Belfast Telegraph

Monday 1 September 2014

The king and I decree too much flesh is evil

We need to talk about Swaziland. The King of Swaziland and I have much in common. For a start, we both have facial hair, though his is a bit dodgy.

Mine is a bog-standard beard, trimmed just once a week, and even then only at the insistence of the fair sex. His is more like two droopy bits hanging off his moustache.

I'm not even sure his counts as a beard. I think I'll raise it at the next meeting of the Supreme Beardie Council.

Other things that divide us: he wears flimsy, off-the-shoulder robes. I wear a thick Fair Isle jersey. His palace is detached. Mine is a semi.

I started off talking about our similarities but how quickly we've become divided. Typical humans. Indeed, the King and I are perhaps typical men.

According to my Revised Modern Politically Correct Dictionary men are "a hypocritical gender who talk cobblers all the time". Yup, that sounds about right. What are the King and I getting our undergarments in a twist about now? Well, in a nutshell, miniskirts and crop tops. Controversially, the King has banned them. He says they encourage lewd thoughts and worse.

Now, ladies exposing themselves in the traditional Western manner risk being jailed for six months. Way to go! While too busy to bother about miniskirts, this column has campaigned fearlessly about cleavage.

In particular, we've questioned its appropriateness and the peculiar psychology that makes women, you know, get them out.

We've all seen women flaunting their mammarial accoutrements at funerals, parliamentary inquiries, and whist drives. Why do they do this? They must think: "My husband has just died. I'd better get my hooters out at the funeral."

You say: "It's just the old adage: if you've got it, flaunt it." That is a good point, well made. You might also point to men who wear shorts in December or bicep-flaunting cyclists. All men with hairy chests display these. And yet the creationists still maintain we're not descended from apes.

But women do not become inflamed in the way that men do. In my experience they have to be flying drunk first.

However, "inflamed" is, for once, the mot juste here, and the King of Swaziland is doubtless taking into account the awful heat in his controversial African-style country.

Heat tends to go to the head and other body parts, hence nutter-based religions originating in the fetid Middle East tend also to have rules making their dames cover up. The situation doesn't apply in the cold sludge-floes of England and the Other Bits. In Belfast, Newcastle and parts of Ayrshire, young ladies stravaig about drunkenly, wearing hardly anything at all. And no one bats an eyelid. Admittedly, that's during the afternoons. I'm told it gets more raucous after nightfall.

Unfortunately, King Mswati - surely missing a vowel there, mate - has been accused of hypocrisy, as periodically he makes maidens in his country dance before him half-naked. Interestingly, I tried advertising a similar event in my neighbourhood, but no girls came and someone tore down the notice I put up at the newsagent's.

I'm not sure either that King Mswati's robes should be leaving so much shoulder exposed. But, other than that, we are men cut from the same cloth. And I commend our stern views on clothing to all readers, male and female.

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