Monday, 23 November 2009

Day Six

I thought that Friday night, out on the tiles like a true Brighton Girl would have been the worst point of my week.

Then I thought, perhaps, it would have been those first ten minutes of waking when I remembered drinking quite a bit of liquid courage before standing on a train station, then in a restaurant, then walking up a hill…

But no, really not the worst of it.

The requirements for the day were to get up to London to see various people at various galleries. No casual casual (so no velour) more, sort of smart casual so, 8 inch flippy sort of mini (which, I have discovered actually does flash my derriere a little bit when I walk) boob tube and blazer (ok, I probably shouldn’t have been allowed the blazer, but it was bloody cold.)

As I left the house my parents actually seemed to think I might get assaulted on the way there. Or back. And I don’t really blame them, I stand out a bit in November.

In a decidedly anti-Jordan mode I wandered around the Modernist wonder that is a big black box in the Tate, and it was good. Or something.

Heading along the Strand there began looks as people emerged from their early morning fug and actually made eye contact with the orangeness that is my face. I was beginning to be judge- I don’t really know why, if people were judging, they weren’t judging me, per se, just the person I’m dressing up as. It wasn’t pleasant, but it wasn’t so horrific as to make me run and hide.

Maybe, I console myself, I look a bit like an actress in-between shows, or a presenter, or a member of Girls Aloud. Maybe not.

Running into a very conservative friend dressed in tweed (you can’t make it up) I automatically shout and run up. A good five seconds of confusion and concern (familiar voice but unfamiliar look) fill his face before he works out who I am. Then he laughs at my hair, and pretty much doesn’t stop laughing from there.

Continuing across the trashier tourist parts of town before hitting Bond Street I realise that, with my classier(?) St Tropez tan, curled hair and a big pair of shades, I can just about pull off a Continental glamour look, from afar at least. And I don’t stand out. I am part of the crowd.

Surely this defies the point of the look- to spend hours each day preening and buffing and polishing and planning outfits, just so you look normal. How far away from natural has our population gone? I’m not the bizarre, instead I am, seemingly mundane- really, this is far more disturbing than I thought.

At the Wallace Collection I am met by my cool Aunt who tells me I look like a tramp. But I seem to recall that being a term of endearment from her. Certainly observing Gainsborough’s and a truly shoddy collection of daubings by Hirst I felt observed by the masses. If only Damian was better with a paintbrush.

At a the Selfridge’s Clinique counter, normally a bastion of sensible natural make up, the counter-girl literally screamed when I explained to her what I was doing, and promptly discussed all the intimacies of the Price-Andre-Crossdressingbloke liasons that she had gleaned from this week’s Reveal magazine, and declared her undying love for my lashes. She even collected work colleagues to come and listen to me and look at my makeup. There was love all around for my eyelashes, the excess bronzer, my dexterity with the fake tan. And not one of them thought I looked odd, or thought what I was doing was odd. Admittedly this was a makeup counter, but it was a classy one. I tried to explain that my foundation was NC40, and that Mac only went up to 55, surely this can’t be right? On the upside they gave me LOADS of free skincare to sort out my tortured epidermis beneath the slap as the lash glue is making my eyelid peel.

Strangely, no man I’ve spoken to will admit to fancying her (or me for that matter.) The men who wolf whistle and shout, well admittedly I don’t want to ask, but I suspect that if I walked over and offered them a date/ snog etc that they’d probably run away. Surely the whole brand that is Katie Price was marketed at men? I’ve realised that the people who really like my look are women who are trying to buy into it themselves. From selling sex to men to selling sexuality back to women. Is this post-feminism?

Drinks were fine although was told I look like I’m “30, with something to hide.” I’m surprised as I tend to get ID with makeup on as I look like I’m young but wearing my mother’s make-up to look older. That said I get ID-ed without make-up to. Regardless, this is the oldest anyone has ever described me. Of course Pricey is only 33 herself, but uses a weekly dermabrasion and botox as a way of balancing out those daily sunbeds. I am still thoroughly upset until I finish my second martini that is. And suddenly it seems quite funny.

