Toddler Taming…for Adults
I have just spent the last weekend trawling the local stores for the new school uniform my boy will need when he starts secondary school in September. We did quite well – I’m £150 lighter in the bank, but have only a couple of items outstanding. Oh, and I have the ritual nightmare that is shopping for school shoes for both girl and boy still to look forward to – not. That torture I am saving for when I’ve had three Weetabix one morning and have been religiously mainlining neat vallium with vodka for the preceding two weeks. Only then will I have the mental and physical strength to get through it.
So we’re just paying for the boy’s new blazer at the counter when hubby decides to try on a polo shirt lurking in a corner next to the gumshields. His incessant whining that he has no decent summer clothes had reached a screeching crescendo of late so, as the shirt actually looked really good on him, we bought that too.
Now maybe I’m just being a ratbag because it’s Monday and I have to be at work instead of sucking down rosé in the garden, but this fairly tasteful purchase got me thinking about what happens to the average British male’s fashion sense when the sun finally emerges from its long winter hibernation. There are, it has to be said, some absolute shockers going on out there. The merest glimmer of UVA turns our normally sensible chaps into overgrown toddlers in the wardrobe department. And we girls are somehow letting them get away with it! Here are some of the worst offenders I have noticed:
Naked Toddlers: Now I have nothing against showing a little more skin in hot weather. I’ve been known to shuck off the odd layer of fleece myself. But what is with these men with more than a little -ahem – girth, shall we say, around their middles suddenly deciding that shirts are no longer necessary AT ALL. If they are about to have a water fight with the kids (or each other) then, yes, by all means remove your top. But on the London Underground? In the rush hour? With my unfortunate face at armpit level? Er – no. Thanks. But no.
“Vesties”: These, I have noticed, are habitual offenders in the summer toddler fashionfest. It is just my personal opinion, but frankly I don’t believe anyone not currently playing major league basketball for a living has any justification displaying their mozzarella-pale, flaccid bingo wings through baggy holes in their tops where their sleeves should be. Especially when seated at a table next to the salad counter in the Harvester. As underwear on a cold winter’s day, by all means. But NEVER as a fashion choice in 30 degree heat whilst shopping in Sainsburys. I do not want to see inside your shirt and get an eyeful of your man-boobs every time you bend to reach the yoghurt on the lower shelves. It puts me right off my Pimms.
Professional Toddlers: These are men who wear sensible work wear all week, then insist on slipping into three-quarter length cargo pants which hang halfway down their arses and leave their luminously white, skinny, hairy ankles on show. These men are predominantly in their late forties/early fifties, if you look, and really should know better. They compound the crime by teaming these cargos with comedy T-shirts: usually Homer Simpson or South Park characters with some “amusing” quote on the front. Occasionally they go the whole hog and don comedy socks too. With sandals. Holy Moly.
Toddler Twins: Finally, there is the group who like to dress in larger versions of what their little boys are wearing. I can only assume these chaps have been dressed by, or are scared of, their wives. Why else would you hit BlueWater or the Trafford Centre looking like Tweedle Dee/Dum? Perhaps to avoid a telling-off? Well, it doesn’t work, it’s not at all “cute” – it’s just sad and makes me want to hit the back of their legs with a hairbrush. Therapy may be the only option for these desperate fellows.
Now I’m not saying that everything we girls wear is perfect – Hello Kitty adult clothing is a classic example of toddler styling for those who choose to embrace their inner child. But as wives and mums we should surely be setting an example to our little ones by refusing to let our menfolk – their parents! – leave the house looking like one of the above. A Mr Bump T-Shirt is all very cute worn to bed as a beloved Father’s Day gift. But not out in public at the school fete or PTA barbecue.
I’m old-fashioned, perhaps, a great believer in men being men. I think past the age of 15, there is really no excuse for any of the above. Together with combovers and badly applied fake tan, toddler styling is an abomination which we must work hard as girls to eliminate. Help me out here. Go upstairs, now. Go through your man’s closet removing all offending articles, including those boxer shorts YOU bought him that say “Mummy’s Little Helper” on the front (what were you thinking??). Use them as dusters or turn them into cushion covers for the kids rooms. But do not, under any circumstances, allow him outside to play in any of it.
Photo credit: http://thefashionpolice.net