Toby Neal: My foray into trying on my wife’s clothes

Beauty in a fabulous dress – Eurovision winner Conchita Wurst

Now I know what you’re thinking. You think what a complete person I am.

You think I’m in tune with 21st century progressive mores and fully rehabilitated after a shameful and unenlightened upbringing in the 1970s, finally embracing the creed of contemporary poet Ray Davies, who said, “girls will be boys and boys will be girls” although he continued to spoil it by adding “it’s a mixed, muddled, shaken world”.

I think the light bulb moment was when there was this Eurovision winner with a beard, who looked fabulous in a gorgeous dress and wowed an entire continent.

As far as I can tell, not an eyebrow was raised on Tipton High Street. And what’s good on Tipton High Street suits me.

But before you smugly embrace me, wallow in your admiration, and congratulate me on my superiority over those reactionary dinosaurs who find such things unusual and even downright weird, I have a confession.

By wearing women’s clothing, I wasn’t on a personal journey of self-understanding and liberation, or anything. I was making a mistake.

Either my legs are short for my height or my wife’s legs are long for her height, I don’t know what.

But by some strange synergy, if that’s the right word, my wife’s jeans turn out to be a perfect fit for me.

So when they’re all mixed up in the wash, and especially in the winter and it’s a bit dark, there have been occasions where I’ve gotten the jeans wrong. When I say bad, I mean the jeans that don’t belong to me, making no moral or sexist judgments or anything like that.

I thought I had deciphered it by thinking men’s jeans buttoned left over right and women’s right over left, but that rule of thumb turned out to be unreliable.

The solution came from the fact that I was at the forefront of fashion. For example, I realize that the flares, which my wife always wears, doh!, aren’t the thing anymore – I was there, I did that a long time ago – so avoid the flares. Also avoid anything with flowers.

Then there is the label. I’m looking to see who made the jeans.

“If it’s Wallis, those are my jeans,” my wife tells me kindly.

“So there is a range of so-called designer brands that are a warning sign of a potential dress error on my part.

Yes, I used to wear women’s clothes. Not anymore.

Speaking of people wearing different clothes, let’s move on to Rishi Sunak.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak

The high-tax, high-spend chancellor who endeared himself to the nation with his cheat-friendly furlough scheme and many other things that made him popular, like contributing so we go out for meals, achieved this delicate period in which he found ways to recover some of his money.

In the background, the question of whether he is preparing to be the next Prime Minister. But do you want someone as Prime Minister who is not even invited to parties by the neighbors?

The declaration of spring will affect the standard of living of the British.

But what happened in Ukraine is a sobering backdrop.

While we talk about a crisis in the cost of living, household heating bills, etc., Ukrainians are having a crisis of life, being huddled in freezing shelters while their homes are destroyed by artillery and the missiles.

Boris Johnson got into trouble this week comparing Ukrainians’ struggle to break free from Russian rule with Brexit. He was accused of insulting and offending Ukrainians by crudely comparing their struggle for life or death to the national debate on the EU.

Whether this is true, only Ukrainians can answer. It just so happens that if the Prime Minister had said that the beleaguered Ukrainians’ aspiration to join the EU was an indication of what a wonderful thing the EU is, being a force for good and European unity, I think he would have gotten away with it and, said that way, the same critics would have had no objection.


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