There are times when UK matter dey tire me. Dem no dey gree person drink water keep cup. Rule here, sanction there, levies everywhere. In general though, I do believe that the rules and traditions, and the social pressure to keep them (the Brits are renowned for their tut and eye-roll), is what has kept this tiny island standing strong and undefeated; the concept of “But this is simply not done” is one that many nations would do well to incorporate.
About a week ago, all dizzy with excitement at being invited to watch the Wimbledon Men’s finals from the Royal Box (the Royal Box, y’all!), Lewis Hamilton rocked up in khaki coloured trousers, a panama hat, and a floral print shirt buttoned up to the neck. You might have an MBE, Lewis, and you may be worth $280 million, but here’s how gentlemen dress to the courts for Wimbledon:
You see that? Ties and suits, mate. And not a poxy hat in sight. Oliver Brown, chief sports feature writer of the Daily Telegraph was particularly disturbed by what he thought was unfair and discriminatory treatment of Hamilton (you can read his entire article here if you are at all curious as to why he thinks Wimbledon should care).
I believe that there are some bastions of tradition that must be allowed to stand unfettered by bank accounts or boorishness, and Wimbledon is just such a tradition. If not, we will be left with empty lager cans on the courts, people chatting on their mobiles during play, and no end of floral shirts. Arrant nonsense.
Ladies and gentlemen: some things come with rules. If you can’t abide by the rules, then don’t attend or you will be denied entry. You don’t have to like it, but them’s the way the cookies crumble.
What makes this ever more infuriating is that Hamilton was offered a borrowed jacket, tie and shoes and told to come on in, but decided that his precious image was too important to risk being tarnished by a public appearance in clothes not sanctioned by his image consultants.
Britain has always stood for class more than money, and long may that continue in my opinion.
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