Friday, January 15, 2010

A Tale Of The Travelling Pants

Back in ye olden days when I were a lad, I couldn't wait for the day when my parents deemed me old enough to wear long trousers. I can't remember exactly when that day came, but I know I was out of those shorts faster than you could say "Fr. Murphy's coming for tea."

I know it was before I left school (when I was 18) but probably only just. I'm pretty sure I had long pants when I was at university but I've no photos to prove that.

Back then, it was a sort of rite of passage to go from short to long pants and doting mothers who never wanted their sons to be grown up, delayed this passage for as long as was morally and fashionably possible. As a result, my legs got a few more years of fresh air on them than was typical of the time and as if the 'big boys' at my boarding school needed any more excuses to beat the crap out of me (wearing thick NHS glasses and having a pudding basin haircut being pretty good for starters), my pale scrawny legs on display seemed to send them into a frenzy of name calling and teasing.

"But mum, I MUST be old enough now to wear long pants. Everyone else in my class has them"

"Well, everyone else isn't you. You're my little boy and you look so cute in those shorts"

"But mummmmmmm, I'm freakin' 25 !!"

Like with a lot of things, as we approach our golden years, things have a habit of coming full circle. We start to leak fluids (and occasionally solids) at both ends just like we did when we started out in life. We talk utter nonsense that few can comprehend and hairs grow in very odd places just like back then too.

But now I can add wearing shorts to that list. For the 6 months that I'm in Florida, I'm rarely out of shorts and on the few occasions when long pants are called for, I feel very odd indeed. But no one calls me names or laughs at me now, well not to my face anyway ! In this place, varicose veins, liver spots, surgery scars and often brand new knees are all exposed to the sunlight pretty much all day and all winter long.

It's quite bizarre really but if the average age of the residents in this park is, say, 70, then the average age of their knees is probably 2 years. There has been more reconstructive surgery done on these people than on Demi Moore, Victoria Beckham and Wayne Newton combined. I've left Cher, Madonna and Dolly Parton out of this to keep from tipping the balance.

During the cold spell that's just ended, everyone did wear long pants and probably several pairs of them at the same time. Shorts were washed and ironed all ready for that exciting day when they could be worn again. For me it was a flashback to my yute and I couldn't wait to whip off the longs and get on the shorts.

I'm sure a time will come when my legs become skeletal and I'll have to revert to long pants just to stop ladies from fainting at the sight of them. But until then, I plan on flashing my 57 year old legs with their 57 year old knees at all and sundry.

Sorry mum - your little boy is all grown up now.


Katherine said...

Lovely post Ian!
- Here in New Zealand there was a time when shorts (standard summer work-wear) were accompanied by long white socks. And I'm talking grown-up men here. They called them 'walk socks'. You don't see them nor the shorts so much now... a drift back to trousers, (don't know how the men bear the heat), but the socks I don't miss. They looked silly.

Jay said...

That's funny! Yes, things do seem to revert a tad when we age, don't they? Well, some things do, anyway.

I'm a bit wary of going back into long white socks and gymslips, though. People might get the wrong idea.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

Long pants? Short pants? Try breathing more slowly and more rhythmically to achieve average length pants. Also ogling blue rinse widows from Noo Joisey is likely to adversely affect your panting pattern.

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