Imagine, for a moment, a new men’s fashion: “the ab-shirt”.
It is the summer of 2006 and David Beckham is photographed with his second wife, holidaying on a private island. He is sauntering along the beach wearing flip-flops, shorts and… a T-shirt with a rectangular window cut away from the midriff to reveal his toned stomach.
A couple of months later, at the end of July, men all over Britain are dressed like Becks, but, instead of windows opening onto six-packs, two-thirds of the fashion victims are exposing soft, straining beer bellies. A lump of lard bursts shamelessly out of each cotton frame. White men scratch their gut-flesh where it has been burned to red flakiness by the sun, until it turns a carroty orange as we drift into an Indian summer.
The reason I describe this scenario in such detail is because I want to shock my UK readers out of their familiarity into seeing just how horrible British women’s fashion has become recently. Two German female friends of mine had a conversation with me about this last year. They were amazed that people weren’t staring and pointing every time they walked down the street.
I will look back on the noughties as the “inner-tube decade”, when British women from 15 to 40 thought it would be a good idea to combine cut-off tops and lo-slung jeans. For 17-year-olds who have home gyms this can have quite an effect. Others who don’t have the figure for it wind up hooking twin, creased buffers of fat over the backs of their Levi’s. To my compounded disgust, this “bumper” effect is now occasionally combined with—God help us all—a female mullet hairdo. If it wouldn’t get me arrested I would go round town and photograph some of the most upsetting examples to post here. In its favour, I suppose, this look spares single girls the trouble of turning me down.