Mirrored shades are always sexy. Maybe it’s the instant nonchalance they bestow on the wearer. Or perhaps it’s the fact that all you can see when you look at them is your own gaze. Not only can the wearer see that you are looking into their eyes, but that’s all you can see, as well. It’s all about them. And confident acceptance of being regarded by others is, as we all know, extremely attractive.
Maybe it’s for this reason, rather than the beauty of their bodies, their exceptional velocity or apparent invincibility, that I have developed what appears to be a pan-sexual crush on our magnificent Olympic cyclists, with their one-way mirrored visors and their disdainful allure. And their fast, fast feet.
Like Albion’s own regiment of blue Power Rangers, they have turned the undulating, parquet-floored warehouse that is the velodrome into a sensuous carousel of smears, with only the Post Box hue of their aero-sleek helmets underlining every achievement in red. Like space travellers who just happen to have picked the Union Jack as their flag of convenience, they have an otherness about them; an élan which seems to transcend any of our other Olympians.
We don’t even fully understand how they do what they do. They may be riding devices that have the aroma of Halfords about them, but they are about as far from our own experience of riding a bike as panicked bungee jumpers are to Superman gliding across the Metropolis sunset.
Their king is the terrifyingly-thighed Sir Chris Hoy, whose very name – lest we forget – sounds like an exclamation of Celtic exaltation. This is a man so Scottish that he makes Andy Murray look like a sales rep from Gloucester, but (possibly unlike Murray in the past), his Britishness is never in question. He always seems to sit in the saddle a little higher when he is carrying a Union Flag on his victory lap. It doesn’t look forced. Yes, as a Scot, I am toweringly proud of him, but what he does more than make me proud is make me hopeful that his evident lack of any sort of chip on his shoulder towards the English will permeate throughout the country of my birth. To move on; to be modern, we need him so badly. I suspect if he asked me to strap on a rifle and follow him into a war zone, I would skip there, whistling.
Then there is the knight’s Queen: Victoria. Yes, Ms Pendleton is a beautiful woman, but her boudoir gaze, pyjama button nose and Pantene-enhanced tresses aren’t what attracted me to her in the first place. What really counts is when she is in her Team GB track kit, the only thing visible being her mouth; be it ever so slightly petulant as she waits to begin a race or glides round the track scooping up the love of the common people. She rarely smiles. Again, sexy. The only time her mouth does something different is when you see a slow-motion replay of her mid-race exertions (it needs to be after the fact as, watched live, everything moves too fast to be regarded properly). There, in the replay, as she strains to put more distance between herself and her opponent, she resembles nothing less than a battling Manga character from some Britannic anime, her clenched white teeth the only sign that, beneath that mirrored visor, there might be some effort taking place.
But then again, maybe underneath that reflected world, her eyes are still smoky; her gaze still languid; still sexy; still not caring about all the adoration. I would love to think so…