I was supposed to bring summer clothes. However this morning, after a week of FaceGoop, a little light law, a new exciting writing gig, discussions with my new DOG SHARE (oh please, sweet jesus, let the weepette behave. Beatrice? Are you ok?) and the requisite amounts of sitting around staring into space, punctuated by phone calls from parents about Fingers's birthday party ("Un petit Lego fera bien l'affaire. Oui oui. 9h30"), I realised that I was fucked. My summer wardrobe - or the parts of it that fit, which are few - comprised:
1. 45+ unflattering tshirts and vest tops
2. One acceptable top in this year's complexion draining nude (dirty - blood stain on the front)
3. Two dresses, neither with hems
4. 1 crumpled pair of giganto-trousers, also with no hem.
I packed the top, reasoning that if the dry cleaners thought it was clean, it was clean enough (history does not entirely support this theory), poked the trousers vaguely with the iron and shoved them in a case. Grabbing a handful of other items and already painfully late, I belted off to the station. Given that I had already fucked up the shoot venue and had to shimmy around embarassingly trying to sort it out, I thought the least I could do was not miss the train (I have been a total rockstar of incompetence this week). On arrival several hours later, I realised that I had no bra that could go under the acceptable top and no time to buy one. I headed, anxiously, to the shoot. After make up (So! Much! Makeup! I am wearing the world's blusher reserves on my cheek. I have never had this much colour, ever) ,We all stood around and surveyed the crumpled, dirty jumble sale of my case.
"Shall I try this?" apologetic, I pulled out a stripy skirt and a blue t shirt, reminiscent of a 7 year old's summer school uniform.
The lovely magazine ladies tried their utmost to look positive.
"Yeah! Erm, let's try it!"
"I scuttled off to the ladies. The blue t-shirt was see-through; whichever of the 3 bras I wore lumpily visible. I picked the least worst, wrestled far too much cleavage into far too little undergarment and surveyed myself. Despite the peachy, glowy makeup, I looked old and bleary and saggy. I wondered how much a chin lift could cost, plucking at my jowls abstractedly in front of the mirror. I am sure that a couple of months ago I was feeling all world-conquering and sexy. For ooh, at least a couple of days. What happened? I ought to sleep more. A lot more. Maybe for all of 2010. Eventually, I forced myself back out.
"Oh! Great, er, skirt!"
The photographer took some pictures. My greying bra strap kept appearing, unbidden and having to be poked back in. I was not unaware of the irony of spending 90% of my disposable income of fancy underwear and still not having anything appropriate, let alone attractive, to wear under a t-shirt.
The light was deemed unsuitable in the venue, so we headed out to the park, me in a sleeveless, ultrafine t-shirt, cotton skirt, bare legs, peep-toe shoes. Temperature: 5°C with a significant wind chill factor. The photographer strode out towards a bench. The make up artist and I trotted after her, my pillarbox red heels sinking into the muddy turf.
"Can you lean back against that bench? Oh, is the metal very cold? Your eyes are running! Careful of the eyeliner! No. It's ok, I can't see the goosebumps from this angle. And now, can you lie on it? No, that looks awful, your blue skin is clashing with the green of the bench. Look at me, Belgium! Now look away. Look at that swan. Lean on the tree. No, don't lean on the tree. Can you try and stop your teeth chattering? It's accentuating your double chin. Can you just hold your .. no, not your tits. Oh, never mind. That'll do".
We finished an hour ago and I have been warming up in the Pain Quotidien ever since. Don't judge me. I am old and saggy and this blusher is really really heavy. I need a bit of belgo-comfort.
I go back to Brussels tomorrow lunchtime, and head straight to the children's art exhibition. Saturday morning is Finger's birthday party. It clashes with the Charleroi Urban Safari I am signed up to attend for my Shiny New Writing Gig. I have not quite reconciled these two yet. I do know I am spending the rest of Saturday in Charleroi and the rest of the weekend reviewing beauty products. Don't even say biscuits. Sssssh. I may be becoming slightly deranged, but at least I'm not bored. Long may it continue (but with sleep).