Wednesday, 5 September 2012

State of the matron

Whilst the prospect of an Indian Summer sounds lovely in the abstract, all golden sunlight on gradually turning leaves, I would actually rather it just hurried up and got properly cold now so I can swathe myself in 80 denier and moth-eaten wool. Summer grooming has let me down somewhat, or rather I have let myself down, more accurately. I seem determined to sink into Soap Opera Depressive territory: currently I am the barest highly flammable tracksuit short of the full Paul Robinson. The last time I looked this bad, I think I had a newborn to blame it on, or at least was on morphine recovering from major abdominal surgery whilst accidentally pregnant (yeah, good times 2007, woohoo!). Let us survey the damage:

Lower limbs: covered in mosquito bites, including two on my right foot that I have been conscientiously picking at and preventing from healing for about six weeks. Legs still peeling and dry after July freak sunburn incident.

Fingernails: ragged, long, dirty. Cuticles chewed, a newly acquired vice for this year. Nails have not seen varnish since the old King died*. I wander the house like a lost soul calling for the nail clippers, but answer comes there none. They have probably all been used in ill-defined and unfinished 'craft projects'.

(*Leopold I, perhaps)

'Hair': last washed several weeks ago (you can get away with this with wigs, unfortunately, though you shouldn't). Beginning to go bald in patches. Soon I will be reduced to rifling through the drawer of old wigs and looking for ones with less mange. Yes, I have a drawer full of mange-wigs. Every home should have one.

Clothes: My wardrobe - although to all appearances full of clothes - seems to have been reduced to two alternating pairs of slightly cropped, narrow trousers. I sort of wish I had never rediscovered the forgiving embrace of trousers: I went several years without wearing them at all, but now I seem unable to wear anything else. They're not even flattering: last week a man specifically went out of his way in the street to come up to me and tell me my arse was too flat ("Non, toi, ton cul n'est pas assez bombé". Oh no, I am so distressed not to have met your exacting standards to qualify for street harassment, let me go and get lethal backstreet arse fat injections where I will be injected with chip fat and diesel oil, so that you deem me fit for sleazily chatting up on street corners), thus confirming this groundbreaking survey I read about today.  Today, for instance, I am wearing The Greenish Pair, with an elderly, dog-hair adorned black jumper with moth holes in the armpits. It's not great, but I can't seem to find any alternatives: I bust the zip on my expensive jeans trying to stretch them after washing and need to get repaired. My limbs are too ghostly white/peeling/dessicated for skirts/dresses and it's still really too warm to wear tights in all good conscience. I wore them anyway yesterday (with Gap wool shorts) and when I pulled at the leg to hoik them up, a dusty cloud of dead skin cells fluttered around me. I did it again, fascinated. Same result. It was very picturesque.

Shoes: alternating pairs of shabby, shabby, scuffed, broken flats that look like they were recovered from an archeological dig in a Viking burial ground. I took a pair off yesterday and several whole LEAVES were inside, and a piece of bracken. Which explains why they weren't very comfortable. I threw that pair in the bin, but look, today I am wearing these, which are even worse:

My flawed reasoning is that from a average person height distance, no one will notice that I am wearing shoes where the front decorative leather origami thing has fallen off. This has already been proved wrong but it has not stopped me.

Face: distressingly, patchily freckled. Puffy. Itchy spots on eyelids. Series of insect bites around left ear where a conscientious mosquito has enjoyed an extensive walking buffet. Red nose from some kind of idiotic summer cold, and a day of intermittent, frustration induced weeping yesterday. Last time I wore make up other than a bit of melted lip tint from the bottom of handbag: Dunno. It's been months, even though I know it genuinely makes a difference. Without, I look like a mournful potato. A child came up to me at school this afternoon and quizzed me extensively on my (tattooed) eyebrows (Why do you do it, does it hurt, why do you choose brown, why don't you do them another colour...). I'm usually quite robust about this kind of thing, but I had to get up and go away, pretending I had to fetch something before I started crying (again), because I felt judged and found wanting by an 8 year old. Not that that is a particularly new feeling. I just, I dunno. I thought I "passed", but this is the second time in a couple of weeks someone has made overt comment on my eyebrows. IF I HAD A CHOICE I WOULD NOT DO THIS. BUGGER OFF. Ok, not you, 8 year old girl. Come back, don't cry. Shit.

