Earlier in the Summer I had a dilemma which was sparked by reading an article by the artist Grayson Perry, who wrote: “Cycling is the perfect exercise for transvestites because it gives you an excuse to shave your legs.”
Grayson Perry, you see, is an artist and a mountain biker who also likes to wear dresses.
I don’t want to wear dresses (although there may be photographic evidence out there to the contrary). But I do think that smooth, well tanned and finely shaped calves would be an asset out on the road.
Perry, you may note, is a particularly odd breed, a mountain biker who shaves his legs and an excellent artist. Generally mountain bikers eschew such niceties; it is only softy roadies that feel the need for smoothness. I am something of a cross-breed, one of the few who won’t be labelled, riding on road, off road, and anywhere else that the trail cares to take me.
But wouldn’t it be nice if, along whatever road or trail I cared to follow, I displayed a well-defined, hairless pair of calves? Surely such panache would intimidate any opposition.
Looking at my legs in the mirror, they do have rather good, if a bit skinny, definition. It’s just a pity that the fine proportions don’t extend further up my body, say to my middle, at least. But hey, that’s life. I’ll just have to tuck away any saggy bits.
And so, if I’m going to attempt to smooth out this rugged exterior, where do I begin, and more importantly, where do I end? I begin, of course, by reading the internet, where consensual advice tells me to begin with an electric shaver, to get the hair down to a manageable length.
After that, the weapon of choice varies: razors, wax strips, epilator, Veet cream.
But whatever the means of denuding yourself, the result will, without doubt, leave you feeling itchy, naked, exposed.
This doesn’t seem to help, so I head for the supermarket where I loiter along the aisle marked Women’s Hygiene when no one is around. When the coast was clear I inspect the goods on display. This doesn’t seem to help and, anyhow, I’m certainly not going to take a bottle of Veet to the checkout while that blonde is there. I decide to forget all about it and go home. Besides, what will the girlfriend say about all this when she notices that I’m smoother-legged than she is? Will she even notice?
Anyway, I know that I certainly don’t want to end up with legs that look like they belong to a badly plucked chicken. And believe me, I know what that looks like. I’ve plucked a few chickens in my time. Badly.
So I forget all this madness,
Is this a sign? I look down at my legs for a moment and consider, Nah.
And so I continue in my hirsute pursuit, unsullied and virginal.