Thursday, April 02, 2009

Floor-length capes and the like

Our internet has been down yesterday and today. It is only during these kinds of technical inconveniences that I see Roberto really angry. Apart from when he has to do domestic chores that is, but then, to be fair, he is merely acerbic and grumpy. Apparently Virgin are having technical problems in the Camden area. I thought the only technical problem Camden experienced these days was Amy Winehouse moving out. Just think of the drug dealers and bar owners throwing themselves out of their apartment windows as their assets plummet.

Having no internet is a hassle, especially if like me you work from home. However it’s worse than that, as almost our entire household runs through the internet, including the television and the phone. Yes, our home phone runs through the internet. Roberto tells me our current convoluted set up is actually designed to make our lives easier, this after he had to give our babysitter tutorials on how to (a) turn on the TV (b) find channels (c) change channels and (d) choose a channel.

At my aforementioned visit to my obs gyn the other week she told me that a lot of women experience more acute PMT/S in their 30’s. This, combined with our overly technical household setup, probably doesn’t bode well for Roberto, poor man. During my pregnancy with Julia (PMT times 1000) I once got so annoyed with our TV system, or more specifically my inability to get it to work, that I nearly opened the lounge window and shoved the whole lot out onto the street below.

That internal exam business is a schlep whichever way you look at it. There’s always the thing of worrying about which underwear to wear – certainly none of the greying stuff with holes in it. Then there’s the grooming, and hygiene one must attend to, at least for the sake of the poor doctors. I watched this episode of Oprah where her resident doctor said that the vagina is actually a self-cleaning part of the body. One female GP in the audience piped up, ‘Yes, doctor, that may be so, but that doesn’t mean women shouldn’t shower ahead of internal exams. Please, ladies, keep it clean!' She had quite a desperate expression on her face and I imagined she had seen some unpleasant things in her time.

So you wear the right undies and have a shower, then you’ve got the whole awkwardness of lying there with your kit off, or half off, waiting for the doctor to come in. You both try and pretend that you’re not doing what you’re actually doing, i.e. you lying there vulnerably with your your legs akimbo, and she inspecting your bits. A good doctor almost always attempts to deflect the gross discomfort of the situation by asking you some random question about an upcoming holiday while he/she inserts a jellied speculum into your nether regions, and you try (cheerfully) to expound the virtues of Trip Advisor and how it’s never ever let you down.

And breathe out.

Yesterday, while perusing some photography books in Waterstones, I suddenly found myself next to a very tall man clad in a floor-length fur-lined black cape. On closer inspection I noted that he was also wearing head to toe black velvet, a large cravat, and these rather menacing black leather gloves which had enormous cuffs attached to them. On his feet he wore knee-length black boots, not unlike the feline protagonist in 'Puss n' Boots,' which also featured two sharp spurs on the back. Looking up I noted he had a long thin face with chiseled features and a dramatic Salvador Dali mustache, complete with curly waxed ends. He resembled a glamorous if somewhat effeminate conquistador lost in the wrong century.

What makes a person dress like that to go to the book store? I wondered to myself. Or perhaps he merely stopped in the bookstore en route from some terribly exciting and dramatic adventure where such flamboyant dress was required. Who knew? I imagine he was looking at me and my lack of imagination jeans and T-shirt thinking very much the same thing, only minus any thoughts of adventure on my part.

It's true, I've joined the leagues of boring and unimaginative dressers and pretty much live in jeans these days. To their credit, jeans are hardy companions, and never complain when you smear them with mud, regurgitated pieces of cheese, or stain-inducing baby food. They wash well, most of the food and stains come out, and they are good to go the next day. Certainly I watch episodes of things like Project Runway and make promises to myself to be more careful in my dress, but right now, with a small somewhat mess-prone toddler, I think jeans are the uniform for me. At least in the day time.

Julia had her very first professional haircut today. Discounting of course that time when she was a balding little baby and I cut off the long comb-over strands that made her look like a middle-aged man clinging to the illusion of his lustrous youthful mane. The result of that exercise was that she looked like a little corn on the cob, with a stubby tuft of short hair on the top of her head. The second time, not so very long ago, I attempted to cut a fringe for her, which resulted in the hairdresser today, a straight-talking Portuguese women to say, 'This fringe? This is not the work of a hairdresser.'

She sat there well enough until the hairdresser started blow drying her hair, something which was not only noisy but entirely foreign to her. Not even a lolly could diminish her distress and the final styling and ambitious bouffant was not to be. And later, as if to emphasise her disgruntlement and indignation at being manhandled in such a way, she rubbed a variety of food stuffs into her stylish little quiff, making it known, in no uncertain terms, what she thought of the whole business.

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