Miss April Advises: Herr Shute, shorts on men in a warming world

Hi there Miss April,

This week has been terrible. 40plus degress every day. Im not blessed with Air Conditioning in my daily life. Normally I think it a crime, not unlike SUV’s, but this week I began to revise my opinion. I mean if global warmng doesnt exist then, hey, I MUST have aircon and an SUV and a coal mine and……… .
Anyway, i dont have the means to buy or rudley inherit this kind on unneccesary burden.

Sorry for the rant, its hot and i’m fragile.

My question. when and where is the short acceptable on a fellow? Is there a hem length that should not be breached. I’m quite hersuite from the pelvis up so I need other areas to expose for passive cooling. I dont think a kaftan will cut it at the office but in my inner world I see it as almost manditory.

Quickly please before the next wave of “not global” but local warming.

Yours

Herr Shute.

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Dear Herr Shute

I have lived through many stages of body hair fashion and as such am not one to succumb to a pro-, nor anti-hirsute faction. One is but an ape, if one is to believe the ever remarkable Darwin, and the defining method of separating ourselves from our savage cousins is through proper attire.

To that end I am compelled to declare in unequivocal terms: The wearing of shorts has no place within a civilised society. Unless you are a hurdy-gurdy grinding monkey you must not don the short. Consider your pride. Consider your responsibilities to fellow man. The only exception would be at the hour of exercise, the only ,mind you.

There are many and varied fashion choices for the man of prestige and power during these waves of heat. Some are quite jolly and comfortable for sweltering days, particularly if you commit yourself to the steadfast rejection of the reality of your surroundings. Go on, try it, it works a treat.* I categorize it as Denialist Wear, and it suits my brethren and kin to a tee. I present to you a visual gallery of examples:

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However, let us imagine for a moment that science is real and those pesky extreme heatwaves do return so often they are no longer recognised as ‘extreme’ to our next generation but as ‘normal’ and hopefully survivable. Well, therein lies a tragic dilemma – what to wear? The Denialist line of fashion so thrillingly portrayed by the models above will not suffice in such a scenario, and so I look back to the man I trust the most when I have a seemingly insurmountable conundrum – Jesus. Our Lord wore kaftans. Not wanting to play the race card here, Herr Shute, but is your reticence to don the kaftan implying that you think you are better than Jesus, Shute? Bosh tosh, if not outright blasphemy!

You reveal allure toward the comfort of the holy robe and I am here to assuage your fears and become the wind beneath your wings (so to speak). Go forth Shute, be a man of culture, respect, and comfortable nethers – be that man who makes dresses manly. Stride down the footpath of life as a man of confidence. Don’t worry, they will soon follow (your peers I mean, not those of ill-repute). Why even limit yourself to kaftans? Experiment with the kurta with the array of sumptuous fabrics and colours available from the East. The very sexy sherwani resplendent with silks and gold is excellent for more formal balls and gatherings. Whereby the kilt, aahh, the kilt; well as a single lady from the Empire needless to say I insist my suitors to wear the finest plaid and sporran available to mankind. And yes, they come in summer-weight. As an aside, Herr Shute, just between you and me, if ever I were to surrender my much valued spinsterhood believe me, Mr April-to-be will be donning the glorious kilt of the Highlands.

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I feel it Herr Shute, we are at the dawning of a fashion revolution.

Yours in skirts,
Miss April

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Miss April Advises: Charity Case – a moral conundrum.

Dear Miss April,

I had an unusual altercation on my post prandial stroll that has left me asserting some fresh beliefs and questioning the character of my neighbours. I saw a woman with a chair on her head walking causally and chatting to her
acquaintance taking in the cool of the night. I knowingly enquired as to the provenance of her multipurpose hat. She said she “found it outside the salvation army , no one needed it and decided to take it home”.

This got my hackles up. I announced that she was stealing from charity. Probably not the best opening line. Needless to say the conversation was cut short as she scurried off with her ill gotten goods, leaving her accomplice making knowing eyes that begged forgiveness. It was not mine to give. I’m not in the business of charity.

