Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Stripper

Keeley HawesI think I’d be less amazed if it was more rare. Because then it would make more sense to me. But the fact that it happens with such mundane regularity is what disturbs me the most.

I mean, who loses an item of clothing? Who leaves the house, goes about their business in town and then gets home again and says, “Oh buggerations! I seem to have mislaid my coat / jacket / trousers / left shoe in the street?”

Because I’m not talking about leaving things on the bus or in the office or in the library or in the car park at the back of Sainsbury’s late on a Saturday night.

I’m talking about mislaying things in the street. On the pavement.

And it doesn’t just happen in Leamington Spa; it happens all over the place. Certain types of people – people whose genetic make-up and IQ are as yet unknown to me – manage to lose the clothing from off their bodies and not actually notice that anything is missing.

How? How is that even possible?

I mean, I was walking home yesterday and I came across a discarded jumper on the pavement. It wasn’t there the day before and looked reasonably clean. This in itself had me shaking my head and wondering how someone could lose that from about their person and not notice. But there was more. Ten yards further along there was a jacket. A decent looking jacket. Also discarded. I realize I am making a connection here that I cannot prove but I bet the two items of clothing had one common denominator: the same owner.

In the past I have also come across lone shoes – trainers, boots, high heels. All singular in their singularity. How can someone lose one shoe and not notice?

Two I can understand. You’re in high heels and being chased by the police (you are a transvestite thief, OK?) and it’s just easier to run without your gait being compromised by 6 inch stilettos... so you discard them to aid your getaway. But why get rid of one and keep the other?

It doesn’t make sense.

Discarded baby clothes I can understand too. I know how this works. You’re pushing young Quentin around in his Maclaren buggy and you’re so busy keeping an eye out for rogue cars, rogue pedestrians, rogue rottweilers – any one of whom could be about to make a beeline for little Quentin – that you fail to notice said Quentin hoofing his mitts, his shoes and the cardigan your mother knitted for him out of the pushchair and into the street. By the time you get home you’re too frazzled to go back and look for them and that cardigan was a bloody embarrassment anyway.

But a pair of men’s trousers?

I have genuinely found such an item of clothing discarded around my local town.

Was someone debagged on a stag night? It’s possible. But given the absence of shaving cream and novelty marital aids in the surrounding area (and believe me I looked) it seems unlikely. Was there a sudden and violent heat wave that prompted someone to whip off all their clothes in a delirium of dehydration like that poor Arab fella in Lawrence of Arabia (yes, I know, they were all poor Arab fellas)? In the UK? In summertime? I think not!

So all I can surmise is that in every street, in every town in the UK, there is someone with a genetic imperative to strip off. To strip naked and shake their tassels into the startled faces of the X12 bus queue.

I’d like to think it was someone with the face and body of Keeley Hawes. Sod that. I’d like to think it was Keeley Hawes.

But it isn’t, is it?

No.

It’s Mr Bertram Hardcastle from no. 47 Middleclass Close with his ruptured hernia, his man-boobs, his asthma nebulizer from Boots The Chemist and his cornbeef cankles.

The one man in the country who should remain fully clothed at all times.

People, next time you find some discarded clothes in the street, beware and be very, very afraid.

Mr Hardcastle might be looking for someone to help remove his G-string with their teeth*.

*Apparently this exercise is rendered less onerous by only breathing in and out through one's mouth.



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27 comments:

London City Mum said...

Glad you found my shoe, have been looking for it EVERYWHERE.
Post back to the usual place. Please.

LCM x

Nota Bene said...

Obviously you live in adland. http://www.fhm.com/reviews/tv/stripping-in-reverse-with-lynx-20090116

the fly in the web said...

Thank you for the advice on the least onerous way to remove a g string with one's teeth....one can always rely on Bloggertropolis for all the really important things in life...
Worthy of the old 'Jennifer's Diary'...

There's lots of discarded clothing in the streets of San Jose...but the items usually turn out to have somebody living in them overnight.

Steve said...

LCM: I didn't think loafers were your style...? ;-)

Nota Bene: alas, I live in "I've been 'ad land" and don't get paid for anything.

Steve said...

The fly in the web: all advice on this blog is tried and tested personally by me (so you don't have to).

Very Bored in Catalunya said...

I once threw a bright purple shell-suit out of the window of a taxi circa '93, it was an unwanted prize from Ritzy's Disco and I was fully clothed, just in case you come across it on your travels.

By the way, litter louting is neither big nor clever and I can only blame the booze.

Steve said...

Very Bored in Catalunya: a bright purple shell-suit?! I don't blame you for dumping this garment in the slightest. I'm only surprised you didn't ask the taxi driver to reverse back and forth over it and then douse it in petrol and set it alight.

Martin Lower said...

Underwear gets me. How can you lose that and not notice? Actually, perhaps you'd better not answer that...
I reckon a lot of it has just blown off the washing line. Sometimes you see items of clothing with clothes pegs still attached.
Sorry to spoil your fantasy....

Steve said...

Martin: underwear gets me too - no matter how fast I run. Do people still use washing lines these days to dry their clothes? It's been a long while since I've seen frilly camisoles fluttering in the breeze.

