Oh, the dilemma of dressing. I once went shopping without my shoes on. In London. That’s how bad it is. (Actually, I realised my state of bare footedness before getting into the taxi so I zipped back to get shod before leaving)
It’s frizzling cold outside today so Barbour, boots and kid gloves are called for. However, I know that the restaurant I’m going to for lunch with The Merry Wives of Winchester is going to be cosy. Actually, it’ll be positively stifling. What to do? Do I wear a bikini under the Barbour? Probably not a good look at my age. A kikoi, maybe? My mind wonders over my wardrobe…….
Years ago I learned a lesson from a four year old.
“Mummy?” Bean unplugged her thumb and looked up at me from beneath those outrageously long eyelashes. “Mummy, I have to tell you somefing ‘portant.”
“Okay, tell me,” I muttered distractedly as I squinted hard at my reflection in the metallic door of the fridge. “Hmmm, quite….er…exotic.” I thought, grabbing my car keys and purse off the table. I looked down at Bean.
“What’s important, darling?” I asked, swooping in to kiss her. She stepped back, cocked her head and put her hands on her hips.
“You look silly in a sari,” she said firmly and plugged her thumb back in.
It was true. I’d been given the most glowingly beautiful sari by a friend from Sri Lanka and I loved the way the yards and yards of fabric fell in cascades of shimmering colour. Manju looked so serene and beautiful in her saris – an Asian goddess. I guess I thought that if I wore one too, I’d look just like her. Well, according to Bean, I didn’t. Not remotely.
Why is it that mazungus look weird dressed in non-occidental clothes? I long to wind a length of vibrantly coloured cloth around my head and match it with something equally vibrant wrapped around the rest of me. And to fling on a few extra scarves, lots of bangles, big chunky necklaces and daringly dangly earrings. But, sadly, if I did, I’d look a prize prat!
You want proof? Look below. A group of us mazungus at a ‘Back To Your Roots’ party in St. Thomas.
Texas, Cape Town, Massachusetts, New Mexico
Horrid, i'nnit? (No - I don't have a black eye. I just didn't open it on time!)