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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Licentiate Column 14/10/10

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Getting my makeup done by the L'Oreal make up lady, who managed to apply liquid eyeliner ON A SWAYING BUS.  This is a life skill which I have yet to learn.

As the weather goes from summery drizzle to an intensely dirgelike autumn downpour, I, like many people, get the itch.  This is not the kind of itch than can be remedied by furtive trips to the GP and extortionately priced creams.  This is the kind of urge that compells you to make a drastic change.  Open your mind!  Save the world!  Become a better person!

The itch for change, for transfomation is so overwhelming that it’s all you can do not to spontaneously combust and emerge from a blackened chrysalis with the overall demeanour (and unnervingly smooth appearance) of Angelina Jolie.  You want to become a better person.  Not necessarily a better version of yourself, mind.  My dreams of improvement never actually involve improving on the admittedly shaky framework that is me.  It somehow involves Normal Sarah becoming a totally different, new and improved person, much like the endless parade of actors portraying Nick Tilsley on Coronation Street.

It’s at times of identity crises such as this that I do what any sane woman would do.  I don’t actually do any of the things that I plan on doing, like going to Pilates, reading Bertrand Russell, alphabetising my closet or putting the fine tuning on a skincare regime.  I reach for the hairdye.

Last week I went from a mousy brown to a pleasantly artifical looking carroty red that would make Peg Bundy nod with approval.  Do you ever feel (somewhat inexplicably) as if you would somehow become much thinner, taller and sassier once that towel wrapped around your ‘do is whipped off?  I was suitably shocked and perturbed to find out that, after slopping a squeezy bottle of gunk on my head, I was still me. With red hair.

As disappointment rang in my ears (that could have been a side-effect from the dye) I popped down to the Oasis Fashion Bus which had trundled in to town to celebrate, appropriately, the total makeover of the Patrick Street store.  Inside, I was greeted by Style Wars winner David Greene, who took me through all the fashion-forward choices for this season.

I asked him what would suit me, a very short, hourglass-ish, non-model.  David showed me a nice, lace panelled midi skirt and a flapper dress that should skim over the hips.  I’m not sure of the significance of the hip skimming, but he certainly seemed to know what he was talking about.  There was a pause and he said, ‘You know, you’re not that short.  You’re probably not as short as you think you are’, a fact that, now realised, still shocks me.  I always thought that I was a titch.  Apparently not.

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"Listen Sarah, I know you think you're tiny, but it's just the camera angle"

I get home and measure myself, and he’s right.  I’m just half an inch off the average height for women.  As it turns out I barely know what I actually look like, let alone have the capacity to accurately imagine myself after a makeover.  To others, my flaws are probably not as exaggerated as they are to me.  People don’t see me through a warped lens as I (and many women) do.  They just see me.  With red hair.