I see this collision this way. Someone left the chair having been fortunate enough to acquire a new one to replace it. It was left as a donation. The salvation army should have been given the opportunity to brush it down and sell it. That’s the giving to charity part, no? Assuming it wasn’t broken and was to become part of the $4million the salvos pay/ year to dispose of broken stuff left for them by kind and generous citizens. If she was nicking it, i guess it was the former.

I’m also assuming that the chair made from renewable materials, designed for disassembly, no child labour was used in its manufacture , royalties where paid to the designers and it’s original packing was disposed of responsibly. We can assume by the fact it was “donated” at the salvos that it was no classic work designed for longevity and stylistic durability and that the aspirational individual offloading it had considered all of this issues prior to selecting their replacement item. If not the donor also requires some stern finger waggling.

I’m off track. Was I correct in my assertion that the chair liberator was also a perpetrator of a complicated and misunderstood crime?

Yours

Charity Case

Dear Charity Case

Yes.

When one commences the slippery slope of consciously dissecting moral responsibility it rapidly becomes a most complex matrix of sin recognition. You were wise to put an end to that finger wagging of yours, because once begun it is quite difficult to cease.

In short, I do agree with everything you have written. You are a beacon to us all. You have reinvigorated my faith in the common good, and I feel so safe I might once again partake in my midnight stroll alongside the tinkling aria of Dights Falls.

Once a donation has been deposited at the doors of the Salvation Army charity shops, office, or in (and around) their bins, it has become the property of the Salvation Army. The Salvation Army distributes usable objects (such as this very worthy chair) to families in need. If not required by said family, they would place it in their charity shop to sell in order to obtain monies to help feed, house and clothe our less fortunate of brothers and sisters. These are desparate times for some, and whilst the taking of a cathedra from a sidewalk might seem a light misdemeanour, in essence the thief has wandered into another time and space, the temporary shelter of a homeless mother and her children and she has taken that moment of seating, that gesture of charity, that feeling of neighbourly kindness.

Last year it cost the Salvation Army 1.8 million dollars to cart off refuse kindly dumped donated by the benevolent Australian public. So, I too would be most vexed, most vexed indeed, to witness the taking of an item that could actually be of good use.

Thank you Charity Case, thank you for acting upon your conscience. Thank you for observing your moral obligation, and do not lament the corruption of our neighbourhood as you have proven it is still of solid character.

With the greatest of respect, Miss April

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Miss April Advises: Help Didit, Help Me!

Dear Miss April,

A childish prank has got slightly out of hand and left me in a bit of a pickle. Quite an embarrassing pickle as it happens. Due to a serious miscarriage of justice, I find myself residing permanently in the local lunatic asylum. Do not upset yourself over this. It is not such a bad life. The problem arose when I decided to bring some excitement and laughter into the very dull lives of my fellow inmates who do little more than rock back and forwards in their chairs all day long or scream at the invisible people in the asylum. I felt certain that having entered the asylum kitchen and laced the staff luncheon with a mixture of strychnine and strong laxatives, a good deal of amusement would be provided for the inmates. Strychnine as you may know causes severe convulsions and of course laxatives have a single purpose for which they are most effective. The two combined are guaranteed to cause a good deal of hilarity (except of course for the person who has ingested the mix). The problem arose when I decided to add something special to the event by setting fire to the mattress in my cell. The mattresses we use are quite old and tend to be stuffed with horse hair and goodness knows what else and create a thick black cloud of toxic fumes when burnt. I have accidentally pulled the door of my cell behind me and it has locked. I cannot attract the attention of the staff who are otherwise engaged after having enjoyed their luncheon. I cannot extinguish the mattress and a cloud of toxic fumes is spreading slowly toward me. Dear Miss April, what should I do? I would appreciate your wise advice at your earliest convenience. Yours hopefully, Alfred Didit.

Dear Mr Didit

Oh, alas, wellaway, Mr Didit, wellaway….

I am overcome with self-loathing as I must assume that sir, you have passed. It has been a good week gone now, and unlike those who have been born in a modern age, I do not visit the lights of my computer regularly. I am often sitting in the garden for days on end, waiting for a lover to run over the hilltop – poetry, flowers, sunshine, my life is an imagination taking place outdoors. It is my utter disgrace to have left you locked indoors amidst your fiery hellish doom.

