‘Sorcha is by no means overweight, but . . .'
. . . closing that dress was like trying to stuff a duvet into a microwave’
A bout six months ago, my wife bought a Stella McCortney sheer plissé dress for the wedding of an old friend from UCD, who I couldn’t pick out of a line-up of one, even though I supposedly slept with her twice. That last bit is irrelevant. The dress is the point of the story.
They didn’t have the thing in Sorcha’s actual size, which was an eight, but she loved it so much, she bought it in the next size down, which was a six, figuring – in a fit of insane optimism that I’m told is not uncommon amongst the deadlier of species – that she would somehow lose a pile of weight between then and now and it would fit her.
“When the summer comes, we’ll be eating nothing but salads,” I remembering her saying, I have to be honest, repeatedly? We ate salad exactly twice this summer and both times it was on top of a quarter-pounder and jammed between two Bundys. So you can probably guess what happened last weekend when she decided to finally try on the dress with the wedding only six days away.
I was watching New Zealand beat Australia with Chad, our house-guest and my new bezzy mate, when I heard poor old Jesús Cristo’s name being taken in vain upstairs and I told Chad that it might be advisable to watch the second half in Christian’s gaff. But Sorcha called me when we were on the way out the door and asked me to come upstairs.
“Can you zip me up at the back?” she went.
I knew, roysh, even from one glance, that it was going to be an impossible job. And so it proved. Sorcha is by no means overweight, but closing that dress was like trying to stuff a duvet into a microwave.
“Why doesn’t it fit?” she went. “Jesus Christ, I’ve been buying nothing but salad since May.” And then focking it out a month later, I thought, when it turned black in the vegetable drawer in the fridge.
Honor suddenly appeared at the door of our bedroom, saw what was going down and went, “Oh! My God! Hill! Air!”
When I went back downstairs, Chad – actually, I’m going to stort calling him The Chad, because he’s earned it – went, “Is everything good?”
I explained the situation to him, how she tried everywhere for the dress in her actual size, including online – he’s an amazing listener – then I went, “Just to warn you, this is probably going to mean one of Sorcha’s crash diets. And when Sorcha is on a crash diet, it means we all are.”
He didn’t say anything. There was, like, nothing to say? Women are like Sodoku. You can spend all day trying to figure them out, but in the end you have to accept that there’s no real answer.
Shortly afterwards, Sorcha went out, then came back an hour later with four Superquinn bags stuffed to bursting point with, like, fruit and vegetables. I won’t deny that a certain dorkness fell over the house.
She said that we – we! – were going to do the five-day juice detox diet, the same one that Anne Hathaway did to look like bones and teeth for her role in Les Miserables and again for the Oscars six months later.
Seven pounds in five days was the promise and four juices per day, instead of actual meals, was the challenge. It was kale, spinach, parsley and pineapple. Or it was avocado, wheatgrass, spirulina and lime. Or it was beetroot, broccoli and the contents of the lawnmower grass box. Every breakfast-time, lunchtime, dinner-time and bedtime, Sorcha presented us each with a glass of something that was the colour of nuclear waste when you drank it, and weirdly, still looked like nuclear waste when it came out the other end.
She monitored the effects of the diet very closely, which is to say that every four hours there was, like, yet another attempted dress fitting. These became crankier and crankier affairs, which I put down to lack of basic nourishment more than anything else.
“Why can’t you focking fasten it?” she roared at me, early on Day Four. “If it was kicking a rugby ball between two posts, you’d find a way to do it.”
I smiled to myself, even though I’m sure it wasn’t intended as a compliment.
On my way downstairs, I thought I could smell bacon. I was literally storving and my nose was storting to hallucinate. When I pushed the kitchen door, I wasn’t ready for the sight that greeted me. The Chad was literally frying rashers and I couldn’t help but notice that the green light on the waffle press was on as well.
“Are you out of your focking mind?” I went. “You know Sorcha thinks you can take in calories through your nostrils?”
The Chad laughed. “I’m cooking you both your favourite breakfast,” he went.
That was when Sorcha suddenly appeared behind me. “Chad,” she went, “what are you doing? I’m sorry, I’m going to have to cover my nose and mouth.”
“I’ve got cinnamon waffles, bacon, fresh cream and peaches,” he went. “Sit down. Look, trust me.”
He put two breakfasts down in front of us, then he left the room. Sorcha went at hers like a focking donkey in a strawberry patch, while Honor arrived into the kitchen and laughed. “You’re definitely not going to fit into it now,” she went. “Er, blimp much?”
The Chad stepped back into the kitchen holding a dress bag, which he hung from the handle of one of the cupboards.
“I got you the dress,” he went, “in a size eight,” and then he just walked out. He didn’t hang around to drink in the – I don’t know – adulation, like I would have done.
That’s how cool he is.
Sorcha looked at me, bacon grease dribbling down her face. “No offence,” she went, “but I think I’m in love with him.”
I was like, “No offence taken. I’m kind of in love with him myself.”
ILLUSTRATION: ALAN CLARKE