If Only Prince Charles Had Given Him Permission
Friday 20th July, 2018

I've experienced some odd conversations. I was once walking on the banks of a river in a nature reserve on the outskirts of Eindhoven, when a man came up to me, started chatting, admired my tan, and asked whether it continued under my shorts. Maybe this is a popular chat-up line in Noord-Brabants culture: if so, I'm very happy to donate it to anybody elsewhere who can use it. But the oddest was when I walked into an Oxford charity bookshop. The volunteer at the till admired the Moroccan clothes I was wearing, and then said "I wish Prince Charles had given me permission to wear exotic things".

Another customer came into the shop, so we had to cut the conversation short. But the gist was that Prince Charles had been on TV recently, at some theatrical event where he and others were flamboyantly dressed, and the volunteer wanted to be able to dress as flamboyantly without people thinking he was odd. Charles proclaiming "OK, you can wear these in the street" would have been sufficient justification.

I did offer to tell the volunteer where he could buy Moroccan clothes, but he said it wasn't his style.