This follows from my autumnal thoughts on Monday.
(Goodness, I never thought I'd be blogging about vests!!)
I can only speak for myself here (though I shall be curious to see how many of you recognise this process). I was made to wear vests as a child. In winter they kept me warm, and in summer - well, it was polite. It's what girls did. Presumably to mask any hint of development for as long as possible. A hangover from Victorian morality where layers of clothing was seen as an essential deterrent to any predatory male (or, presumably, female).
Oh how I longed to ditch my vests! I abandoned them at every opportunity, hid them at the back of the wardrobe and crumpled them, put them in the washing at reliable intervals in the hope that no one noticed that I would not wear them. Imagine, being out with a lad, and he was fumbling up your shirt (you knew it wasn't allowed and you shouldn't let him, but surely a five-minute fumble wouldn't matter?) and he found a vest!! You'd want to die, wouldn't you? You'd never emerge into mixed society again for he was bound to have told everyone in the whole wide world and they would all know this terrible thing about you - you wore a vest. So I didn't.
For years, even in the depths if freezing winters, I'd not wear a vest. I'd pile on jumpers and fleeces and shiver by the fire but no, I'd not be seen dead in a vest.
But then, when I took the decision not to buy a car but to use public transport, I knew I'd have to be equipped for stations and bus stops in the cold and if I wasn't to freeze I'd need Serious Clothes. That's when I bought a drawer-full of thermals - vests (both long- and short-sleeved), socks, and long johns. Some are almost pretty - and all are functional. They do what they claim they do. While they can't keep out the most determined Arctic wind, I have rarely been driven inside by the cold. I can stand at bus stops beside people who are stamping their feet and rubbing their hands and be - not hot, but warm enough. Which they clearly aren't.
But what, I hear you asking, about the man who might want an exploratory fumble? Pah - if he's going to mark me out of ten for wearing a vest on a cold day, then I'm really not interested.
Is this what they mean by grown-up?