Tag Archives: Marks and Spencer

The Party’s Over

Camilo Ayala

Great Sadness

It is with great sadness and an aching heart (but an immense sense of relief) that I have to announce that I no longer regard myself as a PARTY ANIMAL. How has it come to this, you may ask yourself. How can the Lifestyle Support Guru have reached this sorry state? What momentous event can have caused this? Let me tell you…

DODO and I decided that we would venture into the city centre to sample the bright lights of a Saturday night, something we had not done for some time. THIS WAS A MISTAKE.

We started in a new ‘games pub’ where everyone was playing board games, which wasn’t so bad, although it’s not how I personally would have chosen to spend my Saturday nights when I was in my twenties (or thirties, or forties, or…).
Looking for something just a touch more lively, we moved on to a Latin-American-themed establishment. THIS WAS A MISTAKE.

At first we were ignored by the bar staff, who probably thought we were the cleaners and had arrived early. After getting served (we were the only ones not drinking cocktails), we managed to get a seat and gazed around at the clientele. I came to a number of conclusions:
i) Too many women were wearing dresses at least one size too small
ii) Too many women had failed to purchase ‘no VPL’ (no Visible Panty Line) underwear to go under their small dresses
iii) Too many women had not practised walking in stilettos before coming out for the night
iv) Too many women were too concerned about flicking their hair alluringly over their shoulder then looking round to see who’d seen them do it
v) Too many women were ‘shaking their booty’ – not a pretty sight in a dress two sizes too small, and quite unnerving for DODO because they were ‘shaking it’ in his face. He almost choked on his beer!

I am all for self-expression and not judging others, but there are limits… I doubt very much that the young woman with the VERY large bust and VERY narrow hips wearing a VERY short, tight dress with large flowers (possibly peonies or cabbage roses) on it had intended to look like a drag queen… THIS WAS A MISTAKE.

But there has been one final ‘event’ that has settled it in my mind that my PARTY ANIMAL days are finished. I was preparing a gourmet Sunday lunch (fish and chips – or ‘frites’, since they were from M&S) for myself and DODO. It was as I was lifting out the baking tray to turn the ‘frites’ over halfway through cooking, as per the instructions (is there a knack to this? They seem to end up on the floor or not turned over unless I use my fingers, which HURTS!) that a thought sprang unbidden into my mind – ‘Hmm, I could do with some new oven gloves.’ NEW OVEN GLOVES? NEW OVEN GLOVES? NEVER in the LSG’s long(ish) and illustrious life have oven gloves ever featured in any significant way. And certainly not on a Sunday afternoon with lunch and a glass of wine waiting.

And that, beloved believers, is when I realised that my PARTY ANIMAL days are finally over. One cannot allow PARTY ANIMAL and OVEN GLOVES to exist in the same mind. I am off to the Aga shop tomorrow…
THIS MAY BE A MISTAKE.

DOT calling LSG – Advice Please

I have received this heartfelt plea from DOT and, although I was going to post some sound advice about going oop north to Halifax, I felt this merited a more urgent response. Halifax can wait – we’ll always have Halifax, as Humphrey Bogart said so movingly in ‘Casablanca’ (or was that ‘Carry on, Casablanca’?).

“to: Lifestyle Support Guru

Tanzania

Tanzania

Message to LSG from DOT (Dai of Tanzania)
Dear LSG, I shall soon be making a brief (ha ha – you’ll get the joke later) visit to the UK, where I shall change from DOT (Dai of Tanzania) to DOT (Dai of Turkey). My letter is not about my change of name, but a necessary change in my circumstances.

Istanbul

Istanbul

I need a reputable place, recommended by you, to buy a complete new set of underwear. You may recall that on my last visit I also had a similar need and purchased 10 pairs from M&S. I can hear you wondering how I could have worked my way through 10 pairs of underwear in such a short time.
I didn’t.
The items in question were all several sizes too large and none of the assistants at the aforesaid shop pointed this out to me, or even raised an eyebrow.

men's underwear

boxer shorts

At first I found the extra room useful. I cut down enormously on my excess baggage to Tanzania by simply filling my underwear with towels, and other soft furnishings, such as pillows, a duvet, 2 waterbottles and 20 pairs of socks. They didn’t set off the alarm at the airport, and my body shape ensured that undesirables didn’t wish to seat themselves next to me. However, things haven’t gone as smoothly since.
I have had to learn to walk with a mincing step whilst in Tanzania: left hand firmly inside the back belt of my trousers holding on to the waistband of the undergarments to ensure they don’t end up around my knees. Occasional forgetfulness has me having to hunt, using my complete arm down inside the trousers, whilst smiling and nodding at alarmed passers-by. Shopping has become problematic as I often need both hands to carry the bags, and the faltering garments ensure the mincing steps become more exaggerated at these times, only able to move my lower limbs from the knees downwards, attracting unwanted attention.
I haven’t replaced them whilst here as I’m never sure that someone hasn’t worn said items previously.
So, all I want is a reputable place where the assistants will raise their eyebrows and ask suitable questions like, “Are these for your own use, sir?”, or “How many people are you expecting to get into each pair?”
Dear LSG. Please help. I can’t spend another 2 years like the last. And as you are a Support Guru, this seemed an appropriate plea.”

Oh, DOT, DOT, DOT … (Did you see what I did there? Ha ha!) What can I say? If only I had read this before I went to Netherthong in the Yorkshire Dales …
Firstly, I have to congratulate you on your highly inventive use of the extra luggage space created by your purchase of over-large undergarments. With careful marketing, you could branch out (so to speak) into the travel industry, offering Ryanair customers a foolproof means of packing all their holiday clothing without having to pay those pesky ‘hold luggage’ charges. (‘Hold luggage’ is not, I hasten to add, an order – that could lead to charges of a very different kind and at least one night’s stay in a local prison cell as you try to explain just what you were attempting to do with your arm buried down your trousers. I don’t think ‘Looking for my underpants’ will translate too well into Turkish.)

CHEESE

CHEESE

You could, of course, pop along to Derby’s Eagle Market, which still advertises itself as ‘Britain’s largest indoor market’ (even though it isn’t and, to my knowledge, never has been) to purchase more undergarments in a more appropriate size. Unfortunately, there is one immediate problem I can foresee – there’s only about one stall left in the market and that sells cheese. I do not recommend purchasing anything from this stall because a) you don’t eat cheese and b) using said cheese as a ‘filler’ for the previously-purchased garments could lead to even stranger looks from people and, probably, unwanted attention from dogs and other creatures with a strong sense of smell.
I can only see one solution and that is to ask a sibling (you have a choice of several) to accompany you next time you sally forth on a shopping trip and get him/her to read the labels on packs of undergarments BEFORE you purchase them. This could serve two purposes – i) hours of entertainment and amusement for passers-by as they watch you peering closely at labels, asking, ‘Does that say Large or Extra Large? I don’t want them round my knees again.’ and ii) a warm glow emanating from the sibling who was chosen because (s)he feels loved and wanted, although that warm glow could, equally, be emanating from sheer embarrassment.
Personally, I would recommend going to a town where you and/or glowing sibling aren’t known. Alfreton (see previous post) has some shops – and very few pubs, so you can wander round purchasing underpants in a variety of sizes without fear of being recognised or of going into a pub, drinking too much and ending up doing a Superman impression as you try on your new pants over your trousers.
I hope this helps. Do keep me informed.