Beholding Beauty and all that
I'm not a good looker in the model sense, but when I was younger (ie around 18-21), I'd get a few of those charming 'Hey luv, show us your tits' calls from spotty youths in beaten-up Geminis, which, in a perverse kind of way told me that I wasn't exactly a busted sandshoe either. This tentative confidence in my appearance is still regularly borne out when I'm out in public because no-one runs screaming from me when I approach, nor am I aware of whispers, stares or averted glances.
Having said that, I'm certainly not immune to feeling very inferior in the looks and figure department at times; especially when looking for jeans, sipping coffee at chi-chi Cibo in Norwood or dressing down for a school pick up when the other yummy mummies are decked out in their groovy threads. On those days, I remind myself that it's an achievement to simply be wearing clean clothes. Tracksuit pants without muddy dog prints on the back and a clean hooded jacket minus the dry-crusted weekbix after a post-breakfast hug from my daughter is something to be proud of.
That said, I can appreciate true beauty in all its forms. Particularly blokes. Hence it was with a great deal of anticipation when I first visited the building where my boyfriend (now husband) worked. It was waaaay back in 1994 - when we were still wondering when Vanilla Ice's new single would be out; were shocked at Nancy Kerrigan being bashed in the knee after ice-skating and convincing ourselves that Uma Thuman's hairstyle in Pulp Fiction was a good one.
Sitting in some worn out leather couches that sagged so far that my bum touched the floor and my knees were knocking against my chin, I waited for my dearest Love Chunks (LC) to come out of the lifts and take me out to lunch. LC was part of a huge scientific organisation that boasted about 5 males to every female and, being ten minutes' early, I was hoping to see a few prime examples of intelligent manhood sashay through the lobby.
Woo Hoo, I thought, here's the lift door opening now. Out prowled a six-foot-twenty bloke I could only describe as Chewbacca's Cousin. This Wookie had dark, brillo-pad brown hair that covered his entire face so that it was a mystery as to where his fringe ended and his beard began. Apart from this forest, all that was visible was his pink nose and top lip, and, lower down, the first thing that emerged under all the hair was the biros peeking out of the top pocket of his faded Hawaiian shirt. Oh dear, maybe he's the regulation anti-social weird bloke of the office. Or the stationery clerk. Same thing really.
Potential bloke number two could be heard before the lift doors opened. Hunched over and hawking up a particularly juicy-sounding chunk of phlegm, he was oblivious to all of the disgusted stares around him; including the woman whose hand he was holding. He continued to Whoooo-haw-haw-haw-deep breath then spit -patoooey-squelch into his now over-flowing tissue that he threw - and missed - at the smokers' bin on the way out. Boy oh boy, didn't that girl have herself the catch of the century....
Surely it's third time lucky when the 'ping' of the lift door, er, ponged (is that the past-tense of ping?) again. Sadly, not in this parallel universe.. Mr Pockets emerged, blinking in the glare of the sun, and fondling his pen protector as if to reassure himself that he had all the colours he needed in order to function during his lunchhour. No really, I too was shocked that such an obvious reject from Revenge of the Nerds could be found in funky, cosmopolitan Melbourne. And yes, there was a blue ink stain at the bottom of the pocket.
Where the hell was LC? This was getting scary - what if there was a fire drill and I got swept up in the crowd of these horrifying homosapiens? My breathing was becoming shallow and panicked when the Gangle Geek approached me. Sure he was youngish and tall, but his adam's apple was prominent enough to get his ID chain snagged on it and the toothpick legs in ankle freezer trousers that showed his white socks worn with those brown leather hand-sewn shoes that look as though they were made in a pastie oven.....have mercy! Still he kept approaching me. "Excuse me, are you waiting for the Information Centre to open?" Er no was my immediate response. "Oh, OK. It's really worth a look though. I helped instal the computer program that shows the satellite pictures and we've got all the forecasting information from 1878." Oh, that's nice. Where are you LC?
It was now twelve o'clock, and the lift spilled out the very punctual Cardigan Crew. All were predominantly middle aged, paunched, wearing glasses and of course cardies. Pale grey vinyl velcro shoes were clearly in vogue with this bunch as were gaberdine trousers shiny with wear. They'd found 'their look', were comfortable with it and were clearly going to stick with it in the decades to come.
A girl followed the Cardigan Crew out. Oh deary me, it was obvious that she'd been out when the rules about wearing flesh-coloured tights with hairy legs came out. Maybe she was the sister of Wolf Man because her legs looked as though they'd been scribbled on with black pen. Having her greying, split-end-infested hair dangle past her shoulders didn't help matters much either. Where did they find all of these people? Was my LC working on some bizarre psycho-social experiment on cloning nerds behind the facade of weather forecasting?
These paranoid thoughts were interrrupted when a young bloke appeared - he looked rather nice. Kind of cute actually with a dark denim shirt, chinos and doc martens and a very nice smile. OMIGOD - it's Love Chunks! I thought it was a male model for a second there as my eyes had been so numbed by the passing parade of below-standard blokes beforehand.
It was no surprise to find, at the latter part of that same year, that Love Chunks was in their annual calendar as the only human featured in amongst some rather dazzling shots of storms, sunsets and cloud formations. My 'Mr September' was asked to don a white lab coat, stand on top of his building near some wind cups and look seriously scientific. Which he did. Lord knows who they would have found if LC had been sick that day.