At a Shine workshop the importance of ‘appearing’ to have your shit together often crops up. It’s a subject Queen D loves….
I bumped into an old colleague the other day. I was glad to see a couple of furrows developing nicely under the Bare Minerals matte foundation.
“You look tired,” said she, kohled eyes sweeping over my dungarees.
“You look fake,” I said, taking another drag of my e-cig.
Well, perhaps I didn’t say exactly those words but they were bouncing round my mouth like a handful of sherbert poppers just waiting to be spat out over her Jimmy Choos. She melted into a taxi, leaving me drowning in a cascade of envy.
Some women exude a haute couture attitude to life while others (for that, read me) seem to stitch theirs together from a rag bag tucked under their mental stairs. Some women have their shit together, some don’t, but the key is remembering to fake it.
Mrs Beckham epitomises collected shit. She’s picture-perfect down to every pained pout. She looks like the real thing but believe me, she fakes it like a cornered cat. She might look haughty and flawless, she can spit fire and glare like a killer, but I bet sometimes she’s a terrified fur ball of hot air.
Faking is what women do best. From silk lined cradle to satin lined coffin, we are experts. By the time we’ve landed in the adult world, we’re mistresses of this dark art. Take the first stare in the mirror at stagger-awake-o’clock. We’ve already dyed our hair and painted our nails. Our teeth are gleaming white and the legs and pits are stubble free. Now for the daily spell of fake. We slap on war paint to fake being younger and prettier. We squeeze into tubes and totter on heels to fake being taller and slimmer. We use fake brands to look wealthier and pop pills to fake good health. By the time we strut through the door and out into the world, we have our shit together.
Faking is a skill we perfect early – look at any two year old in a tutu twirling her daddy round her little finger, or the teenager seducing his wallet. That charm isn’t real, it’s fake. It’s all about developing the skills to drag our shit together when we need to. We learn to wing it and keep so many balls in the air we could run Cirque de Soleil.
Men have trouble getting their shit together too, and they can play fake games, but not nearly as well as we do. When it comes to the ultimate fake, there’s no contest. No man regularly, consistently and repeatedly fakes orgasms. No man would see the point. We do. The fake fuck is the best tool, if you’ll pardon the expression, to keep our family show on the road and our shit together. When all you want to do is pull on piggy pyjamas, eat baked beans from a can and crash out with Graham Norton, remember Friday night is faking night and go play with the box the kid came in.
If life is theatre, living is performance. We spend years constructing our personal stage and honing our skills to strut our stuff. When it works, we lap up the applause. Sometimes we play to empty houses, or our performance is not up to scratch. But whatever the circumstances, we have to go on stage and perform however we feel. The show must go on! It’s much better when it feels real. There’s nothing more satisfying than genuinely having our shit together, and being the star because we’re the best, professional, capable, confident and brilliant at what we do. It doesn’t get better than that.
But sometimes, getting our shit together is all about being the best at being fake. And that’s OK. It’s more than OK, it’s what makes us brilliant. It’s what enables us to cope. As Abraham Lincoln might have said to Mrs Lincoln, you can have some of your shit together some of the time and none of your shit together any of the time but you can never have all of your shit together all of the time. Sometimes, you just have to fake it.