Alas, you have passed. My dear sir, may you find peace.

However, for those who are reading and find some similarity in your circumstance let me help you thusly. For God’s sake, use the fire extinguisher. None about? Use the woolen blanket. Throw it over the flames to smother the oxygen, hence suffocating the red dancing demon. He is gloating you know.

Now let me address some more serious pathologies of lovely Mr Didit. Death is not entertainment except to the psychopaths. Psychopaths do not need advice, they do not accept advice, they do not deserve advice. Those of others who are in bedlam but are not psychopaths are not by default dull. Oh no, they are most likely very ill and just trying to survive.

From your enjoyment of the combination of poo and eccentricity you reveal yourself as an anglophile, or merely a British Royal. Bravo, sir. You have made it to the history books. If you did not run and jump, escaping through the closest window into the murky moat, or as suggested used that lovely woolen blanket as a saviour, then I bid you farewell Sir. Life has come, and life has passed, and perhaps we are all the safer for it.

Remember Didit, fire and sexual repression go hand in hand, so hands off,
yours, Miss April

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Miss April Advises: Hair Affair – snow-fro sex.

Dear Miss April,

I’m going out on a limb here, but I am thinking of dating a man with an sno-fro.

However, my issue lies not with the ‘fro’ itself but rather the silhouette of the afroe mentioned man when post-coitally wet. In polite and sometimes impolite company his often buoyant locks and joi de coiffure fill the room.

Should we unite as one of backs and cracks, and spend a dream loosened from the stream of lucidity, then shaken in the fur light of the morning as tulips wilt or weep, one can be taken to flee at the sight of a freshly showered poodle. What was once a throng of bubbling follicle froth is suddenly a limp moist tonsure tossed from the tub in lost hope.

Of course I hypothesise as the scene of my distress is still a play to be run but the problem lies in that the cast are ready to mount the stage and I can only see one act. What should I do?

Cordially yours

Hair Affair

Dear Hair Affair

Bravo to your cocksure wordsmithing! Continue to wax lyrical like Lord Byron and I might be out on a limb myself if I were so endowed.

There is such familiar comfort for me in your combination of confidence and pessimism in the face of good fortune, it reminds one of….oh yes, you must be Jewish, Neurotic, Catholic, an over-analytical stuck-up aesthete.

You are contemplating dating a snow-fro gent; let us assume that he is willing to accept said scenario and we have two protagonists in this play of life. Surely your admiration of him runs deeper than the personification of his natural bouffant? But already you fear a limp, flaccid snow-fro will have the equivalent effect on your desire…for an encore.

The most important piece of advice I have for you here is that if post-coital meeting of the secret gardens you aren’t both sodden messes you clearly aren’t doing it right. To be sure, I would not underestimate the resilience of a genetically formed snow-fro, nonetheless if it does metamorphose it is your duty as a lover to allow uninhibited vulnerability. It is your duty to yourself to allow the same for you. Or else, where’s the fun?

My second piece of advice may have more lasting significance. I say this to you – enter stage one with the true intentions of a thoughtful Thespian. Introduce these characters to each other; get to know them, allow the inhibitions to dissipate along the journey, and leave the consummation for the finale, by which time even if the snow-fro turns into a bathmat it may do so without fear of repulsion, merely the sense of satisfaction for a job well done.

Break a leg Hair Affair, may pleasure be your applause,
Most affectionately, Miss April

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Miss April Advises: E. Mission – a frightening tale of laundry

Dear Miss April,

Im very messy. A bit of a slob , actually, despite my attempts at appearing graceful and effortless. Inevitably at the end of the day I disrobe and discover I’ve been wearing something thats issued from within my body as well as some daily grime. Spit, sweat, semen, blood, you name it, I’ve ended up with these diaurnal emmisions somewhere on my person.
I enjoy laundry, which is fortunate, and have conquered most of these stains. One lingers however. How do you get blood out of a white shirt without rendering it a rag?

Regards

E. Mission

Dear E. Mission

I stand before you (self) accused of procrastination. The finger of God points down upon me, “It is she. She is the one who has neglected her flock. She is the one who shuns the needy. It is she.”

