20C “heat” means men’s tops come off

"Gross" - a shirtless man (stock image)

Phew, it’s been hot in the city for April this week. The forecasters got it right – except the 22C they predicted for today arrived yesterday.

I made the mistake of wearing a light jacket when I went out for a stroll and was baking within five minutes.

And as ever strolling around Canterbury in the first moments of heat, I was exposed to my first sight of exposed male flesh. Lovely. Just what I wanted.

A big burly, fairly muscular bloke, had taken off his t-shirt and draped it over his shoulder.

Presumably removing that thin layer of fabric made all the difference as he went from unbearably hot to acceptably cool.

He was fairly pasty so I imagine he was out to catch some early rays before the sun and warmth disappear for another month – as is so often the case in this temperate land of ours.

Maybe he’s worked so hard in the gym during the cold grey winter that he just has to get his body out on display. And very impressed we all are, too.

As a portly middle aged man, I have no urge to advertise my lack of general fitness – and nor do I have any ink to show off.

I suppose, however, if that tat of a naked woman draped round a lifesize dagger on your back cost you £80, then there’s little point concealing it.

But what do the ladies have to say?

A student called Amelia Perrin had some thoughts on it: “Nothing you say can change the fact that a man walking around in public without a shirt is gross and makes me – and countless others – extremely uncomfortable.

“There is no reason for any man to ever need to walk around without a top on. I’ve even seen guys going topless while I’ve still got my jacket on. Why do they do it? Is it a pride thing? Are they showing off their wares? Do they think it will get them laid? Whatever the reason, it’s embarrassing.”

I’ve heard other women say that, of course, by the pool and by the sea there’s no question that they’ll see topless men. But in the middle of Canterbury by the Cathedral gate? Nah, rather not.

Well, we don’t have a public outdoor pool in the city and we don’t have a beach.

But it’s going to be even hotter today – so don’t rule out the prospect of seeing shirtless men all tats and muscles somewhere today…


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