Jane is talk­ing whiskers and Bry­ony is plan­ning her es­cape

The Sunday Telegraph - Stella - - NEWS -

Jane Gor­don Age un­known Mother, grand­mother and 24/7 child­min­der

The mea­sure of a true friend is their abil­ity – no mat­ter how much they know it might up­set you – to re­veal the ter­ri­ble truth. I men­tion this be­cause of what hap­pened when, last week, dur­ing one of my dog walks with Belle, a sud­den burst of sun­shine il­lu­mi­nated my face.

‘Good Lord Jane!’ she ex­claimed in hor­ror ‘What’s that hang­ing off your chin?’

Later, face to face in Belle’s il­lu­mi­nated, mag­ni­fy­ing mir­ror, I saw what she meant. Well, it would be dif­fi­cult not to – it ex­tended a full two inches from the lower left-hand side of my face and looked less like a hu­man hair than the long leg of a very plump taran­tula. How could I have missed it when I per­formed the twice-weekly se­cret shav­ing rou­tine that I’d started in my early 40s? Worse, how long had I been walk­ing around with this thing swing­ing in the breeze?

‘I’m not sure tweez­ers will be enough to get that out,’ Belle mut­tered. ‘We may need pli­ers.’

Af­ter Belle had fi­nally re­moved the of­fend­ing whisker, she gave me some sound ad­vice on a rarely men­tioned, but wor­ry­ing part of the fe­male age­ing process. It was ab­so­lutely fine, she said, if I wanted to opt to go au na­turel as I grow older. In fact these days, she told me, just let­ting go and al­low­ing hairs to build up in places they never pre­vi­ously ex­isted (nose! Ears! Side-burns!) is con­sid­ered some­thing of a fem­i­nist state­ment. But if I wasn’t brave enough for such a move then

I was just go­ing to have to in­vest a bit more in my beauty rou­tine

‘There are two equally ad­mirable routes for older women: Mary Beard or Madame Macron,’ Belle de­clared.

Although I have huge re­spect for Mary Beard and envy her ex­tra­or­di­nary brain (I only have a grade B in O level his­tory), I have to ad­mit I am more drawn to Brigitte Macron. But then do

I have the time, en­ergy or money (let alone the fig­ure) to per­fect her look? Still, since Belle has chal­lenged me to try, watch this space.

Bry­ony Gor­don 37 Mar­ried to a very pa­tient hus­band Harry, and mother to Edie, four

We need a hol­i­day. ‘Who doesn’t?’ I hear you ask through grit­ted teeth. I know, I know. Some­times I get back from hol­i­day and an­nounce that I am so tired from all the pack­ing/trav­el­ling/be­ing with my fam­ily 24/7, that I need another one. Yet I feel like the three of us have well and truly earned one, and so, in a slightly mad fash­ion, I go ahead and book it without first con­sult­ing my hus­band. I know that if I speak to him about it he will only try and talk me out of it by say­ing things like, ‘But we are sav­ing for a side re­turn’, and ‘But we spent quite a lot of money send­ing you to re­hab’. He’s al­ways try­ing to blind me with logic and rea­son and I don’t like it one bit.

And I tell my­self that if I am go­ing to book a hol­i­day without his bless­ing, then I may as well do it prop­erly. I may as well go crazy.

So I go ahead and book a week in the Mal­dives.

It’s not that we can strictly af­ford it, but I jus­tify my be­hav­iour by think­ing of all the money me not drink­ing has al­ready saved us, and how much it will save over the com­ing months. (I am five months sober now!) And I know that once we are there, Harry will love ev­ery minute of it, es­pe­cially when he learns I have booked a re­sort that has a kids’ club. I ex­pe­ri­ence a soar­ing high once I have the con­fir­ma­tion email in my in­box. In fact, I feel a lit­tle bit drunk. Could it be that I have sim­ply re­placed one set of im­pul­sive be­hav­iours with another? Will I wake up to­mor­row morn­ing and re­gret be­ing so hasty? Have I changed at all since giv­ing up booze, or am I just act­ing out in dif­fer­ent, less phys­i­cally harm­ful ways? Book­ing lush hol­i­days isn’t go­ing to kill me, I sup­pose, though it might just bank­rupt me. I pre­pare to tell Harry as soon as he gets in. I’m sure it will be just fine ....

How long had I been walk­ing around with this thing swing­ing in the breeze? This week, things are get­ting hairy for Jane, while Bry­ony is tak­ing mat­ters into her own hands

I ex­pe­ri­ence a soar­ing high once I have the con­fir­ma­tion. In fact, I feel a lit­tle bit drunk

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