Strewn over my bed lie two dresses, a pair of too-tight trousers, a too-short summer skirt and a chaotic mound of mismatched tops. In three hours I’ll be heading out for mid-week drinks and saucers of Spanish food; a belated birthday gathering. But what shall I wear?
‘Wear whatever you feel comfortable in’ my well-meaning husband offers. Hmm, that’ll be his pyjama bottoms, my faded hoodie and a pair of egg-yolk stained slippers. I doubt my lounge suit will meet approval from the three women I’m going out with. Super-trendy types. The sort who know exactly what colour, fabric and shape is ‘this season.’ The sort who make mood boards with snippets from Grazia. The sort I have absolutely nothing in common with. So, why am I giving so much thought to what I’m going to wear? Will it matter that my shirt is my mum’s and my boots are from eBay? And as for my reliable boot cut jeans. Boot cut jeans? Boot cut! It’s 2014 don’t you know!
I shouldn’t care what people think. I’d like to be one of those people who genuinely feel they couldn’t care less for the opinions of others. And as much as I may have said, I couldn’t give a rat’s arse what they think, that’s a colossal lie. I care what people think of me. I care what you’re thinking right now. I care that you like my new shoes, hair-cut, homemade spaghetti Bolognese and strawberry-topped cupcakes.
In two months I am meeting a children’s publisher and an agent. I will be showing them my new book. The book that hasn’t made it past first draft and the one in which no one knows neither the content nor the premise. Presuming it’s finished and swept of any grammatical mines in time for the meetings, I will need to calmly and confidently sell myself and my earnestly typed words. If I greet them in tears, fearful that one negative remark will make me pass out on their lap, what chance do I have of seriously competing in the ‘chew ‘em up and spit ‘em out’ world of publishing.
How I wish I could be like my four-year old son. He thinks nothing of blurting out his every uncensored thought, nor pulling down his pants in Tesco to scratch his genitals. He has no pretension; no fear of how he’s perceived and no problem wearing mismatched shoes simply because they are comfortable. He is the only human I know who really couldn’t give a rat’s arse about your opinion.
Weren’t we all like that once? So self-assured we didn’t need 100 likes on Facebook to feel validated. So brimming with confidence that we would proudly parade our naked bodies on the beach with nothing but a saggy poo-laden pull-up. Nowadays, I’ll self-consciously cover up by moon-white limbs and fret over what clothes to wear in this ‘sunny but not exactly hot enough for shorts’ weather.
Which nicely brings me back to the beginning. What to wear tonight. Sod it. I’m not going. Time to put on my husband’s pyjamas and have a nice cup of tea. Beats talking bollocks over tapas!