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A Man of Few Words - by Swan Morrison


In the early twenty-first century, our multi-cultural society exposed us all to a vast array of clothing derived from many traditions. The western culture had become accepting of almost any attire an individual might choose. Debate continued in relation to the apparently more restrictive mode of dress of eastern women, although it appeared that this might liberalise with the passage of time. The massive tidal wave of popular support for full head-to-toe cover of the kind afforded by the burka came, therefore, as a major cultural surprise.

All men had been familiar with the experience of walking behind an apparently attractive woman - long blond hair; shapely figure - only to discover on passing and looking back that she had a face like a pitbull and was totally flat-chested. They had believed, however, that there was little that could be done about their resulting anger and bitter disappointment.

It emerged, however, that women too were becoming enraged that men who from behind appeared to have a nice bum and an athletic figure, resembled Austin Powers in frontal elevation.

The approach of such individuals increasingly engendered feelings of disgust, and when obesity began to compound the aesthetic nightmare, pressure groups sprang-up demanding government action.

Thus it was that ministers were required to balance the right of individuals to dress as they would wish, with their responsibility to not induce nausea in their fellow citizens.

The result was the ‘Attire Act’ which required all bodies to be fully covered in an opaque, shapeless garment when in public unless a ‘Liberal Dress Licence’ had been issued by the Home Office.

Local panels of attractive citizens were convened to view those applying for a licence and make recommendations to the Home Secretary.

At first the ‘Aesthetically Challenged’, as they were described in the Act, responded by forming private clubs where they could meet and dress as they pleased. These soon declined, however, with the realisation that one could choose not to look in a mirror, but it was impossible not to see the full horror of someone standing nearby. ‘Ugly’ websites appeared on a pay-to-view basis. Many were closed down by Internet Service Providers. Others continued to be frequented by what the tabloid press described as ‘disgusting perverts’, although their patrons radically decreased when police obtained hundreds of credit card details and systematically attempted to prosecute offenders. The ‘Wear Your Burka With Pride’ campaign went the same way as the ‘Chop Your Leg Off For Fun’ and the ‘Leap From An Aircraft Without A Parachute’ campaigns.

Most decent members of the public took a more responsible attitude and worked for the award of a ‘Liberal Dress Licence’. Thousands lost weight, learned how to use skin care and cosmetic products to the best effect, found a decent hairdresser, explored cosmetic surgery and took many other measures proposed in government leaflets and public information films.

Ironically, the final effect has been that very few burkas are now seen in public places. Instead, fellow citizens enhance the aesthetics of the environment - making our land an altogether more pleasant place to live.