Going to the Cox Plate with the Mild-Mannered Lawyer has become an annual event. It’s pretty easy for something to become an annual event, you know. You do it one year and then the following year you do it again. As they say in the classics: “Too easy!”
Last year, we were living the high life in the Members area. It was all champagne-in-glass-bottles and gourmet sausages. This year, however, we were slummin’ it in General Admission with sparkling-wine-in-plastic-bottles and rolls from “The Meat Shop”.
“Doesn’t he know who I am!” I told the MML when I heard her usual contact hadn’t been able to get us Member passes.
Indeed, when we first arrived in all our races finery, I remarked “There’s a man in skinny jeans and a ‘HEAPS COOL’ t-shirt. I clearly don’t belong here. For one thing, ‘HEAPS COOL’ is grammatically incorrect and I’m a writer, you know…”
I was also growing increasingly angry at the number of doorways we couldn’t enter because of our non-Member status. I vowed that, once we’d drunk our next bottle of champagne, I’d march up to the information counter and ask them if we, ‘The People’, would still be denied entry to the Members’ area in the event of a fire.
Of course, by the time the next bottle of champagne had been drunk, I was past caring and, in fact, had decided that General Admission was as good as Members – if not better.
For one thing, while the General Admission (GA) area was a little short on toilets and has limited access to the track (“Horses? What horses?”), at least we could sit unchallenged in a stairwell. In Members the previous year, we had found ourselves trapped in a World of No. We were always being stopped by officials for transgressing Members rules: no alcohol in lifts, no glass bottles in the stands, no napping under tables…
Also, the GA area had an AGE VERIFICATION tent where you could go up and get a little wristband allowing you to buy alcohol unchallenged. It gave me the opportunity to run up to to the bewildered Age Verification staff and blurt out “I’m – tee hee hee – turning 40 – tee hee hee – and my friend’s taking a photo – tee hee hee.”
Unfortunately, I couldn’t get an age verification wristband because I didn’t have my ID on me. I thought that was a good enough indication that I still looked under 18. Yep, that’s totally it.
Indeed, later, a jolly (=drunk) guy beckoned me over. That never happened to me in Members.
“You’re a bit geeky-looking, but you’re nice,” he said, rather generously.
“Aw, bless!” I said, patting him on his arm. “You know, mate? I hate to break it to you but I’ve got three kids and I’m turning 40 in less than two weeks.”
“Well, I’m 26 and I’m raring to go!” he replied, with some enthusiasm.
He really was very drunk, but at least he wasn’t wearing a fluorescent suit. Which is more than you could say for a lot of the GA crowd.
You see, one of the best things about the GA area was the number of men who laughed in the face of fashion and good taste. And I discovered that one of the best things about iPhones is that you can look like you’re checking your messages but secretly you can be taking photos of young men in startlingly coloured clothing, like some kind of Germaine Greer-inspired pervy-pants cougar person.
In fact, I ended up taking so many pictures that I started a segment called ‘Suit Of The Day’ on twitter. It had a theme song and everything – although its genius was somewhat lost in a text and photo based format. It went: “Suit of the day, suit of the day, suit of the day… Suit of the day!” (I recommend you sing it as you look at the following pictures. Truly, it will enhance your viewing pleasure.)
“Next year, I’m doing ‘Shoe Of The Day’,” I told the MML a little drunkenly, as we waited for the bus to go home. “I don’t want to become typecast as the ‘Suit Girl’. I might even do ‘Shih-Tzu Of The Day’!”
Although there’s not a lot of Shih-Tzus at the races, granted. But who knows? Maybe next year, I could galvanise The People to rise up in protest to allow the Shih-Tzus of the world admission to the races, even if they are mostly owned by the Members.
You see, that’s the best thing about annual events. There’s always the promise of next year…