Being a 'woman of a certain age' has its challenges. For example, I have to constantly stop myself from talking out loud while alone in public. This habit has become more pronounced as I've aged and sometimes I can start a 'self-chat' on Pitt Street before I remember where I am. Crazy lady.
I've also become slack about my fashion choices, with a tendency to shop for practical rather than aesthetic items.
The bad hat is an example of this. It is a pink cotton hat with a floppy brim. I bought it because it keeps the sun off my face.
I wore it all last summer with not a peep from anyone in my family (I could plonk a stuffed cat on my head and Spanner wouldn't notice). But a couple of weeks ago my swimming coach Mr Mean made an observation that highlighted my fall from style icon to dowdy matron.
Mr Mean said: "Is your daughter pregnant?"
I said: "No... I hope not. Why?"
Mr Mean said: "Because you're wearing a grandma hat."
Mr Mean likes to stir the possum. He is a ratbag with no manners.
Deep down I knew he was right but that didn't stop me from wearing the bad hat to Sculpture by the Sea with Ms Onyabike and Mrs Snorkel, where I told them about the unpleasant exchange.
I expected their support but received a general lack of empathy.
That night I received an email from Mrs Snorkel, which she cc'd to Ms Onyabike.
Mrs Snorkel wrote: If you really want my opinion, that hat looks like it is either your very small child's or your mother's that even they don't wear anymore but that you found in the boot when you realised you'd forgotten to bring a real hat. I am only being a true friend and I am still very happy to be seen with you while you are wearing it.
Ms Onyabike added: cruel, but fair.
That's what true friends are for.
I now have a new hat. It looks like the bad hat is going to the Salvo's shop because my mum doesn't want it. She says it makes her look old and frumpy.