Gorilla Bananas said...

I'm not going to join you in your flight of fancy about this Bertram Hardcock fellow. Isn't is possible that people get rid of clothes they don't want by dumping them in the streets? Maybe they were presents from ex-lovers who dumped them.

Steve said...

Gorilla Bananas: that would have been a most poignant and sensitive explanation of the phenomenon except for your deliberate mispelling of Hardcastle as Hardcock.

joebloggs said...

Its obvious aint it' gov, its them watsamacallits.....yeah Vampires an' werewolves your so fond of. On the odd occasion her indoors makes me watch "Twightblood" Then they always runnin' around with there arse out. Maybe Lem is a portal to the other-side.......when I was there it was pretty dead.

vegemitevix said...

I know someone who lost her skirt at a nightclub once...Ms Lapland are you going to fess up? And I lost my suspenders at a wedding recently..

Bish Bosh Bash said...

I still live in forlorn hope that early one morning I’m going to witness another gorgeous, leggy, Paula Hamilton type creature (1987 VW Golf Tv Advert) indignantly striding down my street while discarding her fur coat, jewellery and Karen Millen frock, on the way to her trusty new Golf Gti. But alas, thus far, she has forsaken me…

Did have the joy of side splitting joys watching next doors errantly roguish dog ‘Hartley’ come bounding and panting out of their side path at the bolt one day, trailing a great long swathe of all her knickers and bras off her washing line, closely followed out by a red faced and impressively enraged Glynis – owner of dog & undies – roaring and cussing her head off at full shout down the middle of the street after bad boy Hartley, as he and his tail, rapidly disappeared over the hill and thence far, far, away depositing tokens of her underwear all the way from this village to the next. Truly epic.

Steve said...

Joe: Yeah, me and Steph Meyers, we're like that. We're always swapping clothes.

Vix: lost her skirt? I didn't even know she knew the words to Buckfizz's "Making Your Mind Up" let alone the dance routine.

Bish Bosh Bash: dogs nicking undies... everybody's life should have an experience of that kind. I'm sure they can be trained. Lord knows they have a natural propensity for gusset snuffling as it is.

Keith said...

There is a tan loafer on the fast lane kerb of the Newcastle A167 underpass. I have pondered it's story every morning that I have driven past it this week.

And I have one of the biggest memory tags involving 6ft snow drifts and a single discarded 70's cork wedge sandal.

But the worst abandoned shoe was in Hendon army barracks. We were shooting in these empty prefabs, and there in the back, with the dead leaves and old spiders webs, was a small blue knitted baby bootie.

It haunts me to this day.

Steve said...

Keith: actually Keith I was going to make a joke about the loafer but that image of the abandoned baby's booty is too horrific and very, very sad.

Kelloggsville said...

I once put out a charity bag for collection in front of my car, forgot it was there, drove off and drag it all the way to work. It was a shred of plastic when I got there so presumably there were strewn clothes all along the route. See, it could be ok, just my being a bloody idiot as usual and not Bertram or Quentin.

Steve said...

Kelloggsville: "police at the time were reported as searching for multiple victims of an RTA after finding clothes strewn all over the highway covered in tyre tracks..."

Being Me said...

I have always wondered that thing about the lone shoe too.

True story, I was walking in Hyde Park (London's not Sydney's) and heard a woman calling to her son - "Quen-Tin, Quen-TIN!" and although we'd been in England for a week, strangely it wasn't til then that I thought "Wow. I'm really in England".... Don't ask me to explain that. I'm sure on some psychological level there's a reason for it. But it'd be strange and bizarre and probably a bit embarrassing. Which leads me to wonder why I even told you. All.

libby said...

I am ashamed....truly ashamed...I saw a lovely scarf all wet and mashed up in the grey snowy sludge one winter morning.... driving back later in the dark it was still there...I picked it up and washed it and kept it......not master criminal stuff I know but I still feel guilty.....oooohhh I feel better for getting that off my chest!

Steve said...

Being Me: ja, fraulein, zat ist verrry interesting. Ja. Now, perhaps you vill lie down on zis couch and recount to me ze first memory you have of your mutter...?

Libby: no crime here as far as I can see. You rescued and you recycled. Just ignore the thoughts of the screaming child who mourned for a week over the loss of their favourite scarf; they should have looked after it better.

Keith said...

Kellogsville's story made me laugh out loud and reminded me of once, when I was working in the building next to the East London Cross Dressers Association ( or some similar institute ) in Shoreditch. It was run by a lovely lad with a penchant for wraparound denim skirts and summery hats.

He had his dirty washing nicked from his car one day, and discovered it, a few days later, strewn across the abandoned rail line nearby, which, he told us with great relish, amused him immensely.

Keith said...

And.... drove past the loafer again this morning, and it is looking very much the worse for wear now.

Steve said...

Keith: it seems that casting one's wardrobe to the four winds is somewhat de rigeur is certain social sets. Plainly I am missing out.

Mark said...

You see what get's left on the beach near where I live.
Occasionally with people still inside - yuk.

Steve said...

Mark: too much information.