Last Wednesday, I went to Dubai with my friend C and her baby.
And here we are in Terminal 5, right before we left, drinking a breakfast martini at Gordon Ramey’s Plane Food, which turned out to be the alcoholic highlight of the whole trip. C is channelling Sarah Jessica Parker in that movie about career women with kids, while I am just playing with my phone – recurrent theme number one.
After that rather fetching and elegant start, we boarded the plane and sat down for seven hours. The food situation took a dive after the flat whites and eggs benedict at Gordons, with a chicken curry lunch thing and then later BA’s finest cold dry chicken sandwiches and tomato juice (spiced, with ice? Yes, please, OBVS) with KitKats.
C did some baby wrangling while I spent about four hours trying to watch Into The Woods with a defective screen which cut out every four minutes and returned us to the main menu. It was arduous, like running a 10k, except the movie took longer and I didn’t get any thinner while sitting on that tiny seat. On my left hand side was dear C with her gigantic baby made of milk and angel skin and the rounded, heaviest head known to babykind, and on my right was an Overperfumed Armrest Hogging Man who was very concerned we were lesbians. Lesbians who got together with some non-lesbian man to make a giant baby. He smelt like Impulse mixed with The Body Shop’s Dewberry mixed with an Arabic man mixed with a souk mixed with wealth mixed with non-sexy general hairy man pheromones mixed with the sweet, sweet stench of too many perfume testers and a hot car and rising perfume-bile. And he didn’t notice or care that we were sharing an armrest and he took it over – he COLONISED that sliver of precious plastic – for seven whole hours and so I had to crunch my arm into my waist and occasionally I would turn to C and I would make the perfume-gagging face and she would return it because he was wafting far and wide and it made us feel really despairing of the world.
When she got up to go to the toilet, she had to crawl from her window seat, under the baby bassinet-hanging-thing, limbo under my defective screen and then do a massive high-leg over Overperfumed Armrest Hogging Man, like Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible with the lasers, you know, so as not to wake him and get him moving about, in case that would release another chypre stream. C thought perhaps he had it on a timer – just as we thought he could emit no more, we could both feel it invading our dried out nostrils, sledgehammering its way through our air-conditioned dry snot.
At some point he asked me where our husbands were, and what they were doing. It gave me great satisfaction to tell him, as I did my best to mouth-breathe, that they were at home, looking after the children. I expect he was a bit sad for our poor husbands, stuck at home doing useless women’s work, but equally glad we weren’t filthy lady-lovers who had bred.
But we got there and set up in the Ritz Carlton which was an interior design love letter to orange and brown and gold. And such beds of huge towering softness! And a bathroom bigger than our actual room, all in glass so we could watch each other in the shower and maybe try some lesbionic tricks, though we didn’t really have enough time and, you know, we were kind of tired, so ordered room service instead and had some excellent babaganoush and fattoush salad. This was to become recurring theme number two.
So C was teaching and I was looking after the Best Baby in the world. A baby who loves his toes and his milk and swimming and sleeping in his polyester bear suit hood. You put his arms in and slip the hood over his lovely massive head, even in a country that is 44 degrees outside, and he turns his face into the fluffy brown fake-bearskin and he is OFF.
Here he is, atop the bed’o’feathery mattresses, with the very nicest thighs I have ever had the privilege to squeeze:
He is actually also the baby in this ad, made by our friend Amanda who is cooler than I could ever hope to be, with her directorial ways and people who get her bacon sandwiches and coffee when she wants them to. Anyway, he was my charge for four days and he and I visited some lovely New Zealand friends, got invited out for dinner by the most extraordinarily fantastic and clever family and took the train to a mall and we ate out and we swam in the pool:
I got sucked in at the mall by a fake Bloomingdales and bought another Tom Ford lipstick, this time in matt Flame which is lovely but as dry as chalk. Here I am, playing dressups with myself and trying to take a lipstick photo to stick on instagram that doesn’t look like I am a bit stroke-faced. I didn’t succeed – I’m all chin and downy hair:
I look so sad. Possibly because I realised the fake Bloomingdales charged me £3 more than if I had just bought the orange chalk from Selfridges. I also bought the children many camel-related plastic items and fake gold-foiled playing cards, some hair ties and eye makeup remover. I did ponder buying this:
But then I remembered that my underarms are probably normal-coloured under the stubble and besides, it might be letting womanhood down everywhere if I succumbed to the pressure to have all-over porn-ready groomed white parts of my body, especially those parts that I had never thought were noteworthy or up for public scrutiny. AMIRIGHTLADIES?
So, C and I had a lovely time, though C was actually working, while I was playing. Below, again with my phone. C said I should smile, but I fear accidental gurning, so I am posing in my Ritz Carlton residential suite instead. It’s not often I get to do that, so bear with me and my insufferable tendency to take selfies like an insecure teen:
And then I came home to a quite tidy flat, and a lot of relieved faces. Mark told me that things would be different from now on, because everyone was keeping their stuff tidy and there was nothing on the floor of the kid’s bedroom because he would go in there while they dressed and force them to tidy up as they went. And I wondered…Why do I have to go away to have these domestic changes implemented? And by day two, we were back to the strewing of things.
I didn’t really miss anyone. Now I really miss the way somebody tidied up my messy Ritz room every day. I have now come full circle and I have to clean up after everyone else again, but I get NO TIPS.