Yesterday my daughter offered me three pairs of her old shorts. When I say old, I don’t mean ancient. I use the word more in the context of ‘no longer required’. And why are they no longer required? Because, after a year of pole fitness and physical theatre, she weighs eight stone seven pounds and has a body slimmer than a pencil. Well, not literally a pencil, but you know what I mean.
‘Don’t be ridiculous,’ I told her, ‘they won’t fit me.’
‘Yes, they will. They’re huge,’ was her response.
In this next context, please understand that huge still means ‘Size Small’, it’s just that they’re huge on her because she’s now Extra Extra Small.
‘Here,’ Eleanor held a pair out, ‘try them on.’
‘Do you think I should?’
‘Erm, I was thinking more along the lines of whether it’s acceptable to be seen in them.’
‘Hmm. I get where you’re coming from. Leopard print probably isn’t for you.’
Indeed. Not unless I wanted to look like a fifty-two-year-old hooker.
‘Well what about these?’ Eleanor offered. ‘They cost a lot of money.’ She was holding a pair of black cotton hot pants covered in silver spikes and tiny metal skulls. A reminder of her Emo phase.
‘I’m not sure they’re really me.’
‘Okay. What about this last pair? They’re boring as anything. Just like y– . I mean…they’ll totally suit you.’
I gazed at the pale blue denim. Levi Strauss. And lovely fringed sawn off legs. Oh, yes! I stuck one foot through the leg hole, then the other, and pulled them up. There was a pause as the denim hit my thighs. A bit of a tug. After all, you can ask your thighs to breathe in, but you won’t get a response. A firm yank, and they shot upwards nearly garrotting my private parts.
My son wandered in, looking vague. ‘I’m in the middle of revision, and stuck.’
‘I’m in the middle of trying on a pair of shorts, and also stuck.’
‘I’ve gone blank on the definition of volatile.’
‘It means tense, uncomfortable, or uneasy. A bit like me in these shorts.’
‘I’m talking about the word in chemistry terms.’
‘They fit!’ Eleanor exclaimed.
‘Well, they’re on,’ I said cautiously, pulling the waistband together to do up the stud button. There was a gap of two inches. Okay, I’m lying. It was three inches.
‘Oh, I remember now,’ said Robbie, ‘it means a liquid that easily evaporates at room temperature.’
‘I wish my waist would evaporate at room temperature.’
‘Oh, shame,’ said Eleanor, trying not to look appalled at her mother impersonating a particularly porky sausage in the grip of a very tight bandage. Or a pair of shorts in this case. ‘Take them off and I’ll give them to the charity shop.’
Removing the shorts was not an experience I wish to repeat. As I went to pull them down, they jammed over my hips. How on earth had I ever got them on?
‘Help,’ I wailed.
‘Keep still, I’ll tug with you,’ said Eleanor.
So we tugged. Nothing happened. Visions of reaching for the kitchen scissors danced through my mind.
‘One more try,’ said Eleanor.
Thankfully the second attempt had the shorts coming down. Along with my pants.
‘Do not ask me,’ I gasped, trying to protect my modesty, ‘to ever attempt trying on your clothes again.’
‘You could always go on a diet,’ my daughter suggested helpfully.
Which reminds me. I’m trying the new Pasta Diet. The Italians have been using it for centuries. You walka pasta da bakery. You walka pasta da sweet shop. And you walka pasta da ice-cream shop…