Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Tube Manners

There’s a few fashion choices London girls seem to make consistently that I’ve not entirely gotten my head around. I get that weather here is famously changeable, but in midsummer, are you aware of how bad your opaque black tights actually look as a style choice? It’s been at least 72 degrees (22 Celsius in my new parlance) for the last few weeks, but I’ve seen the most hideous parade of thick black tights under all manner of floaty summer dresses, uncomfortably short tunics, oddly cropped short shorts, and, once, with what I think was a slightly oversized tuxedo jacket.

Unless you’re Cate Blanchett, if you leave the house wearing only tights and a tux jacket, you’re pretty much guaranteed to look like a douche.

The other prevailing summer clothing trend this sweaty summer is a wide variety of empire-waist tops. For someone like myself, who has a bit of extra gut chunk, these can be enormously forgiving as they skim over the layer of flab I can’t be bothered to lose just yet.

But they also make everyone look pregnant, whether or not they are actually fetally-enhanced. Hence, it’s hard to tell who is actually incubating a child and who is merely trying to conceal a bit of a belly.

The tube here is devoid of many things, like a logical social order and air conditioning. It really does swelter in the subway, and for some reason, riders cluster desperately around the doors instead of moving into the middle of the car like they do in New York, to eke out a little more room for everyone.
So, you’re in a narrow, cramped, hot space, you manage to snag an (upholstered!) seat, and in front of you appears a woman in an empire-waist top.


Is she baby-makin’ or just going for comfort? Do you spring out of your seat to offer the sperimnated one a place to rest, or do you risk offending a fatty? While the male riders do their best to studiously ignore her, I usually opt for the meaningful eye-contact/pointing-at-seat gesture when I’m at least 90% sure she’s with child and not with Cornish pasty. If she is preggers, she’ll gratefully accept the seat and hopefully hate us godless Americans a bit less.

But one of these days I’ll blow it, and thus will end pro trans-Atlantic relations as I really piss one of these slightly poochy British bitches off in one fantastic social gaffe.
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