theresa may

What Is 'Running Through Fields of Wheat' a Euphemism for?

We asked some people in the street, and followed up by asking them the naughtiest thing they did as a child.
June 6, 2017, 3:50pm

When Prime Minister Theresa May was asked by ITV this morning what the naughtiest thing she did as a child was, it was an easy opportunity for her to show a more human side.

Unfortunately, she failed. Her answer – that she would sometimes "run through fields of wheat" – is less of a misdeed and more a form of exercise, or the plot of a much-loved Sting classic.

We asked some people what they think "running through fields of wheat" could be a euphemism for, and also what the naughtiest thing they did as a kid was.

Alex, 20

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VICE: Hi Alex. If you had to use "running through the fields of wheat" as a euphemism, what would you use it for?** Alex: Maybe you're putting a lot into something but not really getting anywhere. Are you talking about, like, a sexual euphemism?

I didn't say that. I was just talking about wheat.
When you're down the pub and you say "it was like I was running through fields of wheat", yeah, I'd say you could use it as a sexual euphemism for putting a lot of effort in and not really getting anywhere, because it's a lot of effort running through wheat and there's no real end to it.

Kenny, 28

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If you had to use "running through fields of wheat" as a euphemism, what would you use it for?
Kenny: I feel like maybe perhaps it sounds like a musical. Or, I don't know – like, having a really good day? I was running through the fields of wheat? Good experience?

Sure. Theresa May said running through fields of wheat was the naughtiest thing she's ever done. What's the naughtiest thing you did as a kid?
I smashed a few windows at school...

With your fists?
Nah, with a golf ball. Me and my friends were hitting balls in the school fields. We smashed the window, then we did it again and smashed another window. I just remember we were all like "shit". And the police came round and stuff like that. It was silly.

That was the worst thing you did as a kid?
Probably not. I did play a really good trick on my friend's little brothers one time. They lived on a farm. One time we found this dead lamb, so we took it into a barn, then we made a pentagram with red paint and sand and dirt, and wrote, like, "death ahead", and we told his little brother to go inside. Then we all hid and watched, and he was really scared and then we threw pebbles at him. I just remember him yelling "It's raining slugs!" in a really high pitch voice because he thought the pebbles were slugs for some reason.

Debora, 23

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VICE: What would you think I'd done if I told you I'd been running through fields of wheat?
Debora: For me, I don't necessarily see it as a good thing. I see it as running through life and there are so many people in London, and you're just bumping into each other and you don't have space for yourself to breathe. I feel it's too crowded. So, for me, it can kind of represent the city in a way.

I see. What was the naughtiest thing you did as a kid?
I ate paint. I used to love the hand paint – you know, the one that kids use their hands to draw with?

Was this a regular thing?
No, no, it was just a one-off. And I got told off so bad. I just did it once, but I don't know why. I guess I just wanted to know how it tasted; I was curious. It looks nice, though, the texture, so I guess I was drawn to it.

Abi, 21

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VICE I f you had to use "running through fields of wheat" as a euphemism, what would you use it for?
Abi: I think, at the moment, just because it's on my mind, I think of just finishing university and not knowing exactly where I'm heading in terms of not finding a job or what could happen. I think I see the strands of wheat as, like, so many options. You're not worried about having options, but when there's so many things – different paths and different things to get through – It's pretty overwhelming.

What was the naughtiest thing you did as a kid?
I guess, because I had a brother, I would hide his toys a bit. I was a pretty good kid, honestly.

Ruskala, 22

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VICE: If you had to use "running through fields of wheat" as a euphemism, what would you use it for?
Ruskala: I'm obviously a bit lost about, like, how I can run through my journey. I want to try and make sure I have all my options open and not flatten anything on my way.

What was the naughtiest thing you did as a kid?
Because I'm from Hong Kong, the schools are quite strict – like, my parents actually forced us to do everything; we tried five instruments and learned dancing. So the naughtiest thing you could do there was, like, not doing your homework or something like that.

KT Mess, 16

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VICE: If you had to use "running through fields of wheat" as a euphemism, what would you use it for?
KT Mess: I'd say it's something that's difficult, but it could be nice – like, the weather could be nice, so it could be sunny, so even though you're running through tall wheat and stuff it could still be quite enjoyable, if you think about it in the right way. You can still see the good sides of it – like, you would come out the other side of it eventually. Maybe it's like you're running through the fields of wheat, and wheat is something you need to start with. Like when you stomp on grapes to make wine.

Sure, why not. What's the naughtiest thing you did as a kid?
Okay, so in primary school, me and my mates didn't like this certain teacher. One time we put laxatives in her coffee. It was quite funny.

How did you know it had worked?
Well, we kind of wanted her to shit in front of us, but it didn't really happen. She kind of just kept going in and out, like, "Oh... I think I need to go to the toilet," and then she'd come back and be like, "Be quiet, guys, I just need to go for a second and come back, OK?" She kept on doing that.