Admittedly a long time ago in sixth year (if my memory isn’t failing me ,it may have been 5th year)one day the classroom door opened and in wafted a cloud of perfume followed seconds later by two women, made up to the nines, hair coiffed and carrying bags of make-up, scarves and other beauty paraphernalia.
Today was the day we were being taught how to be women , how to present ourselves to the outside world. Now truth be known I was a bit heavy-handed with the foundation to cover pretty bad acne, but I wasn’t convinced I wanted the looks that were about to be demonstrated on some of my lucky classmates over the coming hours.
In a flurry of colour scarves we were each paraded up and swatches of synthetic cloths held against out faces as we were labelled, warm Autumn was to be mine forever more, apparently I should only wear muted yet warm Autumnal shades and not the bright colours I tend to drift towards, or the pretty pastels I am constantly drawn to.
I often cast my mind back and think did my male equivilants in the boys school down the road have menswear consultants holding up ties,construction hats or even the black cloths to them to prepare them for the real world outside of school or perhaps just focus on what colour shirt matched their eyes.
Was that “class” really the best use of my time in my final school years and outside of looks, what was the goal? Presentation OK it has its place but I don’t think any of us were really that unkempt to begin with.
Suffice to say I found my own way with make-up and clothing and have made it to nearly the next decade of my life with my own sense of style, not one dictated by only one colour swatch. In fact you could compare humans to sitting room walls when you try different colours, textures and find something that makes you happy. Your friends might think it’s awful but as long as you like it, who cares!
I realise I am flipping back and forth in this argument, a mix of for and against. Yes I have over the last number of years looked back on photos and unlike digital prints cannot press delete. Those badly dressed and badly made up pictures are there in the family photo books forever, but I like to think your late teens and twenties are all about experimenting, finding your style, if you wear makeup, finding the shade of lipstick you must always have in your handbag.
And then comes the thirties and children. Oh if those image consultants could see me some days. Casting my mind back to the early days of being a Mammy I shudder at the leaking nipples stains. Meeting friends for coffee with our new overly styled gorgeous babies and rocking as only a mam with refluxy twins can, freshly spew patterned clothes which had been clean leaving the house.
The joys of weaning and my childrens’ love for Spaghetti bolognese has left it’s mark of some of my clothes forever. Those lovely orange stains fit right into the Autumnal swatch don’t they?
I have been known on occasion even now with the kids reaching three years of age to have to run into Penneys on my coffee break to buy a complete outfit change after realising when the sun comes out that those pre preschool snuggles have left strawberry stains all down the front of my work clothes, usually in the one spot where they cannot be hidden.
And who doesn’t love being used as a walking towel or snot rag by their kids? Grubby hands out and about after playing in the grass, Mammys legs are perfect for cleaning. No tissue or wipe nearby to clear a mucusy nose, aha there’s Mammys’ coat to wipe clean on.
I sincerely hope those consultants never seen me on Spag Bol day, they may mistake me and the twins for Oompa Loompas but do you know what ,I am embracing being a human wetwipe and am happy for the kids to colour me bolognese ! I should note the clothing of choice for spag bol dinners going forward are undies and blackbags.