The only speck of improvement, is that I am not particularly fat at the moment, because I have mainly been consuming my own stomach lining with endless, boring anxiety. I am not exactly thin - I still managed to close a fold of my stomach in my own laptop yesterday - but I will Do, mainly thanks to my prominent clavicles which, regardless of my state of corpulence, can be used to good effect to give a vague surface illusion of thinness. I have conserved my double chin, however. I think it is my body's famine fat reserve, so at times of high stress it probably gets even bigger. Soon I will look like Denis Healey or Nigel Lawson before he got thin and started talking utter nonsense about climate change. Or like this:

Unless it gets cold very speedily, Something Must Be Done. I am not sure what. This is just a status report. At the moment it takes me twenty minutes to find the resolve to stand up and plug my battery drained computer in. So far I have put a sidebar link to that nice That's Not My Age blog for inspiration. Tomorrow, who knows? I might get as far as flossing.The pink rimmed, naked mole rat eyes are the worst of it, really. The rest is probably manageable. So all I need to do is give up weeping and buy some new Bobbi Brown gel ink eyeliner. Easy! Give me about three months.

Are you planning to up the grooming ante this autumn, or mercifully slip into no longer bothering? Any recommended quick fixes for Summer Hobo Syndrome?


The Reluctant Launderer said...

Move to Florida*. I last took a shower 6 days ago. I last changed my clothes... 6 days ago. Mind you, I only wear one piece of clothing a day - a sack-dress (thankfully there's no wind here, or people would be stopping to take photos of the overgrown wilderness that is my nether regions. Now there's a pleasant image for you.) Heading back to Real Life today, and panicking slightly at thought of having to clean, dress, and possibly groom self.(Tho new baby in 6 weeks will put paid to that. Surely must be some other upsides to newborns?)
(*Convince your children by telling them about the alligators in the back garden...)

Paddy said...

I have cleared some space on my maxed credit card to go to Suit Supply, a stylish suit shop that every other gay boy in Brussels seems to have visited and raved about over the last 5 years, and which I, of course, have only just heard of. I expect to be able to afford a 5 pack of socks (EUR30!).

JB_Kiwi said...

I haven't bathed in, um, is it 3 or 4 days now? I'm wearing the same clothes as yesterday - that is baggy jeans that ripped weeks' ago and have therefore been cut at the knees, and a paint-and-dust-splattered tee shirt. Because we have no bathroom currently (hence the lack of bathing), I haven't washed my hair in well over a week and I cannot remember when last I shaved my legs. My eyebrows are inexplicable owing to the lack of a bathroom mirror in which to see how unruly they have gotten. I have a cold-sore and despite not having worn make-up for weeks, my skin keeps coming up in random lumps which look like pimples (but aren't). The only upside of all of this is that, owing to the lack of mirrors, I'm not fully aware of Just How Bad Things Look.

Mya said...

I had a shower this morning, but I still look and feel like pure filth. Spots all over the right side of my face, Dennis Healey-esque eyebrows, dimpled expanses of engorged flab everywhere. Gorgeous. I'm going to streak through the village - the fuckers won't know what's hit them.

J. said...

At least you are bothering to get dressed, Waffle. On the way to drop the baby at daycare this morning before work, I saw a woman walking her dog in her bathrobe and shower cap in the pouring rain and was jealous. I want one of those grad school days back, where you lie festering in bed all day in a tank top, drinking scorched coffee, eating whatever can be scavenged from the kitchen and alternately gutting some big boring book for that night's class meeting and watching "Ghostbusters" streaming on hulu. I don't miss being poor and terrified of my exams committee members, but I do resent having to get dressed every day and leave my house.

Nimble said...

I am sure a tube of eye liner would be cheaper than a new wig but both will make you feel more 'dressed'. I wonder if there are thrift stores in Belgium and if they ever have anything wearable. Now I've probably offended you but that's the sort of thing I try before I break down and spend real money on clothes.

I have so far managed to shave my legs twice this summer. Maybe I'll go for a trifecta before the cold weather starts!

The Drinker said...

That 'dead skin cell + tights' issue made me snort with laughter! I also pray for autumn; thick tights and boots cover a multitude of sins. No real advice other than to suggest St. Ives body scrub which is molto cheap but I find it works better than expensive scrubs for the dreaded dry skin.

And take comfort in your lack of hair - the Dutchman stared at my chin in horror last week and pointed a quavering finger at a HAIR on my CHIN. Ohgodohgodohgod.

(Also I quite like the shoes.)

MsCaroline said...

ccountsB 114
I feel your pain, but have no useful advice to share. Several days ago in the English class I teach (to 10-year-olds) we asked each other questions about things we could and could not do. One of the questions posed to me by a little boy: "Can you ride a horse?" Me: "No, I cannot." Little Boy: (sympathetically) "Because you're too fat, right?"

