Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Skinny Pins

On Friday evening I went out for a drink with people from work. Suddenly, from nowhere, a colleague poked me in the knee and said "Ha, you've got skinny legs, haven't you?".

I paused. "Yeah, I suppose I do" I muttered, eventually.

He laughed, and then seeing that I wasn't laughing quite so heartily, proceeded to roll up his the leg of his pinstripe suit and gesture towards his own knee. "Look at my legs though!" he guffawed in what I could only assume was supposed to be a tone of reassuring solidarity. "They're skinny too!"

This information, despite being true, did not make me feel an awful lot better. He continued, much to my dismay.

"It's so funny to see you walking around! Such skinny legs and such big... hair!"

Later on I relayed this conversation to Ben. He shook his head sadly. "You know he didn't mean hair, don't you?"

I knew. I was not then, nor am I now, impressed.

Cut to two days later. I had been out for a Sunday afternoon stroll to try to cheer myself up. The previous day I had exhausted myself by doing a cheerleader party in the morning, then a wedding gig in the evening, and I had woken up feeling low and a bit lonely. Dreading the temp job the next day, tired and flat and upset. I had moped forlornly about for a bit, staring out of windows, pressing the back of my hand to my forehead and the like. Then I was struck by the realization that I was wasting the only day off I was going to have in twelve days and promptly decided to Pull Myself Together.

I bravely ventured out into the sunshine to wander around Brixton. I perused the endless musty rails of the charity shop at the end of my street, sat in a café for a bit with a book and watched other people wind their way through their Sundays. On my way home to get ready for the jam session I had decided to go to that evening, I was standing ready to cross the road. Still in a dream world, but relaxed by my afternoon of lazy solipsism.

Just then a man started shouting and laughing to himself. This, of course, is normal in Brixton. If I walked down the high street without encountering someone talking to themselves (whilst gesticulating wildly, of course) I would begin to suspect that I had slipped into a parallel universe and would call MI6 at once. So I thought nothing of it and continued in my reverie.

Then I realized he was talking to me.

"Hey lady! You wanna get yourself some sunshine on them skinny legs! Ha ha ha ha!"

He laughed the laugh of someone who laughs at the sky, and then continued.

"And a pedicure! Ha ha ha ha!"

My jaw dropped. My reverie flitted away and I was left with only incomprehension.

I crossed the road, mouth still hanging open as if someone had deactivated the springs in my face.

Twice in one weekend have people taken it upon themselves to criticize my (albeit quite skinny) pins. I do not like the word skinny. I am surely not skinny! They are maybe slim, and certainly pale. I cannot help either thing. I am an English Rose, and refuse to succumb to the siren song of the evil tan boxes of death. Or, as Ben put it, "don't go gathering melanomas in UV caskets". I have no time to smear myself in browning paint, either. I should be able to walk down the street without being mocked for my fair skin and lack of leg fat.

It goes without saying that the worst bit was being told to get a pedicure by a homeless man whose own sense of hygiene was, to push the concept of understatement to the extreme, somewhat dubious. My feet, I thought as I stamped home in my flip-flops, are fine! They have nail polish on and are not at all horrible! They are nice feet, they take me places even when they hurt and they look lovely in pretty shoes.

My poor legs and feet. They do not deserve to bear the brunt of such jokes. They run around uncomplainingly as I force them to take me on adventures, as I dash from gig to rehearsal to jam, from jobs one to two to three to four, to see friends and family, jaunt to Manchester, dance to empowering anthems in gay bars across the capital and run run run trying to catch up with the clock whose endless ticktockticks always seems to be running slightly in front.

As the rest of me shuts down in panic, stops being able to think and breathe and understand, my legs and feet maintain my life, taking me from place to place even when the rest of me just wants to stop, rest and sleep.

I hate the people who laughed at my legs. I pity them, really, for I know that my skinny pins will take me further that theirs could ever hope to.


Blogger justme said...

How very rude of them! And quite inexplicable really........ What point DO people think they are makin when they come out with stuff like that??

4:18 pm

Blogger Salvadore Vincent said...

It is when things like this happen twice in quick succession that paranoia sets in. Twice last week I met people whom I had worked with before, neither of whom remembered me. I fear that I may have a Forgettable Face.

(Please note that this is not your cue to say, "Sorry, who are you again?")

4:20 pm

Anonymous nuttycow said...

Mean people. I envy your skinny legs. Better skinny legs that great big hooves like mine :(

4:27 pm

Blogger Léonie said...

Justme - My reaction exactly! One insult I can let go, but two? That's just a blog post waiting to happen. I think people think they're being...funny?

Salvadore - Damn I was going to make that joke! You don't have a Forgettable Face, I can recall with near precision. That might be because I have a life-sized poster of you up in my kitchen, though.