From here I head on to a dinner party, where, I realise, my charming host has absolutely no idea about my week as Katie. I can’t lie, I feel a little sick. Especially when I realise that I’m not going to know everyone there, and first impressions are so terribly important. Prepping round my cousin’s copious additional bronzer is applied, fishnets are thrown on with my heels as I need to make my outfit ‘distinctive’ (I could have gone for Pricey’s popular one sock look, but thought that I didn’t want to look silly.) The three sets of lashes are still fluttering and off we go.

Praise Yaweh, Buddah, Allah and anyone else who’d like to take credit for making it Halloween. I am, just about, able to get away with the walk from door to car without being solicited as apparently the world and his dog are wearing minis, glitter and fishnet tonight.

I am, it must be said, very lucky to know so many men who are so beautifully well brought-up. ‘Ah, you’re hair’s a little different’ was the worst thing said to me by the host who looked totally bemused, then flummoxed and then ran off to the kitchen before I could explain. Possibly to cry into some lamb.

As I step forward to introduce myself to the other guests I begin to suspect that in heels my skirt doesn’t just flip up at the back. There is real fear in their eyes. Even after explaining the whole stupid premise the suspicion remained. As if halfway through my merlot the sound system would spark to life and tassels would start flying in a clock-wise direction. I can’t say I blame them. The whole thing is farcical, and I can honestly say I wanted the ground to swallow me up.

It take a bottle of wine before the air relaxes, or rather I drank a bottle before I felt relaxed, which is almost the same thing really, isn’t it?

Certainly around the table no-one liked my look, the phrase ‘vulgar and disgusting’ was used, although in all honesty I’m not sure if that was directed at me personally or the general appearance and attitude of my muse.

Surely all the times this look is justified by Miss Price and she claims not to give a damn- well I can’t believe she doesn’t. In fact, to look like this in all sincerity I can’t believe that you are not either incredibly na├»ve (which I am sure she’s not) or deeply savvy and manipulative.

Whether or not the girls who will, invariably, copy her style will realise what they look like (starts with ‘p’ and rhymes with ‘frostitute’) I don’t know. But it certainly splits opinion.

All I can say is thank goodness for red wine otherwise I may have just had to skulk into a corner and die.

The result: a day of two halves, venerated by lots of girls, and totally destroyed by everyone else.

Day Five

As Jordan has ‘sprinkled a bit of girly glamour’ across the equestrian world with her velour based riding line obviously the practicalities of call girl style at a muddy stable needed to be investigated. I can confirm wholly and unevquivolally that ANYTHING to do with horse- holding, grooming, cleaning, riding… are TOTALLY impossible. The nails ping off, you can't grasp anything, and horses really don’t appreciate the levels of selfcare that go into being Upper Hartfield’s sex kitten. 

Next up, a trip to Sainsburys. There are, it has to be said comparitively few odd looks even though I’m tripping around in a floral mini, velour hoodie and I headbutted the bronzer before I left the house.

However I did get seranaded next to the pringles as a very melodious chap crooned that he wanted to give me some ‘good loving.’ Fabulous. I do begin to see a pattern the type of man who finds this look attract. Chavvy and brazen. I can honestly put my hands up and say that I have never found propositioning in the dry goods aisle a tempting offer.

Confusingly as I am wearing my little sister’s clothes I have to ask, is this level off interest some from of socialised peadophilia? Obvously I am old enough for it to be legal, and yet I am wearing, essentially, little children’s clothing. Deeply worrying.

Tonight is my night out on the tiles a la Pricey. Apparently on a night out she has looked at girls and thought ‘god what a slut’ before realising that she was wearing the same thing. The seperating factor, according to her, is that she doesn’t act like one. Of course.

