Being single and having no ties (unless you count an arthritic Dalmatian and bi-polar Maine Coon) I can't help but think I should be leading a sparkling Sex and the City type existence. In theory my life should revolve around parties, flirtations, shoe shopping, cocktails and intrigue.
I feel somehow a failure that my weekdays are spent schlepping around a grimy Northern council estate in ballet pumps (hardly 'fuck me' shoes, more 'my feet are fucking killing me' shoes) and a cosy cashmere cardigan that is more Jane Marple than Jane Mansfield. The estate where I work is truly the land where time (and style) forgot. Mums are in flannel, teddy-bear printed pyjamas when they drop their kids at school at 9am. They are still in their pyjamas when they collect their little darlings at 3.30pm. Dads dazzle in an array of garishly coloured shell suits and blurry biro tattoos.
Where to go for the caress of elegance? I was watching The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie the other day. Of course she was a fascist Machiavellian monster, yet I admired her ability to infuse every aspect of her grey, prosaic school life with colour, passion, romance and glamour. Maybe I shall take to cycling to the School of Hard knocks, silk scarf fluttering behind me with a basket full of poetry books and dahlias. Would Miss Brodie, in her prime, waste time fretting about SATS, the National Curriculum or OFSTED? How would she cope with head lice or children with chronic flatulence?
However, I am not sure I could follow in Miss Brodie's footsteps and start any tragic love affairs with colleagues at the School of Hard Knocks. Men are in short supply in primary schools anyway and my options are terribly limited. I would have to choose between Pompous Pilate, our red-faced, blustering Headteacher or King Cravat, our camp, chain smoking, viperish Dance and Drama teacher. I think at the S.O.H.K. Miss Jean Brodie may have turned lezza.