NC - Well, I don't know about that. I do know that people shouldn't just go around commenting on other people's legs, feet, tans or lack thereof. It is odd.

5:13 pm

Blogger Badass Geek said...

I've never seen your legs, but I'm sure they are just beautiful. I can't imagine anything else, with how beautiful the rest of you is.

And I mean that. I'm not trying to be creepy or operating on any agenda or anything.

7:07 pm

Blogger Jonathan said...

I would say "take no notice", but that's what everybody with fatter legs says, isn't it.

You're probably gorgeous, and fantastic, and interesting, and wise, and clever, and funny, and a hundred other good things (I of course know none of this really, but feel the injustice too).

Hope your day is going okay(ish). If it's any consolation I am stuck in a cruddy hotel north of Rugby all week on a training course.

12:34 am

Blogger Clarissa said...

They really are just in awe at the loveliness that is you and are trying desperately to find something wrong with you. They are grasping at skinny pins. Bastards! xx, c

6:00 am

Blogger Jaywalker said...

Sweetheart, I would do anything for skinny pins. Really.

But also, I love the idea of a personal grooming intervention by a homeless crazy person on the streets of Brixton. Something to be proud of/tell your grandchildren, surely?

I was once surrounded by a giant gang of nannies in a Parisian park who wouldn't let me go until I pulled my jeans up properly. I cried.

9:28 am

Blogger Léonie said...

BG - Stop operating on agendas! You big agenda operator, you. Thank you for saying that I am beautiful! However, inside I have a cold, cold heart and a deep-seated loathing of other people.

Jonathan - Oh dear. Hovering around the midlands is never that joyous, is it? My three years at Warwick uni with its proximity to the ageing concrete of Coventry was enough to teach me that. Some parts are nice, but cruddy hotels never are. I suggest you put the shower cap on your head, take off all your clothes and jump on the bed.

And thanks for your wild speculation that I might be any of those things! Probably one of the other hundred good things is an adoration of imaginary ponies, but I don't know if that counts.

Clarissa - Ah, thank you! They'd better not grasp at my skinny pins, or there will be some skinny pin kicks coming their way...xx

Jaywalker - Oh my God that sounds terrifying. How were you wearing your jeans to incite such wrath? On your head? Slung casually over one shoulder? Those Parisian parks are rife with nanny crime.

10:53 am

Anonymous Mr Angry said...

I wouldn't worry. Twice is merely a statistical anomaly, you should wait until it happens three times at the very least.

Personally I prefer to wait for a dozen or so incidents before I tend to believe them to be true, which is why I still believe I'm brilliant in bed.

11:03 am

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Leonie--from what little I've seen of your photos I'd say you have very little to worry about. You are a beautiful, talented woman. Just ignore the prating of idiot yobs--they are mean petty little asses.
Now that we have that off our heads, how's your singing going--Do you have a CD out-if so I'll buy it--love your voice. Tell where and combien? :-)

Beau in Seattle

1:35 pm

Blogger justme said...

And....Thank you for commenting on my blog which has actualy encouraged me to make my first serious post!

10:20 pm

Blogger Jaywalker said...

The jeans were sort of falling off my arse in a way I can only dream about these days.. But I didn't think it merited a scornful nanny intervention. I would have pulled them up the next time I had a free hand and wasn't wiping noses/birdshit.
I have uploaded tractor porn for you Leonie!

1:19 pm

Blogger Marianne said...

Hello, I'm so glad I just found your blog - late to the party I know, but still. And I'm OUTraged on your behalf, I just do not understand where people get off making comments like this. Someone once turned to me and said, "My god your pale! Ever think of lying on a beach for a couple of weeks?" Clearly the only response is open mouthed horror... and vengeful blogposts obviously.

12:16 am

Blogger Léonie said...

Mr A - I'm sure you are good in bed, don't listen to all those naysayers. All those many, many naysayers. They are clearly all fools! All of them.

Beau - Ah, thanks. I am not really insecure about the way I look, I just was insulted by the impertinence. I am working on bringing something out at the moment - I will let you know as soon as I am at that stage. There is plenty recorded, but it has to be right. Really, really right. It will be soon though.

Jaywalker - That's not exactly a crime, now, is it? Although I wouldn't mind if a renegade gang of French nannies began a campaign to get youths to pull up their trousers on the streets. The world would be a much more pleasant place. Tractor porn = amazing. I also have a good joke about tractors. Well, I say good. It's definitely a joke.

Marianne - Hello! A Parisienne! My little sister lives in Paris too and she is lovely...I miss her. If you see her (blonde hair, looks like she might be thinking about ponies, probably singing a song) (that all applies to me as well except I don't have blonde hair) say hello.
I don't mean to come across all like Nicola from Girls Aloud but why is it so acceptable to criticize people for being pale? It is not nice. Pale is lovely. Let's go with that.

11:43 am


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