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Sunday, 13 February 2011

Glasses, Manscaping, Fancy Dress

Published 12th February on Cambridge Tab

I pulled myself out of last week’s nihilistic rut soon after my column was published, largely thanks to a lax employee in a supermarket whose ineptitude on the tills gifted me my coveted four-pack of Strongbow for the tidy price of: nothing at all. Whether this gift was due to carelessness or some tiny act of rebellion against his supervisor, I neither know nor care. Either way, his monetary misdemeanor perked me up no end, and I guzzled that fizzy piss on the walk back to Homerton with a little spring in my step.

I am now able to focus on matters far more pressing than the tear-soaked pillow, and my pre-occupation has moved onto the murky ethics of fancy dress.

SCA ran a ’90s themed club night at Kambar this week, and as much as I was in the spirit for cheese and fundraising, my own role as Sporty Spice for the night was potentially perilous. Somewhat inevitably, the sight of my hairy gunt repelled everybody in there, and certainly did not encourage their donations.

When it comes to fancy dress, I am always fine until it comes to the intricate details. With the Sporty Spice outfit, for example, I had cause to reverse whatever slim chance there was of people realising who I was trying to be, by my need to wear my glasses. And sporty is the opposite of glasses, as every primary school child knows.

The only situation in which glasses are more problematic is in the context of swimming baths, when my choice is either to go without glasses and squint and splash around the pool, failing to recognise anybody (like a wet Evie Prichard), or else I can wear them and float around in my tortoiseshell frames like a drowned accountant recently drudged from the riverbed.

Normally, I go for the squint, but this has changed since the incident on Campus Children’s Holidays this summer, when I enthusiastically approached a couple of eight-year-old girls and asked them: ‘shall I take you up the flume?’ I soon realised that they weren’t our kids and my turn of phrase was grammatically uncomfortable. Regarding glasses, I now think it is better to err on the side of caution. Hence, it was Specky Spice who graced Kambar last night.

Back to the hairy gunt – a puerile word I am unlikely ever to tire of. When I arrived at Queens’ to meet Posh Spice and her friend before gracing Kambar, said friend suggested I should have waxed my stomach, to which Posh shouted: “No, we haven’t got enough time.” She understood the gravity of such a task. The task would have been more ‘clearing the rain forest’ than ‘trimming the lawn’. And, as nice and forgiving as my brilliant cleaner is, she would surely resent having to spend her working day unblocking Henry the Hoover’s sinuses of my shorn torso.

The bitter curiosities of youth taught me that what starts as a little snip-snip of an unwanted patch of chest hair becomes the first act in a ritual which leads eventually to, five years later, having to inspect the yield on a twice weekly basis. The harmless snap of the scissors needs now to take place with the care of a surgeon, since one cut too far necessitates having to shave the whole thing off, just to attain some consistency. Better not risk it. Again, erring on the side of caution then, I think I will leave my shoulder blades unshaven and exposed for all to see under that tiny little tankini.

For only the second or third time in my life, what I wanted most in the world was to resemble Melanie Chisholm for one night.

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