-disguised, maybe even blended in… Fool!  Girls-school-girls be very afraid: highly intellectual academic Cambridge studies reveal that a whopping 2/3 of men can spot your true identity within the first 10 minutes of interaction. Looking back, it’s no wonder why. Let me break down the nitty-gritty causes of Planking syndrome for you.

1) Victorian uniform and general masive cock-blocker

The floor-length skirt and beret certainly taught me to keep every inch of flesh (and apparently emotion) under wraps for the lads. That said, for the smuttier types, a stolen glance or maybe even a flash of the ankle might scandalise local boys on the prowling outside school.  As one satisfied customer reminisces:

The nun-look was a jolly effective way to ward off wanted male attention.”

– Beatrice, Gonville and Caius.

They knew exactly what they were doing

2) Bitchin like dogs on heat 

What with everyone surfing the crimson tsunami – never mind wave – it is unsurprising that a special breed of super-bitch evolved. Symptoms included a talent for catty netball pivoting, spandex-clad dance-offs and tangoed makeup. (Facebook sources disclose, however, that the latter has resulted in extreme cases of prematurely blocked pores. So tzzzzz look who’s laughing now)

3) Power-puff girls

In hindsight, maybe some sneaky feminist brainwashing was going on below board… My headmistress’s girl-power salute springs to mind.  Ooh and the ‘BEAT THE BOYS!’ cheerleading party-trick for mixed-sex competitions. Hmm and the old ‘You don’t need no man’ lie they used to spin. Fishy.

4) Queen of the lesbians

…Was the fond nickname for our Head Girl. We had to live with the peasant downgrade. You know it’s serious when your own mother even has to ‘double check’…

5) Segregating like it’s the deep south

No boys at prom. No boys on the school trip (‘Don’t look girls!). No boys at sports day (‘I will not risk them watching the girls in their skorts!’). They didn’t even bother with sex-ed for our class – clearly higher powers knew we wouldn’t be needing it anytime soon…

It was like a dagger in my heart every time ‘Single Ladies’ came on” – Samantha, Trinity.

Considering this ordeal, The Tab fairy-godmother reassures all-girls Plankers: Don’t blame yourself.

Anyone else?

Absolutely no excuse.