Just like the Sinead O ‘Connor song,
It has in fact been (approximately) seven hours and fifteen days, since I:
- wore mascara
- did my fake tan
- wore a socially acceptable outfit
I think it’s the longest time in my adult life, where I’ve really let myself ‘go’. Although, as I write it, It doesn’t really summarise the point I’m trying to get across…
Choosing to stay home and be antisocial is one thing. That’s the kind of situation you can prepare for. I mean, some nights, I deliberately keep my schedule clear, pretending I’m busy’ just so I can indulge in, as Carrie Bradshaw put it, ‘secret single Behaviour.
My SSB includes, but is not restricted to:
- doing a full scrub and complete body application of fake tan
- dunking chocolate covered Hob Nobs in my tea
- screenshotting memes to send to my besties
- Endlessly scrolling Pinterest for interior design ideas despite not actually owning my own house
- Smothering my face in unsightly face masks
- listening to cheesy embarrassing songs that I like to sing along to (full volume)
- Editing selfies and then deleting them anyway
I guess you could say that in all aspects, my lifestyle allows for me to have a lot of these SSB days. Forever enjoying leisurely hour long showers in hotel rooms ’cause the hot water doesn’t run out, and it’s free. And then, I live in my apartment while boyfriend lives in his. He has the freedom to order pizza at 2am while he plays FIFA without any judgement, and I get to sleep with my Olaplaex hair mask on as old Gossip Girl episodes run in the background, not concerned in the slightest if I get mascara remnants on the pillowcases.
I sleep early (ish), he stays up late. I wake up early, he wakes up late.
So imagine then, the shock horror as we both realised we’d be spending a-lot longer than the expected 2-3 days I had packed for. I had hurriedly packed a few things while boyfriend was double parked outside my place, calling me to hurry up.
In a frantic rush to keep him from waiting, I threw two gym kits, two pjs, two white SHIRTS (wtf → why did I do that??? they are a nightmare to iron!) and a pair of jeans. Yeah… that’d do. I had a few essentials at his already, like a bikini, maxi dress and some flip flops. Even a hairbrush, deodorant & make up remover.
When the lock down was first announced, I thought it’d last a week at most. Not ideal but doable. I mean, most of my fake tan had already worn off to reveal my true colours, (whiter than white), but still, I had a slight hue.
It was one thing to be white, but to bare your pasty white body in a bikini, really felt quite traumatic, especially laying beside your caramel-macchiato coloured Adonis boyfriend. “We really need to get you a tan.” he said baking in the sun, while I on the other hand cooked.
We were on day 6 of Quarantine. I’d be due my mani, pedi, eyebrow thread and tint etc real soon. I wriggled my toes a little deeper into my flip flops trying to hide them under the table. My pedi needed urgent attention, but I guess I’d be able to sort them in a few more days when lockdown was lifted. And oh my God… had I packed enough medication? Or was Para Pam about to make a come-back???
As the days trundled on, quarantine kept being extended, with more and more services being made unavailable to the public. By day 8, the clothing situation had got really quite desperate.
“I need to use the washing machine.” I declared. I was standing in front of him wearing his t-shirt and a pair of his boxers, a pile of dirty clothes scooped up in my arms. He looked at me with confusion. “I can get the laundry men to come pick it up.” I stared back, horrified. I was picturing some stranger washing my pants and bras. “Nooooooo!!!!”
It transpired that he’d never actually used his washing machine before…
I blinked. Had I mis-heard? “But it’s working, right?”
Let me tell you, people. It was not. I mean, it was, but it wasn’t at the same time, you know? Making all the right noises, but no action? And that was the day that I learned how to install a washing machine.
As I sat amidst my clothes, hanging over me like Christmas decorations from various make do surfaces in the apartment, I clocked sight of my hobo reflection, and was immediately drawn to my eyebrows. For once in my life, I actually felt thankful for wearing glasses. The frames would hide at least some of the mono brow that was creeping over my forehead.
When they say that everything happens for a reason, maybe that was the very reason my disposable contact lens stash had ran out, and also perhaps to shield my own eyes from the shambles that was unfurling in front of my own reflection. I don’t think I’ve ever looked this crap, not even in the midst of my depressive episode. Even then I maintained my eyebrows and nails. If I kept my distance from mirrors, my face would just look blurry anyway, and they do say ignorance is bliss. For now, I’d wear glasses and try to light lamps and candles – low lighting was my new best friend.
