There haven’t been many times in my life when I’ve been in touch with my feminine side. One memorable experience was about 30 years ago, when I, as a Parent Governor, was invited to take part in a fancy-dress dance organised by the Parent Teachers’ Association of my children’s primary school in Windsor. The theme was a Sixties Night (that’s 1960s), which even in the 1980s seemed like years and years ago. Of course, all my clothes at the time were from the 1970s; except that my first wife had some Swinging Sixties clobber in her bottom drawer. Out for my consideration came a tired-looking mini-skirt and a skinny-ribbed jumper, not to mention some long since discarded nylon stockings with the garter belt, of course.
Dare I go to the ball as a teeny-bopping girl? Would it matter that my skirt would be rolled around the waist band to take the crucial last few inches off its length? Would I be able to retain the Aspirin tablets that I was using to attach the suspenders to the stockings? And would the school’s headmistress look at me with a straight face ever again?
Well, of course it all worked out in the end. But there were unhappy consequences, not least the fact that, at the dance night, I got “goosed” fairly regularly. And by both sexes. Such was my embarrassment and my vulnerability, though, that I inadvertently managed to sell both halves – that’s the ticket and the stub — of the raffle ticket book. “How are we going to draw the winner out now?” came the cry from the reception class teacher. “I’m sorry,” I bleated, “I was somewhat distracted.”
All this was a very long time ago. Since then, I’ve moved on to better things. Not only do I have a brand new wife but also we’ve moved a couple of hundred miles away from the South East – to Torbay, where else? However, my secret desire to cross-dress on special occasions hasn’t left me altogether. The excuse this time is that I’ve been conscripted as one of Santa’s elves, and life in the grotto on Fleet Walk, Torquay, dictates that one wears tights. Well, at least that I do.
My first outing in Yuletide garb was four years ago, when I borrowed an elf costume from a Fancy Dress shop in Plainmoor. The green tights I had to order from the Internet. What I forgot to do in that initial foray was: a) wear shorts as well, thereby not upsetting everyone when I bent over in the street; and b) shave my legs. Now I’m the sort of chap who’d give the comedian Ernie Wise a run for his money (you remember, the one with the “short, fat, hairy legs”), and so my hirsute pins didn’t look particularly good, even in 75 denier tights. But people who came across me were unerringly polite – either that or they could tell fibs for England.
Three years on, I’ve become much more accomplished, and so have some of the shaving tools to carry it off. In any case, these days, a man can look cool, even in Waitrose, with a couple of days’ stubble on his chin: as long as he uses a battery-powered beard trimmer. Take off the shaver guard and, before you know it, a bloke like me can have silky-smooth legs in no time. OK, it isn’t the same as waxing, but, hey-ho, it’s almost painless.
Now to the downsides: I can report that, as the weather has turned a trifle more wintry, it’s so much colder round one’s nether regions to be hairless. And, take my word for it, for the following few weeks, your legs don’t half itch.