A Man With No Ass Is No Man At All
15 November 2001
The man in the baggy jeans caught my eye on Sydney Street. He wasn't the first that I'd seen at that time, but he was the first who seemed to accept his fate. Many of the other men around who had been called (or "culled" depending on which underground theories you subscribed to) had fought their fate with machismo and whining - creating petitions, writing to their now-defunct MPs. Every other day there would be a protest march down Whitehall, crappy banners proudly held aloft in the drizzle, but the numbers rapidly fell. Yet this man, trousers firmly belted around his skinny waist, had no arrogance about the future the law had decreed for him.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. To explain:
The ordination of King Sally of England was viewed by the population as unexpected, unlikely and (by the more experienced political commentators) entirely implausible. Sally H was not in direct ascent for the throne when she was crowned after the unsolved assassination of the Queen, and there were strongly voiced doubts as to whether there was any blue blood in her at all. But these dissenters were rounded up and shot. King Sally made a television broadcast in which she stated that she has dissolved parliament earlier that day, and relocated power to herself. Anyone who didn't like it would be taken round the back of Buckingham Palace and beaten with a paddle "...because that's the entire bloody point of a dictatorship, isn't it?"
As it was, King Sally was a reasonably benevolent dictator. The differences that her power made to our lives were subtle: the vast new selections of cheese in the supermarkets and the increased financial help given to unsigned musicians and their bands. Thus, in an atmosphere of relatively peaceful stupor, the passing of the "Skinny Ass Begone" decree of January 17th 2003 came as a deeply unpleasant surprise. Rumours put forward were that the King had had an unpleasant experience with a skinny-assed male in a Sussex discotheque. These were later verified in the public broadcast that King Sally made to the nation, described by the Telegraph "...in which the monarch, clearly hungover and unshowered muttered about 'having had enough of all that nonsense' and 'shouldn't be allowed anyway'. The King then left the stage to the sound of retching."
The short of it - the decree stated that all males with "skinny arses" (later modified by the scientific and medical advisors to an exact ratio of gluteus maximus to waist and thigh size) were to be prevented from holding positions of civil authority, or from producing offspring. There was also a subclause about a severe vetting process about letting any skinny-assed man enter a sexual relationship with anyone. As the weeks passed and the King's temper worsened (there were mutterings of PMT but not too many - no-one wanted to be shot) the legislation expanded and became harsher, including bans on many other areas of employment and civil liberties.
Reaction was mixed. Rather than protesting against this infringement of rights, many men took to the fast-food chains to gorge themselves into a state of legal recognition. Realising that walking burnt off valuable calories, many small businesses made a killing from transporting fried chicken, chips, battered sausages, hamburgers and thickshakes to the house-bound menfolk too scared to move in case their ass-weight fell below the designated legal boundary. Several families set up lard-funds for their skinny offspring. The most vocal protests came from the men and women who found skinny-assed men attractive, and were threatened by the idea of never having a partner with viable legal status in the UK. Many of these skinny-lovers (as the tabloids labelled them) went to the Whitehall protests with unmemorable banners and chants.
For a while the policy went reasonably unenforced. Although skinny men were still seen as a lower social class, the roaring trade in buttock-implants meant that having a skinny torso no longer necessarily meant having a skinny arse. However, sixteen months after the passing of the initial decree the press reported that another unfortunate "incident" had occurred a between King Sally and a skinny-assed man in a Solihull nightspot. Enforcement against the skinny arses was brought in the next day, with another royal news broadcast in which the monarch made no speech but gesticulated wildly before the camera before passing out.
And here we are. The royal decree has been violently enforced by the Royal Militia, and the labour camps have been built on the Norfolk Downs. No-one is entirely sure what type of labour will be practiced - the optimists think that a high-fat, low exercise diet will be enough to bring these men back into civilisation again. More radical types think that their DNA will be analysed to allow for a preventative programme against the birth of skinny-assed boys anywhere. The rest of us just don't know. And the guy I saw on Sydney Street, parading his skinny ass in the baggiest jeans you've ever seen, he didn't seem to know either. But he didn't seem to mind. Maybe he and King Sally know something that we larger-arsed citizens don't.