FOUR FINGERS AND THIRTEEN TOES — FOREVER THE BRIDESMAID
Have you ever had a Bridesmaid moment? The dreaded “BM”. I’m not talking pink fluffy gowns that make you look like an oversized meringue but rather those moments when you (even for just a fleeting moment) felt it should have been me !!
History is littered with BM’s … think Kruschez to Kennedy; McEnroe to Borg; Brown to Blair; Clinton to Obama. If you sit back and think, the list is almost endless.
I’m not immune to the odd Bridesmaid moment either, after all, it’s part and parcel of life’s rich tapestry in making us who we are.
And so to my most recent BM.
A few blogs ago, I recounted the chaotic scenes in our house as I struggled to prepare for a rather important interview. For those of you who chat with me on Facebook and listen to my tweeting on Twitter, you will know that a couple of weeks ago I attended the Inspire Wales Awards as a finalist in the Active Citizen category.
Now I am now able to spill the beans on the evening. Think of it as being a bit like The Xtra Factor, or Britain’s Got More Talent, but without the clever use of video footage edited to make the viewer cringe !!
The day started reasonably well. My alarm went off, and my PA arrived on time. My hair went into rollers and stayed like that for most of the day. I did a little work looking rather like Hilda Ogden on a night out in a drag club … and patiently waited for the make-up lady to arrive. In anticipation of the night of glamour that I was to enjoy, I had cleverly decided to engage a make-up lady to help me apply the correct supple tones and highlights to make me look good under the glare of the spot lights. This was going to be Cardiff’s answer to the Bafta’s but for the movers and shakers in the professional world of Wales.
However, the BM was fast looming when the make-up artist failed to appear. I made a couple of phone calls, left messages on those irritating automated voicemails, and had a momentary lapse of despair as I considered whether my foundation would ever be able to hold the weight of make-up that I had planned for the night. I shouldn’t have worried, my Knight in shining armour emerged from his office to announce that Cinderella would go to the Ball with a full face of make-up. We would make it a combined effort – Steve would help me with the foundation and I would progress to the “smokey” eyes look. Then we would jointly put the finishing touches to what could only be described as a masterpiece that the Grand Masters of the art world would be proud to call their own.
Now, as all you fashionistas will know, foundation for a regular day is one thing, but for a special event it is completely different. So, tentatively I sat in the bathroom whilst “Bob the Builder” started slapping on the foundation. By the time Steve had finished, my face could have shored up even the most wobbly home from Extreme Makeover Home Edition, and it was then down to me to create that Cheryl Cole look. Cheryl Cole I’m not, and an hour later, with an array of tissue and other bits of mascara (or was it massacre), eye liner and Kohl pencil surrounding me, I managed to create on my face, an image of what Cheryl will look like when she too is in her 49th year !!
A short while later after blusher, lippy and loo, it was out into the garden, for the obligatory photograph before everything started moving south. Then my trusted taxi driver Howard arrived with my sister Deborah, who was travelling with me to meet the rest of my guests at the City Hall.
So far so good, the Bridesmaid moment over the make-up lady’s mysterious non-arrival was by this time a dim and distant memory.
But of course, there is always something that has to burst your bubble. And in my case it is technology. The technology in question was a rather antiquated lift at the entrance to a decidedly inaccessible early 20th century civic building. Being the organised person that I am, I had already advised the event organisers that they needed to make sure the lift access was working for the day, and I was assured it would be. However, those technical gremlins conspired against me. Yes, you guessed it, the lift wasn’t working. Like Cinderella, I just needed a carriage to get me to the ball, well rather a lift, but my fairy Godmother in the shape of the Event Manager, was far too interested in quaffing champagne in the pre-dinner reception, taking place just a few metres away at the top of the stairs.
And so there I was, at the bottom of a flight of steps, surrounded by very disinterested security guards who would have been quite happy to see me catching bread rolls thrown from the dining room, rather than going out of their way to help me into the building. Eventually, after much huffing and puffing by my guests, somebody managed to find the key to an alternative entrance and lift. So, some fifty minutes later, after a trek around the outside of the building (just as well it was sunny and not too windy), up the alternative left, along some dark corridors, into a second lift (the tradesman’s lift of course!), I sort of breezed into the function room to meet all my girlfriend guests – emerging (blue satin dress and all) from behind the bar – clanking against all those empty bottles of champagne as I went — just as everyone else was already taking their seats!
But there was an Oasis on the horizon, the wine on the table was chilled and Cinders had eventually got to the ball. All I now needed was my Prince Charming. Sadly Steve had to stay at home and make sure James did his revision for a GCSE exam the following day. So, I had to make do with waiting for the Sponsor of the Active Citizen category to open the envelope and announce with aplomb that “the Winner is …”
And the winner was … well, most of you already know the ending. I wasn’t presented with an Active Citizen trophy or a glass slipper for that matter. Not that it would have been much good – there aren’t many pairs of glass slippers that accommodate thirteen toes !!!
At the end of the evening, we cracked open a bottle of champagne to toast another Bridesmaid moment. Then, some of my more resilient guests dragged me to a nightclub where I met a number of colourful characters, and I have the dubious photographs to prove that even a Bridesmaid moment can have a fun ending.
However, all is not lost. Next week, I’m off to see many of my seventies pop idols attempting to rediscover the elixir of life on the “Once in a lifetime” concert tour. Watch out Gerry and Dawn, I’m in first in the queue for those loving Osmond glances. The only problem is there will be three thousand other active citizens vying for first place. Ah well, c’est la vie.