Sunday, 26 June 2011

Molly And The Tango* Factory, With Apologies To Willy Wonka - And To Anyone Who Has To Look At Me.

"Good God," says Max, when he finally gets up and staggers downstairs. "What the hell have you been doing?"

"Nothing," I say. "I am just sitting here on the sofa, enjoying the peace and quiet, and reading my book. In an all-too-brief, intellectual interlude - before you and Josh insist on watching the bloody Grand Prix yet again."

Max glares at me, as I make a very convincing "nee-aw, nee-aw" sound. It's something that never ceases to amuse me, though I think Max is tiring of it. Maybe that's why he decides to get his own back.

"Yes, very funny," he says, in a tone that implies that it's anything but. "So, why so cheerful this morning, Mol? Haven't you looked in a mirror yet?

"No," I say. "Why? Is my hair sticking up or something?"

"It's more the colour of your face," says Max.

Talk about unkind. I know I look a bit wrecked when I haven't got any make-up on, but even so. Long-serving wives have feelings, too.

As do mothers of teenage boys - not that that seems to occur to Josh, who walks into the sitting room; takes one look at me; and then starts laughing. So hard he almost hyperventilates.

"Holy shit," he says, once he's able to breathe again. "There's an Oompa Loompa on the sofa."

For a split second, I have no idea what he's talking about, until I remember what an Oompa Loompa looks like - and that I applied my new fake tan before I went to bed last night.

I rush to a mirror and stare at my reflection in disbelief. Oh, my God.

"Can you read me the instructions?" I say to Josh, as I hand him the can.

"It says 'spray evenly onto exfoliated skin'," he says. "Did you do that, Mum?"

"Ye-es," I say.

It's partly true. I did the spraying bit, though it's tricky to cover every angle by yourself. I may have forgotten the exfoliation.

Josh rolls his eyes, and carries on reading:

"Then you're supposed to rub it in."

"Ah," I say. "Oh. That may be why my legs look a bit streaky."

"Massive understatement," says Max, whose opinion I don't recall asking for. "Did you actually read any of the instructions?"

"I couldn't," I say. "They're so small I couldn't make them out, not even with my reading glasses on. I should sue the company for breach of the Equality Act."

"Personal injury might be more appropriate."

Max is really enjoying himself now. I wish I'd never mentioned Formula One.

"Not an option," says Josh, continuing to read the back of the can. "Not when it's Mum's own fault. It clearly states: 'Not for use on the face'."

I think he can tell from mine that that's the first I've heard of that.

No wonder the packaging was geared to the teenage market. No-one else would be able to read it, without a magnifying glass. (Which I haven't been able to find, since Connie used it to set light to some bark chippings, and nearly burned the whole house down.)

I spend the next two hours scrubbing at my skin, but it seems that exfoliation only works if you do it before you apply the tan; and Max is no help at all. Or not unless you consider the offer of a sheet of sandpaper helpful - which I don't.

At least now he's turned the TV on, and he and Josh have settled down to watch cars go round in circles, so I shouldn't have to listen to them singing this anymore. It's beginning to get boring now.

*Tango - fizzy orange drink that I used to love when I was a child. I like it much less now, thanks both to Peter Hain, and to Josh asking me if I've been tangoed. Repeatedly. That's getting boring too.

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