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Posts Tagged ‘cool bars’

I’m the kind of person who often walks into a room and has everybody whisper “Who’s that girl?”

Unfortunately, it’s never said in the hushed and awe-filled tones of someone in the presence of True Beauty. It’s said in the same kind of way that someone might say “What did I just step in?” or even “Is that a pubic hair in my soup??”

I’m pretty sure I made such an entrance when I recently went to a swanky Sydney wine bar, wearing jeans and a smock top that mades me look like a hunchbank who’s six months pregnant.

I was going to see my fabulous friend GT sing and, indeed, had rung her beforehand to check the dress code.

“It’s very casual. Jeans are fine,” she assured me.

It wasn’t until I arrived there that I realised the statement “Jeans are fine” applied only to people as fabulous as GT who can wear anything anywhere and, in fact, never wear jeans because they’ve got far better things to wear.

There was some small part of me that wanted to shout out “Anyone care for spot of scrapbooking?” or (better still) “The Bells! THE BELLS!”as I walked across the room. Luckily, I was meeting my friend Dr L and my stepmother JJ – both of whom have known me for over two decades and know that I’m way cooler than I look. Okay, so a little cooler.

Anyway, the gig was great. GT has a velvety voice like an angel who’s wooing the devil, or at least talking him into giving her a really long foot rub.

But the “Who’s that girl?” moments continued. During one break between sets, Dr L and I heard our names being spoken. We looked up to see GT and a pretty blonde woman looking over at us. They waved to us and we waved back.

GT walked over to us a few minutes later.

“That’s [Karen], Mr F’s friend,” she said.

“Oh! Karen!” I exclaimed, knowingly.

“Ah yes! Karen...” Dr L echoed.

GT went back to the stage and began singing. After a few bars, Dr L whispered out the side of her mouth.

“Just checking… Do we know who Karen is?”

“Fuck, no,” I whispered back, my smile still fixed on my face.

After a few more songs, Karen got up to leave. She waved to us cheerfully. We waved back with equal enthusiasm.

“Bye, Karen!” Dr L said, brightly.

“God go with you, Karen!” I said, which made me giggle to myself for at least half an hour because I was a jeans-clad pregnant hunchback in a swanky Sydney bar and I had to find something to laugh about that wasn’t myself.

Anyway, as fate would have it, during the next break I found myself chatting to GT’s guitarist, a very talented man that I had met a number of times over the past 15 years.

After a while, he extended his hand to introduce himself.

“Uh, we’ve actually met a few times before,” I told him. “I’m [NDM].”

“Oh! [NDM]!” he exclaimed, clearly remembering the name but struggling to put it to the mumsy Quasimodo figure before him. “Uh…”

“It’s okay!” I told him. “I’ve had three children and have gone completely to seed!”

He looked back at me blankly and blinked. I took this as my cue to continue.

“You, however, look exactly the same!” I enthused. “That’s worked out well for you!”

And I smiled my brightest smile, knowing full well he’d be thinking “Who is this girl?” even though I had ostensibly just answered that question for him.

What can I say? I clearly have a gift. But who that gift is for is anyone’s guess.

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The other day, I was waiting at the supermarket check-out and felt this little frisson when I looked in my shopping basket. I had realised that its contents  – with 1 litre of no-fat milk, a block of chocolate, cat food and an impulse copy of “NW” magazine – represented a “Single Girl Shop”. I felt all footloose and fancy-free as I walked out to the carpark – there was almost a little skip in my step – but by the time I had climbed up into my 1986 Tarago, noticed the snot streaks on my black tracksuit pants and then the strains of Angela Lansbury singing “Beauty and The Beast” on the car-stereo, the spell was broken and I drove back home with a heavy heart.

It took me back to about a year ago, when my friend JS (she who star-jumped off the wagon with such glee – see “Kicking the Habit“) persuaded me to come into the CBD to meet her and a few girlfriends for a drink or two. It started off badly: I caught the bus in, I couldn’t find the bar because it was too cool to be clearly signposted, and the bouncer looked young enough to be a child of my loins. And then, when I finally located JS and her friends, I saw that they were all fabulously frocked up and drinking exotic cocktails, while little old me (old being the operative word) stood awkwardly with my glass of cheap fizz, in three-quarter length trousers and a large floral hand-bag over one shoulder like some kind of poster girl for Miller’s Fashion Club. As I caught the bus home (which, upon reflection, was even more tragic than catching the bus there), I concluded that I probably would have felt more comfortable wearing a garbage bag held together with gaffer tape and was grateful that nobody had had me escorted from the premises for looking like Somebody’s Aunt.

In my own habitat, I still feel just a little bit cool. I wear vintage cardigans! I’ve never owned a pair of white trainers! I wear “New Media” glasses! My hair is interesting and well-cut by a funky lady! (No-one needs to know that she comes to my house to do it). I had the first pair of Crocs out of everyone I knew and even before Meg Mathews (ex-wife of rumoured ex-member of ex-It band “Oasis”, Noel Gallagher) was featured wearing them in UK “Heat” magazine!! (Okay, so strike that last one). Listen, goddammit: I’m a cool mum!!

I guess the telling sign in that proclamation is that I can’t honestly just say “I’m cool” – I have to put the word “Mum” in there, which is a little like saying you’re an “uproarious funeral director” – both words kind of cancel each other out. Some people like to use the term “Yummy Mummy” but that just rubs me the wrong way whenever I hear it applied to anyone who’s not all laid out on Hannibal Lecter’s dining table. I don’t know why it drives me so crazy – but it does. It’s almost as bad as people saying “It’s All Good” when, clearly, it isn’t *all* good, nothing ever is, and to pretend that it is “All Good” is to be walking around in a state of perpetual delusion.

But anyway, I digress. Last night, when I was still musing on this post and my own state of “Mumsiness”, I found myself walking into the local supermarket with my bicycle helmet still on, a stained t-shirt which kept riding up and an old pair of pregnancy trousers that kept falling down. To protect the public from the Horror That Is My Midriff, I promptly pulled the trousers as high as they would go, so the stunning result was as bad as Simon “Harry Highpants” Cowell would look like if he wasn’t surrounded by American Idol stylists 24/7.  Much to my delight, I ran into a fellow mother-of-three wearing her netball skirt and a heavy metal tshirt from a band her brother was in during the 80s. We regarded each other with the respect we deserved – after all, nothing we were wearing was inside out or could be classified as nightwear and – here’s the most impressive thing – there we were, both chillin’ in the dairy section of Coles, without our children while our husbands were at home doing the childwrangling. Now that’s cool.

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