On a recent press trip I found myself rubbing shoulders with Barcelona’s glitterati for a swimwear launch, which was held in a plush hotel’s penthouse that costs the same per night as your average mortgage deposit. (Not even hyperbolising.) There, I met – and, let’s be honest, fell a little bit in love with – someone so incredibly inspiring, but for all the wrong reasons. Let’s just call her Tess From Vogue. Immediately attracted to her effortlessly cool look (a true Scruffy Girl after my own heart, complete with chipped nail polish and a vintage Chanel handbag), I soon discovered Tess had a rebellious streak and wasn’t going to take any shit, nor, damn it, was she going to stick to the itinerary: she’d booked her own flight because getting up at 5am wasn’t for her – ridiculous overseas fashion jolly or no. Imagine my swoons, then, when we were offered a requisite glass of bubbly at the Champagne reception, and she went: “Actually, could I have a beer?” And there it was. The simple opt-out that says so much – this just isn’t me; I’m making up my own rules; and I don’t even like Champagne. Me too, Tess From Vogue, me too!
One of the great benefits of getting older is a newfound self-confidence that calls BS on society’s expectations, and allows for a glorious freedom to do things your own way. “Nah, I don’t fancy that, thanks.” Of course, being “stuck in their ways” is a common insult thrown at the older generation, but the more I think about it, Ethel, Doris, Mabel and Gladys are definitely onto something here. Maybe their ways are brilliant, and that’s why they’re sticking with them, the good old unfuckwithable grannies. (Custard Cream, anyone?)
I’ve started practising the empowering opt-out by not paying for a blow-dry at the hairdressers. (Start small, yeah?) For too long I’ve handed over unnecessary extra cash just to look like a best-in-show poodle when I can do it far better myself. And so it’s with immense pride and a renewed sense of self-worth – heck, I feel like Superwoman – that I step out of the salon with sogging wet hair, less of a dent in my purse, and a massive smile on my face.
If you’re old enough to remember Zammo and co, you’ve probably already worked this out and are consequently cool AF. Otherwise, I leave you with this simple message.