Summer in the city… The smell of melting tar, the drip of drooping ice-cream cones, the squeaking tyres, the slap-slap of flip-flops, the riotous colour of summer dresses… And the clammy damp hairy flesh of men with no t-shirts on. Everywhere.
There’s a running joke about how Irish people tear off our clothes the minute the sun appears, baring all, whipping out the baby oil and denuding Penneys as a plague of locusts would a field of corn, but with less discernment. But we don’t.
Most Irish women over the age of about 17 will, naturally, take off a layer of clothes. Given that we are wearing scarves, jackets and boots until mid-June, this means those items are removed. We might venture as far as replacing the boots with flip flops and the trousers with skirts and maybe even a short sleeved top. Most of us will retain our dignity, save for the odd see-through fabric or related mishap. Those young enough, and confident enough, will go for a crop top, or hotpants, or both.
Men, though, are a different story. No sooner does Mr Sun take his hat off than Mr Man takes his top off. And while the former is a welcome opportunity to soak up that Vitamin D, the latter provides only the chance to avert your eyes, awkwardly, from hairy backs, sweaty flesh and nipples.