They say you see your age in others.
I meet old school friends occasionally, and think they look old, not imagining for a minute that they are thinking the same about me!
I don't really consider myself to be vain, but I suppose we're all guilty of a little vanity from time to time.
This morning though, something happened which prompted me out of my nonblogging habit!
I got a call to my office to go and speak to a new long term resident, so grabbing my phone and trusty screwdriver, (don't ask) I hot footed it to their front door.
looking a bit flustered and dishevelled, Mrs. N answered the door,
"Oh good, look, I need you to help me sort something out before my husband comes back from his business trip, I have a bit of a surprise for him"
Being a good little employee I obliged. I might not have if I had had prior warning.
Walking through to the living room I noticed at once some very large boxes wrapped in brown paper, next to these were more wrapped parcels, about five feet square, flat this time, mirrors maybe, or pictures?
"Your lovely maintenance man came over yesterday and put some hooks on the wall for me, I didn't want to ask him to help me, I thought I would wait for you, because, well, he's a man, and anyway I want a womans' opinion"
During the course of the conversation, it transpired that her husband would be celebrating his 50th birthday this weekend, and, as a special treat, she had organised a bit of 'art work' for him.
"Now, I thought I would put this one here"...
...she said as she lifted one of the flat parcels and proceeded to lift it up to the hook on the living room wall. She gave me that look my mother gives me when she is pretending to be a weak little woman, ('and well, you're much younger than me, your arms are stronger......'blah blah), so I held the picture in place, and she stepped back, making sure it was straight, then, she started to rip off the paper, which was fine until she pulled the whole thing off the hook, so it was now down to the same level as my face.
I had wondered why she hadn't taken the paper off until now, but one glance at the subject matter, now unfortunately, giving me an 'up close and personal' view of her nether regions answered that question.
I don't know how I managed to keep a straight face.
Maybe it was because she was so anxious that her husband would like his gift, and I didn't want to make her think that actually you know, maybe it's not such a hot idea to have a five foot square nude photograph of yourself beaming down onto your seating area, how ever 'arty' you might think it is. Besides, black and white photography does nothing for your wrinkles!
It got worse. In the other boxes were small sculptures, that she had obviously posed for, I felt a little uncomfortable handling them as they were a bit, er, graphic.
..."for the bedroom, I thought" she said,
"Duh, no, put them on the dining table...." Nearly saying it out loud...!
Some were quite sweet, of his favourite hobby, golfers with old fashioned plus fours and wooden clubs, that sort of thing. She must have raided Argos.
In all, we put up three very large black and white nude studies of herself. They leave nothing to the imagination. We wrapped a further five sculptures, rather beautifully with stunning paper, that must have cost more than the contents.
She asked me for my opinion, but what could I say...?
..."Oh I think it's a fabulous idea to have your fifty year old, pale, skinny, wrinkly, body dominating each and every conversation you will ever have in this house...your husband, hopefully, will absolutely adore his gift, and be very proud to have his friends and colleagues round for drinks so they can admire the love of his life in all her splendour..... I am so happy for you that you are so proud of your body, and want us all to look at it.
Once the word is out, you will have every security guy, green keeper, window cleaner, painter, builder, porter and waiter sticking their dirty little noses on your patio doors to have a gawp...my Polish cleaners will throw a hissy fit and refuse to be in the same room as the things...their supervisor will have a coronary as she a bit 'churchy'...they look fucking awful you stupid, vain, pompous, old imbecile!!
You are an attractive, mature woman, they do not do you justice, whatever the photographer charged you it was too much...why the hell didn't you have some decent head and shoulder shots?"
Amazingly enough, I didn't go that far, I did what most of us in the Service Industry do...I lied.
I lied so convincingly that she was beaming when I left, smiling for Ireland!
If I have ever wanted to be a fly on the wall it's now, his car was there when I drove past earlier....I wonder what that big square thing next to the bin is?
Note to self; If I ever become that vain, hit self on head with FBH!