Let us consider for a moment sartorial probity. By this I mean dressing in an age appropriate way. This, to my mind at least, is seen by many as an out-dated notion, which has little relevance to the modern age. Yes, I can judge as before the accidents I had my shirts made for me, to my own design and from a fabric of my choice. And had cufflinks – what buttons? Am I in panto? – made for me. Most people nowadays, whatever their age, seem to think that anything goes when it comes to clothing. From young men wearing those frankly silly jeans that do nothing other than advertise the cleaning power of their mothers detergent, to women of a certain age dressing like they were twenty years younger and twenty kilograms lighter.
Of course, these people are free to dress how they want – up to a point of course – that point is when they stray into my line of vision. Time and time again my gaze has fallen upon people who look like an Australian hairdressers’ worst nightmare or else they look like a bin bag full of yoghurt. On a bad day they might well resemble a hideous combination of the two. They are suffering from ‘The Me’ delusion, so prevalent today, wherein people of all ages think it’s perfectly acceptable to dress how they want to. I know I sound like the sort of person the younger me would have no time for, yet back when I was a boy there were clearly delineated modes of dressing, inasmuch as people dressed their age. As child you wore what your parents bought you – there was no discussion about this – and then in your late teenage years you dressed like a twat. Your parents and their “You’re not going out like THAT!” and “What do you think you look like?” only proved how out of touch with everything they were. It was only with hindsight and photographic proof helped you realize what you thought was the height of fashion was just embarrassing. Everyone did it. It was a necessary stage in the transition to adulthood, that dawning realization you were no longer a teenager. Correctly identifying your previous self as a bit of a twat that you look back with fond nostalgia, safe in the knowledge you are no longer that person, you’ve grown out of that. This puts me in mind of Chapter 1 Corinthians, 13-11 – which of course you’re all familiar with – but in case it has slipped your memory temporarily here it is:
“When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.”
Whereas a modern version might go like this…
“When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I finally had the money to indulge my childish ways. So I did.”
Apologies to anyone who doesn’t live in London, more specifically the areas of Islington, Shoreditch, Hackney or Clerkenwell, for what follows might seem like an exaggeration but what follows isn’t.
Men on skateboards. Grown men, not teenagers but proper men who should, but don’t know better. When I was a child skateboards were a thing for children, but once you discovered girls and the fun you could have with them, then a length of plastic and four wheels soon lost it’s appeal. Although not if a girl was doing something with the length of plastic… But not anymore. In some parts of London you see actual grown men – with one presumes the responsibility of day-to-day survival in a busy metropolis. A job. Rent of mortgage. A girlfriend? – riding skateboards. Passing by a skateboard thing where skateboarders congregate at a park in Stoke Newington, I was struck by the amount of grown men there. And I thought ‘Doesn’t that strike anyone as a bit dodgy, gown men hanging out with young boys?’. Some of them even ride them on the main road. Sometimes I’ve been that so close to spot that they have a wedding ring on ring on their finger. How?
Equally, men on scooters. Again when I was a young, no boy would be seen dead on a scooter, as scooters were things for girls. (By scooter I mean of course the ones that you push.) But now it seems that men have taken to riding scooters – some of them motorized – in order to connect with their inner child. If you need to buy something to connect with your inner child then it isn’t worth connecting with. Or perhaps they think it makes them look cool and edgy (but don’t have any friends to tell them otherwise, and the more they ride it, the longer that state of affairs will persist). Men on scooters are essentially stone magnets. As indeed, are men on BMX bikes. Again when I was a child riding a BMX bike was something you grew out of by your late teens. But now modern life has become something out of Nathan Barley.
They do tricks, in much the same way a child would do tricks to show off his skills to some girl, or else make it look effortless to impress their mates, but grown men are showing off to each other. Of course these ‘men’ have been identified, and like all newly discovered genus, have a Latin name, this carry on; totalica bellendus. This is proof that natural selection has taken a time out and doesn’t work, because how else do you explain these characteristics polluting the gene pool? If nothing else, it goes some way to advancing the notion that the female of the species is far cleverer. I have never seen a woman acting in the manner described above. Be afraid, be very afraid, as these people after all have the vote!
Next time…something interesting. I haven’t quite decided…