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Words From Adelaide: Birthday Indulgence

...I was puzzled by the Hipsters. There is no opening in the front. (Men, as you may know, or should know, have openings in the front). This absence calls for the most ridiculous contortions; knees bendings and leg liftings together with facial grimaces beyond belief, when the occasions call, indeed, manoeuvres so demanding that I inevitably get severe cramps before success is achieved...

John Powell - no slouch he - went out and bought himself some Hipsters to celebrate his 82nd birthday. But South Sea Island Aqua? And Golden Sunburst? Colours such as those could only end up in one place.

I thought I'd spoil myself for my eighty second birthday. A bit of self-indulgence; to do something different; original; something really exciting, not to spare the expense; something new and untried requiring courage and daring. So, I bought myself some Hipsters, these hip-hugging, low-slung underpants things. ‘Special’ it said, ‘pay for five and get four’, or something. No way! I bargained; beat them down to pay five get two. My God! That taught them we old blokes are no fools.

Mind you, the Hipster colours are a bit exotic, South Sea Island Aqua, and Golden Sunburst Splendour, so vivid I wondered if I had wandered into the wrong Department and bought ladies' knickers. I know quite well what ladies' knickers look like, I have seen a few in my time I can tell you, and I sometimes have a peek at the ones hanging on my neighbour's clothes line---just out of curiosity of course. I like to observe how the fashions have changed since the days of the woollen, bloomer knickerbockers of my Great Aunt Gertrude, which she'd hang on the line, camouflaged by cleverly- hung bed sheets, in case the visiting Vicar saw them and became excited.

Those bloomers had elastic above the knee, so tight they risked serious vascular problems, but most importantly serving as a sturdy, yet discreet, chastity belt when, for example, sitting in the back row of the Odeon cinema on a Saturday night. Mind you, it is unlikely that my Great Aunt Gertrude ever sat in an Odeon cinema, let alone the back row, — especially on a Saturday night. If you ever saw my Great Aunt Gertrude you would understand.

I was puzzled by the Hipsters. There is no opening in the front. (Men, as you may know, or should know, have openings in the front). This absence calls for the most ridiculous contortions; knees bendings and leg liftings together with facial grimaces beyond belief, when the occasions call, indeed, manoeuvres so demanding that I inevitably get severe cramps before success is achieved. Hipsters must have been designed by women for revenge. The other disappointment is that, unlike my woollen Long Johns, there is no square, trap-door flap at the back. I am used to the flap. I miss it. It is a part of my life. Its absence is a serious design error.

The Long John flap at the back has two very useful purposes. Firstly, in the hot weather, you can undo the buttons and let the flap down, rather like lowering a castle drawbridge. This then allows in a cool breeze which has a cooling effect all over one’s southern hemisphere and, importantly, right across the Dardanelles, as one might put it, delicately. Of course, the flap can be closed quickly if necessary, to prevent catching a chill in that area from the draught. The second use of the flap is security. In case of fire the flap can be opened quickly and used as an emergency exit. Designers of the Hipster never gave this a thought either.

The trouble is that my knickers keep sliding down. What on earth does one do? What do ladies do, I wonder, when their knickers start to slide to half-mast before complete disaster?

All in all, I think I am justified in complaining about Hipsters. There is another complaint, really only understood by men. I pass it on to them to be very aware when sitting down to do so slowly; otherwise it can be downright painful and dangerous! Any male sitting down in Hipsters too quickly is to risk becoming a sudden treble, thereby only qualifying for employment in a Sheik’s Harem.

I’m back to my old Long Johns; it’s like coming home: after all, they are a family heirloom. They belong to us; they are family, loved and revered. These very same Long Johns have been handed down from father to son for well over a hundred years. It is a long-established tradition. Great Grandpa wore my Long Johns at the siege of Mafeking in 1899. Old customs should never be abandoned; we must preserve our heritage in these changing times. My Long Johns are an ‘icon’. Dammit! I’ll have them Heritage Listed!

As for the two Hipsters: I saw through my binoculars that my neighbour did not have, in her colourful collection, a South Sea Island Aqua or a Golden Sunburst Splendour. One night I crept out and hung them among the others on her clothesline. Manna from heaven!


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