Looking forward to cooler weather, but chances are he'll just ask me if I'm too fat to ski.

Margaret said...

Thankfully, I do not have cause to interact with children, except for my beloved niece, whom I don't think likes me very much but doesn't torment me, so that's OK. I keep planning to stop drinking and eating so much and exercising so little. My hair has two inches of split, fried ends that I've been avoiding getting cut because I don't want to fucking chat. My clothes all look awful. Awful. Because of my gigantic waist. My skin is behaving well, oddly enough, except for looking somewhat old and fat. My feet are scarred with blisters from summer shoes. Every single female in my office is 27 and I hate them, except not really because they are also frustratingly hard-working and lovely. Why can't they be more hateful if they're going to be so gorgeous and unhaggard all the time?? I am so done with summer.

My expensive advice? Buy a new wig (how is this not subsidized by health insurance?). My inexpensive advice? That apricot scrub crap The Drinker suggested, followed by lotion with lactic acid or AHAs or some other exfoliating-acid ingredient. My cheap-ass advice: Girl, go buy an 89-cent emery board for those claws, then slap on some Essie Mademoiselle! You can't mess it up, and it will make your hands look purty.

Don't forget, we all think you're beautiful. And not just on the inside where it doesn't count.

cruella said...

Weeell, summer always leaves me fatter. Thats a fact to which I have succumbed long ago. Consolation: I tan very easily, therefore the extra rolls look rather appetising, I like to think.

Hair: Brownish hay. With a silver lining. Ha.

I've sort of taken to walking briskly 1-2 hours a day, listening to podcasts on obscure things. Very pleasant and nothing like exercise. Fooled me!

Miriam said...

I just need it to get cold. Then I can move from birkenstocks to long boots without bothering with what is for me an awkward hinterland of "shoes".

Anonymous said...

But we still love you madly...!

Z said...

I'll be 59 next week. I've told my family that we're ignoring the occasion. Just too horrifying.

Anonymous said...

I laughed out loud at Summer Hobo Syndrome... Up until a few days ago I was sporting a thick crust on the heels of my feet of cracked dead/dry... callous? I'm not really sure what the hell that was but I felt infinitely better after having slowly sanded it off. Also, since having my baby almost a year ago I only manage to shave my legs about once a month, so dresses must be long and I'm sure I made quite the impression on my family and friends at a recent birthday party where I sported capris in spite of my noticeably hairy legs. Oh well. I'm over it - bring on Autumn!!

Patience_Crabstick said...

And I laughed out loud about your clavicles. Apparently, clavicles are a thing and those with the prominent type are envied.

I have no special grooming plans for fall, but I am looking forward to being able to wear tights again, as my pasty white legs are awful.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I really sympathise with all of this, especially the mosquito-inflicted damage!
Where I live I'm surrounded by immaculately groomed, skinny, polished-looking women with perfectly toned and tanned legs and arms. They swan around in sleeveless dresses and shorts. Meanwhile, I stand out like a sore thumb: that unmistakeable blueish, melanin-deficient Irish skin that never, ever tans in the slightest, legs and arms literally covered in mosquito bite marks that won't go away (awaiting biopsy results on some of them,actually, fingers crossed there's nothing else going on), at least a stone overweight, esp. in middle region...I'm not a pretty sight! I always wear the same few pairs of trousers that actually fit me because I don't want to spend money on clothes before I lose the extra weight...nothing fits very well because of my flabby upper arms and chunky calves...I won't even start on the state of my nails or my hair. Dermatologist prescribed Dexeryl moisturiser to use all over after showers, it's very good actually and my skin felt much more supple (it looked exactly the same but didn't feel so dry) but I don't like the oily feeling and it's full of parabens so I only use it a handful of times instead of every day. Roll on winter. A coat covers a multitude of sins.

joared said...

What is this place that intrigued me to comment here on the rat saga only a few short posts ago? No wonder you have such problems, because your foot is clearly in need of corrective shaping surgery to properly fit in your shoe.

I also, might remind you that a lady is known by the company she keeps. Clearly this group who have commented here are dragging you down -- they have no pride in their personal health care, much less their physical appearance. Surely, before you became drawn in to this motley crowd you were a much more presentable young woman with the potential for a promising future that might cause community leaders to find your presence somewhat attractive, or at least not objectionable.

It's not too late to salvage yourself before fall arrives, but you must start now! Get thee to a shower posthaste. As for your cohorts who've written here, perhaps they will follow your lead, otherwise dump 'em.

(However did this link become affixed to my blogroll? Must have been one of those nights after I hadn't slept, changed my clothes, combed my hair or bathed for a week. That's expected behavior for us really old folks, but what's your excuse? Your babes, kids and spouses are wearing you down? It gets worse before it gets better.)

