Thursday, 18 September 2014

Embrace your inner slattern (you know you want to!)

Have you ever arrived at the office with a smear of toothpaste on your collar or a ladder offering a stairway to…   somewhere creeping up the back of your leg?
Is your guilty pleasure (when no-one’s looking) scoffing a cheese & onion crisp sandwich with slabs of butter, preferably eaten in front of the telly in sweat pants older than your best friend?
Do you regularly perform the rummage and sniff test (in the laundry basket) when planning your day’s outfit?
Have you ever eaten cold baked beans straight from the tin or leftover cold pizza for breakfast?
Do you throw away more mascara and eyeliner-stained pillowcases than you do cotton wool balls?
Have you ever ripped the wrapper off that forbidden ready-made pasty and stuffed it into your mouth in an ecstasy of gluttony and crumbs before you reach the car with the rest of your supermarket haul?
Do you believe a regular skin-care regime is something that only Disney Princesses have time for?
Have you been known to wipe that spilled olive oil left from your latest culinary experiment onto your head thinking it will be good for the hair?
Did you ever find yourself yanking your skirt back down to knee level after your frantic waddle to the bus stop bunches it up around your oh-so-visible panty line?

If you are, have been, or are ever likely to be guilty of any or all of the above, then - my dear - you are a slattern. 

Welcome to the Club.

It’s an all-embracing sisterhood, unlike those bands of perfect poppets flung in our faces via TV ads and mail order mediocrity. You won’t be thrown out for having chipped nail polish or poorly plucked eyebrows. A smudged line of what started life as a cute kitten flick across your lash line will be laughed off (and possibly wiped off with a lick of spit and the edge of a coat sleeve). And as for those elsewhere unacceptable visible roots, well we all need to know where we’ve come from, don’t we girls?

If there’s more books, lipsticks minus lids, mismatched socks and empty tampon boxes decorating your bedroom than carefully-coordinated duvet cover and curtain combos, join us. You won’t regret it.

The only unforgivable crime is losing the ability to laugh – particularly at yourself.

But first, let’s get down to basics. What exactly is a slattern?

The term probably dates back to beyond the 1600s, coming from good old down-to-earth northern roots: possibly from the Scandinavian slatter (to slop), the Old Norse sletta (to slap) or slattari (idler), the German schlottern (to hang loosely, slouch) or the Dutch slodderen (to hang loosely).

You get the picture, right?

It is usually used to describe a woman who is “negligent of her dress, or who suffers her clothes and household furniture to be in disorder; one who is not neat and nice; a slut, a sloven”
Or perhaps someone who simply has better things to do than obsess about the skin-deep.

I’m not saying that we’re not above making an effort to be respectable and presentable, we’re just not going to beat ourselves up when we fall short of the mark. We know that the ability to enjoy a good belly laugh is a greater life skill than never having your lippy bleed into those crinkly lines around your mouth. We also know that even Nigella, Angelina and Uma all have days when all they want to do is just flob out on the settee in their hubby’s oversized socks, overstretched leggings and a t-shirt that stands up on its own in the corner when you take it off.   

It’s time to come out of the closet, sisters (yes, even that one in the back room where you frantically stuff all the unironed laundry when mother-in-law pays an impromptu visit). Stand proud, brush those pet hairs off your chest, tug that stray lock of hair behind your ear and look the world square in the eye to declare “Yes, I’m a slattern. You got a problem with that?”

Not only are slatterns experts at forgiving themselves for not being perfect, they are smart cookies with a (messy) shedload of tricks to help fool the world that they’ve got everything under control.

But more of that later, as we introduce The Slattern’s Guide to…   well, to paraphrase someone somewhere, Life, the Universe and Everything.

For now, pull up a cushion, flop down on it with the elegance of a sack of spuds and join us. We may not look good, but sure as hell know how to be real.

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