Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Still crazy after all these years?

I met  an old lover over lunch today
We spoke about our hopes and fears
We laughed and drank a lot of wine
Still crazy after all these years.

Sorry Paul Simon.

But we did. We laughed and drank. Laughed possibly enough and drank too much, if the bottle of white and bottle of red I chucked into the recycling are any measure.

Ian turned 55 this year. When we first met he was 22 and I was 20. We dated and he asked me to marry him when I was 21. I declined for two reasons:

  • I wanted to see more of the world (as Aussies do!)
  • I couldn't cope with the constant pressure to have sex (and I still can't… from anyone.)

That aside we had a lot in common. We had similar upbringings, similar tastes in music (bizarrely old-fashioned compared to our peers), basically we were good together - except at the age of 20 I couldn't cope with Ian's adiposity. He was a big man even then and I found it repulsive, but I found most of sex repulsive. He was my first and there was no teenage sinuous grappling; already he was obese for his age and height and heaven knows he was a sensible eater… but I couldn't cope with it.  Him. Physical him. I've never been a touchy feely person and quailed at the feeling of rolling fat beneath my hands.  It put me off sex. Sorry. I know I shouldn't be sizist but I struggled with weight issues as a teen myself which I'd conquered and it had a lasting effect.

I've never enjoyed the physical sex thing - the invasion of one's body by other parts of another's. I can't cope with having to use my mouth on someone else's body or them on my mine. Given that my first experience with Ian was with someone I found physically unattractive because of his fatness,  although the mental side was good, it's no wonder the relationship failed. I got sick of being expected to put out every time we went out. No matter if it were coffee or dinner it was expected to end in sex and eventually I put my foot down and exited. I've been the same with every other lover, really: can cope with so much intimacy and sex then I want to run away and have my body to myself.

But incredibly Ian and I have stayed friends. We see each other about once a year. Traditionally it's boozy as Ian is still a big man - Gawd, much bigger! - and can handle his booze so he drinks twice a much as I do.

So today was one of our lunch days. He came to my place and I cooked Boeuf Bourgignon, with potatoes and peas. We both thoroughly enjoyed it. We chatted all the way through, catching up on each other's lives.

It struck me in one sense that perhaps I'd have been better off in my life saying "yes" when I was 20. We still get on so well. We still have a lot in common. We still laugh at the same things and have the same aspirations. I'm still repelled by his size but then I'm repelled by my husband who is overweight and has too much body hair for my liking. I've never liked hairy men but at my age there is no escaping them, dammit. Ian, however, is just too bloody big - he's on the truly repulsive size scale for me. Think 150kg. His personality however is wonderful.

But I'm on a boozy high, reliving my afternoon of classic jazz and swing and Frank Sinatra.

But I do wonder if Ian, with whom I have never lived, has the same problems as G: can't close cupboard doors, can't slide drawers in, can't put chairs in, can't finish a sentence and a host of other minor problems. I do like Ian's personality, but I have to be realistic.

I'm married to G, who can bug me but who is a truly good man. So is Ian. But if I have to be hassled for sex I'd rather be hassled by the one with the smaller body. Less repulsive.

Character counts for a good deal but you have to be able to accept physical interaction with a person. Otherwise it's shit. And sometimes still is anyway if your partner wants it a lot more than you do and you have to fake enjoyment or at the least consensus.

So I'm reliving my youth with Ian, wondering about the might have beens and giggling about our views on the future. Still crazy after all these years.

Friday, June 5, 2015

A short - or rather, skinny - history of my life in jeans.

As I work from home, I tend to live in jeans. I have a few pairs in various stages of degradation, and nothing left for 'best', i.e. going into town or out to dinner at the local club.

Shopping for jeans, however, is hell.

I'm short, but I'm not skinny. I'm slightly overweight but you'd call me medium build. So in order for the jeans to fit snugly around my waist they are usually too long in the leg.

I am heaving a huge sigh of relief that 'high rise' jeans that actually fit around your waist are coming back into fashion. Curse Victoria Beckham for her statement several years ago that the hipster (low-rise) trouser was perfect for every body shape and thus prolonging the fashion. It bloody wasn't. If you were bigger than a size 8 you ended up with a muffin top. I did succumb to a pair of low rise jeans for $20 but never felt thin in them. I was ok standing up holding my tummy in but they felt horrible when I sat down, as if my tummy was bulging revoltingly over the top of them like a wobbly soufflé.

I used to wear bootleg jeans a few years ago, then I went for a half price straight leg when I had trouble getting bootleg. The straight leg doesn't really do me any favours. I look short and podgy, so it has been relegated to gardening wear. The bootlegs weren't bad but I got a bit sick of them and longed for a pair of skinny jeans, drainpipe jeans as we used to call them when I was a kid. Do I have the body shape for skinny jeans? Not hugely, but as I tend to favour mid-thigh tunic tops they work for me far better than bootleg or straight leg with tunics.  I bought a pair of skinny jeans two years ago (after going to five shops before I found a pair that had the waistband at the waist and found they were called Mummy Jeans - oh dear!) and felt twenty years younger the first time I put them on.

I do most of my clothes shopping by catalogue with Ezibuy, and I decided to try a pair of high-rise skinny jeans from them last year. While they're on the skinny side they are not skinny skinny jeans. They are skinny jeans for grownups and a bit stretchy. ;-)  I've noticed they have started to sag in the bum and legs, though, as the fabric isn't very heavy and I suppose the elastane element has worn out, and they don't do me any favours when I look in the mirror. They are now relegated to 'wear around home' status. They weren't expensive however, and these days you do get what you pay for in most cases.

Many jeans these days are stretch fabric, and the manufacturers claim they hoik you in and make you look thinner. I fell for a grey pair of Gordon Smith Miracle so-called Skinny Jeans a few months ago when they were on special; they were heavy wintery denim with 10% elastane and had a tapered leg rather than an actual skinny one. But the colour was good. Did they make me look thinner? Initially, but they stretched over the tummy a bit rather than flattened it once I'd worn them a few times. The real miracle about these jeans is that they are fur magnets. I had no sooner taken them out of the carrier bag than every bit of white cat fur in the bedroom migrated onto them.

Lesson: don't buy stretch jeans made with 10% elastane; there's something about that fabric that attracts cat fur. Unless you buy them in the same colour as your cat.

Today I was at my local shopping mall and found some Levi's on a mild special (they are never on a good special).

Now I've never worn Levi's. There was all that hype years ago when they brought out the 501s, the jeans specially designed for a woman's body. I tried a pair on at the time. They were horribly loose below my bum and looked disgusting on me, even though I was two dress sizes smaller back in the day. They simply didn't fit well. Obviously the women's bodies they were designed for were tall and had long legs.

So I've ignored Levi's for years. Aside from which they are pricey. I shudder at the thought of paying more than $100 for a pair of jeans, which is what Levi's cost in Oz. For the same reason I avoid Guess, Jag, Sass and Bide and other designer brands. I have been known to scour the racks at charity shops looking for jeans in my size for a fiver.

But….but…. these Levi's I saw today were skinny jeans, in my waist size and more or less my leg length. They were high-rise. They were a dark indigo, just what I'd been looking for. I tried them on. There was no elastane. They hoiked me in like billy-o. They fit where they should fit. They actually looked pretty darn good. And they weren't made in China, which is a minor miracle these days - they were made in Poland.

Reader, I bought them.

I am 52 years old and now own my first pair of Levi's.

I feel like a teenager.