Belfast Telegraph

If you wear shorts gents, you haven't got a leg to stand on

By Robert McNeill

As spring fills the air, and the dull lethargy of winter starts slowly to wear off, mankind gets a glint in its eyelobes and its thoughts turn to ... shorts.

Of all the evil phenomena this column has campaigned against - bicycling, wilful baldness, low-slung trousers - shorts is or are the one or ones that feel or feels like a losing battle.

Shorts to the right of you, shorts to the left, if you're averse to the human knee, you're in for a renewed period of torture. In happier times, the only male adults who wore shorts were associated with the Scouts movement and, while most of us gave such bods a wide berth, we accepted they'd a legitimate reason for wearing shorts.

Nobody was particularly clear what this was but assumed it was something to do with camping and the somewhat suspect need to feel a breeze swirling round your Cairngorms.

Today, in the midst of the city, you see citizens who are complete strangers to the woggle, waddling hither and - on a clear day - yon in their shorts.

Chaps who really fancy that their lower limbs are a gift from the gods even wear the horrible habiliments throughout the winter, paying the price later with the onset of chronic haemorrhoids.

A doctor in my ken says he repeatedly warns his male patients - particularly the bald ones with hormonal imbalances - about flaunting their lower limbs out of vanity. But they never listen and, before long, by winter's end, they're back in his surgery, asking if they can remain standing rather than sit down. It's tragic really.

Cyclists, needless to say, are prime practitioners of lower-limb perversity and a recent study found that their self-righteous aggressiveness may be caused by sweat from their saddle-sore buttocks sliding down their exposed legs and combining with cold air, thus releasing toxins that make them turn violent and believe they're invincible.

I need hardly add that, in my view, bald cyclists in shorts should be imprisoned indefinitely. Call me prejudiced but someone has to make a stand for decency.

And I'm delighted to announce that I'm supported 100% in my view by no less a personage than - I have the name here, if you will give me a minute; ah, here it is - Tom Ford.

Yes, put that in your pipe and smoke yourself to a kipper. Mr Ford is, like myself, a top fashion guru, and has declared emphatically: gentlemen don't wear shorts.

The leading American person says that, out with the beach or tennis pitch, shorts are simply "never appropriate". Halle-flippin'-lujah! Tom says your clothing should be respectful of other people, whereas shorts blow sartorial raspberries at them. This is particularly the case with slovenly, middle-aged men who compound the horror with socks and sandals.

Tom says that eschewing shorts is one of five attributes necessary to qualify as a modern gentleman and, while I'm far too busy to read the other four, I'm sure that they include good manners, only wearing a hat indoors, never licking someone else's ice cream and, er, not being bald.

All that said, the hoi polloi will still waddle around regardless in their foreshortened trousers. I admire them in a way, but would never be tempted to join them. Not with these knees.

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