Red Hot Man

My Dad has booked us tickets to see Lord of the Dance.

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I cannot emphasise enough how terrible this is.

Don’t get me wrong, he’s a generous man. An intelligent one, too. Well, until you take heed of his spending habits.

There were probably several times that his spending abilities were alerted to my consciousness, but I experienced a rude awakening in our local Waterstones.

I was trying to add the 85th Sleepover Club novel to my repertoire (Kenny was my favourite, if you’re interested), when I saw my Dad’s attention quickly diverted as he made a leap outside after he heard the yowl of a forty-something man, aka the friendship pipe. Those ‘alright mate how’s it going mate do you want a cup of tea mate the missus is at home mate because apparently when I speak to you she loses her identity mate’ scripts may be the reason for my tinnitus today.

I shrugged and thought little of it. My Dad has about 62 friends named Dave and 23 named Lee. Dave Lee would entertain him while I thumbed through as much of a book as possible until a shop assistant discovered me. It was only when my Mum and sister arrived twenty minutes later, Dad in tow, that I realised something had gone terribly wrong.

He was holding a box of ‘scents’, sitting in diamante encrusted bottles and marketed with an alluring spritz of Comic Sans. There must have been about eight in total. Realising that he couldn’t ignore the roar of a bargain any longer, he went into a spending frenzy at the market stall outside.

“You tell her the name of that, Paul,” my Mum said, torn between fury and mild hysteria.

“Red Hot Man,” he shrugged.

Not an ounce of shame alighted his face.

“Red Hot Man?!” I said. “Who are you trying to impress?!”

“For £15.99 for this hamper Jasmine, everyone can be impressed.”

It’s a torrid denial of word association that still haunts my nightmares. The scent? An effete combination of coconut, disinfectant, and I swear, TCP.

Last year, my Dad was researching ‘Black Friday’. The Americana of it all was lost on him, so he thought he’d pilot his own British version. It sounds so bourgeois to be ungrateful, but when you’re taken to an amateur rip-off version of the Blue Man Group, you’d feel exactly the same. A clipart presentation enshrined the show. Webcams were used to entertain unsuspecting audience members. Ballads were sung, joined by a montage of Nintendo gaming moments to capture the emotional zeal of the not-so-high notes.

Before the show, Dad had bought a few toiletries for the rest of the trip. Twenty minutes into the performance, I caught his gaze and removed the razors from the bag.

They were bic. I have never quite forgiven him.

 

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78% fat

I’m staying in Crouch End at the moment, aka the land of the healthy snacks. As the masses filter through Budgens, Marks and Spencer and Waitrose to find their quinoa gluten-free kale flavoured crisps, I’m just looking for a party with some fat content. It’s hard enough paying 45p for a curly wurly, never mind £2.69 for something called ‘Goodness! Gracious! Me!’ that abuses the right to use an exclamation mark.

My friend gave me a pity tenner because she couldn’t stand to see what I was eating. I tried to sate her concerns by purchasing a cheese and bacon roll, priced 29p. Not only am I meant to be flirting with vegetarianism once more (seven years on, one year off), but the item in hand had a staggering 78% fat label. It was red and angry. Its blatant alarm made me laugh. I scoffed its salty contents without even opening and closing my mouth. It’s a special technique of mine that I wheel out at parties if you ask really nicely.

Whilst we indulge in some good old artery clogging, my mother texts me and my sister. ‘Live for now, girls!’ she says. I don’t think she realises that a chunk of brie and some pringles is as good as it gets. At least the mortgage conversation is off the table for once. Last week, we told her we were not sure if we could be bothered to have kids. Life is short and we’re far too self-deprecating, self-indulgent… self everything, really. It costs £6000 to freeze human eggs. £6000. Little do we realise what tragic bargains we acquire from the Happy Egg Co.

‘£6000?!’ My mum splutters.

We affirm this over the medium of text.

‘Just freeze a couple then. Start coughing up.’

My sister passes me some more pringles. We decide to divert her attention by talking about our cousin’s sister’s brother’s mother’s uncle’s dog, which bears a fascinating propensity to rear children.

78% plus 78% is… well, I scraped a B in GCSE Maths.