When I was a teenager and my dad would ask me my life plan, I’d respond with the classic “marry rich, divorce richer”. But yesterday, a friend and I were playing fantasy rightmove, when an odd thing happened. We were exchanging mansions – mine in Somerset, hers in Yorkshire – and I found myself thinking that nice as all these places were, I would never, ever want to live in any of them. Ever.
Yeah, their shiny giant massive floors looked like they’d be excellent for a spot of indoor ice-skating, And it would be pretty good to have an indoor swimming pool, and an orangery, and my own stream and waterfall. But all the places looked big, and unwelcoming, and just too swanky. And I don’t even know what you do in an orangery. Except maybe get married in one. I’d just end up living in the little cottage that’s meant to be for the staff, and ignoring my own massive house. It would not work. At all.
And it’s not just swanky houses that I can’t cope with; I can’t deal with swanky clothing either. Another friend and I were playing fantasy wedding dress recently (which is the same as fantasy rightmove, but obviously just a bit more mad), and she was horrified to find that my favourite dress of all was from Monsoon. It was £275! I could wear it without worrying about spilling wine on it, or putting my foot through the hem, or spending all day feeling guilty about spending so much on something I’d never wear again. It was an EXCELLENT AND WINNING PLAN.
Her theory was that I didn’t like swanky dresses because I’ve never seen any in person, but I had to protest. For a couple of weeks ago, I got lost in Harrods, and it was the most terrifying experience of my life. Everything in there was worth more than my car (admittedly, this isn’t hard since my car is worth about £450, but still), and I was sure I was going to accidentally fall onto it all and destroy it. I picked up a pretty pair of shoes and discovered they were over £600. FOR SHOES. Which you wear on your feet, and which are in contact with the grimy, grimy pavements. I feel bad spending £60 on something that’s going to get ruined really fast. I could never spend ten times that.
And I can’t even cope with swanky holidays; a few months ago, I found myself with £250 to spend on a city break, and just flicking through the BA website left me paralysed with fear. How was I supposed to choose just one city out of all of these options? What if I picked the wrong one? Yes, Venice is lovely, but should I be going to Dubrovnik? And what about Berlin? Should I go there and dig out my rubbish German? And what hotel should I stay in? And do I want breakfast included, or do I want to get it myself? There was TOO MUCH CHOICE, and that was just with £250. Imagine if I had all the money in the world; I would never, ever be able to make a single decision.
And so, I have decided that it’s a very good thing that I haven’t married rich and divorced richer. Because I would be a rubbish rich woman. And that is sad.