When no-one is looking

– Mum, what’s that white stuff on your lip?”

– It’s bleach.

– Why?

– It bleaches the hair so I don’t need to wax it. So no-one can see the hair.

– Do people at work laugh at you if you don’t bleach?

Silence, as I wipe off the white stuff and think. My eyebrows didn’t see a Turkish woman with a thread for at least six weeks, but no-one at work laughed – not out loud anyway.

– No, not really.

– Why do you do it then? If no-one laughs at you anyway, what’s the point?

Thought-provoking input from my five year old, which made me think that given the politeness of the English people (which may be less pervasive in a British school environment which she knows more about than me, who spent all my vulnerable years in Finland where even in the midwife unit everyone is impolite, including your burping and pooing fellow patrons) whether I’m being publicly ridiculed is perhaps not the right threshold for my standard of self-care or I might in this very minute stop showering and getting dressed. Which is, incidentally, why I work from home when I can.

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