For as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to be elegant, graceful and ladylike. To my eternal disappointment, I’m none of these things. I try so hard but a bit like fart putty, pop a finger into any one of the graces and something has to give.
Trouser leg debacle
Shortly after giving birth to my second son, I was having a little ‘damp issue’ and had resorted to sporting the glory that is Tena Lady at certain times of the year. Hayfever sneezing and a weak bladder are not happy bedfellows. Anyway, it was definitely in situ when I went into Tesco’s. I did my weekly shop and came home to find it missing. To this day I have no idea where it went. I checked my trouser leg, my shoe, the car, the driveway. I can only conclude that it slithered unnoticed down my trouser leg and can now be found stuck to a trolley wheel going flip, flip, flip in aisle 9!
I once worked at a local TV station and was chatting with the producers one day when they suggested I audition to be a presenter and/or newsreader. They mic’d me up (check me with the technical jargon), gave me an earpiece and told me I would be doing a mock interview with a lady who’s cat, called Stanley, had gone missing.
It started well enough and I was in full Trevor McDonald flow when she popped into the conversation that the cat had now been found, run over by the No 91 bus, and proceeded to mime picking up and stroking her imaginary dead pet. I lost the power of speech. All I could think was FLAT STANLEY and dissolved into a fit of giggles. I just couldn’t hold it together and every time they came back from commercial break, I crumpled again. The audition came to an end eventually, and chatting afterwards I said to one of the producers
“they’ll have me tap dancing on the news desk next”
“Go on then” came the voice through my earpiece. I bet Trevor wouldn’t have done it and I’m almost certain Kirsty wouldn’t, but I found myself climbing up onto the news desk, scattering paperwork everywhere and proceeded to do a lovely rendition (with humming) of 42nd street! Even while I was doing it I was thinking, stop now, this is neither ladylike, graceful nor elegant, but tap tap tap I went until big finish TA DA, JAZZ HANDS, AND BOW. They did offer me a job as a children’s presenter but the station closed down before I could start. I wonder if I finished them off!
My business partner Sue is a phenomenal woman. In a business setting, she’s extremely professional, knowledgeable and an inspirational speaker. She also has an unfailing faith that I will one day be an asset to our company and must be removed often from my Harry Potter cupboard to mingle with clients.
We were invited to lunch by a potential new client and I went with every intention of not letting Sue down and I tried, honestly I did. We introduced ourselves, sat down and ordered. While Sue was chatting, I reached into my bag to get a hankie. I was doing it ever so subtly, just slipping my hand in under the table, but as I did it felt wet. I looked down to find that the lid on my nail polish had come loose and the inside of my handbag and now my hand were covered in fire engine red Revlon.
Rather than pull out my hand and show up Sue, I put it on my lap and proceeded to eat lunch left-handed, even spearing my bread roll with my finger nail so I could butter it with the same hand. Sue looked across the table at me and apparently thought I was having a stroke!
When the meeting ended and the client left I showed Sue what had happened. My hand looked like it had been hacked by an axe and to add insult to injury my fingers were stuck firmly together as the polish had by now dried. It’s a good job she has a sense of humour!
Why am I telling you all this?
As you know I’m now divorced and the thing that’s been keeping me up all night is what to do with my name. Not the surname, that’s easy, I’ve decided to keep my married name so I’m the same as the children. No, it’s the Mrs, Ms, Miss thing that’s the conundrum. I’m not a Mrs anymore so don’t want that, Miss makes me sound like I should have 94 cats and smell of biscuits and Ms makes me sound like some raving feminist with doc martins and a buzz cut.
Talking to my friends and family I was saying that I thought I could pull off Lady as a title. As I’ve said before, I’m a tad on the delusional side.
Mother and I were discussing this at lunch one day and I was saying that I thought if I tried really hard and became much more ladylike, elegant and graceful I could ‘pull’ a Duke and become his Duchess. I was jesting of course. Sort of. I had been dreaming only the night before of the household staff calling me “your grace” while tipping their caps as I passed by in my carriage (seriously too many historical mills and boon!). Anyway, I nipped to the loo halfway through lunch to wash off the dinner I’d spilled down my jumper, popped into the loo for a private moment and put my finger through the loo roll! I had to come out and admit to mother that perhaps Duchess was a bit of a stretch and that I should maybe reconsider my options.