So, curlers on, fake tan applied and I squeze myself into corset, platforms and a skirt hitched up to so more leg and tulle than I have eve shown before. My make up takes hours, with three layers of lashes, lip liner around (not on) my lips and I apply my gloss with a trowel, I also draw on my fake cleavage look with bronzer.

I feel highly over-exposed, to a level of virtual public nudity which isn't attractive. No wonder she goes on crazy diets, wearing this little every flaw is exposed, and it really isn't pretty.Ten minutes into our trip and I have been banned from repeating the phrase ‘I look like a common prostitute.’ Which I do.

Waiting on the station platform I am freezing to death- apparently I am not allowed a coast as a ‘puffer jacket would ruin’ my look as, of course, that is EXACLY what I would wear.

As it’s the Friday of Halloween I think I have been pretty lucky, but every double take resulting in me apologising, saying it’s a fancy dress outfit and I spend the entire journey loudly talking about my journalism job getting me to wear funny clothes. Just in case anyone hadn't got it.

Arriving in Brighton I discover that taxi drivers love this look. Leaning out of windows, flashing me, doing double takes. Who knew KP’s fan base could be so specific.

Walking down the road I realised that a city centre is infact the place to go where you don’t get double-takes. Girls in mini skirts, luminous tans and cleavage a-plenty and it becomes increasingly obvious to me that this look isn’t an object of ridicule, it just appears to be the norm.

At dinner, on a table of people who had been primed for my arrival, I was pretty horrified at how enthusiastic people were. My three sets of clumpy horrible lashes smothered in mascara were admired. I can barely open my eyes and to be honest it stings a bit, yet I’m not laughed at.

A staring woman in the toilet tells me how much she loves my skirt (where knickers are pretty much on show) and my eye make up which reaches up beyond my brows with a Cruella D’Ville shape.

Heading aross main roads and more enquires of where I was staying tonight were thown my way by classy looking men, but confused looks were pretty few and far between.

On the train we find a collection of drag queens, all of whom, unsurprisingly, thought my look was totally acceptable for a night out on the tiles. ‘Its great dahling’ said one titian beauty.

Moving to a bar in Haywards Heath (mmmm, I know) and I attempt to flirt by sitting on a man’s knee. ‘Sorry darling, I don’t need another girlfriend.’ I don’t bother again. Ah well, the life as Sussex’s most desirable is a lonely one….

Day Four

I went outside.

Into the real world. Well, I went out to the cosmetics section of my local department store where I work. And they all really liked my look. Admittedly this is a group of women who live in panto makeup; clearly the pricey look is not one that fills everyone with horror. ‘You need a bit more bronzer, really’ said one particularly puce lady on Mac. More? Really.

On my short sojourn I did get eyed up. By a man wearing a back-to-front baseball cap and sportswear. Superb, the only time I’ve been up checked out in the past month and it’s by a lord high chav.

The outfit did at least inspire some critique. In case you are wondering, the skirt is my sisters and the classic 8 inches ‘not too short, not to long’ according to the great lady. The ‘kiss me’ tee is appropriately crass, topped of with a diamante encrusted grey velour hoody. My mother is going to get an earful for the shit she is letting my sister wader around in it’s tight, tarty and crass. 

In the evening I engaged with my inner ‘yummy mummy’ by taking me little sister on a Halloween night at my local farm which was great as LOADS of people were in fancy dress and with my green witch next to me I just looked like an enthusiastic sibling. In fact in one queue I was positively underdressed. Apparently some people think lemon stilettos are re rigeur for queuing in a field. And they had more diamante on than me. I felt rather ashamed of myself. Although I did discover that my hair piece is a weapon of war- seductive flicking results in a sold mass of polyester hitting the next person in the face (no, I didn’t know them) but the rebound mean I got a hit too. Classy.

Day Three

Day Three

I will understand I some of you will no longer speak to me after reading this post.

Take me to the confessional, for I have sinned.

Today I have mostly been wearing pink velour and I sort of liked it.

Baby pink with heart and diamante detailing.

