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The Naughtiest Girl in the School

On the most beautiful morning in Sydney, I took the foul fiend (the dog, in case of pardonable confusion as to which member of the family I am referring) down for a walk along the beach at 6 a.m. A heavy fog was banked up across the harbor with the Manly ferry and a few brave kayakers emerging atmospherically from the mist. The early morning sun was shining down on my side of the fog bank, there was a smell of blossoms in the air and the dog was behaving himself—what more could one wish for?

Just as well, I am feeling positive about life—the day of the dreaded Trivia Evening School Fundraiser has arrived. Dreaded on two counts, not only do I think the conclusive answer to “Are you smarter than a fifth grader?” is going to be proved to be a resounding “No,” but even more terrifying is the merry thought that to get us in the mood, we are all dressing the part. As it is in aid of Drama Queen No. 3’s primary school there is the small, or more accurately far too large, problem about dressing up in her uniform. I would be entering into the realms of la la land if I even thought there was a chance of getting into one of her dresses and frankly, I am not prepared to try. I investigated DQ No. 1 and 2’s school wardrobe with hope in my heart, after all they are both taller than me—however they are built like racing snakes and have thus avoided the maternal gene of short and stocky. The good, and frankly surprising news is that I have at least found a dress that fits. The bad news is that the DQs have always complained that their school summer dresses are in essence sacks, and deeply unflattering. Whilst I have always maintained they look “sweet” in them, (and is there an adjective a teenage girl hates more?), on this one they have right on their side. Surveying myself in the mirror the effect is less St Trinians/red-blooded-male fantasy and more The Fat Owl of the Remove, for those of you who read Billy Bunter. I am thinking I might have to spice it up with some long boots and fishnets. To ensure the authentic look, I will obviously be painting my fingernails black and then gnawing bits off, covering my arms with biro designs and cryptic messages, wearing a black bra and leaving the regulation top button brazenly undone.

Having now cheered myself up by imagining the limitless possibilities for embellishing my “uniform,” I am trying to push to the back of my mind my mother’s dictum for fancy dress, “Always a good idea to look attractive,” and I am feeling proud of myself for entering into the spirit of the whole thing—and I can tell you spirits in the form of a large gin will be the first thing I will be looking for as I make my entrance, after all, I am wearing the outfit of a delinquent teenager. Actually, on those grounds, better make mine a vodka!

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