The horror of being the only newbie in a room full of well-acquainted women all playing professional catch-up is akin to going on a fortnightÕs package to Kabul and realising that youÕve only packed a g-string. ItÕs at times like these, when you are alternately trying in vain to catch one personÕs sympathetic eye while avoiding the discriminating gaze of another, that it comes to you that maybe women just donÕt like you. Not only are you not on their wavelength, but theyÕre all digitally tuned to Radio Four and youÕre twiddling the knob vainly trying to get some easy listening on Heart.
And if women really dress, diet and competitively under-eat for other women, how does the novice prepare for an event where the other participants have been training for the office for life? Well you could lose a couple of stone, get a makeover, a personality and an opinion that isnÕt formed by afternoon TV, I suppose. But all I did was put on a pair of clean tights, wash my hair and put on my regulation lick of red lipstick. On the way out the door I noticed my skirt was stained so hurriedly took another off the washing line to wear in its place. Then I grabbed my coat on and ran down the path into the cab without putting the clean skirt on. Luckily the draught round my bum alerted me to the fact that I was bottomless. You canÕt make much of an impression in a pair of tights and a cardigan, well not unless youÕre also wearing ears and have a ball of cotton wool stuck on your tail. Though I donÕt think that really works with women.
But skirt or no skirt, twelve women gathered round a table feels remarkably like a low calorie last supper where your aim is not to be too much of a pain the collective skinny ass. Half an hour in IÕd discovered from the sisters that men donÕt like make up. Relief then that IÕm not the queen of slap. Neither do they like red lipstick. Hate it, in fact, claims one of those who have been initiated into the secret of menÕs minds. I lick my lips furtively; hoping that the crimson unguent I have worn on my mouth since I was sixteen has faded so as not to mark me out as a failed man pleaser who has missed the bus of male attraction. Not that I was trying to please men in the first place, but whatÕs that got to do with anything?
ŌSo many men are gay but just donÕt seem to know it,Õ says another. ŌYep, and isnÕt it funny how theyÕre the ones who like women with big boobs? Like theyÕre overcompensating.Õ I slouch my shoulders to hide the 36DDs in the plunge bra, hope like hell that no one finds out that my husband wears an apron round the house and likes flower arranging. Twenty-two years, twenty pounds, and four kids it took to get these breasts and whoosh, the airÕs gone out of the balloons.
ŌBut I donÕt think that men really like skinny women,Õ pipes up one brave voice. ŌOh they do, they just pretend not to,Õ says another. Yet another disagrees; She thinks that even though they might admire slim women with great figures, they only want to shag the plump ones: ŌNah, itÕs not true. They all want to have a beautiful woman with a good body on their arms, they just sleep with the fat ones to feel secure Š so they donÕt have anyone to live up to.Õ
Well, as the only size 16 in the room, ger-eat, as Tony the Tiger might say. All these years and I thought I was attractive to men because of my warm personality, voluptuous physical charms and intimate knowledge of the Karma Sutra while, in fact, I was merely a mercy fuck. IÕm an easy lay, is all. My husband likes my big bum because it means he doesnÕt have to compete but secretly, no matter how much he bemoans Sarah Jessica ParkerÕs chicken legs and Allie McBealÕs xylophone chest, he really would prefer some svelte arm candy and has only settled for cellulite because it doesnÕt make him insecure.
Thanks for that gals. Who needs enemies when you have sisterly solidarity? LetÕs look at the evidence. IÕm a try too hard tart marked out by the crimson letter on my lips, a DD-red herring fag hag, my husband is so far in the closet as to be half-way to Narnia, and people like me can only get a shag because weÕre fat and non-threatening.
Crucify me why donÕt you? Though surely it works both ways. While endlessly postulating about what men want, havenÕt we forgotten what women want? Even plump women dream. I think Rosanne Barr would much rather have had George Clooney than Desperate Dan in her XXL bed, but last time I looked there werenÕt a lot of dishy doctor clones walking around the high street. ItÕs the old law of supply and demand. And anyway she canÕt have George. HeÕs sleeping with me. Apparently I make him feel very, very secure.