I am, according to Chapter 8 entitled ‘Girlie Girl’, ‘in touch with my inner Disney princess’. So here I am covered in synthetic velour. Stroking my leg one way I feel surprisingly reassured, like having a post-pubescent blankey. Unfortunately stroking the other way makes the polyester prickles my palms uncomfortably and makes every hair stand on end. If I had any left, that is. So to rephrase, all my arrector pili muscles contracted in an unpleasant prickling sensation. I feel a lot like Waynetta Slob.

What a psychologist would make of La Price’s love of tactile materials, sparkles and cartoon character which adorn her clothes is anyone’s guess. Over compensation for a life lead in the adult sphere? Ordering rubber dresses from sex catalogues to wear out clubbing with your mum at sixteen. Is. Not. Normal. Or perhaps it’s a way of reclaiming the innocence she lost after a sexual assault as a child. Or she jus has really bad taste. Either way, it’s pretty fucked up.

So, another layer of tan. It still doesn’t look hideous, I don’t think. Or maybe staring at pictures of bronzed Katie means that nothing other than a ‘nuked’ look is too much. And I’m sitting next to a pumpkin and can’t tell the difference.

I’ve also been wearing a stretch pink hair band with a Croydon facelift, as apparently you should wash your hair twice a week. What a scank.

I did venture out today in the car, but couldn’t face leaving the safety of my automobile. The most worrying part of this ordeal is that thus far is doesn’t seem as if I am not actually going outside the realms of how the public normally dresses. People, normal, real people (admittedly not anyone I would even be associated with) go out like this.

Perhaps KP’s success it due to her just being, albeit extreme, version of a huge number of the population.


Day Two as La Price

Day Two

I have discovered putting makeup on is ridiculously hard- false lashes and false nails don’t mix as I stuck part of the crease of my eyelid together and now have a massive blob of sudocream on it to attempt to end the pain.

Nor can I cook. Not a massive issue normally, but I thought I should take up the mantle of Yummy Mummy (chapter 3) But you can’t do anything at a normal pace and cooking takes forever.

I am, I admit, beautifully smooth and golden brown in hue. I am officially the darkest I have ever been with limbs looking, well sort of healthy and slimmer, definitely slimmer- who knew dayglo white was so unflattering? My face, on the other hand, is orange. Which I can’t really fathom as I’ve used the same stuff all over, it’s definitely a smooth, all over colour, but a violent shade of tangerine. And my sheets are pretty unusually looking too.

I decided to start living the life a little more a la Pricey, as I realised I have received any male reactions yet. In the chapter ‘Sex Kitten’ aside from her advice to keep it in your pants for the first month (REALLY Katie; Pete? Gareth? Alex? Dwain? I’m sure the list goes on) there is some excellent advice on what to wear when meeting up boys.

“ If a guy was coming round for the evening to watch a DVD I’d make sure I got his interest by the end of the night. I’d get all dressed up in long socks with little shorts - really sexy and girlie, but not obviously trying too hard – so they’d be thinking ‘mmmm, she’s really cute…’ meanwhile I’d be thinking ‘dream on mate, you’re not getting none of that,’”

Really nice. I’m pretty sure this is how you can get in serious trouble. So I decided to try this classy style out to garner a response for my friends. Wearing some tweed shorts, knee high socks, a t-shirt declaring ‘I heart ME’ a false ponytail and, obviously, fake nails, lashes and bling I rock up to Unsuspecting of Tunbridge Wells.

To give credit where it is due, the first minute of stunned observation was incredibly polite. Once I had explained the premises of the outfit and they realised that I hadn’t just taken leave of my (limited) fashion sense the well-brought up boys dropped their niceties and the claws came out.

Andrew, a doctor, began a diatribe:“It’s hideous, can you please quote that? Hideous. But I think that the outfits are going to get worse.” He went on to request “the real Katy back now?” 

