I want to share with you this cautionary tale…
Once upon a time (last weekend) I took my eldest daughter Bess on a minibreak to a snazzy hotel in the very big smoke (Melbourne) for the occasion of her 7th birthday (and my bigger one). We stayed on the 47th floor of a 5 star hotel in the Melbourne CBD ( if Josh Gibson had been playing at the MCG I could have trained some binoculars on his goolies) and spent our days shopping, eating lovely room service food, sipping mojitos (me) and fairyfloss mocktails (Bess), watching movies, falling in love with primates (King Kong at the Regent Theatre and baby Orangutan at Melbourne zoo) and people watching.
I love people watching. I get all inspired and wondery and, “where is that person going and why is he scowling?” and such. And I think about how I look to other people watchers, which invariably leads me to decide that I’m not much of a stand out in the people watching stakes because I don’t really have a distinctive style. This is not something I dwell on ordinarily because daily attire is not much of an issue on a dairy farm. But when you’re staying in the Armani/Chanel precinct with a magnified mirror in your bathroom, it’s easy to get a little, “why did I think these sneakers were cool?” It was day 2 when I saw a very beautiful woman float past us. Beautiful women watching is probably the most fascinating. Beautiful man watching is great of course but beautiful women evoke a deeper interest – probably because it’s grounded in envy and trying to see evidence of a flawed character in the absence of physical flaw. Etc.
Well this woman (not the one in the picture but quite similarly perfect) passed us while I was coercing Bess into eating her blueberry pancake leftover from in-room breakfast which I’d brought in my handbag (it was expensive and don’t worry I’d wrapped it in the complimentary shower cap – genius I know). She (beautiful woman) was pushing a pram filled with equally beautiful toddler. The toddler was eating a carrot stick (!) and not getting any on his Baby Gap wind cheater. His mother had one of those mouths that curl up naturally so that even in repose it would never make her look like a grumpy mole. She had perfect, not-done, wavy hair, heeled boots, skinny jeans, a wafty shirt underneath a chic leather jacket and she just glowed. Suddenly I felt dorky and washed out, but had found the person I wanted to be.
It’s highly likely that I was heavily influenced by the hilarious biography of Meg Mason , “Say It Again In A Nice Voice”, which featured a smart, kind, funny and model-like woman who wore blousons. I had wondered what on earth a blouson was, but suddenly I knew. That wafty shirt thing that the beautiful woman was wearing, that’s a blouson. It’s the garment of the beautiful people and I wanted in. “One”, I decided, “Cannot have too many exfoliations, keeeeen-waa (quinoa) or blousons.” I found 2, which I thought would be enough to carry forth the New Me.
The new blouson me also decided that green tea drinking would be beneficial to my beautiful person cred, with the bonus of possibly assisting my general glow. So on the morning of day 3 (going home looking fabulous day), I sandpapered my face with Japanese azuki bean grains, donned a new blouson over new ultraskinny jeggings (what a silly word, I prefer leans) and sipped on green tea before checking out of our beautiful persons’ hotel. Except for a slight wobble when the hotel bill was presented and the sudden desire to clip clop out on heels as opposed to sneakery silence, the new me exited the Paris end of Collins Street with the confidence of someone who’d grown up there. I was Eloise all grown up. Or maybe her nanny minus the mole.
At the airport, I ordered another green tea with my vegetarian wrap. This one came in a pot and tasted like socks. I added a heap of sugar and pushed through, then had a green juice for good measure because I’d read about Miranda Kerr drinking green stuff everyday. By the time we’d gone through check in and security and reached our gate, I was wondering why Bess hadn’t commented on my renewed glow. I was also busting for the loo.
On account of having lost Bess in the Regent Theatre loos during the King Kong intermission (pre-blouson, obviously), I opted for the 2 of us going into the disabled loo. It had one of those automatic, press the button to open doors. When it closed behind us there didn’t appear to be a lock but a satisfactory click indicated it had locked automatically. Bess went first (owing to my revived selflessness) and while she washed her hands, I did my usual public loo hover. Mid wee, the automatic locked door swung open. WIDE open, and about 5 waiting passengers looked up to see me with my leans around my knees and my new stylish image in pieces at my feet.
Bess heroically tried to push the door shut but those bloody automatic swing doors do everything on their own terms and she was no match for it. In desperation I scurried behind the door to hide from view, but there was no stopping the green tea wee. It flowed into my jeggings and onto the floor. With some kind of last-ditch instinct, I tried to stop it with my hand but got tangled in my blouson, which in an instant was transformed from the picture of feminine style to some kind of leaky wee bag. A blouson with weeson.
Bess, in the meantime, got the bastard door to shut again and she stood in front of it while I tried to mop up. I had to take off the blouson entirely and tie it around my waist, leaving a (strictly undergarment only) old, shrunken white t-shirt on display. The wet patch was hidden but not the fact that my skinny jeggings were high waisted for extra comfort and not designed to be worn with short tops unless you have shot through time from the 70’s. To add insult to injury, the waiting chairs were black vinyl which meant that when I stood up to board the plane, the bum shaped wet patch had perfectly transferred onto the seat.
On the way home I thought about wiping a bit of wee on Bess so that people could assume the smell was coming from her and not me. A six year old wetting herself is far more acceptable. But I didn’t – the New Me was in tatters already, I had to grasp at some level of decency.
The whole weeson-blouson-jeggingy-lean mess is now in the wash basket and I’m not sure I want to fish it out. Weeing on your clothes is about as off putting as seeing them on a lumpen teen – they’re never quite the same. The blouson will have to go in the ironing pile, where it will stay for probably the next 6 months anyway. Enough time for me to identify my real style. Clearly this one – like the time I read Memoirs of a Geisha and bought oriental print slippers to wear with jeans – wasn’t meant to be.
Or maybe just being myself is the best antiaccident there is.
PS Quinoa is bloody terrible on the palate and its recent rise to superfood fame has left poverty-stricken Bolivians unable to afford their staple grain. Swallow that with your green tea you clippy clop beautiful people.
Tags: blouson, cautionary tale, exfoliation, green tea, jeggings, Josh Gibson, king kong, MCG, Meg Mason, melbourne, melbourne zoo, orangutans, public loos, quinoa, Say it again in a nice voice, skinny jeans, wee