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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Licentiate Column 02/09/10

Every Thursday, I will be publishing the Licentiate column, which you can also read in the Cork Independent.  This is a regular series and leads on from the blog, so I hope that you enjoy it!

There’s a recent epidemic that has been plaguing young women all over Cork City. It’s not contagious, but it is dangerous. The main symptoms include incredible lethargy and arms stretched out like an overmasticated leaf of chewing gum. The cause of this as-yet-unnamed condition is obvious. Women have been taking too much on and have been trying to drag a copious amount of September issues back home from the newsagent, testing their sanity and stretching their forearms with more tenacity than the medieval rack.

September Issues are no laughing matter. This is the time when many women begin planning their winter wardrobes with the precision and obsession of serial killers. Which, coat, which cut, what colour are all questions that have to be asked before the first bronzed leaf falls off a tree in the People’s Park and the first pair of woolly opaque tights are grudgingly pulled on. Women put incredible amounts of pressure on themselves to formulate a seasonally transitional range of outfits, then find out to their despair that no-one else has noticed because they’re also too busy looking at their shoes and thinking ‘Hmm, heeled lace-up boots this season’?

This leads people to pick up every September edition of every fashion magazine that they ever bought, no matter how casual or negligible the frequency. Why? Because these periodicals hold the key to the sacred winter trends (the word ‘trends’ should be said in a reverent voice reserved only for rabid followers of the Pope or Justin Bieber). I had the incredibly unpleasant experience of picking up seven magazines in Eason’s yesterday. I would have bought more, but POP and French Vogue weren’t in yet (for that I thank a higher power much wiser than I). They weighed a ton. I needed a mini forklift to get them to the counter and the woman serving me had to divide them into three piles, then double bag. There was a very real probability that the bottom could literally fall out of my fashion life.

On the way home the loaf of Schull that I had bought earlier bounced out of my hands and rolled ahead of me jauntily, goading me on at how fast it could go because it didn’t have to lug about a bushel of Vogues. That wasn’t the worst part. The worst part was this; I could not stand to pick up the bread, because that meant that I might have to put the magazines on the ground. I just could not do it. I had to stand forlornly by my bread until someone infinitely more practical picked it up for me. Take it from me, when you’d rather read magazines than eat, you have a problem to be concerned about.

It was worth it though. When I got home I was plunged into fashion sensory overload redolent of a Victorian opium den. The sights more than made up for the lack of sound, smell or taste. For all the slating that magazines receive in terms of body fascism or unreachably aspirational prices, there is no denying the seductiveness and tactility of the paper, or the knowledge that you are in possession of an ever-widening window into another world. It’s yours and you get to keep it, this small sliver of a fantasy world where everyone is fashionable, fabulous and fits neatly in with everyone else. Maybe the overstretched arms are worth it.