Oh dear, my Christmas holiday appears to have extended a little too long and I do confess that you are the victim of my irresponsibility. So let me start by humbly offering you my apology as your letter dated the 8th December 2012 might just mean that blood stain is a permanent fixture. But spit-spot no time for dreary maudlinism, let’s see what we can still accomplish.

At first I must say I was rather at a loss for words upon reading your predicament. Alas, I immediately assumed you were a man and quite possibly a serial killing psychopath, but I understand that’s sexist. You could very well be a lady of the night. If you are the latter I would like to also recommend a preventative measure – prophylactics and a lot of them (do they make complete body ones?). Considering the state of your dress, would you consider substituting your cotton fabrics for latex? One can then quickly clean with a damp soapy cloth.

If you are the former I’m afraid I’ll have to request you turn yourself in to the authorities without cleaning your shirt as this is vital evidence, good luck and may Justice herself prevail.

Of course you may very well be neither of these and be one of those creatures that exist beyond my sheltered domestic world. However, let it not be said that I have turned by back on offering good cleaning advice. Cleanliness is next to Godliness, and it is my duty to offer you all I can in this regard because it sounds like you might be tipping in at second level demon.

Yes, it might be tempting to get violent with a washboard but you are quite right, it would quickly flay a delicate white shirt. You must be patient and use a step by step process beginning with a long soak overnight in cold water. Let the blood waft away as if a bad dream. The next day rinse, inspect, and soak further if needed. If it proves to be stubborn then you should ring it gently through a clothes ringer and allow to dry, rub lemon juice on the stain and place in the sun to dry. Rinse. Still the ghost of red? Then allow to dry again, then dab a bit of kerosene on the stain and gently rub. Obviously you will definitely have to rinse after this but I hope this solves the problem. If not a more harsher bleaching treatment might be required, in our day we used to put in (quite) a bit of urine in to the soaking water. Today of course one can just buy actual bleach in a bottle. I suspect you might be the kind of individual to try the urine method first. But for goodness sake please make sure you don’t eat asparagus beforehand. Other handy hints for spot bleaching is to use onion or even hog manure instead of lemon, but citrus perfume versus faecal stench? If you succeed in removing the stain you can freshen the whole shirt by adding a touch of blue dye to the rinsing water.

I do hope you enjoy your laundry.
Your fellow in lye soap,
Miss April

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Miss April Advises: Sports Injury – Clothes fit for the Emperor.

Dear Miss April,

I encourage exercise. Its great to see the svelte and the ample doing their bit to
become their ( or societies) ideal shape.
We have come so far but some things are lost is rush on our daily treadmills. We
have lycra to stream line our bodies as we hurtle about on our stationary bicycles.
We have coloured sports bras and vibrant layering options. These possibly a
distillation of Samantha Fox, Courtney Love and Olivia Newton John. Thanks to all.

I need to digress to provide background information that will aide in my enquiry.
Lycra while seemingly other worldly and eternal is still just a textile and like
all textiles, possibly with the exception of Kevlar or 70s polyester, is prone to
degradation. When tightly bracing and stretched around a body in motion it can be
very transparent when old and worn. Many people are unaware of this unintentional
nudity and can lead to quite the eye full in the street.
I know there are lycra fetishists, to be sure, but, all decent fetishists know that
furtiveness is no substitute for indulging your obsession fully and at length with
others who appreciate your particular proclivity. This is usually done in private
for the most satisfying results, so I’m told.

Although as I said , taking excise is to encouraged it has some side effects. If
done properly it requires effort resulting in perspiration and its bi-product,
pong. Thats why they have showers at gyms, I presume. Its what happens after that
disturbs me. I have seen people in there sports attire in cafes winding down over
large milky caffeinated beverages.

This begs the question, have they exerted themselves sufficiently, showered and
redressed in fresh gym clothes to demonstrate a love of fitness? Its more troubling
if this is not that case. Then why are they shopping for home-wares and high end
furniture in these fecund invisible undergarments?

Do you think we should lobby the garment industry to put used by dates on these
clothes? Like cream and meat for instance. Im sure this would have the same effect
of reducing retching in the street as the sanitisation of the food industry has.

I’m eager to hear your opinion and possible other solutions.

