We have these little rituals. I think it’s what happens when you’ve been married to the same person for 150 years. For a week or two before any important social event, I start whingeing that I’ve got nothing to wear. I go on a crash diet in order to lose those vital 2lbs which will, of course, make absolutely no difference to anything except what’s going on in my head. I have my hair done (“spikey like Lulu’s please”). I might have a manicure and a pedicure. I might even have a rejuvenating facial (always the optimist, me). My better half calls this procedure “putting up the scaffolding” prior to the immense rebuilding task ahead of me. Believe me, Windsor Castle was restored with less attention to detail.
Then, having gone as far as I can to whip the undisciplined bag of tripe that is my body into shape with Magic Knickers (from neck to ankle), found a suitable outfit from the sad array of rags I laughingly call my wardrobe (or more likely bought something new), buffed, plucked, polished and preened – then, and only then am I ready to face the world. Or at least give the husband a quick reminder of what he first liked about me all those aeons ago.
"What do you think?” says I, striking a pose.
“You look bloody fantastic” says he, not looking up from the computer screen.
“No, really. Do I look OK?”
“Yes, you look really, really lovely.” This time he has a proper look.
“I’ve told you once already, you look absolutely great.”
Hmm…….is he saying that to shut me up, or is he taking the ….?
“You’re not just saying that are you, to shut me up or something?”
“You’re not just…..”
“No, of course not, you look OK”
“Oh, for f*ck’s sake, I already said you look great, what more can I say?
YOU. LOOK. BLOODY. GREAT.”
I pull a face at him “No need to be arsey.”
So this time off we go, me done up like a dog’s dinner and husband looking the dog’s bollocks, suave and handsome in something he pulled out of his wardrobe in about five seconds flat after his rigorous grooming routine which lasted, oh, maybe all of three minutes. Shower, shave, shampoo. But somehow he looks brilliant (Bryan Ferry eat your heart out) and I feel OK(ish).
In the car I have one last go at finding the confidence I need to face the evening ahead.
“You sure I don’t look fat in this?”
This time, he just looks at me and says absolutely nothing. I know that look so well – it’s the “you are seriously pissing me off now” look. Best not mention it again.
So anyway, in we go, hello, hello, hi, how are you? Mwah, mwah (I HATE that bloody double kissing, so boring and time consuming when all you really want is a gin). Polite conversation. Check out the room. Look for anyone I know. Aha, with relief I spot my close friend Julie. Over she comes.
“Hi Julie, you look lovely” I gush.
“So do you honey, but what’s with the shoes? Brave choice if I may say so.”
I look down. I am wearing my lime green gardening flip-flops instead of the sparkly Kurt Geigers I’d bought especially to go with my outfit. Not wanting to mess them up, I’d quickly slipped them off and put on the flip-flops to fetch a bit of washing in from the garden just before we left and then had obviously forgotten to change back again. The lime green flip-flops came free with a magazine last year and cost nothing. The KGs came from Selfridges last week and cost more than my first car. They are currently on the mat in the kichen. Bugger.
I glare over at my husband. He is talking to a stick-thin blonde woman with fabulous shoes. The bitch.
He smiles at me encouragingly, totally oblivious to the full horror of it all.
I smile back through gritted teeth with a look which says “boy oh boy, you are SO in trouble when we get home.”
It is, of course, all his fault.