Creative non-fiction: Bummed 1

Creative non-fiction: Bummed

Underpants are worn for very good reason, men. In case you aren’t quite sure. Even with the shifting, drifting temperate seasons of global climate change nudging us blindly closer to a warm here too soon, they are no optional extra.

Outer clothes come off as temperatures lift and soar, bare arms and legs and necks and throats kissed by sunshine or, if you get lucky, the right pair of lips. Clothes discarded free and natural, instinct kicking in, no harm done. Yet layered on when confidence needs it, because sometimes any one of us needs to hide.

Undies are different, a constant reassuring presence. Flattering and designer, a comedy posing pouch, a Valentine gift, lucky pants, or functional and un-fancy if you want. Cloth cut and carefully sewn, 2-ply thick in all the right places, an extra precious layer of insulation, comfort and modesty, protection between back, sack and crack, and the rest of the world. Safety first, a simple and cheap way to stop dick and balls chafing and shredding against a rough seam or nipped by the bite of a fly zipper, nerve endings to preserve, blood and pain saved. Hygiene is a factor, keeping nice kecks crisp and clean of drips and smears and follow-throughs.

Moist human flesh rich in nerve endings at either end of the body is kept hidden in the time of here and now. What with germs coughed from mouths and breathed out through noses, sticking to hairs and skin and fabric and carried about like burrs on a cat, killing grandmas. Protect the NHS, save lives, all that.

Removing underpants is done for a cause, then. If pants are on fire, for one, or discarded for honest healthy lust, thrown on a bedroom floor with blessed relief or to take a shower or a bath or sleep sweetly and nude. These are good solid reasons for ripping your underpants right off, no bother.

Getting naked from the waist down and bending right over and shoving one’s arse in my face is not. And nor is farting in that face, forcing it out and keeping it going for as long as possible. Both take thought gestation of minutes length, minimum, and a level of confidence I can’t imagine owning.

What happened is technically mooning I guess, but to me, mooning is butt cheeks squashed up at a scratched bus window, misshapen and blurry behind smeared steamy glass. Boxers, whatever, yanked back up with super speed and a snigger before you get a proper look-see. It’s an avatar or a gif, a blurred pic in a meme, schoolboy larks, a lads’ night out, stags goin’ proper wild. And always at a social distance, even before it got trendy. The actual proper moon, round and pale like a white man’s buttocks, wants to be helpful in the hours it’s here. But offers a half arsed glow never quite good enough, a satellite fulfilling basic subscription duty and no more, ever circling. There’s always someone at work who turns up every day and does the minimum, clocks on at 9am sharp and poises to run for it at half past five, bus pass or beer money in hand.

August Weber Nachtliche Heimkehr

The moon’s like that, has bloody hours and hours to shine full and proper each journey but flits the chance away instead, throwing out a pale glaze over night shift workers on the way to the factory, hospital or warehouse, never guiding them home. Night runners have torches to light their own way, the moon might make a pitch black path clearer, maybe, but never a sure thing. On a night empty of cloud, it might make it marginally less terrifying for women and girls to walk in pairs or even alone. Any moon, blue or full fat or made of cheese can’t show me the things I need to save me from harm after dark, when the sun is settled for the night by the back of all our houses.

No pinpointing the exact precise location of angry barking dogs. It won’t reassure me that an empty crisp packet scraping along the ground buoyed by a night breeze is not a whispered threat, can’t save me from an intimidation of men or one pursuing a solo agenda. Lawless wheelie bins whacked over onto one side can lay in wait for me, ‘cause the moon’s a coward and won’t turn up proper. The moon can’t help poor children get free school meals, or shorten a five week wait for universal credit, make jobs viable, pay for heating bills when winter bites hard, won’t stop insomnia, or the freezing cold of a lonely Christmas. It’s not bloody well meant to.

But. The moon is romance in a poem, a painting. Travelling across the sky like a timer, reminding how black skies won’t linger and the freshness of a new day will surely follow. The same way shrugging off the flu makes rude health feel so damn fine. How boring people make us appreciate the interesting, sexy and fun. And men who show you their body parts, raw dangerous skin, make the ones who don’t, better, safer, infinitely and deliciously more shaggable. Tiresome winters lead to spring, and the yellow bloom of a daffodil is love and hope, renewal. The way a pessimist always expects something bad to happen, so when it doesn’t it’s a relief? That’s the moon.

Throw a lasso to the moon, capture it for your dreams if you must, but the moon stays put. Right there in the sky, out of our reach, the correct place to be.


Photo credit: After Dark Pacific Southwest Region USFWS from Sacramento US Public domain via Wikimedia Commons
Painting: August Weber


God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.