Column March 31, 2010: Zip-a-dee-don???t-dah

IT WAS a glorious early spring day on Old Hall Street and the light glinted off the gleaming glass of the Liverpool Daily Post Hyperdome.

Flowers of optimism were in bloom everywhere, warmed by the rays of the March sun. Lunchtime walkers were openly ambling about without coats. It was, in short, ace.

It couldn’t last. Not for the likes of me.

I stood at a pelican crossing, a small bag of nuts in my hand, and she appeared next to me, the woman who would ruin my day.

I looked right, then left, and made a terrible discovery. The woman was wearing a pair of jeans, and her zip was open.

I’m no fashion expert. It’s entirely possible that this is how young people are wearing their trousers these days. “Yo, wassup, dude?” they might say to each other. “What are you doing with your zip up? There’s no way you can hang with my posse if you ain’t flying low. So to speak.”

But what if it were a fashion faux pas, as I strongly suspected?

You see, if I were in the same position as Zip Lady, I’d want to know. In fact, I hereby grant you, the reader, permission to approach me in any circumstances if you notice any such wardrobe nonsense.

And if the person standing next to me had been a gentleman, I would have had no qualms about pointing out his inadequacy.

“Hey, mate,” I’d have said, in the universal language of men who don’t know each other, “You’re, erm.” And he’d have known, and sorted himself out.

And I’d have had to write a column about something else.

But I have no idea about the etiquette of telling a woman about that sort of thing. If she’d had a label sticking out, or her top was on inside-out, or she had a slug on her sleeve, I’d have told her. Trouser grief, on the other hand, is a minefield.

I resorted to my stock response when faced with any dilemma: What Would John Leslie Do?

I identified the former Blue Peter and This Morning presenter as an anti-role model long before the various unsavoury and unfounded allegations about his private life, owing to his uncanny ability to do the wrong thing in any given situation.

The man, never let it be forgotten, dumped Catherine Zeta-Jones a nano-second before she became one of the biggest stars in Hollywood.

Then, later, he mislaid a video tape he took while entertaining the fragrant Abi Titmuss, an activity which, in any case, risked damaging valuable electronic equipment.

So what, indeed, would John Leslie do in the event of a lady’s garment malfunction? A case immediately sprang to mind.

When the TV host Judy Finnigan proved too robust for her halterneck dress, and flashed the nation during a live awards ceremony, Leslie was the one person in an audience of hundreds who dashed forward and adjusted her decolletage.

I decided he, no doubt, would have walked across, without fuss, bent over (he’s a tall gentleman) and pulled up her zip himself, giving the lady a friendly wink.

I did the opposite. I studiously avoided her glance and tore away at the earliest opportunity. Ignorance is bliss. As is not being punched in the eye by an irate woman in jeans.


MORE proof that ignorance is bliss – the continuing scone-eating grin of Gideon “George” Osborne.

The man’s clearly an idiot. He’s either going to lose the election or he’s going to become Chancellor of the Exchequer. He has nothing to smile about.

Still, it’s a source of delight that Labour refers to him as “Boy George”, as he’s eight months older than me. Only in politics could somebody who left his teenage years behind 20 years ago be considered the giddy voice of callow youth.

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