I can remember a time back in the early 90s when no-one wore shorts when it was sunny. Seriously, it could be 28 degrees (although to be fair, it never got above 20 degrees in the summer in the 90s, it was the frigid decade) and not one man would be seen wearing shorts. Apart from me, that is. I’ve always enjoyed airing my legs if there’s a moderate amount of warmth. Whether other people enjoyed the view is, of course, up for debate.
It’s nice to see that this attitude has changed and quite a few men of all ages whip their legs out and wear shorts once it gets sunny. Even if one doesn’t necessarily expect to see that in April…
But thinking about this change in attitude towards shorts-wearing set me wondering generally about British people’s attitude to the occasions the sun appears from behind typically grey British clouds. What else has changed?
Well, there’s sitting outside cafes and coffee shops.
People perch on rickety chairs and wobbly tables as buses and lorries rush past, showering the unfortunates with another stale blast of pollution. I blame this one on people taking holidays in Europe, seeing ‘pavement culture’ and desperately trying to relive it in our frozen climes. There’s probably little more sad than seeing people hovering outside under those (incredibly environmentally-unfriendly) patio heaters, convincing themselves that they’re having a good time.
Then there’s the unfortunate tendency to strip off T-shirts as men wander down the street. It’s really not the pasty flesh that’s on display to all passers-by that bothers me, it’s the fact that it’s virtually never warm enough in the UK to really justify this. Save it for those Mediterranean holidays, guys.
Of course, the other thing that’s changed is people being more willing to be out in the garden, often for that ubiquitous Australian invention the ‘barbie’. Clouds of smoke drift across neighbours’ gardens as ‘outdoor cooks’ vaguely attempt to work out why one side of the burger is incinerated while the other side remains raw (or possibly even frozen). Meanwhile people gather in the sunnier parts of the garden, wondering whether they should actually have worn another layer and chatting loudly. It’s an incontestable law that most British people cannot spend time in their gardens without raising their voices as if yelling to someone on the other side of the street and/or turning their music up to volumes which many nightclubs would be proud of.
Still, I shouldn’t complain. A bit of sunshine and warmth is still preferable to the overcast or wet days that the British summer often brings!