I have never lived with a boy, and after so many years of only looking out for myself, I am aware of how much I like my own space. I’d even go as far as to say I can be a
bitch bit moody. With all this extra thinking time on my hands, it occurred to me, that I’ve never spent as much time as this with anyone in my whole entire life. Not even the time Kasia and I went on a three week Caribbean trip. There had always been other people around, or stages where we were off doing our own thing.
Yet here I was, on day 13 of it just being me and boyfriend. By day 13, he’d worked out that I have basically been faking my skin tone the entire time we’ve been dating and hiding the red marks that hormonal acne had so kindly left on my chin. (“Why is your face so red in the mornings?” – he queried over a cuppa one morning). Omg… why had no-one developed a foundation that you could sleep in, yet? Can someone please invent this?
He now knew that my eyebrows had a life of their own when left untamed since he’d caught me googling how to DIY tint your eyebrows (and let me tell you, ladies, that Just For Men moustache & beard home box dye kit seems to be the favoured option – who knew!?).
I was just waiting for him to notice my talons at any given moment. At this rate, I’d be channeling Cardi B. Why the hell don’t boys have decent nail clippers and files in their bathrooms!? And dear GOD – was that not one, not even two, BUT six grey hairs that suddenly appeared on my head??? Jesus Christ!
To top it all off, fake tan covers a multitude of sins. Like broken veins from my the literal pressure of my lovely job… (“did you injure your leg?”) or that extra bit of weight you’re carrying from too many trips to Magnolia Bakery.
Our relationship was built on a LIE. I was pretending I was a perfectly put together, suntanned (ok- mildly glow-y) woman, and yet here I was, resembling an English flag if it were to have two hairy caterpillars crawling along it.
I could salvage this. Right? “Work it like Sophie Ellis Bextor. Or her from Girls Aloud!” My mum advised me as I whined to her about the situation.
That evening, while boyfriend was in his room making calls, I had a nice long shower and decided to put on a highly moisturising sheet mask. He’d never know! It’d be finished by the time he was finished with calls. I wasn’t ten minutes into my relax at home spa, when he burst out of the door and nearly jumped out his skin. His girlfriend had been replaced by Halloween’s MICHAEL MYERS.
Beauty aside, the real challenge here has been cooking. By day 11 of my cooking, as he dug into the dinner that I’d attempted to cook, he said “It doesn’t even matter anymore, even if it tastes like newspaper. We are eating to fuel.” I eyed the watery chilli con carne suspiciously. He dug into it with as much enthusiasm as a Hollywood Actor would, as he laughed, “You’re good at the grill thing, but not that good with the slow cooker.” He’s a keeper ladies, get yourself someone who overlooks your failings! Like your lack of kitchen skills!* I missed cute cafes and açai. I longed for poké bowls and fancy breakfasts. I don’t know how they cope during wars when they have to ration. Imagine, a world with no avocados and strawberries. Even worse… no Bourneville and posh coffees. In WW2 they couldn’t even get sugar or bananas!
The next night for dinner, I had a bowl of crunchy nut cornflakes, followed by couscous. I let boyfriend fend for himself, and so he fixed himself a little tapas selection including, tuna, crab sticks, mustard, truffle oil and bread, and that is a pretty apt summary of how nutritious our quarantine is working out over here.
“I have never spent this long with anyone.” I said to him last night as we sat on the sofa. “Me neither.” He replied. I sat in silence for a moment thinking of all the other people I knew and loved. Would I be quarantine compatible with them? No. I would not.
“I can’t believe you’re seeing me look so rubbish.” I told him as I sipped a cup of tea. “I look rubbish!!!” he laughed. Maybe he felt the same way after all!? It wasn’t just me! But that was the thing, even as we sat there, in our scruffiest clothes, after being cooped up for too long together, I still think he is the most handsome and funniest guy ever, and I can’t think of anyone else I’d rather be stuck with.
*By the way, I can cook some things really good. Like pasta.
PS. If you’d like to indulge in a little bit of SSB yourself, please enjoy my playlist, by clicking here. (Think cross between Notting Hill and Sliding Doors) – you’re welcome