Without Them..

WARNING. Readers of a nervous disposition, or who have supped too long at the well of political correctness, should turn away NOW.

I would like to pay tribute to the way many Hong Kong girls dressed themselves during the recent cold snap so as to keep warm while still managing to look very attractive, thereby warming the boys too. This is hardly going to make me a poster boy for the Women’s Foundation, but somehow I think that was always unlikely to happen anyway.

They say that men dress to please themselves, while women dress to please men. I have always thought the first part of that expression is mostly true, but I have reservations about the second part. Men, let’s face it, have two basic dress styles: reluctantly smart, and overly casual. When the weather turns cold, their adjustment options are pretty straightforward. In smart mode, they can wear a vest under their shirt and/or a cardigan inside their jacket. If it is bitterly cold out they can throw some sort of coat over the whole caboodle and they are done. In casual mode, they can just throw on an additional dreadful sweat shirt commemorating the Rolling Stones world tour of 2003 or some such. The ragged coat over the whole remains an option.

I suspect it is not so easy for women. First of all let’s get back to the bit about who they are trying to please. Undoubtedly some are dressing so that they catch the eye of others on the street or in the MTR or on a bus. There may even be a particular colleague or fellow commuter they hope will notice them. Nothing wrong with that, if you ask me. But surely that line of thought alone should prove that the ladies are also pleasing themselves in the process.

But now let’s turn our attention to the main theme: what to do in the colder weather. Some just pretend the weather hasn’t changed at all and they continue with their miniskirt or shorts and skimpy top. I applaud their courage but fear for their health. My enjoyment of their appearance is outweighed by my concern they will get pneumonia, so please, as I still want you around when summer is back, do look after yourselves.

Some of course go completely in the opposite direction and give up altogether. At the first cold blast of air they throw on two or more shapeless quilts and stagger around looking like eskimos who took a wrong turn at the North Pole.

But I am here to show respect for those who managed to combine keeping warm with still looking stylish. They chose a variety of ways to achieve the optimum appearance. Some kept the dress or skirt on the short side but made of sturdier material with attractive leggings rather than nylons for the nether regions. Did the job and still looked good.

But the ones who got my vote for best in class chose boots and a traditional dress with a smart coat on top. The boots finished a couple of inches below the knee, the coat two inches or so above, and inside a dress or skirt not quite as long. So with every confident stride forward that they took, there would be just a glimpse of thigh, nothing immodest you understand, but enough to light a spark in an old man’s eye.

Now before the thought police come to take us all in to custody, let us sing along with Maurice Chevalier "Thank Heaven for little girls, they grow up in the most delightful way…"