Friday, 5 December 2008

Strange New Men

It's early afternoon and I'm on a train from Stourbridge to Birmingham, en route to Redditch to pick up my last car of the day.

The carriage is empty except for a couple of young guys, probably about twenty years old, sitting on the opposite side of the aisle. I get the impression that they are college students. They talk about drinking and girlfriends and anything else that occurs to them. They seem able to chat away to each other about everyday, inconsequential things with the kind of relaxed ease that men rarely seem to possess.

At one point they begin talking about shaving and the reliability of different kinds of razors -

'I've got to get a new one anyway,' says one of them, 'I shaved somewhere else.'

'Ew!' replies his friend.

'Didn't do avery good job of it though,' he laughs.

'Ewww!'

'Never do these bits, you get loads of spots.'

I don't like to look but I think he is pointing to somewhere around the top of his crotch.

'What, like a rash?'

'No, just spots!'

'Ewww!'

And so on.

Since when did men talk to each other about things like this on trains (or anywhere else?)

Now that I'm forty I feel almost duty bound to start passing judgment on the younger generation, but I really have no idea whether such changes in men's attitudes are a good or bad thing.

These two guys seemed happy enough anyway, regardless of the extra time they probably spend in front of the mirror, and the extra spots they have to deal with.

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