How much money does your family need for you to be a socialite exactly? I’m no heiress worthy of notice in that regard, I’m afraid. Still, my social calendar has gone back to 2008 levels, and I have to turn down invitations (!!) this week if I have any hope of ever graduating. I’m sure there are more exclusive circles than the ones in which I move. After all, the Tab is publishing about Made in Chelsea people clubbing with students every other week, and I’ve only met a secondary character at Partridges. I’ve been at the Carlton Club for dinner at a time no one notable was there too. My Facebook timeline is full of people going to this or that event of the season, it’s like a Pemberley Digital remake of Downton Abbey.
Not exactly the life I envisioned in 2008. I did go to brunch in a hipster hotel bar in Shoreditch where a chamber quartet in casual clothes played classical remakes of famous pop songs (Hoi Polloi at the Ace Hotel if you really have to…). And I’ve thought about reviving the 1970s sparkly fuchsia vintage leggings, that look straight out of American Apparel when I bought them in a hidden shop in Brussels, to go to class at Frame a few times. I’ve been to see The Cribs and Klaxons and Kasabian, and I’ve been to see The National, but that’s it. The only things left from 2008 are some of my choices of lipstick, red nail polish, and a passion for nautical stripes. I’ve kept some of my old clothes too, but it’s what’s been added to them that is telling. Lacoste polo shirts. How preppy of me!
Change happens in fascinating patterns. I’ve never fitted in with my peers when in school, with their interest in TV stars and branded jeans worn too low-waist, so I’ve joined the grouping of the outcasts, with their talks of politics and history and alternative music. There is something fascinating about the way you can belong to a crowd that has no fil rouge other than the individualism of its components. Smaller groupings are formed due to shared interests or even friendship, there would be the one you call for the concert of an obscure band from London who just released an EP and the one you call to go shopping, but at the end of the day, it was a subculture that existed in reaction. And I fitted in because whatever I liked needn’t be what everyone else liked. More than that, I was fairly popular. God knows how important that is to the average teenager.
And suddenly I was a twenty-something woman in London, and my life was reversed. I haven’t really changed my taste, but my horizons have expanded, and with the burden of too many choices, some things have been left behind to make space for the new. And they also made space for those things that would have torn apart the image of someone who didn’t care if she didn’t fit in with the crowd. They were the sour grapes, but not anymore.
When we used to dream of London we thought it would be like buying new clothes instead of second-hand ones. We thought we would essentially be the same as we were in Milan, just in London. Now we are here, our London selves are something beyond what we could have dreamed of. We’ve all changed in different ways.