THE first time I was called a lady, I was wearing elf ears. I was 13 years old and I’d landed a super-sweet paid gig handing out free chocolates to people buying Christmas trees at what these days we’d style a “pop-up” shop, but in those days was a disused hotel car park.
“Ask the lady if you can have some,” said a mother to her shy child, and I was momentarily confused and a little indignant. Why did she need to ask a lady when I was standing right here, and my entire role in this operation was confectionery distribution? What a cheek. But of course she meant me.
Cutting a dash in my sophisticated uniform (a dark green body warmer with a smiling cartoon tree on the back), not yet five feet tall, not yet aware that when our budget Santa Claus kept retreating to his little garden shed and returning smelling of booze, he was merely conforming to well-established cliche. An innocent in the world. A girl, not yet a woman.
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Published in The National on July 13 2018.