My friends can always be relied on for existential wisdom and direction. Together we have bushed back the boundaries of Western thought with such gems as “Take the road less travelled, there might not be sick on the pavement” and “If you stomp down the rubbish, you don’t need to empty the bin as often”.
So when Kirsty marched into my room yesterday to announce her plans for the future, they were naturally received with all the reverence they deserved. “The best thing about babies,” she mused, “is the tiny, tiny shoes. They make me happy. So I think I’m going to have a baby and just cover it in shoes.” I ask you, ladies and gentlemen, was this merely a hungover moment of mental abstraction, or actually a strikingly perceptive comment on the materialist exploitation of motherhood in the 21st century?
Now, admittedly our views on maternity are skewed, partly because of Brad and Angelina, and partly because we live in Highgate. Which is like a safari park of fashionable parenthood, where you can watch the yummy mummies in their natural habitat and occasionally throw them bits of gluten-free bran muffin. But while I should be wildly cynical, resenting their latte conferences and Baby Gap discipleship, the only thing I’ve actually got from two years of observation is this: it looks fun.
So while to stand up and say “I’m Lauren Bravo and my new life plan is to find a solvent husband and have a brood of adorable children” would be falling off my sudo-intellectual feminist horse with a big noisy thud (and the bruises would look dreadful at mother and baby yoga), I’ll admit it’s tempting. More tempting, anyway, than the prospective years of coffee-making at Cross-Stitch For You magazine to claw my way into journalism. Or getting a sensible career as an office pot plant waterer. Or getting a cat.
What’s more, children themselves seem to be giving me the signal. Suddenly they approve. Where babies used to look at me and cry, or vomit, now I get coos of appreciation and interesting bus banter with six-year-olds. Perhaps it is because my hair looks like Malibu Barbie, or custard, but there’s a little part of me that thinks the infants of the world are uniting to say “Be a 50s throwback, Lauren! Forget careers and be a hip young mum! Buy tiny ,tiny Converse and go to the Disney Store without being judged!”
So there’s my new plan. I will develop a new breed of yummy mummy, one who doesn’t have to do pilates or have an affair with her personal trainer, or have the personal trainer to have an affair with, but does get to spend her time forgetting her degree and forging new artistic directions in finger painting. It will be great. I have the names picked out already – just to make sure the last three years of higher ed weren’t completely wasted, I plan to have Milton, Ezra and Virginia, tastefully-shod, before long.
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Just as you were thinking the programme itself was more entertainment than a simple human could handle, I decided to turn it up a notch and invented Britain’s Got Talent Cliché Bingo.
Rules were as follows: one point for, “It’s just so great to be here”, “You’re what this show is all about”, or Amanda Holden’s tears; five points for “You’ve been on an incredible journey”, “I’m going to give it 110 per cent”, or a sob story about a dead relative; ten points for “It’s now or never”, “Anything could happen”, or one of Piers Morgan’s special three-point analogies (“Jenson Button won the Grand Prix today, and he’s like you – he’s fast, he’s fantastic… and he’s… British…”). The time goes by so much quicker when you have your own dream to reach for.
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It was with great pleasure that we stumbled out of the o2 arena after our graduation ball on Saturday night to find the sun had risen. Having not mustered this kind of superhuman partying energy since first year, or maybe ever, we were thrilled to find that in our last, fleeting days of studenthood, we had finally become hardcore. Unfortunately this was somewhat undermined by the massive bag of flipflops and quilted slippers we took along for the inevitable weary shoe-change.
The inevitable weary shoe-change took place at 11.45.