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Call me old-fashioned …

It is a fact of this life that, as one gets older, the frequency of being teased (or ribbed) by others – whether family or friends – about one’s characteristics, habits, traits or attitudes tends to increase.

I suspect that in part it’s all done in affection – and indeed that, as modern society constantly evolves and we all gradually begin to ‘fall behind’ in understanding or being able to operate the latest technology – those coming behind also find it easier and easier to notice and then pluck the ‘low hanging fruit’ of our absent-mindedness or old-fashioned approaches to life.

I’ve mentioned previously that my kids often suggest that I should go to my GP and get myself checked for early (or perhaps now even mid-term) signs of advancing dementia.

It was at a big family reunion in North America nearly twenty years ago now that, using me as the butt of one of the passages in a speech under a marquee on the shore of Lake Erie, my brother told of how – for a bet at the boarding public school we both attended – I once wore the same pair of socks, without once washing them, every day for an entire term.

All very – well, vaguely – amusing, but as I sit before you here today I’d be prepared to swear on a copy of the Bible that it never happened. Well … not that I remember, anyway.

Sometimes I get teased about my penchant for slightly dodgy choice of clothes, the slightly weird spectacles I purchase by choice from chemists or bookshops (they’re not the prescription kind, of course, merely cheap, magnifying glass, versions) and indeed my allegedly extravagant moves upon the rare occasions I hit the public dance floor.

In short, dear reader, getting straight to the point, I’m accused of being ‘in touch with my feminine side’ to a worrying degree.

Over the weekend, at a family gathering on the terrace in bright sunshine, I was wearing my gardening shorts. I looked down and spotted that the back of my left leg had a significant degree of ‘missing’ leg hair and remarked upon it.

The inevitable quip suggested followed that perhaps I’d shaved it. I played up to the theme by admitting that, on one occasion, whilst shaving my face sitting down, I had scraped free of hair a small square of one leg, just to see how swiftly it grew back.

And it never had. My admission that I had shaved my leg at all prompted general mirth and evidently confirmed previous suspicions that I was as camp as a row of tents.

But then my sister-in-law and brother confirmed that losing the hair on one’s legs was one of the classic symptoms of Type 2 diabetes.

faceNow in my mid-sixties, I’ve been conscious for about six or seven years now of my body’s gradually increasingly tendency to grow hair in places that it never used to before … and also to lose hair where it once was luxuriant and glossy. To be honest, in either context I hadn’t paid much attention to my legs in this regard.

However, upon hearing this warning about diabetes, I then did take a look at my legs. My left one now seemed to have retained barely any hair at all, especially upon the back of the leg – and also, there was far less hair upon my right leg than I remember being the case when I was younger.

I duly made note of my sister-in-law’s advice that I should consult my GP and get myself checked. On health matters, I’m personally not one of those to hold back from doing this sort of thing for fear of learning something I don’t want to hear. As a matter of principle I’d far rather either hear the worst and then try to get something done about it – or (hopefully) alternatively get confirmation that there’s nothing wrong with me at all and that I’m completely ‘in the clear’, at least until my next annual medical ‘MOT’.

All of which brings me to an article I spotted today upon the website of The Guardian, written by Kate Lyons, on the subject of a significant increase in the number of people in the UK declaring themselves to be transgender.


Now I confess that I’m a traditionalist and, having had a private UK education (in the era when these were based around cold showers, beatings, no excuses and compulsory games whatever extremes of weather were attending), by instinct and nurture I’m not naturally well-inclined towards many modern PC-driven attitudes.

I’m referring here to notions of over-protective action – e.g. non-competitive school Sports Days (in case losers should thereby get a complex), great initiatives being launched to assist conditions such as autism, attention-disorder syndromes and a whole host of similar ‘afflictions’ which, in the old days, would have received no more than an exhortation to “Get on with it, boy – just do the best you can!”

JennerIt may be simplistic and unsympathetic, but I don’t necessarily agree that, every time some youngster doesn’t do as well as his or her peers in any area of life, some sort of ‘explanation’ is devised … and he or she is then treated as a special case because … er … they’re suffering from something that someone’s effectively just invented.

A bit more of a ‘hair shirt’ approach would benefit them just as much – at least, in my view.

Life is a jungle out there. If some molly-coddled thirty year-old should be involved in an aeroplane accident flying over the Pacific and somehow find their way to a deserted island with four or five others, there’d no point in them pulling out some ‘medical condition’ card to prove they’re suffering from something (as if expecting God or some other superior authority to let them off the impending tough experience). To hell with their supposed condition, they’d either have to ‘get on with it’ … or else fall by the wayside.


All I’m saying, in the context of this apparent wholesale increase in transgender declarations, is that I just hope that it hasn’t been caused by the PC-brigade by – in publicising so widely and avidly the subject of transgender issues – prompting a whole lot of people to think things (and come to conclusions) that they would never have reached if they’d been left alone without being bombarded by this sort of propaganda.

At the rate we’re going at the moment, it won’t be long before ‘gender realignment’ become compulsory …

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About Arthur Nelson

Looking forward to his retirement in 2015, Arthur has written poetry since childhood and regularly takes part in poetry workshops and ‘open mike’ evenings. More Posts