The Last Word

It happens at this time every year. Hot weather and the holiday season are to blame, and while I don’t aim to pick on any one individual here in a personal manner, I hope you aren’t guilty of the following.

It’s the bare-chested man in the fruit shop. The bikini-topped female in the coffee shop. The swim-suited, saronged woman in the fashion boutique. The bare-footed person – everywhere.

We are a holiday place I know, and we like to dress down on vacation.

This is most understandable and acceptable. I love to see young girls in bikinis and young men in board shorts strolling the beach or boardwalk.

I enjoy seeing mature women in flattering swimsuits and middle-aged men in age-appropriate swimwear wandering the seashore.

But I’m not so keen on seeing them so dressed in our shops, cafes, restaurants or places of business.

There is something a teeny bit unsavoury about a hairy-chested, naked-to-the-waist man, examining the King Island porterhouse in the butcher’s shop. Especially when I am in it.

Such a man sidled up next to me at the butcher’s recently while I, myself, (fully clothed, be grateful) was happily perusing the chicken and rosemary sausages. It fair turned me off my meat.

The man in question was big, hairy, shirtless, licking a dripping ice-cream and, when the butcher politely offered to serve him, said, “no, thanks, I’m just browsing’’. (Who ‘just browses’ in a butcher’s shop? A subject for another column, another time?)

At this time of year, semi-naked people abound in our shops and on our streets.

They can be found flicking through magazines in newsagents, perusing the shelves in bookstores, pushing overloaded trolleys in the supermarkets and, if they can get away with it, sipping flat whites in our cafes.

I have a thing about bare feet in the supermarket. There’s something not nice about a person picking over the tomatoes and squeezing the avocados in his bare feet.

I’m always tempted to push my trolley over a pinkie toe. But I never have. Being a woman of advanced years myself, I don’t like seeing a counterpart dressed only in swimsuit and sarong rummaging through the racks of clothes in a smart boutique.

You’ll have to excuse my gripe, but I write all this in memory of the time several years ago (from which I have still yet to recover) when I stood in a tight queue in the bank with a middle-aged man behind me wearing nothing but his Speedos.

Now, no-one could be more thankful than me the days of the strict “restaurant dress code” are dwindling.

Who among us could say they liked being told they weren’t allowed in if their knees were uncovered, their pants were denim, their T-shirt didn’t have appropriate sleeves or, heinous crime of them all, their feet were shod in thongs?

But now in light of all these naked torsos and bare feet in inappropriate settings, maybe the strict dress code rules could be brought back out and reviewed...just a little.

So, unless your name is Matthew McConaughey, could I ask all males to please put a shirt on before entering the butcher’s, greengrocer’s, supermarket or cafes.

I offer you all this in the spirit of goodwill and friendship. And be assured, you will never find me in the butcher’s in my swimsuit. I wouldn’t want to turn you off your sausages.

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