YOU often hear about the traditional English girl being described as an “English rose”. I never really understood the term… Was it a comment on their delicacy? Or their thorns? Why are they not called a daffodil, which is a far happier kind of flower?
It only takes the end of winter to answer the mystery of the “English rose”. Like that most romantic of flowers, the English girl is a creature that wilts during the winter months. The vibrancy is gone, hidden under a mass of coats and scarfs. It all ends on that first day of spring when the English rose sheds off its outer layers and blossoms once again, brought back to life by the re-emergence of the sun.
The past week has seen the dreaded winter break, and the English rose return to the streets of London. How do I immerse myself in their culture though, being an Antipodean bloke? I pondered long and hard, until the inspiration finally came. What better way than to do the same thing that millions of women across the UK were doing: I would get my legs out for the first time in months.
You know it is finally spring because the English rose dust off their unused dresses and short-shorts, exposing pasty and hidden legs to the world in triumph. I had always appreciated this time of year (for purely aesthetic reasons), but I had always wondered why it seemed like overnight all women simultaneously decided that wearing pants was optional.
I hit the streets of Soho in the smallest pair of shorts I could find, as my strapless sun dress was unfortunately in the wash. I finally understood: getting my legs out in the first days of spring was like sticking it to winter, showing the cold it could never truly win.
The feeling was short lived. I had forgotten that London’s weather was temperamental, and like so many English girls across London I found myself walking around the city on an overcast and chilly day, baring my legs (and my soul) to the world.
I feel your pain, ladies. From now on, I’m taking a spare pair of tracksuit pants everywhere I go.