This is a photo of me. Ok, technically it’s a stock photo I found when I googled ‘tired, middle-aged man’. But this is the person I’m assuming the sales assistant at Holland & Barrett saw earlier today, when she looked at me and asked ‘Can I help you, Sir?’
I’m not having a go at her – I know that these days having long hair doesn’t determine my femininity, so I can’t use that as a defence. And I wasn’t wearing a hat, so that just leaves my face. Which must clearly now be assumed to be the face of a middle-aged man. I added the ‘tired’ to my Google search, just because.
As for the beard, it’s true that there were other photos of tired, middle-aged men without beards available, but the description under this one made me laugh. It was ‘upset and disappointed, bald, frowning, middle-aged man’. I had to look, largely because I was wondering if my husband has a secret side-line in posing for stock photos on the internet. It wasn’t him but it did make me laugh.
Who poses for these pictures, and do they get upset about the descriptions? Do they even know? I feel like there might need to be a support group.
Anyway, I know this man has a beard, so I nearly didn’t use the photo, but then I remembered about the two hairs I have – one on my cheek and one under my chin – that keep returning no matter how much I attempt to destroy them. I’ve basically given up plucking them out, for three reasons:
1. They just keep coming back. The force is strong with these ones.
2. I have two teenage daughters. I can’t be bothered to play ‘hunt the tweezers’ anymore. I could just look for the child with about three eyebrow hairs left from over-plucking. But then it’s a case of looking for a needle in a haystack, or more specifically, looking for a pair of tweezers in a vast pile of clothes, papers, make up, electrical equipment and dirty cups, and I just can’t be bothered.
3. It’s surprisingly comforting to have a small but freakishly strong hair on my face to twiddle with absentmindedly. It’s right there, whenever I need it, so why fight it? Cheaper than therapy.
Returning to the poor sales assistant for a moment, in all fairness to her (and to my face), she was distracted when she approached me. She immediately apologised, obviously completely mortified and trying to ignore her young co-worker in the next aisle, who was laughing his arse off. I said it was ok and not to worry, I was just heading home to string myself up, but I’m not sure she realised I was joking so I think I made it worse.
When we got to the till, she then surpassed herself by not remembering what the thing is where you get a message on your phone and your receipt is on it. I said ‘Email?’ and I could almost see the lightbulb switch on over her head. I’m no doctor, but I took one look at her and immediately prescribed wine for her this evening. She laughed and then said ‘I’m just so, so tired’. I think we might be soulmates.
Shopping antics aside, we are slowly getting into a routine with the home education. By slowly, I’m assuming you understand that I mean glacial. If it carries on like this, I may have to complain to myself about the state of my daughters’ education in fairly strong terms at the next parents’ evening.
I’m in the process of finding out which local exam centres allow home educated children to sit GCSEs, and in which subjects. Then it’s which exam boards and which curriculum do I need to follow. While I’m sorting all that, they are going to Maths tutor, doing online tasks, writing short stories and moaning about not being allowed to stay in their PJs all day.
They are also eating the contents of the entire fridge and freezer every day as a mid-morning snack, meaning I have to add ‘going to Tesco’ to the daily timetable, just like every good teacher nips off to do in the middle of the day.
But we will get there. It won’t always be like this, and while it is, thank goodness that Tesco sells wine.
Bring on Bedtime!