"My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together." “When I hear people say politics and religion don't mix, I wonder what Bible they are reading.” (Archbishop Desmond Tutu)

"And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, and to love kindness and mercy, and to humble yourself and walk humbly with your God?" Micah 6.8

"Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things." Philippians 4.19

"Work out your salvation with fear and trembling." Philippians 2.12

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Because you didn't listen last year: Summer dressing for men

Below is a repeat post: I am currently in negotiations with the Coalition Govt. to make the following recommendations mandatory by law.

My beloved and I were sitting in our favourite cafe on our Saturday morning date. (Yes, I know how to show a girl a good time.) It was my turn to sit facing the window: my beloved sees this as something of a disadvantage because, as a people watcher, I have a tendency to pay more attention to the world passing by than to her.

We are in the middle of an early heat wave after an overlong, cold and miserable winter, where spring hardly got a look in. As I looked out of the window I was, in turns, perplexed, shocked and occasionally, frankly, disgusted by what I saw parading by. A collective madness descends on the British public when the sun comes out and we feel that atavistic compulsion to discard our winter layers and show our sun-starved and pale flesh to the world.

That is not of itself a bad thing but, having travelled extensively around Europe, North, South, East and West in the Summer months, I note a tendency in the British, only matched and occasionally beaten by our American cousins: the journey from winter woollies to summer shorts by passes one significant stop-over - the mirror. The French, the Italians, the Finns and the Estonians do summer in style. We, on the other hand, are the sartorially lost and confused.

When I next change jobs I am going to join the fashion police: as a meterosexual male and misanthrope I offer the following observation of the British male in the sunshine.

* British men and shorts: this is not a marriage made in Heaven. Amongst all the ill dressed tides of humanity that swept past the cafe window was an elderly man clearly wearing the shorts he was issued in 1946 on demob. Another man of indeterminate middle age wore the sort of genitalia defining very short shorts beloved of the 1970s soccer player. One overweight youth was wearing acres of baggy, bold, floral print.

* Varicose veins are not a fashion statement.

* Men who wear sandals with socks - black, brown and dark blue generally, tend to be given a wide berth by mothers with small children: it is an unconscious response designed to protect the young from exposure to evil.

* The wearing of sports gear as leisure wear: it's just lazy. Don't do it guys. Are you on your way to play sport? No, I thought not with that physique and a cigarette in your mouth.

* The wearing of combat camouflage: are you in the armed forces? (You wish.) No, I thought not. See previous response.

* Tattoos: why do we think they're called POLYNESIAN STYLE? (The clue's in the name.) Yes, because they look good on dark-skinned, muscular, Polynesian fishermen and not on skinny, ginger accountants from Wakefield. The upper-arm Celtic ring really did look cool in 1986. Its now 2011 (no, honestly) and its beginning to look like a serious lapse in judgement.

* Unless you've got that physique, shirts should always be worn unless you are within 50m of sea, lake, lido or river. If you do have that physique, cover up anyway. No-one likes a show off.

* Wear only one pattern: shirt, T-shirt or shorts/trousers. Do not mix and match. You'll look like a train wreck.

* That hard-rock T-shirt proclaiming Up Yours Mother-F***er works on a 17 yr old. It does not look edgy on a fifty-something with hair growing out of his ears.

* And that Rolling Stones tour T-shirt 1991: no-one cares.

* Have you seen how much hair you have on your torso? I recognised you from Planet of the Apes.

* As previous. Grey wiry body hair escaping around the neck, belly and arm holes of your T-shirt is singularly unappealing.

* Allow me to introduce you to the concept of the anti-perpirant deodorant in the summer months. You smell and sweat patches are just not cool.

* That slim fitting shirt/T-shirt may have looked good last year. You've had a beer or two since then, no?

* No-one ever needs to see your navel.

* Crocs: don't even start me on that crime against humanity!

* The baseball cap was never cool.

* Look Youth, that woolly-hat-beanie-thingy looked good in January. You just look ridiculous wearing it with a vest top and shorts, right?

* Taupe, beige and pistachio for the over 50s have been banned by the new Coalition government, as has anything with suede inserts.

This is what you do:

* You are allowed to look critically in the mirror.

* You may throw clothes away - especially ones that make you look like a knob and/or no longer fit. Get over it.

* You must go shopping when the summer clothes hit the shops, not once in a decade under sufferance. Take your girlfriend/wife with you. You don't have one? Why am I not surprised?



  1. At least Americans have the excuse that it gets flipping hot in the summer in most parts of our country. None of this "Oh my goodness, it's 72 degrees F and I'm going to die of heat stroke" business.


  2. Oh-oh. That's goodbye to the Strawbs tour T-shirt then! Have you noticed that looking at your full length profile is a shock?

  3. I love this post. I think it ought to run every summer, or possibly every other week. Good luck with your negotiations with the coalition government over it too. It would very probably be the most sensible piece of legislation they manage to put out :)