Slutty ankles: Your naked legs sum up the crisis in modern masculinity
Why do you think anyone wants to see them
It’s the time of year again.
The sun is out, festival season is incoming, and across the country, a scourge of men’s fashion once again rears its ugly head.
It starts small. You might see them lolling out beneath desks in a packed library, a beacon of untanned skin, or peeking from between blades of untrimmed grass at a cloudy backyard barbeque.
It’s an air of misguided confidence behind tortoise shell sunglasses. It’s thrown back shoulders and a pair of Nike Air Max, proudly peacocking with some too tight skinny jeans, rolled up three times.
It’s pale, it’s hairy, and it’s always there.
It’s the slutty ankle.
Increasingly, bared ankles are the mode du jour of so-called fashion forward guys.
A quick look at any university campus, British festival or past it house night shows the slutty ankle is everywhere.
Even on the catwalk, it’s transcended usual boundaries of taste and style.
Where did it come from? Why did it start? Why do you think it looks cool?
Daily Mail fashion expert Bianca London explains the beginnings of the bizarre fad, which she says is “making a comeback”.
“The style, which sees men donning skinny jeans, big trainers and no socks, enables blokes to show off their ankles – and in some cases a glimpse of manly calf – as a sign of masculinity and sportiness.
“Bizarrely, it was a trend first adopted by risqué Victorian ladies (think the eighteenth century’s answer to the sideboob) and has long been embraced by our stylish male friends in Italy.”
Following its saucy beginnings in Victorian England, the Slutty Ankle made its way into modern fashion.
Bianca, who dubs the sickening practice “mankling” says: “It started to make some real headway in 2012 , when high street retailers noticed a trend for taller gents picking up smaller slacks all in the name of fashion – and it’s back for SS15 with a bang.
“It was spotted on every runway at London Collections: Men – from Nicomede Talavera and Liam Hodges to Ada + Nik – and is filtering into British high street stores in time for summer.”
And it’s even being championed by a string of celebrity ambassadors, including Olly Murs, Jude Law, Tom Ford, Zac Efron, Nick Grimshaw, Marvin Hulme and even global sex symbol, Ryan Gosling.
Bianca thinks of the practice as inherently sexual: “Think of it as the new chest flash – it’s 2015’s vital erogenous zone and, rather strangely, women and men actually deem mankling as somewhat sexual.”
But maybe it goes even further than this.
Joyless experts are quick to point the finger at the dwindling embers of “lad culture” as the main symptom of the modern male masculinity crisis, but really, we should be examining the exposed ankle.
When men wore garters to hold up their socks they held an image of class, of strength, of just being well-adjusted and secure.
It conjures up images of Don Draper or Bear Grylls. Of walking in fields and doing paperwork and generally being put together.
It even permeated into sport, to the golden age of sportsmen. When the likes of well-put together gent Paul Gascoigne represented his club in bleached, straight socks to the mid-calf, instead of today’s rolled down, limp, “Can you tell I don’t give a fuck” attempts of Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish.
And even after this era, we were plagued with endless images of rugby boys, bolting pints and shouting at girls while bare-chested, or in sick-green ones bursting at the buttons.
Getting your guns out was at least straightforward, and (to some) at least conventionally attractive.
But the slutty ankle doesn’t scream 90’s GQ masculinity. And it doesn’t say noughties, lad mags and pints chauvinism either. It’s simpering, it’s pasty. It’s a pathetic attempt at a trend, a wilting rosette badge of the so-called edgy boy.
Is it because there’s nothing else? When we’ve rejected the bygone days of the ideal man, is this all we have?
What possesses guys to stop before they leave the house, to do a double-take at the mirror and re-adjust their septum piercing, smooth their too-long attempting-to-be-Kanye t-shirt, and think “I need to show a bit more skin, where can I do it?”
Is it to match girls who are able to flaunt the flesh freely? Maybe they’ve gone to Kavos after sixth form, saw some girls in booty shorts on the strip and thought to themselves while masking their semi – “Why can’t they dress like this all year round?
“Maybe if I show some more skin all year round, I can feel like I’m on holiday forever.
“I can drink fishbowls and see DJ’s you’ve probably never heard of for half the price of what you pay back home, and pretend I’m cooler than I actually am.”
Maybe it’s why the shadow of this trend rears its ugly head in the dregs of February, and persists well into October. Is it the same desperation for happier times which comes from donning your Carnage tank top from Freshers in Grad Week, and talking about how fit the girl you lost your virginity to was?
Tom Jenkin, Notts graduate and proponent of the bizarre fashion sensation, says: “I’ve got rather large joints, and my feet get quite hot.
“Just because I want my ankles to be free doesn’t mean I’m in the middle of a masculinity crisis.
“But it does mean I never know what socks to wear, and if it makes me less of a man, fine.”
But when it comes to facts, the slutty ankle just does not look aesthetically pleasing. If we allow it to go on unchecked, it could give way to a worrying surge in boys wearing shorts above the knee, and tank tops below the collarbone.
Without proper guidance, they may attempt to bring back pedal pushers.
The world is a unhappier place when I can see your ankles. Trust me, if I’m trying to picture you naked, I don’t want those knobbly little bones to be my first taste of what’s to come.
Put them away.