Reasons why it's no good inviting Fran to a fancy dress party
1. Take one naive, unsuspecting small child.
2. Take one old grey-white cotton pillowcase.
3. Take one indelible black pen.
4. Draw a horizontal line half-way down the pillowcase on both sides.
5. Draw large dots in the blank squares.
6. Undo half of the seam at the top of the pillowcase so that it can fit over the child's head.
7. Encase the child in the pillowcase.
8. Say 'Darling, you're bound to impress everyone. Have a super time.'
9. Send child to party.
10. Enjoy a quiet afternoon alone while your child learns that other parents make angel costumes or buy Superman outfits for their children and that sometimes life is the pits.
A quick Google search tells me that, should I wish to repeat the experience forty-six years later, I could.
The only other time I've agreed to fancy dress is when I was thirty and our church had a 1970s disco. I dressed as a punk rocker, gelling my hair into spikes, caking my face in alarming Gothic make-up and attaching mahoosive safety pins to a black shirt and trousers.
There is a photo somewhere in the house. It can stay 'somewhere in the house' and will need to be destroyed before I die. I cannot think what possessed me to dress up in such a way and be seen in public. Think a plump version of 'Siouxsie' from 'Siouxsie and the Banshees' crossed with the Bride of Frankenstein crossed with a porcupine crossed with a panda who's been badly beaten up.
I detest dressing to order, particularly if I think I will look ridiculous. At a school sports day five years ago, all the teachers were asked to dress in the house colours. My house colour was bright yellow. Yellow is the one colour I cannot wear. If I wear yellow, my complexion changes hue and I look as though I have liver disease and need to be rushed to hospital.
I got round it by making myself a giant badge which I pinned onto a black teeshirt. It said, 'I am not a badge. I am a yellow teeshirt.'
Hats? I can't wear those either. They feel unnatural, like fancy dress even when they're not. I try hats on in shops and look in the mirror to find that I look as if my head has been visited by an alien craft made of felt.
My domino experience has a lot to answer for.