My dear friend C who I have known since I was twelve has this theory about me. She says that you can't embarrass me because I embarrass myself before you can get there. I'm not entirely sure if this is a compliment or an insult but seeing as we are still friends *cough* A QUARTER OF A CENTURY (Major freakout.....breathing into paper bag)on, I'll chalk it down as a good thing and move on. She first said this around the time we lived together, when we were eighteen and I looked like this. I don't think she was referring to the way I looked though.
Anyway, before I start getting distracted by goth photos and stories about not washing my hair for months and other such....err....of course, lies.....I'll get to my (weak) point. After years of contemplating what exactly C meant, I've come to view this innate ability to not only embarrass myself, but to brag about it, as a sort of badge of honour. This came to a fine head the other morning when I returned to the house not only with my skirt wedged into my bum-crack, but with baby spit-up gunge smeared across my chest. It reminded me of one of my finer moments when I was in my early twenties and living in Oxford, when I accidentally left the house with no skirt on. It had been drying on the radiator next to the front hall downstairs and I'd been running through the list of things I had to grab before I left the house, late for work as always: keys, purse, skirt. Keys, purse, skirt. So I got out of the house, hurried down the road and half way down, right by the school where mums and dads were dropping off their kids I did a quick check. Keys, purse, skirt. I had them all there- right in my hand. To top it off, I was wearing nylons and my underwear, t-shirt and lazy winter leg hair were all squashed nicely underneath the transparent tights. I really wanted to insert a photo here to get the image across- I have this great one of my brother's hairy legs squashed into my black tights the time we all cross-dressed for Christmas dinner- that's another story but unfortunetaly I couldn't find it. Anyway.
So C, after all these years I have this to say. I am actually a master of disguise. I disguise all the really embarrassing things under the lesser embarrassing ones giving the impression that I've bared it all. But there are other darker things underneath, just like the underwear and the tucked in t-shirt and the overgrown winter leg hair squashed up and visible to those who are looking at the right moment. Things that I can't bear to think about, things that make me turn red in a dark room at night but over them, I have remembered to wear a skirt.