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Saturday, June 22, 2024
Laterally SpeakingAggressive Trousers

Aggressive Trousers

I’ve been reading about the strange goings-on at Esh Parish Council in Durham. Apparently, one councillor has been reprimanded for wearing ‘aggressive and intimidating’ trousers to a council meeting. The afore-mentioned trousers are of a mottled green camouflage pattern—passively informal from a military perspective, but I should have thought not actively aggressive like getting up to physically bite other council members on the leg! The trousers’ occupant (if such be the right word) says he owns 41 pairs of the things—all in a camouflage design—and he never wears anything else except at funerals. In which case, I’m not sure what the fuss is all about since he’s obviously so well camouflaged every normal day that he must be invisible to most complainers…  However, they are obviously not smart enough for wearing in polite Esh society and eight other councillors have recently resigned in protest, so the aggression has turned itself into all-out war.

This is now causing me considerable anxiety. On looking through my wardrobe I find several items that I would consider to be equally violent or at least mildly hostile. I am worried that I might be arrested for wearing them down Lyme Regis high street or at the bank in Bridport. Sheltering on a hanger behind my dark blue corduroys and faded 60’s style jeans are a pair of orangey-yellow moleskin chinos. I have never dared to wear them for fear of my being mistaken for a streak of custard and I once bought them in Florida in 1980 after consuming too many margaritas for lunch. This was so long ago, I’m sure they won’t fit me anymore, so out they go… And while I’m about it, I’d better throw away my red suede slacks—not so much red as a violent horror film blood-soaked scarlet. Aggressive? You betcha… In Your Face Red. Put these on and you’ll feel like Rambo in a porcelain fine china factory—not just mad bull, but a third world war with legs or Armageddon with pockets. Wearing them, I wouldn’t be arrested: I’d be shot with a tranquiliser dart and carried to Bristol Zoo to humanely recover like an escaped gorilla.

I think clothing should be classified by volume. Not by volume meaning mass or largeness, but volume meaning loudness or noise. I have several pairs of Christmas present socks that I would classify as not merely loud but piercingly strident or even shrill. Passers-by cover their ears and eyes when I let slip a flash of them over my sneakers. Small children are shielded by their parents: “Come away Henry”, says the worried guardian, “That man’s got dangerous socks!” I also have a booming fluoro-green sweater (slightly mothy) and a couple of florid waistcoats that really should not be allowed out in public, so they’re all going in the charity bag today.

I’m not the only one with aggressive clothing. People who play golf and (more particularly) Americans who play golf often wear trousers that shout loudly at you whenever they approach the green (see the picture). I’m not entirely sure why they do this. Perhaps it’s a winning tactic to intimidate the opposition and deafen him/her with a blast of 124 decibel golf pants. It might be bravado like ‘Look At Me, I’m The Best’ or a jarring blast of vulgar plumage on a big green and blue parrot. This is Nature’s way of warning off the competition. Once spotted, never forgotten… you’ll need ear plugs as well as dark glasses to deaden the noise, but you’ll look even more of a prat when you go into the water on the fifteenth.

Of course, if you want to avoid attention you can simply drift past whisper-quiet in a subtle symphony of cool grey and cream. You can then be a noiseless member of society. Pale blue with faint Val Doonican drab diamonds is about as quiet as you can get—almost inaudible. That’s no doubt why they call it the silent majority.

But even if you wish to be nice and quiet so you can safely graze in the romantic council offices of Esh, you can still be a part-time rebel. Carrying a shrieking scarlet handkerchief well hidden in your pocket is just like having a secret 200 DB sound system concealed in a Mini. You may not ever produce it or use it, but the fact that you know it’s there can make you smile with a secret squirrel type smile all day. Take out your loud hanky and wave it about in the middle of Waitrose for a couple of seconds and you’ll see grown men faint near the ‘ready meals’ section. Mums and young kids may cry out in alarm and cover their ears (the men’s ears of course). Warning: You might be acting in too aggressive a manner, and if so, put it back in your pocket and carry on shopping as if nothing had happened. If questioned by shop staff, deny everything.


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