Monday, June 26, 2006

It is a time of dread...

The axial tilt of the planet know as "Earth" has caused solar energy to fall on central Europe at a more direct angle. Inland humidity has reached 64%. The incessant heat has begun to make its effects felt on the helpless. Denizens of this climactic zone have been driven to ever-increasing extremes of fashion in the quest for relief from the oppressive temperatures, known as "summer".

In the check-in queue for a certain budget airline at Prague airport, weary travellers bask in the air-conditioned cool, little caring that the single trainee on the desk means it will be over an hour before they can finish. At least they no longer have to move (much).

One man in particular appears to have caught the spirit of the season by its neck and wrung it like a soggy flannel. Proud and tall he stands, skinny of limb and knobbly of joint. His dark hair is neatly combed over his bald spot, his beard is full and lush. His glasses are large, with thick dark frames. His feet are in dark dress shoes polished to a mirror shine; the hems of his white socks precisely bisect his legs at mid-calf height. From there, the blinding white of pipe-cleaner legs is only enhanced by his luxuriant body hair.

His black cotton thigh-length shorts are neat and perfectly pressed, with knife-edge creases down the front. There are unmistakable signs that this appearance is the product of planning and effort. Above, despite his presence in a public airport where temperatures are chilly enough to require jackets, his checked cotton short-sleeved shirt is buttoned only to the naval. The air-conditioned breeze whispers over his body with predictable effects on parts of his anatomy most would prefer to ignore.

Presumably for the visual delight of all others in the immediate area, his shirt falls open in starched folds about his torso, revealing the glorious round fullness of his firm, high beachball belly. It bears a peculiar V-shaped burn in glowing red streaked in white. It mesmerises. Members of the queue consider setting up a sweepstakes on whether his waters will break before he reaches passport control.

'Tis true that clothes do not make the man: they are mere packaging. But packaging bears labels, and in this case a hazard warning that states, "Beware, English abroad". Sigh. Y'know, my flatmates, they are American. And the only Americans that seem to make it over here are young, lithe college kids in trendy sportswear. The Brits, by contrast, look as if their ideas are derived from the "before" segment of "What not to Wear" and then customised with cast-offs from a charnel house. So the comparisons are becoming painful.

Anyhow, I'm no fashionista. I wear funny red shoes. But if this is what it's coming to, can I become a cultural refugee? Or is there a way to lobby easyjet to stock muumuus and gags for such passengers? Because between this and the drunken compliments on how fluent my English is for a "Czech bird", I'm beginning to get a little testy towards my fellow countrymen. Now, where did I put my sharp stick?

6 comments:

RPC said...

[your commenter writes from St Tropez]

Greetings from the Cote d'Azur, where in the summer it is somehow more summer than anywhere else, if that makes sense. We walked along the front yesterday and hoped to catch a glimpse of Poof Daddy, or at very least Joan Collins, but to no avail just yet. The boats are arrayed along the harbourfront in spectacular displays of unimagined decadence. We're keen to be seen as part of the scene, not passing through, so are considering making our own Polo Shirts with the words CAYMAN ISLANDS on them, just so people know.

EvilAuntiePeril said...

*seethes with jealousy* Bet the eye-candy is better too. You and your straw cowboy hat...

But I hope you get a photo of an aging man the colour of teak in a miniscule white thong.

Karen Scott said...

EAP wrote on Maili's blog: Classy indeed. Did you by any chance also sample the delights of salsa nights at Fuego’s in Bugibba?"

I don't recall Fuego's, but I distinctly remember getting off my head and thinking I was Janet Jackson at a bar in Bugibba called The Wiseguys!

Did you get to go to the Blue Lagoon? Where was the rest of the frickin beach?

ames said...

LMAO! European fashions (not Paris fasion) are so funny. I miss Germany. *pouts*

Candy said...

Those aren't burn marks. Those sound like stretch marks.

EEEGAAAHHHH.

EvilAuntiePeril said...

Karen: Blue Lagoon - lovely. And we wandered all over Comino, which was great. But the beach? That would be that strip of sand about 6x2 feet, right? Feet paddled in water.

Ames: This whole summer-football-and-beer-inspired look is particularly excruciating. I dread it spreading into the office. Heaven forbid, but I have seen the odd pair of co-worker knees.

Candy: Oh help. I think you might be right. eeeewwwww....