There's no point me even attempting to deny the fact that I like shopping. Not food shopping, I would hasten to add; had Dante been writing today then supermarket shopping would have featured in one of the levels of hell in Inferno. But clothes shopping. Oh yes. Even if I know that I don't need anything, even though I've been through the sales racks at least seven times now, on my way home from the station I have to pop into the two clothes shops I pass. There's some invisible magnet pulling me in. Ditto with the shoe shop just as I'm leaving the shopping centre short-cut. But there is one blip on my radar when it comes to clothes shopping. And it's rather a big blip.
Some girls are trousers, some are skirts. If I were to come back as a piece of clothing (thereby cutting out the possibility of reincarnation into a Mulberry Phoebe or a pair of Jimmy Choos) I would come back as a skirt. I love skirts. You can swish them and wear them in hundreds of different colours, styles and patterns. I short you can have fun with them. And as my pink wellies will testify, I like fashion to be fun. I cannot get excited about a pair of denim jeans. Where are the fancy colours, the sequins, the resembling a fifties starlet?
If I'm honest then there is a problem beyond the fact that trousers - or at least ones that it is prudent to wear (I did have a pair of tartan ones when I was younger and going through the wilderness years) - are boring. Trousers are not made on the highstreet for women of my size. I have short legs and yet, shock horror, I still have a bottom. Yes, it came as a surprise to me too. So the chances are that getting something that fits both my slightly stunted legs and my middle bit, even in its slightly reduced post-finals state, is something of a problem (and no one say elasticated waist). So I do not enjoy trouser shopping, it being the only form of clothes shopping that has the double bind of making me seem short and slightly podgy. It's probably the combination of the boring and the podgy bit that means that I have only four pairs of trousers in circulation at the moment. I can't say how many skirts in comparison that I have whirling round, but definitely well into double figures. Even dresses, which have a macbre fascination for me because of my mis-matched body sizing, have crept up to seven in recent months.
But sometimes, be it when you're watching an outdoor Shakespeare or stalking a minor popstar around radio stations at the beginning of March, there remains the fact that trousers, for all their lack of swishiness, are the more practical solution. And almost as soon as I'd gotten over being pleased that I have my first paying job in a theatre, was the realisation that come December my legs will be crying out for a pair of black trousers. I'm not sure the glow of a WYP t-shirt will last long enough to prevent my legs turning to ice blocks when I'm leaving the theatre at 10:30pm. Leeds is cold. And I don't do cold. So I realised that I needed a pair of black trousers that didn't fall round my ankles when I wore them. Seriously the pair I currently have haven't dealt with my slight shrinkage very well, when I put them on for my second exam I had to go and find a pin to keep them at a suitable point around my middle. I'm sure visible knickers are not subfusc.
An hour after the realisation I was still looking (albeit after a brief trip to the new Primark which didn't have any black trousers but did have some very cool black waistcoats). I can't understand how difficult it is to make a pair of size ten trousers in a 30" leg. Really, that's not asking much. 32" is regular, so I'm not that much of a freak. But, apparently, size eight people have 30" legs. Size ten people do not (though they seem quite happy to understand that some size ten people have 34"). One hour later and I'm still looking. When I found a pair of trousers that fitted - and I nearly fell over in the changing room at this point (though that could have been the combination of the fact that New Look stores never seem to have air conditioning and they were playing Girls Aloud on repeat) - I bought them without a thought to their make, style or cut. They fit. They're black. That WYP t-shirt had better be nice.
Five minutes after this I'd bought two skirts (officially for the work that gave me a free day-glow orange jacket and hard hat rather than a t-shirt) for a bargainous five pounds each in the Pilot sale, proving that you can give a girl a pair of trousers but it doesn't mean she'll wear them.