There are a number of different words that would be suitable for describing the Mother. Belligerent, argumentative, dyslexic, impatient. And gossipy, if that is a word. The Mother did not have a problem with any of these words being used to characterise her. But there was one word which she loathed to hear people use when referring to her. She did not like being called middle-aged. Of course, anyone who described her in that way would be perfectly correct in their use of the word. She was, after all, “the wrong side of 40.” She was old enough to remember the collapse of the Berlin Wall, the miners’ strike, Fingermouse, and even people smoking on buses. By default, the Mother had also been a teenager once upon a time. Yes, it was true, even the Mother was young once, as the saying goes. In those days she had been a skinny, furious, opinionated adolescent with bleached hair and a nose ring.
When she was young, there was a multitude of things that enraged her – homelessness, the poll tax, and Margaret Thatcher. There was apartheid, animal cruelty, the class system, and the penal system. Then there was school and an education system that had failed her. Finally, there was the impending nuclear war that seemed forever on the horizon in those days. Well, it was safe to say that in her youth, the Mother spent a lot of time being angry.
She could still remember people telling her that when she got older, she would change. “Life does that to you,” people said in a patronising kind of a way. They were right – of course, she did change. These days the Mother was a very different person. Nowadays it wasn’t just the big things that angered her, but also all the little, unimportant, insignificant, trivial things as well..
The Mother got annoyed when drivers did not stop at crossings, she got angry when people spent too long at the ticket machine topping up their Oyster card. She got cross when people spat in the street or didn’t say thank you when you held the door open for them.
Then there were mobile phones, People speaking loudly on them. Kids playing music on them. Hearing exceptionally loud ringtones. There were so many things that annoyed the Mother about mobile phones, her complaints might warrant a blog all to themselves.
But today it was an advert that had caught her attention and irritated her, which wasn’t unusual.
“When you’re in-between waxes, your life is on hold,” said the voice of a woman who clearly thought that she was an expert on the subject.
“What utter bollocks,” thought the Mother, while looking at the woman with the incredibly long and quite possibly Photoshopped legs. When you’re waiting to hear about a job or you’re about to move, your life might be on hold. When you’re waiting for some test results, then everything else might be at a standstill. Asking your partner to marry you? For those seconds when you’re hoping for a yes then it is pretty safe to say that your life’s on hold. When you’re waiting for your divorce to come through. But in-between waxes, really?
Jesus, one minute, companies were telling women, when they have their period, they can do anything they like, “Don’t let your period hold you back.” “Say get lost to mother nature.” The next they were telling women, “You can’t even make a cup of tea until you’ve waxed your legs.” Bloody ridiculous.
The Mother could not think of a single thing she could not do while having stubbly legs. OK, for swimming perhaps you’d prefer them to be silky smooth, but – bloody hell – it certainly wouldn’t stop you doing the breast-stroke or weigh you down in the pool. Then there’s shagging, bristly legs might be a bit of a turn-off. But then again she had yet to meet a man who had turned down the offer of sex because she was “in-between waxes”. Blimey, for some men, it was a positive turn-on.
And what about the women who choose not to wax or shave their legs? What sort of existence must they be enduring, their life forever on hold? Can’t get a job, can’t go out on a date. Could they even leave the house? What a cruel, cruel world it must be for them.
The Mother thought that perhaps a more realistic slogan was needed, “When you’re in between waxes, your legs are slightly hairy.” A bit shit, not at all catchy but fucking hell, at least it’s honest.