Saturday, 2 October 2010

Life on a ‘G’ string

When you’re with a man you like, be quiet and mysterious, act ladylike, cross your legs and smile. Don’t talk much. Wear black sheer pantyhose and hike up your skirt to entice the opposite sex! You might feel offended by these suggestions and argue this will suppress your intelligence or vivacious personality. You may feel that you won’t be able to be yourself, but men will love it!

The Rules ~ Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider ~ 1995

The miles and miles of vines and vineyards had expired and we were skirting one of those non-descriptive industrial French towns ... so unremarkable I can’t remember its name. We were on the way to a medieval fort up in the mountains.

I am glad we are going out for the day” said S, “I couldn’t do another day on the beach, it is far too hot. Besides ... I am starting to look like a Sambo.” “You could never be a Sambo ... you don’t have any hair” I retorted. “As opposed to you” he replied, pointedly looking at my dark curly post-chemo barnet. “I guess you are going for the golliwog look?” he chuckled. “Actually I used to love golliwogs” I responded huffily.

I turned away and looked out of the winddow ... my mind drifted as I thought back to my childhood and how I used to eagerly and routinely chop out the coupons on the Robinson’s marmalade jar ... and despite this I never obtained the much wanted golliwog badge for my school blazer ... as I kept losing the little slips of paper and struggled to save the six that I needed.

Why does everyone called Ronald have ginger hair?” asked a little voice behind me, breaking my train of thought. “Such as ...” I asked rather bemused. “Well, there is Ronald McDonald” Harry Look-a-likey replied and pointed back to the Golden Arches that we had just passed. “Right ... and?” “And Ronald Weasley.” OK so he didn’t quite say “doh” but it could have easily followed. If my life is ‘g’ filled then his generation has moved onto ‘h’ ... all Harry Potter, Homer, Halo and hamburgers.

I don’t think Ronald Reagan ever had ginger hair”, I finally replied. 

Who is Ronald Reagan ...?

That evening we sat on the sofa and watched Grease. I snuggled up to Harry and said “I was your age when this film came out.” He nodded a little but said nothing. I am sure that as my head touched his I could swear I could hear his mind saying “Please ... one day ... let me sit down to watch this film without her saying that.” Anyway he got his own back, because what I didn’t realise until a few days later was that the Harry Look-a-likey thick brunette mop was riddled with nits and they took the opportunity at that very moment to jump into my boucles. Ruddy nits ... something I haven’t had since I was his age ... and something wouldn’t have ... couldn’t have ... this time last year.

Grease was the first grown up film that ever saw. It was 1978 – a few years before Ronald R became president of the United States - I was 10 years old. I went with my friend Sue. It was Thursday night – a school night – "we stayed up til ten o’clock".  I felt very grown up. And ... thinking about it ... it was about that time that life changed ... I changed ... and I started to mature. Up until then my life had been very Enid Blyton. All Mallory Towers, O’Sullivan Twins and Famous Five. My heroine was George. Famous Five George – the bright one of the pack - with her dark curls and cool dog. To the extent that I wrote “George” on my pink eraser and tried to get my friends to call me that.

And then things changed ... I left George and her jolly ginger beer behind ... and I started shopping at Chelsea Girl and listening to songs like Heart of Glass and Enola Gay. Ironically those tunes are still on my playlist today ... unlike other things that have come and gone ... like golliwogs ... George and Mildred ... My Guy ... and gob stoppers ... ‘cos they were all politically incorrect. Which is why Grease is hanging on in there right? Mmm ... let’s just stop and have a think about that ...

Grease. Boy meets girl on holiday. He likes her. She likes him. They think they won’t see each other again ... but by chance she doesn’t return to Australia as planned ... instead she stays and goes to his school, Rydell High. However ... when they meet up he acts really cool and shuns her as she doesn't fit in with his image. There is some emotional to-ing and fro-ing. He does up a car and claims that "chicks'll cream for greased lightnin'" - that it will be "a real pussy magnet" and that "we'll be gettin' lots of tit".  In turn, she bouffants her hair, puts a fag in her mouth and sews herself into some incredibly tight leather trousers ... and he changes his mind ... ahem ...

My favourite character was feisty funny Rizzo ... who sings "Look at me, I'm Sandra Dee" and “There are worse things I could do”. Sandy prior to her transformation was a bit wet ... and afterwards ... well ... somehow I knew even at that tender age that never in my lifetime would I squeeze into a pair of leather trousers like that. Having said that ... I can’t claim that I could foresee that thirty years later that my post-chemo look would leave me looking like Rizzo ...

Before going on holiday we had a barbie ... the old Pigeon Poo crew ... My Little Friend, the Silverback and the Prince and Princess of Darkness. With it being August 1st I had images of us sitting in a beautifully sunny garden ... but it wasn’t like that ... and the afternoon commenced with the guys erecting the gazebo. The gals supervised from the kitchen ... with a little glass wine ... trying to hum the tune of the Good Life - but coming out with Terry and June – I am still not sure why. Then the conversation moved on ...

I remember our first meeting Princess”, said My Little Friend. “The Prince turned up at the curry house with his new girlfriend. All long blonde hair ... high heels ... wearing black leather trousers”. “Ooh ... I’ve still got those trousers”, replied Princess, “they are in the attic”. “I bet you can still fit into them?”, replied My Little Friend. “I am not sure about that”, admitted Princess. “Well” I chipped in “I can safely say that I certainly don’t have any leather trousers in my closet”. “No” replied My Little Friend, deadpan and no second of hesitation, “we would have to kill a few more cows for that to happen.”

G is for Game for a Laugh ... do you remember it ... awful programme ... but time for a revival me thinks ... I have a few victims lined up already ...


  1. Lashings of conditioner (as opposed to ginger beer) and a fine toothed comb!

    Hope aside from the uninvited guests the rest of your holiday was fabulous!

    Good to see you're still writing, Paula!

    M xx

  2. Hi Redshoes,

    Nice to have you back. Hope you are keeping well and looking after yourself.

    Take care and be safe Big Hugs Love

  3. Hi P, so lovely to be reading you again, and delighted you finally got your holiday.
    Bloody well desrved George!
    Tally Ho

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  5. I can never get rid of those leather trousers Paula - super duper blog as always! Princess x


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