Inside Style - by Annmarie O'Connor - as featured in The Dubliner - June 9th
Blinkers. Apparently they’re not just any old piece of horse tack. Such visual restrictions double as a recessionary device for spendthrifts and should be mandatory for women in general. These are not my words. Allow me to explain.
One afternoon, after pulling for a shoot, buying a hedge clipper (long story) and some Boots 3-4-1 ‘offers’, I took refuge in Insomnia from the nagging wind and rain. Coffee and a chicken wrap would put the world to rights, or so I thought. Little did I know someone else in the cafe had similar lofty notions.
About to take bite of my second sambo half, I felt a pair of bespectacled eyes peering over at my piles of Urban Outfitter bags. “Shopping on your lunch break?” enquired the wire frames from under the scribbled pages of a journal. I nodded in agreement, keen not to engage in conversation, happy just to eat and go. “That’s the problem these days, isn’t it?” insisted the querent. “There are just too many distractions in modern life.”
Oh dear. Looks like I caught a live one. “It’s not that shopping isn’t a lovely hobby,” continued the cafe philosopher, “it’s just that there are so many other things competing for one’s attention.” As tempted as I was to inform him I’d actually be returning these clothes, my spiralling insulin levels trumped any sort of exchange. I continued to nod politely. “Take you for example,” illustrated my like-it-or-not lunch buddy, “I couldn’t help but notice you are milling into that sandwich.” Milling? I felt like I had been called fat to my face. There went my caffeine buzz. “You clearly have been trying to shop on your lunch hour and now you’re forced to scoff your food so that you can return to work.”
Scoff? Paranoia kicked in as my eyes scanned the room for evidence of a CC TV camera. “It really is a terrible affliction for you poor ladies.” And with that, the would-be stranger went back to scribbling his epithets of woe.
And then it occurred to me, either I had been blind to the fact that I eat like Mr. Ed, or this guy trade in his world view for the bigger picture. Women aren’t slaves to fashion and frenetics; we just happen to be incredibly adept at multi-tasking. Chew on that mister.