Of Trolls and Rolls

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My husband is a clever man. I mean really clever. He has a Master’s degree in Musicology and half a PhD. But for fun he has been known to sit in his Man Cave, playing GTA and cackling to the Red Neck humour of The Cable Guy, having the cheek to tell me he looks like my game ranger cousin. Of course he also loves more edifying humour like QI and laughs at The Trump and Clinton Comedy Show, despite the chilling consequences of the election of either to the presidency of the USA. He relishes the debates of Mehdi Hasan and delights in provoking conservatives. Bigots who don’t enjoy his stirring the pot call him a troll.

Andrew’s Music pupils adore him because he is cool. In fact he has a ‘Cool/Uncool’ Wall in his office. He is on Snapchat and rocks it. He is in with the gamers in the house and up to date on urban slang.

But he has a thing about his age, which is really funny, because besides …um… having an ‘extended crown’… he doesn’t look old. But he keeps on pretending to be younger than he is. And people believe it. If you present the evidence of his passport or ID document, he will tell you there were administrative errors when they were issued. If you plead with his mother to indicate when he was born, she confirms his actual age, but he blandly says you can’t ask her because she has Alzheimer’s (which is true, God bless her). So that is his secret: denial; denial; denial.

In a world where women complain that men don’t have issues about ballooning beer boeps, grey hair or sagging ‘stuff,’ it’s quite refreshing to see that actually they do care/ have insecurities/ feelings/ issues.

As a woman, for example, I have never had to worry that I might go bald (well – until I realised I might – if I keep pulling out the silver strands from my fringe); we can skip over the articles on prostate cancer and console ourselves that in general we outlive our spouses. (Hence my devilishly clever move to cougardom (only just though, hey.) We don’t need knee surgery from our days on the rugby field or feel the need to pretend we’re not aging and make a down payment on a fancy car and keep pulling in our stomachs when the new secretary sashays in (hell, we have girdles and full body stockings to slow down our undulating Sunday lunch excesses. And even Kim wears one – I read it on the internet so it must be true.)

In fact, if anything, women are opting for less hair – some even go all the way to Brazil to ensure that they are smooth (not me of course, but I do know someone who does); our surgeries include popping out the uterus and goodbye monthly worries. And we: Just. Do. Not. Care. We can laugh until our mascara runs; we no longer worry about embarrassing ourselves and in fact have perfected the art of mortifying image-conscious teenagers. We laugh loudly and heartily in restaurants without worrying that our double chins are showing. We have learnt to stand up for ourselves and not buy into society’s nonsense.

Sure I wear make-up to fill in the odd crinkle or cover the sunspots. It is depressing that I’m not thin after starving myself of chocolate for three days, but I am really not too phased.

However we have survived tight skinny jeans before there was stretch denim (and still managed to go on and have babies!); we were raised on Queen and Journey (with Freddie and Steve Perry); we had to actually break up in person, not on Whatsapp or Skype. We grieved with Demi in Ghost and watched American shows dubbed into Afrikaans. We have earned the accolades of the youth.

Besides which, I have an ageless man and we all know what they say about how old you are…

He is not the only clever one.

The Worst Fashion Mistakes I have made

  1. The Perm

That’s me on the left, holding the pork chop at my dad’s wedding.

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To be fair, it was the eighties. To be honest, I held on too long – okay into the next century. My husband says that if I ever perm my hair again he will take that as a sign that I want him to leave. I so wanted to be Maeve, the Celtic Queen. Clearly it didn’t work.

  1. Stick on Nails

I really loved the length of these, but the problem is they don’t stay stuck on so you tend to leave a trail of body parts behind you. I had some awkward moments when they popped off in meetings. ‘Whoops’ doesn’t quite cover it in those seconds! Also the glue (while it was not foolproof on the nails) stuck to everything else and ruined several trousers of mine where it dropped and even caused a hole in my sheet! The Bentley fashion police declared that they had to go (he was tired of finding lonely pinky nails in his car – although I am surprised he found ANYthing amongst the detritus of MacDonalds splurges, old ties and musical scores languishing amidst sweet wrappers and CD cases.) He threatened  to get a tattoo if I continued and since one should never put a bumper sticker on a Bentley (and I was damaging my nails) I relented.

  1. Golf Shirts and baggy T-shirts

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I mean look at that:. These were designed for men. And that’s what flat chested women look like in them. Have you ever noticed though that corporate clothing automatically includes such apparel, even in education where the majority of staff members are women. And for those of us who were standing behind the door when the boobs were handed out , but were blessed with fat which gravitates downwards to occupy cuddly rolls around our middles, this is not a good look. That’s why, now that I am a head of a school, we are sourcing corporate blouses in dignified styles. If I am going to wear a logo, it will be on a girl’s top thank you.

  1. Court Shoes

We called them ‘Lady Di’ shoes in the early eighties. Now on the People’s Princess they looked elegant, but on small, fat and flat feet? Not so much. And the ones I bought for my graduation caused me huge embarrassment because I walked out of both of them on my way to the stage for my moment of glory. At least the vice chancellor was smiling in my pics compared to others, but still. And they made my ankles look fat.

  1. Skinny jeans

I’ll just leave this here.

  1. Hotbrushed bangs

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You see everyone wanted to be like Farrah Fawcett. Come to think of it, it wasn’t even a good look on her!

  1. Plunging Necklines 

Sometimes less is more and sometimes it’s…well…less. And either way that doesn’t go with the ‘boss’ look. Andrew didn’t mind until we became a couple and then he was advocating full purdah.

  1. Glasses on a Chain

I was told that I look like this:

When really I thought I looked like this:

Anyway the only reason I stopped using the chain was that it broke. I found it most useful and shall probably purchase another one when I find one I like. So take that, Fashion Fascists.

  1. The Baggy Jersey 

When I was 17, my friend’s mother made me a jersey from 4 squares. It was warm and snuggly, but eventually it stretched down to my knees. I wore it everywhere and embarrassed my entire family in the process. I loved it even though it was hideous. Thank goodness no photograph has survived.

  1. Fur 

Just once ok (and it was at home) I tried on the fur stole I inherited from my mother-in-law. I did not, however, have the guts to wear it to the matric dance where I was a role model for young people. What does one do with those long ago fashions that are quite beautiful; yet so incredibly un pc that one simply cannot wear them?

So that is my confession and it is a good one. I promise never to sin again (unless I find a really cool chain for my glasses.) But hey, It could be worse: I never wore Crocs, or twerked around, exposing my lumps bumps and bulges in leggings and a crop top, even when I run (Oh no I don’t run); I never had a mullet or adorned my locks with a fascinator at a wedding. (Those things are simply dreadful: who thinks that attaching half a florist on your head will be fetching?! The only creatures who may be fascinated would be half-drunk bees.)  I do not go to the shop in my pyjamas.

Ramp model I may not be, but I still have the best accessory: a Bentley.

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