Sounds like a title for a bad horror movie. Which would be pretty apt, but for the pleasantly relaxed ending. I’m sitting in clean pjs, freshly showered and shampooed with sweet smelling hair, ready to fight the good fight tomorrow with appropriately tamed mane of strength. This is not a normal prep-frenzied, child-addled Sunday evening. It is unnervingly serene…
Last week was a whirlwind of wall-to-wall hearings. Thursday was a triple decker super club (toast-hearing-sandwich-conference-garnish of advocates meeting-sandwich-prep) in which my day was held together by nothing more substantial than a cocktail stick. The advocates meeting was cancelled, which is probably just as well – it may have been my wafer thin mint of undoing. Friday was the day I went to court with one hearing to go before the weekend and listened as my mouth had an involuntary spasm when the clerks asked if I’d like to cover a Friday afternoon EPO and my “not really” sounded so much like an “oh alright then” that they sent the papers over. I’d say it was a double decker Friday, but that would be the wrong chocolate bar. I had a twix for lunch at 11am and was being tannoyed for the second case as I finished the first at 2.05pm. But thank crunchie, Friday evening did arrive eventually and I made my way home leaving a sea of happy clients and disgruntled opponents in my chocolate-wrapper strewn wake.
Saturday was imperfect. It looked like rain, so plans to enforce going outside upon the screen addicted kiddiewinks morphed somehow into a cinema trip. Yes. I know this involves a really giant screen. I’m a rubbish mumma alright? At least we went to view something intellectually stimulating and morally grounded. Yes, good people with lives, we took them to see Boss Baby. At the multiplex. With its VERY LOUD, BLINDINGLY BRIGHT screen of pain. Realising too late what I had done, I slipped out after five minutes to remove my contact lenses so I could accidentally fall asleep, but I left it too late and became mesmerised by its awfulness. Damn you multiplex.
I had devised a cunning plan : stealth shopping. The trick is to arrive just a bit too late for one showing and have “time to kill” before the next. This would have worked perfectly except that I had to bribe one child with a bowl of Wagamama Ramen in order to achieve “consensus” on the choice of film (yes, I would fail the parenting assessment dismally) which ate up valuable accidental shopping time. And a meal for four in Wagamama’s is basically the cost of a pair of shoes. Anyway, the boy who eats only unadulterated bland foodstuffs ate a bowl of noodles with soy sauce, whilst the boy who eats anything that doesn’t run fast enough ate his meal, dad’s meal, tried and liked mussels and was taught by his uncouth father to slurp the broth from the bowl. He’d fail the parenting assessment too.
So I needed a suit and quickly. I have recently had an epiphany : my two “new” suits are somehow suddenly not new any more, and are a mess of ripped lining, missing buttons, shiny elbows and fraying edges. What’s more they, like all of my suits, have inexplicably been shrunk by the dry cleaners (har fatty har). So something had to be done, and fast. Where, within a 40 minute radius of the multiplex could this be achieved? The Department Store that always has suits that fit me had no suits at all. In the next shop I was bursting out of one size whilst the next size up looked like I was a child wearing my dad’s suit. Another was full of office wear for sticks (nothing above a size 10). The thin lipped, thin arsed staff gave me a wide berth, having spotted my wide berth. I scoured T M Lewin for Ladeez suits. “Oh no modom,” said the shiny man. “Suits for Ladeez are available online.” Because we all know that women are going to buy an expensive piece of tailoring without even trying it on, right? Fortunately, he was not Are You Being Served enough to be wearing a tape measure around his neck because I might have tied him a very windsor knot with it. Clearly wimminz are too troublesome a shape for T M Lewin, whose female market they have put into managed decline.
In short, suit shopping was a dismal failure. What’s more in the course of suit shopping I had to carry out the hazardous activity of looking at my face and body from other angles than front on. It wasn’t the site of the unmanaged decline of my derriere that did it. A fat arse is all the better for sitting on frankly. No, it was the sight of the jowly, sunken eyed, double chinned imposter that precipitated a silent mini-midlife-crisis. I look exhausted. I look ancient. I look like a woman for whom the highlight of the weekend is falling asleep in a multiplex.
I do not like being this age. I do not like that my outside doesn’t look how my inside feels. I worry that my inside might begin to feel how my outside looks. I am cross that this time last year I was achieving fitness milestones I had never achieved before and that I have let that slip because I haven’t prioritised getting out there and running regularly. And because I’ve carried on eating rubbish. And for not prioritising life beyond work.
So this is how I felt by the time showtime came around. Before I was bombarded with giant images of a FAT BABY. IN A SUIT. It is now a required component of every animated childrens’ movie that there is a secret layer of ironic humour accessible only to the accompanying adults. Oh. How. I. Laughed…
And then came the hair thing. A discussion on twitter about whether it was court etiquette to tie back long hair. Yes, I replied. Only, I do so inconsistently these days, more often because it takes so much precious time to wash and dry it, so on some days its easier to tie it back – but sometimes because I’ve had a pang of guilt that I look like a scruff bag and it’s unprofessional. Others chimed in – free range hair an unprofessional distraction they said. But I realised a little part of me does it because I can. Because I’m no longer the young woman who used to tie back her hair and wear heels to conform with expectations – because although I know I don’t have sleek, stay-still well-behaved hair, but a mahusive increasingly frizzy, grey flecked Captain Caveman hair – it’s my hair and you take me as you find me. A bit frazzled. But a woman whose hair says “there’s more important things to life (And choice in barrister) than hair”. So eat my shorts, dude.
But it does matter. Because I’ve been worrying about it all weekend. Am I letting myself down by looking a scruff bag? Is that what people think?
Whilst I pondered this deeply important matter I decided to make one further attempt to resolve the suit crisis. I went online and ordered some flipping suits. Not from stupid T M Lewin who have offended me by ONLY selling suits online, but from elsewhere. I will report back in due course, but don’t hold out much hope. Mind you, I won a fiver on a scratchcard last week, so who knows – I might have picked a winner. I also ordered a new suitcase, since I have reached the stage where punching and kicking my trolley is no longer a knack that makes the handle go up and down as it should, and where the wheels are in a state of imminent, grinding collapse. So, there is some small hope that my appearance will be somewhat more “professional” come next weekend. If not I shall have to attempt the suit shopping hell sans children…
In further surreal weirdness, both children today decide to write a book, and the adventurous eater decided to start an embroidery project (he can’t sew). I, meantime, to distract myself from the urge to unpick his very wonky stem stitch, picked up the book that I bought about 2 months ago and began to read…I love Caitlin Moran. I have realised that my hair rebellion is probably entirely based on my unconscious channelling of Caitlin Moran. I read half of Moranifesto in one sitting, but I put it down so I could make it last longer. If Caitlin can do getting older, I can do getting older. I’ll no doubt carry on being conflicted and inconsistent about my appearance, but as Caitlin says, the older you get the less fucks you give.
Tomorrow I shall have clean hair, but I will tie it back like a good girl anyway. Perhaps people will see the imposter I saw in the mirror in the shop near the multiplex. But I like to think they will listen to what comes out of my mouth.