I don’t go out terribly often: with a husband who works very long hours, and something of the same tendency myself, by the time we’ve both finished for the day there’s not exactly time. Going out usually takes weeks of close planning to achieve; the careful application of the sort of hours that I used to devote to my appearance when I was a teenager.
I used to take hours to get ready: two was often not enough. There was the careful clothes shopping; the buying of the right coloured tights (this was the 1970s, and Dior did every conceivable colour, and I think I spent my Woolworths wages on every conceivable pair); finicky application of eye shadow, peering in the mirror to check the eyes matched. This was trickier than it might have been as I was, and am, extremely short sighted and couldn’t get on with either form of contact lens then about. The thought of having to get ready in less than two hours would bring on the screaming hab dabs. And my daughter is the same.
This Saturday, we went out; somewhere I did need to make an effort. I spent most of Saturday hunched over the keyboard writing. I am very, very bad at writing the first part of anything, and I had finally hit of a vein of something which while it wasn’t inspired, was certainly considerably better than what it replaced. In the end I left myself with ten minutes to get ready, which wouldn’t normally be a problem.
I no longer devote hours deciding what to wear; it’s more a question of grabbing what’s clean and fits out of the wardrobe, and checking I will not actually frighten the horses. However, it is summer, and I had planned to wear a skirt. This would have been fine if I had a. managed to go and get my legs waxed as I’d been meaning to do all week and b. slapped on some fake tan. I don’t do sun bathing, but I don’t do frog white legs either. Except that was what I had. Tights, I thought. It’s difficult to believe, looking at my teenage obsession with tights, but I now loathe them and rarely wear them. I found a thick black pair – the sort you wear when it is minus 10 outside. By the time I’d finished slinging stuff out of the drawer, I had about two minutes in which to slap on make up and get dressed, but no tights. Trousers, I thought. Pulled ancient pair of velvet jeans out of wardrobe. Suspected they wouldn’t do up. They didn’t. Found what I thought was my last respectable pair of trousers. Had trashed hem. Remembered as soon as I saw them that I had done this and meant to see to it. Ha.
I remembered buying daughter a bumper pack of American Tan tights for her last dance show. Even awful American tan better than my unadorned legs. I will whip a pair of those, I thought. She will never know. Charged upstairs to daughter’s bedroom. Completely unable to open chest of drawers because of the amount stuffed in them. After frantic heaving, an inch of open space emerged. Tights not even remotely visible. Briefly considered wrenching drawer out and upending it but dismissed that idea fast as the ensuing ructions would be vile to behold. Gave up.
Charged back down to bedroom, and upended own drawer. Found a pair of knee highs. (WHY? WHEN? Never wear these, ever. What were they doing there?) Found packet of knee highs out of which found pair had obviously come. Prospect of long white gap between end of skirt and start of knee highs too challenging even for me.
Eureka – found my one and only pair of tights, bought before we moved out of London. Had forgotten I still had them. Blessed my habit of never throwing anything away. With swift alteration to planned pair of shoes to hide the holes, ready to go. Wondered briefly if anyone else has a pair of tights 12 years old, at least, and possibly more. Evening out excellent. Have just realised, as I write this, that I have made no plans to rectify the tights situation.