Since when has funeral attire included gold short shorts?

Recently I found myself running late for an important funeral, Jonah Lomu's funeral. It was an event, and my friend Jess and I were waiting to park one of the pall bearer's cars under Eden Park.

There was nothing simple about Jonah's funeral. It was a series of strange and peculiar happenings. This was one of them. This was "only" one of them, but Jess and I together experienced some truly astonishing things that week - a combination of culture and happenstance.

Trying to park a car at Eden Park is never easy. When you are part of an entourage that includes dozens of cars and several buses, with only a sketchy plan that appears to keep changing, the task is almost impossible.

In the end we simply stopped driving, threw the keys at a random man with a lanyard, and in our heels and dresses ran in to what we thought was the invited guests section for mourners.

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In our confusion we went to completely the wrong area. We ended up in the rugby players section with the Vodafone Warriors, The Auckland Blues, Past All Blacks and WAGs. I looked across the park, or rather squinted, and in a far off section saw all the people I "actually" knew... I was 200 metres off my assigned seating, but I didn't care. I was just glad to be out of the stalled sombre caravan of vehicles in the bowels of Eden Park.

As the service went on I looked about. I recognised players I knew and we did the silent exchange of nods that says, "I acknowledge your presence. Isn't this awful. Hello".

And then I noticed the two girls sitting in the row in front of me and slightly along. They were clearly player girlfriends. Both pretty. Both made up. One in a sleeveless sheath dress and the other in... wait, surely not...

Yes, the other in gold shiny short shorts and heels. I was at the public funeral of one of the world's greatest athletes and someone had assumed that appropriate attire included disco-ware. Astonishing.

I'm not particularly staid and never conservative. I'd had hair and makeup done, but I'm pretty sure that in no etiquette book from this century or last, does it okay golden shorts and heels for any type of funeral.

Okay, maybe a West Coast rapper, but that's it. Full stop.

After it was all over and I was back in the car with everyone commenting on the proceedings I piped up: "Did anyone see the girl in the gold shorts and hooker heels?"

Everyone laughed.

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"Trust you to notice that, Polly!" one of the guys replied, chuckling.

"How could I not?" I countered indignantly, "What planet are we on?"

Gold shorts to an almost "state" funeral? Remarkable. I'm officially ancient.

- nzherald.co.nz

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