Partner mentioned wattle∗ and not three days later, Caitlin Moran is talking about it in the Saturday Times at the weekend. I’m a great believer in things happening for a reason and this cannot simply be a coincidence – there are darker forces at work here. I had no concerns about my wattle, I wasn’t even sure that I was sporting a turtle neck, but they have both now got me looking.
Partner’s comment was in relation to his, you can hide a lot of things about being old, he said, but you can’t hide your wattle – unless you wear a scarf, he added, knowledgeably. Paranoia then set in – were his comments actually aimed at both of us? I hot footed it into the downstairs loo, where the natural light that floods in is like the second coming – you can’t hide anything in that downstairs loo. It’s the loo you drag kids into who are itching their scalp or their bum. I examine myself carefully. When I was a teenager, my younger sister told me to do exercises on my neck every time I applied my moisturiser: you’ll be glad of that advice when you’re older, she said as a nine year old in the know. Thirty years on, peering into the mirror, poking at my neck, I’m feeling quite pleased that I listened to her.
I return to partner, confident that I am currently wattle free. Well, he says, as he looks at my smug face, you may not be part of the wattle club yet, but the way you were peering into that mirror, I reckon you should get your eyesight checked. I reached into the under stairs cupboard and threw a scarf at him, let’s walk the dogs, I said bruskly and I suggest you cover yourself up.
*wattle: A wattle is a fleshy bit hanging from the neck (but not mine)