Remember the time when everyone would make their own clothes, they would buy the pattern, select the material and then create instant style? Yeah, well I wasn’t one of those. I just did not have the patience or the finesse. And I’m not sure I can even blame my genes because even though my mother was absolutely appalling at anything to do with craft, be it sewing a button on or knitting, my paternal grandmother was a professional seamstress and my sister was a whiz on the Singer. Trish could whip up a colourful summer ensemble before I could even get the sewing machine threaded. Just don’t get me started about tangled bobbins!
So really my craft abilities could have gone either way and suffice to say, what brave attempts were made to do any kind of needlework did not end well. And it appears it may have come back to haunt me, taunt me even.
Fast forward 10 or so years away from the Singer machine and I am living back in Australia following a 4-year absence. During that time I traversed a few continents, ruined my liver and I fell in love with a smart dressed man from northern England. I wasn’t really certain I even wanted to be back in Australia, but no decisions were going to be made until my long-haired lover from Liverpool arrived. *
It had been six months since I’d seen him and then there he was, sitting on my doorstep beaming like a mad man. He’d decided to surprise me, how sweet.
I couldn’t believe he was finally in my hometown and I would be introducing him to family and friends.
My joy however was short lived, the planned nights of passion suddenly forgotten.
FIRST NIGHT IN BED
ME: what do you mean you don’t feel like sex, it’s been six months?
HIM: I know sorry, I’m just really tired.
SECOND NIGHT IN BED
HIM: I think we need to talk
ME: I think we need to have sex
HIM: no, seriously
ME: yeah, no, really?
HIM: I don’t want to be with you any more
ME: Ha ha, stop mucking around
HIM: I’m serious
ME: Why are you in Australia then? Why are you here with me?
HIM: I thought we could still travel around together, just as friends though.
ME: Did you now? And as friends would we be hooking up?
HIM: I couldn’t say for sure.
ME: Oh so you might be hooking up with others?
His true colours began to show as the full story revealed itself. Intuition told me there was more to it but after many hours of questions I was still none the wiser. However, as the days went by in an emotional blur, letters started to turn up for him from a woman in the UK. (Clearly we are talking pre email!)
So not only had he been unfaithful, he felt rather comfortable in coming all the way to Australia to break up with me and to pass on my address as a point of contact for people, including the woman he had slept with. No, really!
I needed to know why, why her and not me. What could she possibly have to offer that would make him walk away from what we had? Which, on the face of it wasn’t much, but hey, I was a romantic!
So when an opportunity presented itself for me to access those letters I did what any insane broken-hearted woman would do.
I made a cup of coffee and sat on my bed and went through his bag. There were a few letters so the coffee was quickly discarded for vodka.
I so wish I hadn’t. I so wish I had just kicked him out. I so wish I had ripped up those letters. Instead I devoured every word on the page, twice over. But finally, there it was on the page taunting me, reminding me of my shortcoming as a seamstress.
The one continuing theme throughout these letters was the offer of more of her handmade silk boxer shorts that apparently he looked rather hot in. She was dangling more sexy shorts to entice him back to her. And going in to great detail about what else would happen once he had those sexy silk shorts on.
Clearly I wasn’t any kind of threat in the home craft division.
I had bought him several rather ravishing pairs of boxers in the years we were together, did they account for nothing?
I was so immersed in my outrage and tears that I hadn’t heard him come home.
He walked in to the bedroom and saw me putting the letters back. Curiosity sure killed this cat!
Perhaps I should have taken him to the boxes of stuff stored at my mothers that held the glorious Hobbytex ** pictures I had so painstakingly drawn in my youth, now that was craft at it’s finest.
And then there were the Treads *** I made. These unfortunately were made in a rush so the suede wasn’t quite the right tension and I flipped and flopped around in them in such an ungainly way that they soon stayed in the bottom of the cupboard.
Let’s not forget though that as a Girl Guide I did receive my craft badge, much needed to then sew on all the other amazing badges received in the heady days of girl guiding. Gosh when we weren’t selling biscuits door to door there was always something to be done to achieve badge status. I’m sure those badges were in a box somewhere close to the Hobbytex.
But he didn’t get dragged to my mum’s and paraded past my many exhibits of acceptable needlework thus proving that I too, had I wanted to, could have made him sexy boxer shorts. Thankfully I had come to my senses.
Instead the Liverpudlian flew back to the UK obviously excited at the prospect of more silk boxers and leaving me to contemplate decisions I’d made much earlier in life to refuse to embrace the world of crafts.
* LONG HAIRED LOVER FROM LIVERPOOL (song reference not commonly recognised by anyone born after 1980).
Technically he had very short hair, but that’s not quite as linguistically fun. In fact prior to my meeting him he had been a punk with a purple Mohawk, but he was definitely from Liverpool.
** HOBBYTEX lost art of the 1970’s that involved fabric painting and if you were really cool, sniffing the fumes for a bit of a spin out.
*** TREADS circa late 1970’s Australia, footwear made from disused tyre as the sole and suede material woven for the upper part. In hindsight, not the sexiest of footwear for a teenage girl already struggling to attract the opposite sex, but on trend regardless!!