KITCHEN SINK DRAMA
am only here for the jeans. Half an hour beforehand, I had been in Topshop, embarking on what must be one of the most singularly depressing expeditions of any woman’s life: buying new jeans. I presume if you are Georgia Salpa, for example, buying jeans is a stress-free occasion bordering on actual pleasure, but if, like me, you were born with Brian O’Driscoll’s legs (and I’m talking after he lets himself go), then struggling into pair after pair of denim disappointments is soul-destroying. And it doesn’t matter that I’ve lost weight: it is almost as if God, on a slow day, decided that I may be a dress size 10 and a bra cup size A (actually, I suspect he sniggered over that as well), but no matter what I do, I will never, ever have anything other than freakishly short gams, fat thighs and frankly huge knees.
And there they are, staring back at me from every pair of newly hauled on jeans. Low rise, high rise, mid rise ( jeans are apparently designed by idle property developers these days) — none of them can do anything to disguise — or even, God forbid, flatter — those legs. And so, all of a sudden, right there in the dressing room of Topshop, I make a rash decision. For once in my life, I am going to buy an expensive pair of jeans.
Now, obviously this uncharacteristic intent requires some back story. I had been at the lady petrol the previous night, and had met up at a gig with some old friends who kept telling me I looked great. So on the basis that the last of the fuel hadn’t entirely left my system and I believe EVERYTHING I am told under the influence of its lovely fumes, I was sort of feeling a bit fabulous. It wasn’t my legs that were dumpy and unsightly, I told myself, the fault lay in my jeans (even though they were in several different styles and shades). Which is how I came to be in Brown Thomas at lunchtime on a Saturday, about to turn right at the top of the escalator for a denim bar previously untroubled by my custom.
Only, the disembodied voice I could hear talking about being ‘on trend’ was coming from my left. So I followed it — because that is what you do when you are in BT on a Saturday lunchtime with lady petrol coursing through your
I’m laughing at how they nod every time the stylist says ‘on trend’ or ‘signature motif’, as though these
are real things
veins — and found myself in the lingerie department (another joint normally untroubled by my patronage), where a fully dressed woman with a microphone was saying things about ‘price point’ (no, me neither) and pointing at a model in a swimsuit.
But much more importantly than that, as I wandered, like the Pied Piper’s most willing victim, into the inner sanctum of lingerie and lace, there was a girl there with a tray with glasses of pink prosecco on it. They had me at — oh look, to be honest, without either of us knowing it, they probably had me the night before.
So I am standing there, drinking prosecco, and inwardly sneering — I’m sorry, but there’s no other word for it — at the women sitting on the fold-out chairs staring at younger, thinner, taller women wearing bikinis that they hadn’t a chance of ever fitting into. And I’m laughing at how they nod every time the stylist says ‘on trend’ or ‘signature motif’, as though those are real things. When one model teeters out — there’s no flip flops on this imaginary holiday — in a bikini with a colourful square of cloth over it, the stylist calls it a kaftan and confides that the secret of this look is that the girl is ‘restaurant ready’. Everyone coos at that, and behind my sniggering, I congratulate myself because I would never, ever fall for this kind of blather.
Five minutes later I am at the till, handing over a frankly extortionate amount of money for the bikini and for the all-important kaftan. And when I say extortionate, I can’t actually reveal how much I spent because I suspect it might actually be a mortal sin. In the meantime, I have tried on the ensemble — I’m not that drunk — and judged, in the dressing room, that I look just like the model in it. I am that drunk.
Back home, I put on the bikini and the kaftan and a pair of towering heels, and I gingerly make my way downstairs to ‘model’ my new look for my frankly horrified family. ‘Where do you actually think we’re going this year?’ asks The Teenager, but it really doesn’t matter. Wherever we end up, I’ll be restaurant ready.