My best friend James took the insults a step further by informing me that I looked “cheap, tacky and orange…I can’t even look at you.” James refused to sit next to me, and then when he finally conceded, after 10 minutes of silence, he farts in my general direction.

Yes, you read that correctly, a boy was so disgusted by my outfit, a boy, who in eight years of friendship has never done such a thing, farted at me.

His logic? “I wasn’t farting at Katy, I was farting at Jordan.”

I think this is a definitive failure on the advice front.

All I can think about it’s the fact that more leg is on show than on a chicken in Nandos, and the fact that everyone (quite rightly) is making a judgement on why the hell I’m dressed like this. how someone enjoys this?

Friday, 20 November 2009

Day one as La Pricey

The first think to tackle is, well, everything. The self-respecting girl should be shaving. Everything. Everyday. This is going to be a long week for a girl who wears tights in June to avoid tackling the lawn on her shins. Half an hour later I’m all done I feel like Barbie’s glandular sister. Almost.

As part of the depilatory process I am also expected to shave my arms every week or so. My Arm? The bits attached to my hands? Am I also expected to shave my palms? And shaving… there there’s going to be a hideous stubbly and totally unhideable re-growth. And I was pretty sure there was nothing there to shave anyway. Compromising (yes there will be a few compromises this week, you may say cop-out, I say self-preservation) I decide to epilate an arm to prove that this is a pointless exercise. Unfortunately as I compared arms it was clear that I have created an entirely new paranoia. I have forearms like a dockworker. Hirsute limbs simply do not grow overnight and so I have to conclude that I have been butch for sometime and am honestly rather annoyed none of my so called friends have mentioned to me even once that I resemble a yeti.

Is this why I’m single? In the same way I’d never date someone who looks better in skinny jeans than me, have men vetoed me? ‘Katy? Nice girl, but I couldn’t date someone with hairier forearms than me...’ Or worse, do the ones who have dated me like the way my arms wrapped around them are reminiscent of a hug from Dad? Thanks Katie, a whole new bundle of baggage.

Next I move on to tanning. This is a must for me because acording to my Oracle ‘pale is definitely not interesting’ which tells dull old me. A daily tanning session on a sunbed gets you a ‘sexy golden glow,’ but as it would take a year of sunbedding for all my freckles to join up into one giant uber-freckle masquerading as a tan I’ve decided to opt for daily faking instead. This takes forever, and my face is a wee bit orange already so who knows what I’ll look like by the end of the week.

Nails require thrice weekly touch-ups and I shouldn’t leave the house with a chipped nail. Ever. Falsies applied and painted a luminous shade of cerise I have realised that I can’t type, pick things up or scratch my face without poking myself in the eye. They are like ten camp light sabres and I can see these becoming the bane of my life. And I have to say that if it’s this difficult to type I can’t imaging how she wrote those books so quickly…

I look, well a bit chavvy and stupid. But at least I’m comfy, and my aura is ‘glowing’ because I’m wearing bright colours. Auras are important you know. This is technical advice you get given.

Becoming Katie Price

Katie Price has launched a style guide to lead the masses into the realms of her plastic fantastic style. She captures the public’s imagination and dominates the gossip magazines. But how much of her advice is actually practical- after all as well as a glamour girl she is a mother of three and a champion horse rider? Is the Katie Price look something that women aspire to or is she just, as Martin Amis recently described her, ‘two bags of silicone’.

Nonetheless many women aspire to follow in the footsteps of the glamour model. And with £30 million in her bank to date, it’s clear that there is a winning formula somewhere. No stranger to literary success her Fourth novel, 'Sapphire', has sold more than 70,000 copies in hardback and her second novel, 'Crystal', outsold that year’s entire Booker shortlist put together. 

So I have made the decision to go from Katy to Katie. One similarly named girl’s sartorial exploration of the stylistic and lifestyle tips from a woman who can be described more as all front than front row at the fashion show. Perhaps a week of following La Price’s grooming and dressing tips will give me a chance to discover if my reluctance to sport diamante has been holding me back.