Teenage Comeptetiveness

Today we are having a family party at the Dempsey’s. 36 of my Mum and Dad’s nearest and dearest will be showing up this afternoon to share a glass of Xmas cheer and a sausage roll. I have no clue where all these people are going to fit since my Mum and Dad’s house is crammed to the brim already with Rob, myself, Dawn, Dawn’s boyfriend, Adrian, who arrived yesterday (and resulted in much red-wine-drinking, but that is a whole other story), not to mention the dog and most of the furniture and nick nacks that used to fit snuggly in the huge five bedroomed place that they lived in before. It will be an interesting afternoon.

Among the guests will be my cousin Karen, who I have not seen for over six years. When I found out she was coming I experienced a weird reaction that I’ve not had since my early twenties. Karen is the same age as me, give or take a month or so and is visiting Liverpool from France, where she lives with her husband and two kids and runs a bed and breakfast.

When we were younger, Karen was a model. She is tall, has incredibly long legs, beautiful strawberry blond hair and pale blue eyes. She has always been a clothes horse, although she has a personal style to die for and an aloof shyness that, to me, always made her very cool, if a little frustrating to talk to. Oh, and did a I mention that whilst I was getting drunk on watered down lager in the student union in my Doc Martins and second hand leather jackets she was making TV commercials in Tokyo?

My IMMEDIATE reaction when Mum told me that she was coming was, “Yikes, I wonder if I’ll have time to get my hair done?” then my second most immediate reaction was “What? I thought I had grown out of that nonsense?”. I have a great life, a lovely husband and a (kind of) career, what have I got to feel threatened about? But old habits obviously die harder than I thought and somewhere in my ‘grown up’ psyche I am still attached to that shallow little world where beauty and coolness REALLY DO COUNT! Oh bugger, off to the hairdressers with me..

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