Margaret said...

Hey, lady, I showered both today AND yesterday! With soap!

Barbara said...

Waffle! No more self hatred! Ladies, snap out of it! I want all of you to write a list of the ten most wonderful things about you, posthaste! And it must be on my desk by tomorrow or I am suspending all television viewing priveleges for a week!

That's Not My Age said...

Ta very much for the mention! Just stick with me and I'll sort you out - though I have to admit that I've had the dead skin dust cloud experience too.

Anonymous said...

i have decided that i am giving up. thank you very much for asking

Scunder said...

I too suffer the Irish lilac legs of horror . I have stockpiled Falke leg wear in preparation. Damn you beautiful weather. You are forcing another month of loathsome white trouser hell.
Ps waffle its only completely over when you take the children to school in pyjamas featuring Winnie the pooh with your husbands overcoat slung on top .
Not that's I'd know

Joi said...

Crap, late to the party and everyone has been told off, so no more complaining allowed.

I'll just add one more. Yesterday I went out without leggings for the first time in about 2 years. I spent a surprisingly pleasant 15 minutes looking at my legs in the mirror beforehand, as hey! Now that they have a tan, and as long as I wear these heels and position them juuust so, they don't look too bad! Maybe they're not that bad! Maybe, as every weepy TV fashion guru has tried to tell me, the fat is all in my head! Perhaps I am a secret size 6! HOORAY.

Then I went out cycling on the dodgy Dutch cobblestones, whereupon, without the protective waist-high spandex casing of my leggings, every single part of my body proceeded to wobble so much I could almost hear it. By the time I got to the supermarket I was seasick from my own lipidic momentum.

The Drinker said...

One of the aspects of this blog which I really enjoy is how genuinely laugh-out-loud funny it is, how Waffle uses self-deprecating humour. I feel it's quite a British trait, not only this love of a good moan, but also the way in which she turns the potentially maudlin into something so fantastically-phrased.

Maybe we needed the telling off; maybe our comments need a wry eye.

Joi, I don't know where you're from, but "lipidic momentum' made my day!

Victoria said...

Christ waffle, you have got me googling Paul Robinson (AKA Stefan Dennis for your info) at 11pm on a Mon night! who would ever have thought my evening would go that way? Had to click on your link, just had to. I know Paul wore some dodgy tracksuits, but did you know this? He released a single, just discovered this from your link, had no idea and will have to investigate further.

kath said...

I have brown mottled forehead despite mucho factor 30. There's a hole in my arm where the child bit me. I fell over and had 5 stitches in my knee so that is all pink and shiny. But hurray hurray I had to get a pair of jeans a size smaller and I've spent all the money in the world on some new boots.

Cass said...

I look like crap without makeup on - and probably not much better with it. Unfortunately, because I have to look something close to acceptable for work, I refuse to wear makeup at the weekend. The great thing about summer is that you can hide puffy, blood-shot, red-rimmed, lashless, browless eyes behind a trendy and ginormous pair of diva-shades. And if you grab a 5 Euro pair from H&M, you don't even have to panic about loosing them, sitting on them, having them ripped of your face and flung to the ground by a child. And you can even keep them on inside, celeb-style. Although if I cross your path whilst you're doing this, i can't promise I won't insult you under my breath (for some reason, I've grown particulaly intolerant of celeb wannabes in my old age). Having said that, all this is probably irrelevant as, at time of typing, the weather in brussels has just turned to poop. You can officially get your woolies out!

Barbara said...

Just to clarify, no intention to scold. Only support. I too am attacked by the self hatred demons. Generally at three a.m.

awhirlinlondon said...

Joared - you are hilarious!

Dearest Waffle - having sat across a table from you with glass in hand, all I could think was - smart, darling, amusing and beautiful. Plus which, chic.

I have 3 identical summer dresses that are collectively known as "the inevitable grey dress." I accidentally (cough) gained almost 20 kilos over a period of 3 years and decided NO WAY was I going to dress this new body. Hence the inevitables. They were meant to propel me into necessary weight loss, but are now in desperate need of disposal and not a weight has been lost. Bugger.

Viz skin - you are the guru of the beauty blog - I've sort of - kind of - found that brushing one's skin with a dry brush before showering and then covering self in lotion after seems to work. But then - I have to be bothered, which usually - not. said...

Oh dear, the post-summer self-assessment is rather unmerciful, don't you think? BTW, stopped by to say your article in the Guardian on your alien spawn was great. Now tell the mean, bossy pants voice in your head to cut it out.

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