The sun is out. The sky is blue. And so are my legs.
Yes, they have that deathly pallor which comes from a winter wrapped in thick, black tights.
My legs bloody love tights.
Essentially, from October to June, I wear a second skin of dense, woven nylon.
A fire hazard I may be, but the joy of a smooth finish, boundaried thighs, and knees held straight and true by 7% elastane fibres, makes it worth the risk.
I’ve been a fan of black hosiery for a long time. Ever since my now-husband, then just potential target, commented on how much he liked my friend Rachel in what he described as her ‘black, woolly tights.’
He had no idea of the textile components and this was the late 80s; I’m not sure how much elastane was knocking about in tights back then.
Anyway, if black woolly tights was what it was going to take, then black woolly tights it was.
Thank you, Rachel. I haven’t looked back.
Black tights go with everything. I’ve invested in about a million pairs.
I’ve gone through all the cheap, supermarket brands and can confirm that Asda BodySculpt 40D opaques are really quite wearable and whilst the control panels may over promise somewhat on the ‘sensational silhouette’ front, they do keep a firm grip on the flesh. All day.
I have, however, been coveting a pair of Heist tights – the ones that promise perfection: no sagging, no crotch dropping, no Nora Batty at the ankles, plus a non-snagging finish. But they’re twenty quid a pair, so I think I’ll wait to see what Father Christmas feels able to drop in my stockings.
So, as you can see, I’m very attached to my tights. Which is what makes this warm, sunny weather – what we might call actual summer – so hard to cope with.
I have to release my knees.
My calves need air.
My thighs are clammy. (TMI?)
And so I’ve rolled down my hosiery and drunk in my bare, naked legs.
They’re bluish. The kind of hue you get from particular brands of washing powder ‘with whiteners.’
My legs would hands down win a role in ‘Silent Witness.’
As I stare at them, in an out-of-body kind of way, I’m only too aware of how far into Executive Youth I have come.
As a young woman, I’d have had these legs out at the merest hint of a UV ray breaking the clouds.
At school, the sight of sunshine over the lacrosse fields was a cue: ‘skirts up, shirts up.’ And we’d lay ourselves out on the grassy bank behind the common room at lunchtime, willing our thighs to turn pink.
At university I recall attending seminars in a shirt and flip flops, sweltering through Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, praying that the sun would still be out by the time he’d made it back to Camelot. Sir G ditched, I’d stretch out in the ornamental gardens and divest myself of as much of my clothing as was decent.
My knees were young knees, my thighs young thighs. My toes had yet to develop those hobbity hairs which now decorate their knuckles.
I have been performing recently. My costume, such as it is, consists of a number of short, sequinned dresses. The younger me would think nothing of appearing bare legged with sparkles.
The new, older me, knows that the entire front row could be blinded by the glare of my chubby thighs and distracted about the actual whereabouts of my kneecaps.
I tried to solve the problem.
I dyed my legs. You know, with a ‘gradual tan’ product. (I’m always going to stop short of the full on fake tan. It’s a fear of paper thongs, I think.)
The consequence? Streaky, naturally, but itchy, OMG yes.
I had no idea. Turns out there’s an ingredient in self tanners which can have you shredding your own legs in a matter of minutes.
Plus, the other horror: I now look like the unlikely love child of Gwyneth Paltrow and David Dickinson. Mummy from the waist up, and Daddy D down below.
I felt self conscious. I had a new kind of leg based anxiety. Add that to my regular nerves and it wasn’t a five star performance wasn’t likely.
I reached for my black tights.
The ‘moisture management’ ones.
I call it ‘hot comedy.’ With five stars.