Tall Man, Small World

Tall Man, Small Wolrld

Tall Man (Me in my Bathroom) ©2011

As I walked into a pub a woman said to her boyfriend, perhaps to cover up the fact that she was ogling me “he’s tall isn’t he”.  It happened to me a while back, also in the pub, the guy stood next to me looked at me and exclaimed “you’re tall!”   Really?  I hadn’t noticed.

Well, I had and that’s why this blog is called what it is.  Here is the story of its name.  People have in the past called me, being very original, “Lurch” so, having come up with the idea for the blog about modern society and the tagline used as the title above, I called it 21st Century Lurch.  Having already mentioned the url on Facebook etc I then decided to call it something else less personally negative so chose another word that meant tall “Longfellow” and changed the url from 21stlurch… to 21stlunch…  and put it down to a typo.  Longfellow’s 21st Century Lunch arrived by accident but I liked it more anyway.

Our society still values bigger numbers – engines (as in the size of a car’s example rather than the number on an aircraft’s wing, that’s just sensible to have a few spare); salaries; bigger GBs (in smartphones); higher versions (of iPads or Browsers); values of cars and houses; prices of pies and TVs and so on.  Everywhere you look you’re told bigger is better, with a few exceptions – waistlines, fuel bills and wind turbines come to mind.

Which is why it’s the case that someone can say “Andy, hold this, you’re tall” or “can you reach that off that shelf, you’re tall” and not think that you’d be offended whereas if you said to someone “you’re short, reach under there and pull out that lead” there would be a sharp intake of breath and an exclamation of “you can’t say that!”  And we’ve all heard “is it cold up there”, “is it raining yet” etc.  Even the Queen, on meeting a tall basketball player was reported as saying “you’re tall.”

I’m not saying that being tall’s all bad but we have the same issues that those at the opposite end of the height scale have.  Cash machines are too low, recent ones designed to be used by “average” people as well as those in wheelchairs are almost painful to use without kneeling and hence looking like you’re praying to the Natwest for money.  For the long-legged toilets are often a very long way down, as are many sofas.  Trying to gracefully enter a car or van where someone has pulled the seat forward since you last used it is very nearly impossible and often nearly lethal.  People complain about shelves being too high in shops, I’m always happy to reach for something if someone asks, but there are many places in this town of many historical buildings where I can regularly dent my head on an oak beam or doorframe – and yes, most of them are, or were, in pubs.  As for clothes the top half’s generally ok but I’ve nearly exclaimed with joy when finding a pair of suitable long-leg jeans in a shop, for a time the nearest available pairs were forty-odd miles away.  It is quite satisfying to know though that when you have your hair cut the hairdresser doesn’t have to waste time or energy jacking your chair up to a usable height.

There are also stereotypes based on fairytale giants, for example on a topical comedy show it was reported that a commentator had said of footballer Peter Crouch “he has a remarkably light touch, for a big man”, I know that we’re likely to be a tad heavier than shorter people, having an extra twelve inches or so of body to fill, but we’re not all lumbering giants.  I know quite a few lumbering mid-height people.

Lastly of course Women say they’re looking for Mr Tall, Dark and Handsome yet often the tall bit stops just above average height, I’ve often heard of women assuming that a tall man would only want an equally tall woman, while shorter men are supposedly put-off or intimidated by tall women.  I have only encountered a handful of women anywhere near my height and to be honest for someone shorter than me I’m happy to bend down a bit, it’s not a problem.

Woohoo, It’s Cold and Raining!

Rain camera

Rain camera (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

How to guarantee it’s warm and sunny just about every time you step outside your front door…  Buy a nice new wet-weather jacket in June.

It’s a lovely, warm and comfortable jacket and I’ve used it twice during a summer that was much better than the last few years’.  It’s a strange psychological reaction, you’ve bought something new and you want to use it straight away, you want other people to see your bright or shiny new thing but you can’t, it’s frustrating and suddenly you find yourself pleased to see something like the rain that you’d normally moan about.  I suppose it’s the same for someone who bought a convertible car, or a barbecue and a freezer-full of meat just before one of our lousy wet summers.

In the last three weeks I’ve used it twice and now we’re back to summer again, with only three months to Christmas.  Anyone fancy barbecued turkey this year?

The Colour of Fashion

Blue ice

Blue ice (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

When is pastel blue not pastel blue?

When its the colour of a pair of skinny jeans that you’re trying to sell to men and you don’t want them to sound “feminine”.  The colour when applied to mens jeans is “Ice Blue” or “Ice Green”.

Ice.  Green.  Since when has ice been green?  Yellow snow maybe.

But yes, ice is cool.  Literally.  Ice, Ice , Baby, c’mon.  Yes, showing my age there.  Anyway, I am reliably informed by the link suggestions on the side of my WordPress screen that such coloured jeans are the new trend, it’s true, see the links below.   And the colours are not pastel, they’re ice.

This is the odd thing about clothing manufacturers, who do they ask when they’re conducting market research, it certainly isn’t me.  Take outdoor clothing, when it comes to mens’ garments the colour choice is boring to say the least – bright red, bright blue, green, navy blue and black typically.  You see the occasional bright green jacket and sometimes orange ones that just look like safety jackets or yellow ones that make you look like the Jolly Fisherman.  You see a purple one, a turquoise or teal one, a tasteful green or a red other than signal red and it turns out to be a womans’ jacket.  The only exceptions tend to be very expensive which is perhaps the crux of the matter and returns us to the fashion jeans – the only companies willing to take the risk on something different and individual in mens clothes are the ones with the highest price tags and exclusivity as a feature.

Update:  since writing this I have found a lovely almost teal blue winter jacket from Trespass at Winfields at Garforth near Leeds which was a bargain, sometimes you just have to be patient and travel to find what you want.

Slip Sliding Awaaaay

Snow Dawn (©2012 by Andy Vickers)

Snow Dawn (©2012 by Andy Vickers)

I don’t mind the cold, I like snow and I feel the chill later than most people I know but sometimes I see other people who make me shiver.  During the recent bad weather I have still seen numerous men out during the day in the snow, and more recently gale-force winds and stinging rain in just jeans and t-shirt, or often, football shirt.  The epitome of image over health.

You can see they’re trying to look like they’re not bothered but you can see them straining not to visibly shiver.  “I’m ffffine, it’s not ccccold at all”.  It’s not just men though, I see many women who do the same.  It’s not too bad if you’re only going out in the cold for a couple of minutes, say from one warm pub to the next on a Saturday night, but walking to or from work, going shopping where you’re outdoors more than inside?  I don’t think so.  As any experienced walker, climber or Arctic explorer will tell you layering is important, getting layers of insulating fabric and air between you and the atmosphere, as well as keeping dry.  Hypothermia can set in remarkably quickly and isn’t pleasant.

But it’s not just protection against the cold, people seem to choose odd footwear for the snow and ice too.  The number of people I see slithering around on icy paths in slick soled shoes and trainers is astounding, admittedly nothing’s going to work on sheet ice for goodness sake people you can get basic walking trainers with chunky, rough grippy soles for next to nothing these days, fashion isn’t worth ending up flat on your backside for.  Though at least if you have a decent thick coat on your landing would be a bit softer.