This is Martin Akersten and he is wearing skirt to work. Not a dare, nor a charity dress up day but because his new bosses banned the wearing of shorts in hot weather he and some of his fellow train drivers in Sweden decided that skirts were the next best option.
As an engineer the train cab can reach nearly one hundred degrees Fahrenheit so long trousers are uncomfortable and the new owners of the franchise, Arriva, said that they had to dress formally so Martin and thirteen of his colleagues have decided the next best option within the company rules is to wear skirts. Thomas Hedenius, the spokesman for Arriva said they couldn’t stop the men wearing skirts as it would count as discrimination. I love this story as it shows the ingenuity of the drivers and the stupidity of the company all in one go.
The company claim shorts look too relaxed but I’ve never worried my train driver looks relaxed – in fact I’d prefer it if I’m honest as it means they are comfortable in their jobs and ready to take me where I want to go. It also highlights the point that the great Eddie Izzard makes that women have total clothing rights in that they can wear any clothes they choose and the freedom to wear men’s clothes. If you think about it there is an absurdity that this is even a story in this time of “equal rights” it is still seen as strange that a man would wear a female piece of clothing but women have worn men’s clothes for decades.
This is not me just setting up my new transvestite look for the summer, but it does make me smile that it is a story at all. I’m also surprised that the company don’t see that their bluff has been spectacularly called here in that the men have played by the rules and know that the company can do nothing but support them in their decision. Yes they will get a few strange looks for the first week or so, but after that no-one will really care one way or another – and that’s a good thing.