The Midults’ guide to…

The Daily Telegraph - Telegraph Magazine - - Contents - Annabel Rivkin & Em­i­lie Mcmeekan

In­vent­ing col­lec­tive nouns

LIFE IS DIZZY­ING as it whizzes past our ears and punches us in the guts, and whirls around be­fore our eyes and over our heads. It’s never just one thing at a time now, is it? So how to group these clus­ters of won­der and hor­ror and angst and awe? Like this, maybe…

A WIS­DOM OF CHIN HAIRS

So learned, are we. So distin­guished. Some­times they’re grey. Which is fine.

A FLAM­BOY­ANCE OF HOR­MONES

We’re hot, we’re cold. We’re fat, we’re thin. We’re spotty, flaky, an­gry, hun­gry. It’s all day, every day. Who even are we? And what the hell is hor­mon­ally go­ing on?

A SCOLD OF SALES PUR­CHASES

Shoes two sizes too small. Chal­leng­ing knitwear (now there’s an oxy­moron). A feath­ered cape (Annabel). A white puff­ball skirt (Em­i­lie). We could be rich, we tell you. RICH. In­stead, every morn­ing, we are greeted by our Wardrobes of Shame. Cap­sule? CAP­SULE? If you’re talk­ing pills then we’re with you all the way.

A MUR­DER OF LAUN­DRY

Ap­par­ently there is a the­ory cir­cu­lat­ing the in­ter­web that all lost socks are rein­car­nated as mis­matched Tup­per­ware lids. We couldn’t pos­si­bly com­ment as we are just ly­ing, rigid, hold­ing our breath un­der a pile of some­one else’s dirty wash­ing.

A RE­GRET OF HERBAL TEAS

How did we end up with this ca­coph­ony of non­sense? Any­one feel like a cup of Wom­ankind? A mug of Har­mony? A pot of Restora­tion? A thim­ble of Spirit An­i­mal? We’d much rather have a Diet Coke. But we prob­a­bly won’t.

A SHIVER OF DEMONS…

… haunt­ing our every move. We laugh. ‘You sound like a dick when you laugh,’ mut­ters Den­nis the Judge­men­tal de­mon. We cry. ‘Where’s your back­bone?’ barks Mary the Vic­to­rian de­mon – at 3am. ‘You’re go­ing to die alone and on the streets,’ hisses Bar­bara the Banker de­mon, ‘be­cause of all that money you spent on Wom­ankind tea.’

A HELL OF PEO­PLE

Why are all these peo­ple here in this cin­ema/pub/bath­room? Or queue­ing in front of us or on this train? Or ly­ing in wait on this bot­tom­lessly over­pop­u­lated What­sapp group? And then we re­alise we have just reached one of the cir­cles that Dante was al­ways talk­ing about. A so­cial cir­cle.

AN AM­BUSH OF MISSED-DE­LIV­ERY SLIPS

Per­haps we have al­ready done our Christ­mas shop­ping. And per­haps you are read­ing this and gnash­ing your teeth, think­ing, ‘That can’t be pos­si­ble…’ Don’t worry, be­cause we are go­ing to be spend­ing the next few weeks in line at the Post Of­fice with all those de­liv­ery slips.

A BAT­TERY OF BALLS

There are a lot of balls in our lives at the mo­ment. Balls. Too many balls. Ev­ery­where. Balls that we are jug­gling. Balls that we have dropped. Balls that are in our court. Balls we should be grow­ing in or­der to deal with ev­ery­thing that is go­ing on. Or maybe even, ac­tual balls. As in ten­nis balls.

A RAPTURE OF CAN­CEL­LA­TIONS

It gets truly height­ened when we can just roll out the ex­cuse ‘some­thing’s come up’, night af­ter night. We might even moan with re­lief and joy.

A SKULK OF EX-LOVERS

They pop up, don’t they? When you are least ex­pect­ing them. When it’s not con­ve­nient. But we have stum­bled upon an ‘el­e­gant’ so­lu­tion. We just ex­tend a hand and say, ‘How do you do?’ And then they un­der­stand how this is go­ing to work.

A CHARM OF PO­TEN­TIAL LOVERS

Never say never. *winky face*

A DAZ­ZLE OF FRIENDS

We some­times look at our won­der­women and find our­selves struck by their sheer mag­nif­i­cence.

I’m Ab­so­lutely Fine! A Man­ual for Im­per­fect Women, by The Midults, is out now (Cas­sell, £16.99); themidult.com

A skulk of ex-lovers. They pop up, don’t they? When you are least ex­pect­ing them

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