A few years ago, my friend Andrew and I went to Verona for a few days. Sitting outside a cafe on the Piazza Bra one day, the discussion turned to the dress sense of the Italians. We agreed that Italians are wonderful, if flashy, dressers. I noted that occasionally you see Italian men wearing red trousers, and several birras later, a new game was born.
The rules of Red Trousers are simple. When you spot a man wearing red trousers, you call out "red trousers" and point. This only applies to men in red trousers. Women and children wear all manner of bizarrely hued garments and are no challenge, it is the scarcity of sightings of men in red trousers that makes the game fun. A duplicate sighting of a man in red trousers counts as a minus sighting. The winner of the game is the person who has the most sightings by the time you arrive at a bar. The loser buys the first round.
I've introduced my wife and many friends to this game and we've played it on several Italian holidays. Conversations on holiday tend to sound a bit like this:
"...and then I thought I'd wear the lilac necklace with the purple..."
"Red trousers! Over there."
"Oh, you and your stupid game. Grow up"....Some time later, "Red trousers! Ha! Beat that, husband".
I have even received pictures of red trousers from people holidaying in Italy. My friend Mal actually followed a man in red trousers around Rome surreptitiously photographing him for an afternoon.
This is purely a game to be played on holiday and in a country where English isn't the main language. On the occasion that I see a man in red trousers in England, I can't help myself, it's a reflex action. Pure instinct leads me to point and call "red trousers". Fortunately sightings of Englishmen in red trousers are very rare, and usually they're elderly men that I can outrun.
It's absolutely my favourite game. We have an Alan Partridge game we play when we're travelling in a car, every time you see a Lexus you shout - in an Alan Partridge voice - "Aha!". It's fun, but it's no Red Trousers.
This isn't weird, is it?