Jane is talking whiskers and Bryony is planning her escape
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