Where to start? In a moment of madness strolling through Covent Garden while TA was in Montreal I signed up for an ‘experience’. A friend and I could go to a studio for an afternoon of pampering – champagne, facials, hair and make up and a photo shoot where we could have a variety of pictures taken in up to five outfits. Exactly. What on earth was I thinking?
Thursday was that day. TA was my friend and I had told him that he would need five outfits for his birthday experience. There’s some back story here – I hate weddings where hours are spent on photos; always the photos seem to be more important than the experience, as a result we don’t have any wedding photos and we’ve always said that it would be a good idea to get some wedding outfit photos at some point. Of course he guessed in advance what it was (git) but at least that meant that he’d be prepared. Only he wasn’t, and much time was spent yesterday morning agonising over outfit choices and ironing shirts.
We had to get a taxi to the studio. They had told me to arrive 20 minutes before the official start time to enjoy a champagne reception. We arrived on the dot of twelve, our appointment time, and I was anxious not to miss out on the “free” champagne I had been promised. We sat on a couch in a warehouse-type area waiting for our experience to start. I got a glass of bucks fizz, the orange juice doing nothing to disguise the ropeyness of the fizz. And then it began. I was whisked away to a chair – what kind of thing was I after, I was asked. Natural, I said. Please keep it very natural. Having ensured I could see nothing by placing pads over my eyes, the beautifiers got to work. I could hear TA getting similar treatment in the chair next to me – face mask, cleanser, toner, hand massage, he even got a rather nice manicure. TA had powder liberally applied to his face and I, well, I wasn’t altogether sure what they were doing to me but it seemed to involve a lot of wet brushes. When they allowed me to look in the mirror it became evident that I’d been photoshopped and someone else’s head had been stuck on my shoulders for comedic effect. I’m not sure who this head belonged to – a Vegas showgirl, page three model, a particularly minging lady boy? – whoever it was (and the new head clearly belonged to someone at least ten years older than me) I wish they had left my face alone as I didn’t think it was funny. English manners prevented me from saying anything more than “that’s natural?” and “thank you so much” to the woman who had performed the photoshop face swap. I stumbled back to the couch and let TA persuade me that under lights the fright mask would transmogrify back into my face and look very natural.
We went upstairs and met our photographers. Oh dear, I’d made a booboo it seemed. Although it was clear that we were a couple we couldn’t have a couple’s photo shoot. I stamped my foot until they compromised and they agreed to do a decent number of couple shots split between the two photographers. First off we did our ‘casual’ look – TA in a tee-shirt emblazoned with a funky monkey and cords, and me in a jumper and jeans – then we went back to the changing room to get our wedding finery on. TA zipped me into my corset. He opened his suit bag to get his dress shirt, but it became evident that both shirts were still hanging in our bedroom. I thought it hilarious, but having come all this way TA was really upset. I was sent to enquire about the possibility of borrowing a shirt. Meanwhile, the changing room next door was playing host to three very large ladies in black sparkly outfits and an anorexic girl wearing a dress that didn’t cover her skinny rump who was being told to get a move on by a rude photographer. In the end there was a shirt for TA and the shoot went as well as these things can.
We were ushered into a room and the photos were projected on to a white wall. Let’s just say we are not the most photogenic of couples! We escaped at around 4pm with our dignity just about intact. And, after going home and freshening up a little, went out for an early dinner. The day of treats ended as it began with a plate of cheese and some biscuits.