Postcards From Beyond No. 3by Bruce Abrahams
It is half-term. Again. Do children spend no time in school at all? So the lanes will once again be full of 4x4s driven by irritable yummy mummies taking their off-spring to the beach while Daddy fools around on the local golf courses. Since no visitor knows how to reverse, we locals spend a great deal of time travelling backwards as we attempt to conduct a normal life.
But we have our own yummy mummies. My local garage has a marvellous girl I shall (for the sake of discretion) call Molly. She is a grown-up woman with teenage sons but has kept herself together with great style. As well as a neat figure she has a sparkling personality that she deploys as a complement to her very tight jumper and very short shorts behind the filling station counter. There may be imaginative parallels with The Postman Always Rings Twice, but not in our village. Rather, those in search of erotic adventure would do better to scout the 1930s villas and bungalows which comprise the second home enclaves of our beautiful coast. The lovely Molly is undoubtedly a woman ‘who could make a real mess out of you’ – or anyone, but in our view lacks the neuroses of the rich bitches who find their dependency on men and imprisonment by motherhood inadequately compensated by the ability to drive around in a Range Rover Evoque. Molly, on the other hand, works bloody hard at a variety of jobs and is a major contributor to the events and activities we use to raise money for local causes. If we had a mayor, she would be a good one.
The heat of the previous week has given place to heavy rain – bad luck kids. Although kids don’t care, and only the grown-ups planning BBQs will become grumpy. Summer is definitely icumen in. This event has as usual been heralded by the incomprehensible babble of young female ‘weather forecasters’ hired by the BBC to tell us either what has happened (which we knew), or what may be happening (which we can see) or what they predict will happen (which we can’t understand).
Evidently there is a career strand for young women (they are mostly women) within the broadcast/meteorological nexus. This has evolved mainly since Ulrika Jonsson (of blessed memory) burst, as it were, onto our collective consciousness and invented the weather slot as show business. In general terms, these good folk present a bit like airline flight attendants – though generally less well costumed. Sadly, they have been let loose to explore their theatrical aspirations with inadequate training in the presentation of useful information.
This is an old complaint but as a fervent supporter of feminist causes I feel it is an issue which requires redress. Women should not be humiliated by being allowed to address the nation on important matters of relevance without thorough preparation including a decent script. Inexperienced public speakers always tend to rambling non sequitor but, if tolerable at weddings, it is utterly unacceptable in weather forecasts.
A fashion that persists and is likely to appal us once more as the weather improves is that of men wearing unsuitable shorts. Singlet vests are the province of one specific class of male. Bad shorts, sadly, seem to be classless. I once endured a January flight from Miami next to a large and athletic man wearing blue Lycra running shorts. Had I been gay it might have been quite sexy, but since (pace statistics cited by the Smithsonian) there was at best only a 1:5 chance of my feeling remotely attracted, he was pushing the boundaries of good manners.
Shorts – including those that hang below the knee and are full of pockets are de rigueur for many men in the summer. They are especially favoured by tall or meaty blokes with big and often hairy legs and (on stockier fellows) the sort of calves that used to be called ‘Indian club’ (and are not valued when seen on women). Inevitably these legs tend to be accompanied by sandals. These are not ordinary sandals, but footwear which has the same design philosophy as the Nissan Qashqai . That is, a bit of pumped up machismo that only works on well-groomed surfaces. The wearers are undoubtedly rugby football players.
It may well be that such men are an object of desire for females. Having often been run down by them as they jogged furiously on the Thames tow-path (though not in sandals), I can only wonder at their appeal to women. Rather, I would suppose, the (to me) more elegant forms of tennis players or rowers – who do seem to have nicer legs and figures in general (and I confess to speaking as a past oarsman, snigger if you will) – have more to offer the female libido.
But maybe this is a matter of chromosomes. It seems that we would all be women but for a single variation and that lonely little bundle of chemicals has only one task, which is to make us men. That is, deliver the cock and balls and keep the tits small. So presumably this balance enables us to appreciate women like Molly but causes us to wish our underwear was prettier. Evidently there are polarities of male and femaleness. Big-thighed men meet huge-titted girls. What goes on in the heads and loins of these über-volk is a matter for imagination. It may be just the same as for all of us – but somehow more cut down to basics and without the nuances: faux-chammy posing pouches and split crotch nylon panties versus Calvin Klein and Soft Paris.
And it is possible that the sort of women who drive posh 4x4s (rather than old Mitsubishi Shoguns) can deal with men with big legs and terrible shorts and sandals and are happy with the aesthetic deficit. But here in Cornwall, we are all OK with our duffed-up cars and companionable chicken-strangling, cake-baking wives in M&S knickers and Molly in the garage.