35. Orange Girls

We’re watching one of those BBC historical programmes about where some professor talks about the role of women in theatres in London in the 1900s. It’s fascinating. You call the presenter ‘Absolutely Spiffing’ because of her posh voice.

The next day we’re at a car show, looking at fancy bodywork waxes with hilarious names like ‘Brazilian’ or ‘Hollywood’, strawberry-scented shampoo that costs more than my weekly bus ticket and watching demos of men deftly covering a Lotus in vinyl with what looks like credit cards. There are loads of tanned, impossibly gorgeous young women, handing out free promotional items and putting flower wreaths around everyone’s neck. Some vendors have got signs saying things like, “my car is like my misses. You can look, but don’t touch” while his wife, scantily clad in fishnets and a french maids outfit, poses next to the car with customers buying the waxes and chamois. Her expression is always the same. Raised eyebrows and mouth in an “ooh” shape for each photograph. Her feather duster as a prop. I saw her in the ladies loos and asked her what her day job was. She’s in insurance.

I overhear a conversation between a couple standing in the coffee van queue.

He says. “Would you agree that being an orange girl hasn’t changed much over the years then?”

I’m a little bit shocked by this casual sexism. “You’re awful you are.” She replies. ” I can’t fault them. If I looked like them, I might do it. I bet it’s not easy money though. Wearing those heels, smiling and posing for selfies all day”

“Are we talking about the same thing here?” He says.

“What are you talking about?” She asks.

“Theatre girls who sold oranges and other things.”

They clearly watched the same programme as we did.

“Other things? Oh right. I thought you meant ‘cos they were orange. Fake tan and all that TOWIE stuff.”

I turn to ask the boyfriend if he wants a chocolate chip cookie with his coffee.

The next thing I hear her say is,

“You don’t have to DO 30 before 30! It does not mean that!”

What on earth did I miss?!

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