A dear friend came to see me on Wednesday. She has been living in the States for the last 8 years, but I thought she was coping fairly well. Until last week, when I noticed that she had arrived wearing trainers. Proper, white, ‘I’m just about to go for a run’ trainers. With her jeans. In the past, I have been known to ruthlessly mock people for certain things (being fat, telling unfunny jokes, wearing a cast) that have turned out to have medical reasons. So this time, I trod carefully. ‘I noticed you are wearing trainers.’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Is there perhaps a reason for that?’ ‘What?’ ‘Dear God, why are you wearing trainers? That’s not even close to acceptable.’ My friend seemed bizarrely unbothered. (There is nothing more infuriating than people not understanding tremendously important things). There are many great things about America. This is not a post about that. This is a post to tell people that:
- It is unacceptable to wear gleaming white running trainers with normal clothes.
- Bum bags (hilariously called ‘fanny packs’ by Americans) are unacceptable, even in East London. It’s not ironic. There is no reason for you to need to have both your hands and pockets free at all times. London is not under attack. You are not Indiana Jones.
- I understand that with rising high street rents and the crippling financial pressures that mean economies of scale are now even more imperative than ever, we live amongst a proliferation of chain stores. It is still unacceptable to wear matching outfits.
I imagine my friend, living in the sleepy backwaters of New York, will be tremendously grateful for this missive from the Big City. I hope she passes it on to her American comrades. (They’re communists, right? That’s why they left the cozy confines of the Empire? I’m sorry, at school we really focused on proper history- Churchill’s afternoon naps and that kerfuffle in the Falklands).