Thursday, August 25, 2011

It happened in a very quickly. In fact, at first I wasn't sure whether it'd happened at all or if my eyes were just playing tricks on me. After all, it was ridiculously dark. Like Drew Baylor's 'last looks', this expression has cemented itself on my brain and planted a thought in my cerebral cortex that I don't think I'll ever shift: I hate Hollister.

For starters, who the hell invites members of the public into their shop by getting topless men to stand outside? I couldn't walk past without have a flyer and a nipple shoved in my face. Anyway, I take the damn flyer and enter the shop and immediately regret it. It's so dark I'm squinting like a backwards mole. The music is awful and loud. It's a shop designed for skinny people so there is no space to move between the french tourists and girls in tiny shorts hanging around waiting to be 'spotted'.

It's like The London Dungeon for hipsters.

Anyway as I wander around, bumping into stacks of £80 cardigans and stepping on the feet of pre-pubescent girls with more makeup on than I've ever owned, I notice the place is populated by pretty people. They just sort of loiter. Like handsome lampposts. The girls flip their hair and the boys flex their rippling muscles but they don't seem to be doing any actual working. We wait around for ages listening to some miserable frontman yowling on about love and his lack of it. I speculate as to how many members of staff have banged each other in the last week, month, year.

Then this tall blonde guy gets asked to go and do some work. My friend wants some flip flops in a larger size so he wanders off and gets a younger girl to run about finding said flip flops without messing up her hair. He comes back and mutters something about it not taking a long time. It takes a long time. Anyway, eventually we're all paid and done so we head to leave and on the way out we pass the blonde guy. As is custom in polite society I give him a smile of thanks and he returns the look with the expression that was the catalyst of my anger.

He just raises his eyebrows. That's it. Maybe a centimetre or so, but enough that he clearly expresses a look of disdain. Maybe second-hand embarrassment. He's thinking 'why is she in here?' I'm just glad I'm leaving. I push past the sea of nipples and into fresh, normal air.

Just so Hollister know for future reference - no, I will never buy anything from your shop and half naked men will not change that. Yes, like Bridget Jones, I will always be a little bit fat. No, I'm not going to change the way I dress because you want me to. I will wear comfy jeans if I'm wandering about London for a whole day. And finally, £80 is far too much to charge for a cardigan that quite frankly my grandma could have knitted.

So thank you for your custom, but no thank you. I think I'll choose to buy my clothes from a shop that doesn't make me feel inadequate. Cheers.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

They say we should do something everyday that scares us. I don't think this is particularly helpful advice. Eventually people would end up pushing the boundaries of their abilities and throw themselves off cliffs and swim with great white sharks and build jetpacks in order to get their kicks. Which, I'm sure, are all very achieveable in the correct place at the right time, but are not particularly practical if you decide to put a wetsuit on when you're supposed to be heading to a business meeting and as a result get your head bitten off by an angry sea creature.

Nevertheless, courage is something I think we all feel we need to have in some form or another. To use another fishy metaphor (I watched Ocean Giants on Sunday night) southern right whales have bollocks that weigh one tonne. That's a lot of balls. Unfortunately I am neither a whale, nor have bollocks and a result my confidence levels, for the most part, are not very high.

Getting a job helped; I can now behave like a normal human being in a shop. Having had experience seeing how rude people are to shop assistants I feel as though I have a good grasp on how to get them on your side and that it's not a completely insane thing to do if you ask for a little more salt on your chips. That being said, asking me to cut a sausage roll open lengthways and fill it with ketchup is disgusting and you should be ashamed. I digress.

My point is that as a person who keeps getting emails from her university saying SEE YOU IN ONE MONTH, I feel distinctly lacking in confidence. I haven't bought anything. I attempted to make a shopping list but the task was mammoth so I watched Bradley Cooper flashing his eyes about in Limitless instead. Seeing Anne was a bit of a breakthrough I suppose, because if she can go all the way to the other side of the world for six months and come back in one piece then moving three hundred miles away (and remaining in the same country) isn't such a daunting thing. It's still a challenge.

I think I have to start being a little bit more selfish. I am very concious of the fact that I spend a lot of my time worrying about other people. I need to stop, and focus on myself. Be my own best friend. Bilbo Baggins admitted to being selfish, and he lived to 111 and a bit. It worked for him. The tricky thing is it's very hard to change a way of thinking that you've relied on for so long. Especially when you don't know how it's going to pan out. Someone close to me made the good point that surely moving away, where no one knows you, and where presumptions you carry from home can finally bugger off, is something to get excited about rather than fear. She was right, of course. Why carry an albatross squawking negativity on my shoulders when I can pick up a nice snowy owl that doesn't really know me yet, but is ready to find out?

I figure that's the point of university.
That and you know, getting a degree to have job you want.