Regards

Sports Injury

Dear Sports Injury

What a colourful portrait you paint! This world of lycra fetishism astounds me, surely such things are nonsense, but when I searched the world wide web of information I came across such a disturbing array of fetishes that lycra seemed so innocent in comparison. Who knew swimming caps and goggles caused hearts (and loins) to flutter so!

What is acceptable and what is not? Wearing tight-fitting lycra while shopping or relaxing in a cafe is not in itself unacceptable, it is one of the grey areas of modern society whereby personal expression through fashion is so much more experimental than in my day. However, if we try to claim that there is no dress code, we are deluding ourselves. Abolishing expectations of dress in public is not a freedom, it is moral anarchy. One’s dress is not purely an individual expression of taste, personality and status; like Manners, it is an expression of our relationship to fellow man.

A person’s dress reflects a relationship with themselves and their community. We are a shared society, and pride in appearance, whether it be the time it takes to create a perfectly pointed Mohawk, to coordinate a desired nonchalance, or commit to the highest of fashion, we say to each other, I care enough to make the effort. It says to our neighbour “I see you, and this is how I would like you to see me”. We are connected.

It is unequivocally and entirely unacceptable to wear a sweat drenched exercise costume to eat or shop in public. The mere thought of a lady testing various sofas in her threadbare fabrics steeped in sweat and Impulse sends me a shudder, the implications of hygiene alone – eek. They should be ashamed.

Your suggestion of a use-by date is an excellent idea, are you in marketing? They would double their sales much like shampoo manufacturers did when some genius decided to put ‘repeat’ on the bottle’s instructions. However, my personal conviction is to work toward reducing our consumption, I would not like to recommend for people to discard clothes perfectly suitable for exercise, ironically their very raison d’etre. Perhaps a warning label might suffice?

WARNING: This garment may cause social disgrace if worn in public.
WARNING: People hate you shopping in these clothes.
WARNING: Research shows that you stink after exercise.
WARNING: 20 washes = Emperor’s New Clothes.

The likes of you and me though are in a quandary when it comes to pointing out these miscarriages of dress. How does one do so without seeming rude, or even unkind? It is an art form, truly, and that is why those with such good manners appear so elegant. Perhaps you could discretely follow the culprit around said furniture store? As you witness the derriere bearing down onto the unsuspecting sofa – voila – you kindly insert a water resistant padded cushion betwixt them. “For your comfort, Madam” you say with a dapper smile. After following her around a few more times, she might begin to realise the expectation of herself you are kindly alluding to.  

If you notice a lady drying off at a nearby cafe, pass her a scented wet towelette and a travel hand sanitiser – “you’re welcome” you say to her companions. Do you witness her virtue being threatened in a public street by worn threadbare fabrics? “My lady!” you say with urgency as you run to her aid, wrapping her in whatever comes to hand, towel, street sign, balloons, Thomas Dux bag. “Your honour is being threatened by those underclothes, never fear; I will escort you to your car.”

Thus, you are fortunate to display to the world your generous wallet, community spirit, good character, and one can only hope others will follow your fine example.

To avoid such direct intercourse you might prefer a more clandestine approach – print out this response and post it in pertinent neighbourhoods, on suspects automobiles, in shop windows, etc., etc. A public education campaign could be just the ticket!


Yours faithfully, Miss April

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Miss April Advises on Art Gallery Etiquette

Dear Readers,

As you may recall I responded recently to Distance Admirer in regard to issues concerning appropriate behaviour at public art exhibitions.

You can then, imagine my surprise and pleasure when I happened across wisdom from the ages which supported my general thesis. What was sound advice to the best American society in 1880 remains steadfastly appropriate for today’s art goers.

“In visiting picture-galleries one should always maintain the deportment of a gentleman or lady. Make no loud comments, and do not seek to show superior knowledge in art matters by gratuitous criticism. Ten to one, if you have not an art education you will only be giving publicity to your own ignorance.
Do not stand in conversation before a picture, and thus obstruct the view of others who wish to see rather than talk. If you wish to converse with any one on general subjects, draw to one side out of the way of those who wish to look at the pictures.”

Truly, commone sense prevails throughout the turning of ages. If only we heeded it well and more often!

Adieu fair readers, let common sense guide your way,
Miss April

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