Wednesday, June 28, 2006

It's Always Better On Holiday

... oh, how you lied to me, Franz Ferdinand.

Going on holiday is rubbish. But it's not the done thing to just take a week off work and hang round the house in your underwear, eating biscuits and watching Everybody Loves Raymond. Oh no, you have to go somewhere.

This involves all kinds of general horrors, such as having to find your passport and undergoing a bikini wax. In my case, there are more particular traumas, such as having to travel on a plane with unreserved seating with my brother, his wife and their two children, aged three and 9 months. I just know we'll get to the check in and - bam! - one of them will just ask me to hold Nephew 2 and watch Nephew 1, totally coincidentally while the seats are being allocated.

Next thing you know, I'll be getting death stares from other passengers as the young single mother who's completely failing to control the angry porridge-smeared toddler and nauseous baby she's taking on holiday at the hardworking taxpayer's expense, while my brother and his wife will be tutting with fellow travellers about me as they tuck in to their fourth gin and tonic five rows back.

And the swimwear shopping all went a bit wrong today, too. After trying on a succession of increasingly vile print tankinis, I finally found one that was both stylish and, er, structured, a rather jolly navy halterneck number that made my breasts look surprisingly jouncy.

The trouble started when I took it to the cashier, who refused to sell it to me. "Did you do this?" the cashier said, waving the gusset irately at me.
"Er, do what?" I countered, a chill of panic washing over me.
She gestured at the place where the 'hygiene strip' should have been. Clearly, some other mardy cow had removed it from the gusset (uh, horrible word).

"You cannot have this," she said bluntly.
"But... but.. I tried it on over my underwear," I stammered lamely, keenly aware of the queue of nosy menopausal women accruing behind me.
"I cannot sell this to you. Without the strip, it counts as soiled. Unless -" the women craned to overhear the conversation, sensing something good was coming....
"- unless IT WAS YOU WHO SOILED IT," she concluded in ringing tones.

At this point, I half-expected a TV crew to spring up from behind the till to record my humiliation. I was really bloody annoyed. Did she really think I make it my business to go round shops, wilfully tearing off hygiene strips and giggling insanely to myself? Or maybe she thought that I got some kind of sexual thrill from trying on the same swimwear that hundreds of other women have tried on without the hygiene strip - rather like punters who try to persuade prostitutes to forgo using a condom?

I muttered something that sounded a lot like, "didn't... ...soil..." and stalked away from the counter with as much dignity as I could muster. Then - THEN - when I went back to the rail, they didn't have any more in my size.

So I went for another one, which is nice in a 'I could swim the channel in this' kind of way. It's a little, er, Victorian in its sensibilites. Actually, I think the word I'm looking for is comprehensive. It tries to be diminish its maiden aunt credentials with jaunty pink and orange straps, but they have as much leavening effect as affixing a bunch of freesias to the top of a Howitzer.

I also tried on a halter neck one with a cut away back and just these triangles of fabric over the breasts but - get this - my breasts were too high for it. They were like two zeppelins, barely tethered in a paisley mooring. Imagine my excitement! I knew there was a reason I went to M&S.

But obviously I bought the boring tank-like one. I've built my entire personality on not feeling good about my body, and it wouldn't do to break the habit of a lifetime.

I might also mention that they refused to exchange fifty pounds into Euros without seeing my passport. Why? Did they think I might be a particularly ineffectual money launderer? Might I embark on some kind of untraceable Europe-wide crime spree with that fifty quid? OH NO WAIT - I couldn't, because that would require a passport.

Needless to say, I'm now in a very bad mood. And the prospect of a week without phone, internet, TV, 24-hour news, Tesco's Finest Ready Meals or a smoke is not improving matters.


Anonymous paul haine said...

Is 'jouncy' a cross between jaunty and bouncy?

6/28/2006 7:58 pm  
Anonymous galatea said...

It means 'full of jounce', i reckon. Who said you never learn anything from the Internet?

6/28/2006 8:45 pm  
Anonymous paul haine said...

"Did she really think I make it my business to go round shops, wilfully tearing off hygiene strips and giggling insanely to myself?"

You know, that does actually sound like a bit of a laugh.

6/29/2006 7:28 am  
Anonymous lb said...

Well, tomorrow I'm going to North Devon for three days. Blissful, rural emptiness with nothing but a few surfers to sneer at.

I have, however, packed some Speedos for the essential swimwear embarrassment factor. And some flip-flops too, if you can imagine such a thing.

6/29/2006 8:53 am  
Blogger galatea said...

The great thing about North Devon (she says on the authority of a holiday there last year) is that in many ways its still in the 70s, so they'll probably think your Speedos are rather avant-garde.

I do hope they're some vile combination of colours, like orange and lime green.

6/29/2006 10:58 am  
Anonymous lb said...

Blue with a blue go-faster stripe. I was hoping for some unpleasantly brown ones rather like my last pair but sadly I couldn't find any.

I have quite a bit of South Devon / Cornwall experience but North Devon is a new thing for me.

6/29/2006 11:43 am  
Anonymous towns said...

I don't think you get individual go-faster stripes, they come multitudinously or not at all. See, you parallel-park a sufficient number of garishly pigmented stripes (or just two generously proportioned ones) and you get the quantum interference patterns that allow you to zip around the place with like the Rocketeer. Just one stripe and you’re an idiot with a florescent rectangle on your cock.

Clearly this is why Nike(ee) have to spend so much more money on advertising to make them seem ‘cool’. Arch-nemesis Addidas? No such trouble.

6/29/2006 1:50 pm  
Anonymous towns said...

Hmm. Do they have these hygiene strips for shirts too? The number times I've been shopping in the summer, only to catch a whiff of über-BO from the cavalcade of sweaty-pitted monsters that have struggled into the garment before I've had the misfortune to encounter it… Bloody shirt-shaped knock-out gas.

6/29/2006 1:57 pm  
Blogger galatea said...

Perhaps a single stripe is an Alan Patridge-esque 'maintain the same speed' stripe?

6/29/2006 4:20 pm  
Anonymous lucko said...

Added to the BO girls have to deal with other girls' make-up all over things in shops...I honestly think some girls just go in and rub their faces all over the clothes in the safety of the changing rooms for fun. Its in such ODD places sometimes...

6/29/2006 4:32 pm  
Blogger galatea said...

Yes, this season's white thing has really thrown into relief the excess of foundation favoured by the British female.

6/29/2006 4:40 pm  
Anonymous Ali said...

Borak's choice of costume:,,50001-1222772-1,00.html

7/07/2006 12:50 pm  

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