I was in Brazil and found myself at a dinner as the No. 2 Guest of Honour. That’s not difficult, you just have to turn up in the company of the No. l G of H. I was happy to find that ten of us were on a round table - don’t start me on that top-table cruel joke where you stare glumly out at all the happy bastards chatting right left and centre and the hapless person each end feels like a pariah. The words coconut and shy come to mind.
What was I saying? Dinner was convivial, slightly hard work, but we were oiling the diplomatic wheels when it all imploded into embarrassment. Why was that? Because my wrists are too damn big aren’t they. My official gift was a beautiful bracelet of semi-precious geological specimens with a gold clasp. I opened the velvet lined box, admired it, oohed and ahhhed, felt sick to my stomach and put it by my wine glass. Phew. But uh oh, out of the corner of my eye, I see one of the wives pull her chair back and advance towards to me. I know what’s coming. I’m thinking ‘Off you fuck darling!’ but she has to wrap the bracelet affectionately round my wrist, it’s obvious. I could have told her it would leave a yawning gap that no amount of pinching the skin above my racing pulse would close.
The room temperature drops ten degrees. Hosts give each other panicky looks and then No. 1 G of H, my very own Sir Galahad, gallops to the rescue. ‘Ah you see, my wife has rather well-developed wrists from windsurfing’. What?? I grew out of my wetsuit in 1990. But I run with the ball. ‘Oh yes, definitely yes, from hanging off the boom. Like this’. To ease the embarrassment that has never quite left me, I thought I would share with you the idea of me in my evening dress from Harrods Fat Girl Department flexing my biceps, wrists clenched doing pull-ups in the air. It was absolutely horrible. Next day I was allowed to go and change the bracelet for an elasticated one. Huh.
All images © Rosie West