(Another World Premiere for this ALL-NEW never-before-published episode of The Gin Club, which was written in October 2013.)
My son Alfie has a lovely girlfriend called Sophie. She asked me if the Gin Club would be going to the pub she works in, The Nag’s Head.
Ooh, nothing we like more than an invite. Just Boring picked me up in her Mini. She’s doing Sober October, so she’s F***ing Boring now.
The Nag’s Head is a lot bigger inside than it looks outside. Very art deco. Packed with post-work spill-out making themselves heard at the bar.
Sophie was being a brilliant waitress. F***ing Boring ordered a coke. I should’ve told her coke is evil and kills worse than alcohol but am I really bovvered? You can bang on about things all you like but people never listen.
Our friend and culture vulture Poppy (not her real name!) joined us for gin as she lives nearby, and was holding one of her many book groups there later. We talked about Pippa Middleton calling our new headmaster ‘undeniably fanciable’. Was this a slur on his reputation, in the very week he started at the school? It did lower the tone a bit, we agreed. ‘Well, it did…and it didn’t,’ said Poppy, ‘because it was a member of the Royal Family.’ Yes, anyone else in the whole world and it would have lowered the tone. ‘Even Nelson Mandela?’
‘Well, he wouldn’t have said it…’ said Mad Lucy, rather reasonably, for her.
Conversation moved on to the Stortford Threader, a fearsome woman who lurks in Jackson Square. ‘She plucks hairs out of their roots viciously and quickly,’ declared Mad Lucy.
‘Ooh, go on, tell us about when she looked at your chin,’ I said.
‘Oh alright…’ We all leaned forward, clutching our gins. We’d heard the story many times before. ‘She’d finished my eyebrows. I got up to go but then…’ we held our breath, ‘….she looked at my chin, up close, very close. She looked me in the eye and said, ‘Chin?’ I shook my head, terrified. ‘But you have very hairy chin!’ she exclaimed, her words booming around Jackson Square. ‘Very hairy chin, very hairy upper lip, very hairy sides of face, VERY HAIRY FOREHEAD!’ ‘
We howled with laughter. Mad Lucy does it so well. She ended up with a stripped face. F***ing Boring said she likes to tidy up her minge, but does not want a nude minge. Poppy said absolutely no nude minges because they result from the dictates of the porn industry. We talked about Movember, and Caitlin Moran’s Hairy Muff chapter. It is sad that the youf feel obliged to be hair-free, and suffer in-growing hairs, cystitis, irritation. Poppy maintained this pressure is culture-led.
I said, ‘well, when we had Alfie in a New York birthing centre, they wanted to whisk him off to hack off his foreskin. I had to hang on to him for dear life.’
Mad Lucy, who has spent time in Iran, muttered ‘Read the Koran….Sand under the foreskin, not good.’
‘We didn’t live in a very sandy place,’ I pointed out.
‘Well, no, but if you lived in the desert in a yurt you might want to get it done.’
Tu-Gin-Su mentioned Tracy Emin’s image of a plucked chicken ‘on her bits’. Did Tracy do this to make us hate the nude minge? Probably, because it’s a horrible image. We talked about how sometimes men are forced to be waxed too, even on their tender bollocks.
Ooh, that gave me an idea. I could volunteer my dear husband to have his bollocks waxed for charity. He would raise tons of money! So, if you meet him in town, please congratulate him on his philanthropy. He’ll have no idea what you’re on about, as he never reads anything I write. This means he’ll only find out once his Justgiving page reaches five grand, we start the camera for Youtube rolling and tell him it’s time. ‘Time for what?’ he’ll say.
‘Time to get your bollocks waxed, of course,’ we will say. ‘A thousand people have donated a fiver for this to happen. You can’t pull out now.’
Sigh. What a wondrous image: I feel a short story brewing. Anyway, back to our conversation: ‘I like to stay hairy,’ I said, ‘because I like being an animal.’
‘Now that could be interpreted in several ways,’ said Mad Lucy.
F***ing Boring said primly, (remember she’s Sober for October), ‘well, I prefer being neatly trimmed.’
Poppy said, ‘The real problem is that the need for smoothness is so embedded in our culture that people don’t realise they have a choice.’
‘Hairy is ugly though,’ said F***ing Boring.
Poppy said, ‘Why should something entirely natural be ugly?’ She then ruined her point by confessing that her highly principled tufty pits made her so self-conscious at her aqua-aerobics class that she had to stop going.
Sophie approached to take glasses away. ‘Let’s ask the youf what they think,’ I said. ‘Sophie, do your mates feel obliged to wax or shave all over?’
Sophie laughed but wisely did not enlighten us as to the hairiness of her mates. She did bring us another Guinness or three though.
Tu-Gin-Su said, ‘we don’t want hairy bits popping out of our tights though, do we?’
Mad Lucy told us how she wore the hijab in Iran and wafted around in the heat of the desert. She said underneath there’s a surprising amount of glamour going on.
I told them all about the big Russian mamas in the waxing parlour in NYC where they used to give people accidental orgasms. Oh alright, by people, I mean me. Look, it was completely unintentional! Not my fault! BTW I bet it happens all the time, but no one ever fesses up. Seriously not easy grappling with small-talk while in unexpected throes though.
Shit. Should have gone Sober for October. Then these embarrassing things would never come out.
F***ing Boring said to Poppy, ‘Just because you’re hairy doesn’t mean you can’t be my friend.’
Poppy said, ‘Equally, just because you’re smooth’ (and fucking boring, she should have added) ‘it doesn’t mean you can’t be my friend.’
I decided to hang around for Poppy’s ‘book’ group. They had apparently prophesied: ‘By the time we turn up you’ll be proper mashed.’
They turned up, and true to form, we was already proper mashed.