It’s been a long day. Scratch that, it’s been almost two long days, seeing as it started at 5:42am with a combination of an alarm on my phone blasting some Alkaline Trio at me and my cat deciding she wanted to escalate her habit of waking me up by biting, playfully, my knee.
But I can’t sleep. There’s a beautiful orange moon between the shutters of my window, the day’s caffeine, essential at 5:42am but unwanted at 01:17am the next day, buzzing around inside my head, combining with the sour feel of trepidation around revealing myself, Sarah, to my oldest and dearest male friend, which I intend to do, unless I lose my nerve which isn’t unheard of, in about twenty or so hours.
But that’s not what this blog post is about. I had a good day, a long day, granted, but a really good one.
It was hot, so hot in London today, and I, as part of trying to stave off middle-age and keep a trim figure that I can corset the hell out of to fit into my frocks, walked a long way between meetings.
My route eventually took me down to the Regent’s Canal, around the back of King’s Cross. It’s a beautiful area, quiet even though it’s right next to a major thoroughfare, and I took some time, which I never really do, to just sit and watch the world.
Well, not so much watch the world, but watch the people as they headed by, some rushing, some moving slowly and un-driven. And some just utterly beautiful.
That’s the joy of London. I grew up in a smaller city and you become immune to the charms. But never with London, and not because of the history, the bustle.
Because of the women.
I only sat by the canal for about an hour and a half, but the fashions, the range, the characters I saw as I sat, they were a joy to behold.
And, as Sarah, I wanted to be every one of them. I wanted to be the harried secretary, wearing a dress that was so similar to one I wore for a photo-shoot a while ago, carefully but wonderfully made up with her hair tied back and fashionably unfashionable thick rimmed glasses. She looked at me, sat relaxing on a bench next to the canal, and flicked me a furtive and friendly smile which I, shy to the point of autistic, returned awkwardly. She clipped on by in a pair of shoes that would have me crying in pain in minutes, and I loved everything about her. Not in a stalker kind of way, but in a sisterly, respectful and charmed way.
Here’s the dress by the way, in case your missing a bit of fabulousness as I meander through a poet phase.
Part of me wanted so strongly to switch places with her then and there, to totter back to whatever unfeeling office she had come from, to sit behind a desk, adjust my glasses, give the same smile she had offered me to one of the guys in the office. It was bittersweet but touched my soul like a sip of water after a long hot day.
Then a couple of blokes walked by, no interest to me whatsoever in drab-mode, then a rasta-inspired gentleman on a bicycle with a sound system playing reggae so loud my fillings were moving in time to the beat as he pedalled by.
Then a young hippie-ish girl. The Regent’s Canal backs onto some of the coolest places to live in London, parts of Islington, and they attract a certain kind of social outcast/misfit that has replaced the flower-children of the 60s.
She was stunning in a natural way, a look I’d love to be able to cultivate but thirty years too late. She had a long T-shirt on over torn leggings, hair tied back in a completely casual yet essentially pristine way, and a pair of wellington boots on. Like the first girl she flashed me a smile and it was then that I realised I was actually really comfortable, not comfortable in a sitting down way (benches hurt my butt since I lost weight, there’s no damn padding back there anymore, which is odd because the first undergarment Sarah puts on adds the padding I’ve lost. Ahh, fashion) but comfortable in a human way. I smiled back and she stopped in front of me and started feeding the ducks.
I’d so love to rock a style like hers, but as I said too many years of being a bloke have put paid to that kind of natural, un-forced femininity.
By now it was approaching the time I’d have to go into my meeting and do my stuff, but I had one more beautiful visual encounter before I left.
This time it was a power-dressed executive type, walking with a bloke who was obviously her hard worked and under-appreciated underling. It was like watching a delicious British farce, like Ab-Fab, and she berated him for not getting her coffee as she stomped by in a wonderful feminine way, completely over-the-top and expensive shoes tapping on the cobblestones. She was wearing a facsimile of a man’s suit, tailored around her and with a skirt rather than trousers, the aspects that made it masculine teased out to ultra-feminity. Over-sized shirt collar with a lot of jewellery, a suit jacket that pulled in tightly beneath her bosom, highly impractical but wonderfully sensual.
She didn’t see me and, by the way she was publicly bossing around her poor assistant, I was kind of glad. But again I felt the urge to be her, to feel the tightness of the outfit highlighting my form and femininity, to feel the power of bossing around a man.
The nearest look I’ve that was close to her was the one below – imagine this Sarah with a tight black suit over a wide-collared white blouse. And no smile, of course….
It was only about an hour but it was something I haven’t done in too long a time. I stopped and smelled the Perfume, if only for a moment, but it was like dipping my soul in satin, lifting a flute of the most delicious champagne with a hand decorated with long red nails and sipping gently.
If you get a chance, take a break. Take a moment and delight in what you are and the world around you.
Stay beautiful sweeties, sleep is calling my name, and that name is Sarah.