Tag Archives: holidays

What not to wear when travelling

airport

Airports are wonderful places for people watching. Where is everyone going? Why are they going there? Story after story can be imagined, nothing is impossible. But there is one thing that knocks me out of my reverie and invokes the letters W, T and F:

Airport fashion crime.

As I often say in my head to the person tramping tourist trails in stilettos: What were you thinking? What was going through your mind when you decided that was the most appropriate thing to wear?

This is what not to wear to the airport (I saw someone wearing very similar treating the VIP lounge like it really was somewhere for VIPs rather than just normal airport space with less chance of finding a seat):

airport-fashion-1

Here is what I wear to travel in (and by extension of that I assume what most normal Earth dwellers wear):

scarecrow

There are a number of reasons I can’t/won’t go to the airport dressed like a fashionista:

1.   I save all my nice stuff for the actual holiday

I don’t have enough on fleek outfits to waste them on a glorified bus journey. Anything decent I do have is safely packed away in the suitcase in a plastic bag (in case any toiletries leak). I will choose wisely during the holiday when the appropriate time is for those items to appear – too soon and they may not be clean if a more fitting occasion arises. Sometimes those clothes don’t even see the light of day such is my desire to keep them spick and span, ready for if royalty should unexpectedly join my package holiday.

2. The K-Factor

Kids. It’s hard enough to keep yourself clean when you’re safely across the other side of a table from them, but levered into a space the size of the monk’s suitcase? Not a chance. The last flight we took, my husband settled his warm derrière on a Malteser that had rolled across from our 5-year-old in the next seat. You can imagine what that looked like when he stood up.

That’s the low end of the scale. If you’re unlucky your child might pee on your lap or fail to hit the 2cm x 2cm gap that forms the opening of an airplane sick bag. That’s really unlucky – but also highly likely – so best not to be in Versace.

3. Spillages in the course of going about your everyday business

“The harder you try to keep something clean, the more likely you are to destroy it” (Messrs Muscle and Sheen, 2003). To give you an example: In a bid to take my tray from the stewardess in a safe fashion – ie using two hands – I once placed a bottle of drink between my thighs for safekeeping. As I manoeuvred the tray, an elaborate and unexpected muscle sequence occurred that caused my thighs to contract and squeeze the contents of the bottle onto my crotch. Turns out the blankets you get on planes aren’t that absorbent. Result: looking like I’d peed my pants and the walk of shame to the toilets. But silver linings, folks! At least I wasn’t in a white silk dress and a black thong.

4. Is it so bad to just want to be comfortable?

Whilst some people may be happy to sit through a 13-hour flight with their leopard skin leggings riding up their crack, I’m content to forgo a mile-high wedgie in favour of some old-fashioned comfort. I may even slip off my shoes (or at least loosen my laces). If my family would let me I’d wear my granny slippers as I traversed the globe:

slippers

Life’s too short to be retrieving your stiletto heel from an airport travellator (nope, it’s not a catwalk). Your designer bag may look awesome on the crook of your arm, but are you able to fit all the sh*t in there that you need? I’m rocking my rucksack, baby, with its stink from years of sweaty trainers. And when I do get a foil dish of scolding hot unidentifiable airline food in my lap, I’ll have had plenty of space in my hand luggage to stuff a spare pair of cheap joggers. If I’m really lucky they’ll even be clean.

What are you doing for Christmas?

Christmas wreath

“What are you doing for Christmas?” For at least two months of the year this question replaces the great British preoccupation with the weather. Guaranteed to break the ice with anyone and always eliciting a response – by mid-December we all have a stock answer up the sleeve of our Christmas jumper. But is the question overused? Are we in danger of not giving a damn about the answer? Even my hairdresser told me she was fed up with hearing it and she’s in a profession where you must by necessity be master of the repetitive question. You’d have thought it would make a pleasant change from hearing about summer holiday plans. Not so.

Why are we interested in what other people are doing for Christmas? It rarely impacts on our own plans. It’s guaranteed they will be at home or visiting relatives. I can’t recall anyone ever throwing a curveball and announcing that they’ve renounced Christmas and will be spending it in the sweatshops of the North Pole liberating elves. Now that would be an answer I’d remember. When you’ve asked a question a thousand times you start to stop hearing the answer. When you’ve answered the question a thousand times you start forgetting who you’ve told, which is good because I guarantee the person asking you will have asked you before and will have forgotten what you said anyway. If you see a flash of recognition in their eyes that will simply be them switching to autopilot and wondering whether they’ve bought any crackers yet.

When you’re prying into someone’s personal life then there is of course an element of voyeurism. Are they planning to have a bigger turkey than you? Have they made their own centrepiece for the Christmas Day table? Was it them that bought the last folding chairs from Homebase to seat their vast family who are flying in from all around the world because they put on such a darned good Christmas? Yes, there is the danger that in asking “What are you doing for Christmas?” you will start to dwell on your own inadequacies. Perhaps your own lack of family traditions will come to light. Your failure to plan to spend all Christmas Eve bent over a mixing bowl so that your kids will have a full-sized gingerbread house in the morning will be exposed. Maybe you will feel like a bad parent. Oh to hell with it. Pour yourself another glass of mulled wine and ask them whether they’ve got any plans for the summer holidays.

Merry Christmas and a little bit of Bah Humbug to you!