I haven’t written one of these posts for a while (although I am delighted to hear that some of you have now started doing your own), but there was SUCH a good one today that it really raised the whole day, nay, week. Want to know what it is?
1. I walked past a man wearing a proper Salvador Dali moustache.
Not in Shoreditch, either, where you might expect that sort of thing; I’d put the moustachioed gent in his 60s, and he was walking up Piccadilly. It was wax, not irony, keeping that ‘tache aloft.
I didn’t get the chance to take a covert picture of him, so here’s Dali as a visual reference:
So imagine that, minus the shoulder-chicken and plus green tweed jacket and red face.
Obviously it doesn’t appear casual and breezy, but this is truly a look which takes considerable effort. I once had a friend called Peter who told me he’d spent SIX YEARS growing a moustache to the requisite Dali length. At last, on the day when he judged it sufficient, he waxed it and shaped it into the famous upright formation. A triumphant moment! Then slowly, inexorably, one side drooped back downwards, shortly followed by the other one. This can also be a cool style, but surely impractical – imagine the ends trailing into a bowl of soup or porridge.
Anyway, Peter in his disappointment shaved it off.
The rest of the three things pale in comparison, but here we go nevertheless.
2. Thanks to Dylon shoe dye*, I transformed a pair of rarely worn boring beige brogues into two-tone wingtip brogues. Now they look like magpies for the feet!
Heck, I should have gone the whole hog and affixed taps to the bottom.
*You’d better stay fast in the rain, Dylon, or I will GET you.
3. Perhaps encouraged by the shoe makeover, I found myself watching Snog Marry Avoid for the first time in at least two years…and frankly I can’t believe I’d neglected it so long! Don’t mock. There is much to admire in the programme: it’s an exemplar of narrative economy. Over one episode, one is privy to three people’s Journeys, without any of the sob-story stuff that usually dullifies a reality TV Journey. There are no subplots, no chaff; just a triptych of three-act dramas in 28 minutes. And there you were, thinking it was merely another freakshow.
The Journey always starts in the same manner – overdone subject reluctantly submits to a makeunder – but can conclude in one of three ways:
i) The new look is a new beginning for their outer AND inner life, and the subject is emboldened to present their bare face to the world, without a larding of fake tan and hair extensions. The show has broken them out of the chrysalis of their own making.
ii) Subject returns to their old look, but with the satisfaction of having viewed it externally and decided that, yes, it is in fact the best exterior representation of their interior self.
iii) Subject returns to their old look with a vengeance, and behind it is doubly embedded in their spiral of body dysmorphia and low self-confidence.
Over the years, several dozen people have written to Answer Me This! to ask whether I’m the voice of POD. Don’t I wish I were.