By Janine Milliken
When I fly into Dubai I try and go in secretly and leave without anyone knowing I have been there. For some reason, my husband’s work colleagues like me and when I arrive I get invited out for dinners. I do not like these, I am unable to act appropriately for that long and I would rather remain a mystery to everyone. I think the mystery of me is better than actually knowing me.
The one evening, I could not get out of a dinner. I had tried every trick in the book – I had a migraine, I was sick, I had no clothes, I had no shoes. Eventually I ran out of excuses and had to go for supper to a very important person’s house.
I had to dress up, which takes me a couple of hours while I try on every outfit. My mom was with us, and I had to give her some clothes to wear as she had only brought shorts with her. She had her dreaded ‘crocs’ with her, which I had to ban from this particular supper, as these people were really important in my husband’s life.
As usual on the way to the house, I was given the usual talk about acting like an adult, not to set the rug on fire, not to fiddle with the ornaments or the pictures (as they were real antiques and expensive) and just stay seated. I was also told that I must have an intellectual conversation and not to act stupid.
On arrival, I was impressed by the beauty of the house and that it was right on the beach. In my excitement, I forgot about the loudness of my voice and proceeded to shout about how lovely everything was. My husband then kicked me and I quickly realized the whole road could probably hear that I had arrived.
We then proceeded to the dining room, where I was seated on the one side of the table and my mother on the other side of the table. There was a huge, huge flower arrangement in the middle of the table. So big you could not make conversation with the people on the other side of the table. I kept thinking that the hostess would take away the flower arrangement, but she never did and conversation was done around the flowers. In a situation like that I do not look at my mom, as we can almost talk telepathically and act like children and start to giggle. We giggle at the most inappropriate moments and should really grow up, maybe one day.
The main meal was served. I do not like fish of any kind but to be polite I was telling the hostess how lovely her meal was. Also I do not like eating supper and going to bed with a full stomach. To be truthful I found the fish so slimy that when it went into my mouth I actually nearly vomited it right up. In desperation and trying to act normal, I had to quickly look around me for a vase in case I needed to vomit. Through the flowers my mom is watching me and she starts to giggle. My husband then kicks me as he can see what is going on. I am now sweating, cannot talk and really desperate to get rid of what is in my mouth. I started to wrench and had to run to the toilet and try my best at vomiting quietly. When I came back to the table I had to explain that I had a funny tummy and had had it all day. I was not at all embarrassed about saying that as it was better than explaining I had vomited up their expensive piece of fish.
When I am tired my speech starts to slur, my sentences do not make sense as my words are muddled and I forget simple words. All a result of my brain injury from the car accident. I have accepted this fact and it does not annoy me, but if someone does not know me I stop speaking otherwise they think I am hitting the drugs when I go to their toilet. I had to stop talking as I was starting to slur. Now, there was total silence and the host actually kicked us out the house. I thought this was hilarious and was actually relieved although I did enjoy their AED1000 chocolate on the table. Actually maybe that is why we got kicked out, I was eating the chocolate?
One day all the men my husband works with were complaining about how fast their wives could spend money. My husband piped up that no-one could beat his wife and he tells them this true story. My husband gave me a large amount of money at the Dubai Mall, it was supposed to last me the whole time I was Dubai (3 weeks). I then went off shopping with the money while my husband was ordering coffee and doing a bit of work on his computer in the Mall. He sat down at the table, turned on his computer and looked up and saw me coming back to him with 5 bags of shopping. In the time it took him to order coffee and turn his computer on, I had managed to spend ALL the money he had given me on clothes. I was now ready to go home. My husband was absolutely speechless for the rest of the day and I was never given that amount of money again. On telling his friends this story, all his friends agreed that they could not beat that story and I was the 'queen' of shopping. I am also banned from using the credit card.
Now coming around to the title of this article that 'I don't look good naked anymore'. It does not worry me as I do not look in the mirror anymore, so I if do not see myself I am unaware. I am campaigning for a ‘Forever 50’ store, instead of the ‘Forever 21’ store. The Forever 21 store has managed to totally confuse me, frustrate me, irritate me and make me lose my mind whenever I try something on. I took a pair of size 8 trousers, which I am the size in every other shop in the world but not this shop. The trousers would not go over my knees and in my anger I decided to take action and boycott them - I like to think it will make a difference to their sales, but am sure it will not, but makes me feel better. In disgust, I decided they had made the clothes for children and I would never walk through their doors again. So I suddenly thought that it would be a good idea for a Forever 50 store. The Forever 50 store should have no lights in the fitting rooms. Every pair of trousers should be elasticated at the waist and have spandex sewn inside. This way your bottom is lifted and your stomach is flattened. We also need pump up bras sewn into the blouses so our breasts are made to look normal and not hanging by our knees. These stores must acknowledge the woman who have actually given birth to a child or 4 and no longer have a waist line, have sagging stomachs, no longer have perky breasts or a bottom in the correct place. We should be appreciated for giving birth to our children and every lump, bump and droop should be lifted or hidden. The store should also have assistants that continually tell you how beautiful you are and be able to give you counselling should you have a mental break down in the fitting room or assist with a hot flush or a panic attack. I am therefore boycotting every Forever 21 store although I am not 21, which is the age the clothes are made for and I have to remind myself I am closer to 50 than 40 now, but the Forever 21 store will remain my enemy. My husband kindly reminds me I am not a teenager and should act my age and wear the appropriate clothes. The one day I had to agree with him, when I walked out the dressing room in a pair of hot pants, with white legs, droopy knees and my bottom hanging out. I laughed so much I nearly wet myself and that day I had to agree that I need to find clothes more my age. I have stopped wearing a bikini and moved to the ‘all in one secret tummy tuck, boob lifting, butt lifting’ costumes. As well as wearing the ‘tuck me in’ underwear that you can find at Woolworths or Marks and Spencer – for the older woman. Spandex are sent from heaven and hide everything you ever need hidden, however no-one can see you getting dressed or undressed as this takes about an hour as we get all our bits strapped in. Forget going to a shop and going to the fitting room, you will be there for two hours. I refuse to go to fitting rooms now, as the lights are so bright (who thinks that is good?) and I spend all my time saying ‘look at that bump, didn’t know I had it, look at the fat there, didn’t know I had it, look at that stretch mark, didn’t know I had it, oh my gosh I look my age’ etc, then I have a mental breakdown – so I just take the clothes home and hope and pray that they fit. If they do not fit, then that store will be boycotted by me and that is my way of feeling better.
It took me a while to accept wearing spandex or ‘tuck me in’ underwear as I was kind of not admitting to myself that I needed it. However, I am 45 years now and it is time to admit that time has taken its toll and that is just life right now. I will still never be seen in a gym, so I am not that disgusted in my fatty handles to enter the gym. I love it when people say, ‘you look good……….. for your age.’ I love that song that says 'I don't look good naked anymore', finally a song I can relate to.
I went to the casino, in South Africa and the lady asked me for my I.D because she was not sure that I was 18 years old. I immediately hugged this lady, told her she had made my day and gladly showed her my I.D. However, to be fair, the lighting was bad and I was dressed like a teenager. I will take this as a compliment and will not let anyone rain on my parade.
In Dubai, I was also asked for my I.D when I wanted to order a drink. I also gave this man a hug and told him he had made my day. After acting like a fool, I found out everyone had to show their I.D. so they could record the people drinking alcohol. I did feel like an idiot afterwards, even I will admit to this one.
The Police have also asked for my I.D, but do not think that was to see my age, sadly.