Excerpt from A Falling Friend by Sue Featherstone and Susan Pape!
She won’t spend her cash on decent clothes, despite my attempts to persuade her.
‘What’s wrong with this?’ she’ll ask, smoothing down the floral A-line skirt she often wears, or pulling a long, white t-shirt over her black leggings. A row of beads and a hastily-tied silk-effect scarf around her neck and she’s ready to meet her public.
She’s not so much let herself go as never got hold of herself in the first place. She has chin-length, brown (mousy) hair, which she shoves behind her ears. She then dabs some hand lotion on her face telling herself it’s as good as face cream, and that’s the beauty routine done.
I’ve tried to educate her. I give her all the little sachets of lotions and potions that come free with whichever glossy mag I pick up, and I once gave her some vouchers for her birthday for Vanilla Pod, the beauty studio that I use. She went and Sasha worked her magic – cut her hair, put some colour on it – and Lee came out looking fab. But she moaned she’d never be able to blow dry it the way Sasha did and, sure enough, next morning she was back to the sticking-it-behind-her-ears routine.
Teri caught me doing my hair and make-up in the ladies’ loo at work, and offered advice on the benefits of a good blow-dry.
‘I’ve just been to the gym,’ I said.
She wasn’t listening – instead she picked up the mini tube of face cream which I’d left by the side of the wash basin, and squeezed a pinch onto her finger. She sniffed it. ‘It doesn’t smell too bad,’ she conceded, ‘although it’s really not a good idea to use hand cream on your face.’
It’s not bloody hand cream! It’s a handbag-sized tube of the not inexpensive super-concentrate paraben-free face cream I use night and day because it doesn’t bring me out in hives – unlike the heavily perfumed fungi-stuff she’d gifted me last Christmas.
‘But why don’t you use that lovely truffle serum I bought you for Christmas?’ she continued.
Because I’m allergic to it, and if I’d told her once, I’d told her a thousand times. But did she listen? Of course she didn’t.
She didn’t wait for an answer now either – she poked around in my make-up bag instead. She held up my eyeliner and inspected it. ‘Have you ever tried …?’
‘No,’ I snapped, snatching the eyeliner out of her hand and bundling the make-up bag back into my handbag.
Today, of all days, I had neither the time nor the inclination to engage in a discussion about my sartorial shortcomings. Yes, it’s true I can’t blow dry my hair like the girl at the hairdresser – but who can? And I know I’m never going to be Teri-svelte and streamlined because I’m not about to half-starve myself like she does.
And it’s been months since I wore a pair of jeggings.