So long, box-fresh Yeezys. From now on, I’m wearing Gruffalo slippers and boxers

Romesh Ranganathan
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So long, box-fresh Yeezys. From now on, I’m wearing Gruffalo slippers and boxers

I would never have described myself as vain. When I got my first standup spot on television, I returned home to find my wife and mother waiting to stage a hair intervention, immediately taking me to get it cut. I had apparently left it so long that my wife described my look as “recently released political prisoner”. Similarly with clothes: once we had children, I discovered that anything nice had a life expectancy of about an hour before one of them smeared ketchup, snot or a concoction that could only be identified by sending it to a lab, all over it, sometimes accidentally. So, for a long while, I just gave up on wearing nice stuff.

Since then, I have started to get my hair cut more frequently and make a sartorial effort. My wife would argue that I have gone too far the other way, as it is fair to say I have developed something of a trainer addiction. I recently wore a box-fresh pair of Yeezys to Chessington World of Adventures, which my wife and kids insisted would lead to the day being ruined by me crying over getting any kind of mark on them. Yeezys are the only fashion item I have ever possessed where, before deciding whether to wear them or not, I have to check the news to see if the designer, Kanye West, has said something twattish.

But I ignored my family’s protests. What’s the point of getting nice things if you’re not going to wear them? Half an hour after arriving, a woman in a wheelchair ran over my foot, emblazoning my trainers with a tyre mark, and my family said, “I told you so” a combined total of 1,500 times.

What the lockdown has shown me, apart from the importance of not reading the news just before bed, is that I never really left the slob in me behind. Freshly trimmed and smart-clothing Romesh is my Bruce-Banner, and the pants-dwelling, hairy, unkempt, eating-like-an-animal-about-to-go-into-hibernation Romesh has been biding his time until a global pandemic would allow him to re-emerge: the Disgusting Hulk.

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Obviously, I haven’t had a haircut for ages, but I also haven’t shaved since all this started. At first, I would wear tracksuits and comfy hoodies; nice loungewear that, at a push, you might pop to the shops in. Those were the halcyon days. Since then, I have stopped giving any kind of thought to what the outfit looks like, merely ensuring I make some sort of effort to cover my genitals. I have started wearing whatever comes to hand. I type this while wearing a very smart shirt, Gruffalo slippers and boxer briefs. This morning, I walked downstairs in this outfit as if my mission brief was to stop my wife ever having a feeling of sexual desire for me again.

Everyone I know has been talking about how they are going to head straight out and aggressively socialise as soon as this is over. I would actively campaign, however, for an extra week or so of lockdown for people to adjust to doing their hair, picking out clothes that are suitable for public consumption, and dressing in a way that won’t lead to arrest. If we don’t have that time allocated, I fear that, for a while, we are going to see people at bars and in shops wearing swimwear and dressing gowns. If that does happen, I will be doing my very best to make shirts, slippers and boxer shorts a thing.