Health and safety warning

Professors at prestigious American universities and members of other vulnerable groups may experience vomiting and fainting fits as a result of exposure to other people's opinions. If you think you may be affected, you should click on the Back button and seek medical advice before returning to this site.

Mr Grumpy can now be found posting at

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Apologia pro braccis suis

'I have a number of golden rules, such as never trust a man with a beard. Never give the time of day to a man in three-quarter length shorts is right at the top of the list.'

- says Stephen Pollard

Grumpy is not willing to take this lying down...

'Not those trousers, Pollard.'

One of our periodic domestic crises was looming over the horizon. I drew a deep breath and prepared to do battle.

'I beg your pardon, sir?'

'Not those trousers. I want the three-quarter length shorts.'

The garment under advisement was one I had acquired during my stay in Rome. One of those off-whitish numbers that come to an end somewhere midway between knee and ankle, with sundry ingenious pockets around the knee area. Not the kind of thing I go in for as a rule, but quite tolerably natty, and absolutely what the doctor ordered on a day like this, with temparatures giving every promise of creeping up to eighty in the shade.

Nonetheless, I had never been able to hide from myself the fact that that they were not going to go down well with Pollard. I had left him at home, he being keen not to miss Ascot, so he had had the legwear sprung on him when I returned. While unpacking my effects he winced visibly on unearthing said shorts. The trouble with Pollard, as I have said more than once before, is that he is hidebound and reactionary in questions of gents' outfitting. So I was determined to show him a touch of that old Grumpy spirit that won through at Agincourt.

'Pardon me, sir, not the three-quarter length shorts.'

'Why ever not?'

'They are quite unsuitable, sir.'

'Pollard, this time you go too far. I defer to your judgment implicitly over shirts or spats, or even ties. But when it comes to dictating how I may drape my lower limbs, I draw the line. Put out those shorts, Pollard.'

'Very good, sir.'

'And I can't see what you've got against them, anyway. Everyone who's anyone is wearing them on the Corso.'

'The Mediterranean temperament allows itself a latitude which does not become the English gentleman, sir.'

'Perfect rot. And I may say that I've had nothing but admiration for them from the gentler s.'

'I regret to say that ladies' judgment is frequently defective in these matters, sir. They are too readily swayed by affection for the wearer.'

'Stuff and nonsense, Pollard. I am convinced that, given time, you will grow to love them.'

'I fear not, sir.'

'Be that as it may, I wear those shorts, Pollard.'

'Very good, sir.'

'Very good, Pollard.'

Dashed painful, and all that, but it had to be done. I mean, is one to be a mere peon or serf of one's manservant? The thing's too bally absurd. Absolutely!

No comments: