COLIN DRURY: Chris is not short on determination

Swim shorts: Acceptable ' just
Swim shorts: Acceptable ' just
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LITTLE cross-dresser. Little freedom-fighter. Little rock n roller.

Chris Whitehead. Twelve years old. The boy who will be known as ‘the boy who wore the skirt’.

This young lad – as if he’s not got enough on his plate what with SATS and going through puberty – he’s only gone and thrown himself head first into the timeless and universal struggle against oppression.

He’s put his little legs out there on the front line in the battle against bondage. A defier of discrimination. A Che Guevara in a skirt.

Did you see it?

The Cambridge kid has been making headlines across the country after donning the female dress to school in protest at a uniform policy which states that, while girls can wear a skirt in warm weather, lads can’t wear shorts.

“We think this discriminates against boys,” said our hero, before adding that wearing long trousers during the sizzling summer months affects concentration and ability to learn.

Hear hear, young man.

For, while, personally, school uniform isn’t something I’ve thought about for more than a decade now (honestly, your honour), you have to admire that lad’s bottle. Because, frankly, when I went to school, having such individuality of expression would have been right up there with playing the recorder and having ginger hair as a precursor to receiving a daily wedgy in the common room.

And that would just be from the teachers.

But there’s young Chris, risking detentions, derision and ripped pants, to make a stand for what he believes is right. And, after all, isn’t he right?

Why should girls get to wear skirts and boys have to struggle on in trousers?

And, let’s get to the crux of the issue here, why does this also apply in the workplace?

Why can’t we all turn up to the office in short trousers if we want? Why must we wear ties and sensible shoes? What kind of a fascist society demands people dress in a certain way at certain times of day?

When did we allow ourselves to be so controlled?

Yeah, for sure, strictly speaking, I could never respect a man wearing shorts – football pitch, swimming pool and, at a push, the beach in temperatures of 80 degrees excepted.

And absolutely ties are the greatest fashion accessory ever ever ever invented (“show me a man with no use for a tie,” said my old Granddad, “and I’ll show him just one”).

Aye, and even sensible shoes are...well, sensible. And comfy.

But, if people would prefer to wear something else, why do we let ourselves live in a world where they can’t?

Don’t we live in a society which supposedly values freedom above almost everything?

And yet here we are controlled every day in our scrubs.

Sometimes (ie. just now, for the first time) I wonder if only the world’s leaders would dress in beachwear when they met, perhaps nursing a pina colada instead of mutual distrust, wouldn’t the planet be a better place?

Couldn’t more conflicts be avoided just by two men talking while in Bermuda shorts?

Probably not. Idiots are still idiots whatever they wear. But at least we’d all be able laugh at them a little.

And at least little Chris could concentrate on his work. He wants to be a politician, incidentally. Good luck to you, young man.