Poking around up at the local village today I had one of those shopping-glamour fits. You know the one, when just for a few seconds you feel you might be entitled to a gorgeous dress, long smooth legs, a beauty clinic face, shoes to die for, a crystal-and-candles restaurant dinner with a mysterious Someone, after which you sink into the the warmed leather seat (of the sort of car that has that sort of seat), look at one another meaningly and dot dot dot. These fantasies don’t last long because a) they’re a horrible clichÃ©, and b) you remember that in fact you’re happy already, most of the time. You have plenty of serviceable clothes, even a few pretty ones, legs that work, a face that tells your own story, ten times as many shoes as you can wear at one time; and you recall that eating good food at home with favourite friends, with wine out of mismatched wine glasses, a fire, and a dog at your feet, is almost always far more delicious and satisfying than going Out.
It’s not hard to see where the glamorous notions come from; check out any magazine, TV ad, shop window, or (dare I say it?) certain Auckland suburbs, and you can quickly start to feel inadequately clad/wooed/fed/conveyed. Feed these images to the little girl inside who believes she’s destined to catch the eye/heart of a Hero/Prince, and you can trip yourself up any time.
Still, it doesn’t happen often now. I’m old enough to laugh at the illusion of the Other Life, to appreciate the great goodness of the people and circumstances I have already, and to know that a warm bum on a leather seat is no substitute for a warm, true and compatible man in a dented station wagon.