It’s my birthday and I’m showing my age, unashamedly.
My Texas driving licence expired today and as my residency status has changed, from alien to American, I was required to go in person to renew it. I spent the better part of four hours in line before a pleasant woman took my thumb prints, said ‘smile at the camera’, told me to read the fourth line with my corrective lenses on and then wished me a happy birthday.
Four hours to survey the full spectrum of society in a democratic country where everyone is expected to line up for his or her licence, though I have a sneaky suspicion some of those in line were paid minions who dialled a number when their number neared the top.
I have never been, in the words of the Kinks, a dedicated follower of fashion. But it is hard not to notice certain trends and to wonder when they will move on. The two that distress me most, and remember I am allowed to be curmudgeonly as age now allows it, are the muffin top and bun holder.
The muffin top, those juddering, shuddering mounds of doughy flesh that loll over the hip bands of low-slung jeans, skirts and shorts on young, and sometimes not so young women. To add insult to the mode is the most unattractive view of string thongs straining upward between the delineated cheeks, coming to rest below the tramp stamp.
I did a straw poll not so long ago among some young men of my acquaintance and was pleasantly encouraged to learn that the excessive exposure of flesh did nothing to entice them into a deep, or even shallow, desire for a relationship.
The bun holder is my term for the fashion statement made by many young men, and in this case thankfully they do tend to be young, or at least not older than 30, which in my now advanced years, warrants as young!
But I digress. The bun holder is best described as jeans, shorts or trousers/pants cinched in tight below the buttocks but above the penis – just. This ensures a clear delineation of the goods, both fore and aft.
Another clue to the preciousness of the bundle is the constant clutching of the crotch. I have not yet decided whether this is to ensure everything is still in situ or an attempt to hold up the garment. Often the situation is muddied by the large amount of fabric in the oversize T-shirt, worn long and low in order to provide some semblance of privacy, but in the hurried grabbing often does little to hide what is on offer.
I do understand this fashion statement, unlike the muffin top, has historical connotations. Empathy and support being shown for those incarcerated, brothers-in-arms sort of thing. Though one has to wonder whether the trend is a boon for the police – it must be easier to chase down a youth whose stride is decidedly shortened.
I hasten to add this is a multi-coloured issue. The multi-colours often being advertised along with the make of the boxers – Levis expose Hillfigers just as well as Hanes or Marks and Sparks.
I have been known to suggest the hoiking up of said Levis. One incident occurred on the train, the light rail that runs north/south through Houston. A youth with the prerequisite shorts belted well below the waistline scurried on board only to find the said garment slipping on the more and more exposed silken undershorts, red with white hearts. I laughed. I was rounded on, cursed and given the finger. I laughed again as he plunged desperately for a seat, his shorts now below the equipment they were meant to hide, his T-shirt doing little to cover what was on offer. He gathered himself, both literally and figuratively, turned and loudly cursed me again.
Oh for goodness sake, pull your pants up, sit down and shut up, I suggested. It is hard to be intimidated by a gangly youth on a full train in broad daylight with his shorts nearer his ankles than his butt. My comment was met with averted eyes and intakes of breath from all around, but the poor young man did as he was told and then slunk off at the next stop.
I was probably foolhardy. It wouldn’t have been the first time, but until we all start laughing at the idiocies of the current fashion we will continue to be exposed to decidedly tasteless muffins and buns.
And frankly as it’s my 53rd birthday, and I have a new licence, I have no desire to be put off my cake anymore.