Should Men be Forced to Shave Their Legs?

The first man to shave his legs out of habit,
Sits before me in a deckchair on the seafront promenade,
Lifting at the hem of his sky-blue linen trousers,
Aiming an unnecessarily surreptitious wink my way.

Old now, greyed and wrinkled, the stare of a rabbit,
He explains how this came to be.
“It was all a misunderstanding, see,
Entirely on my part, naturally.
For when ‘the shortages’ kicked-in and trousers went to shorts,
I’d thought,
We must all now shave our legs,
Same as the wimmin do.”

Recording his words upon my reporter’s e-pad device,
I paused, sensed a saltiness in the cool breeze.
For the want of a pen I chewed the top of my finger,
The waves rolled onto the beach behind him in a blur,
While a quizzical expression pirouetted elegantly across my face.

“B-b-but.” I stuttered,
Over the blended chatter from the throngs of holidaymakers, seawater and seagulls,
“Way back then,
At the same time,
When the women had run-out of stockings,
They drew lines down the backs of their legs.
Felt compelled to shave,
Painted their legs with gravy juice,
Simply to maintain the illusion of legs wearing nylons!”

“You think I don’t realise this now?”
The old man retorted,
Swatting with his hand,
A blue-bottle fly that had threatened to land,
On a patch of dry skin directly above his sublingual gland.
“I’ve seen all the documentaries,
Where it is mentioned in passing.
I know this now!”
Puffing-out both cheeks he delivered to me an intense glare.

A close female friend once told me,
That for a man to shave his legs is easy.
For the fur is soft and downy.
And,
That every man should be made to shave his legs for at least a whole year.

In recognition of her demand,
now near-on five years ago,
I shaved my entire body.
Just the once.
And then,
I did it again today.

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