God bless you, merry gentlemen, and let nothing you dismay! And why should care cloud your manly brows, my lads? Stride boldly through the Yuletide city, secure in the knowledge that socks and jumpers are headed your way. For your part, perfume has been purchased, and luckily enough, the girl who sold it to you wrapped it. My boys, you have Christmas knocked into a cocked hat.
Ah, merry gentlewomen, still in the queue in TK Maxx with bags from M&S, Debenhams and Primark piled around your legs, like sandbags around the Statue of Liberty.
Or you might be in Tesco, Asda or Lidl, using that trolley like a battering ram to cut through the swathes of other women with that look in their eyes. You know the look I mean. You’ve heard Slade just once too often and the idea of Christmas being every day is the stuff of nightmares.
One quick glance at the staff being subjected constantly to the crooning of Bing Crosby reminds us that the Americans used repetitive music as a weapon to get Manuel Noriega out of his house and arrest him.
Now and then you’ll see a woman freeze mid-shop. Her face will be expressionless, her eyes blank. She looks like the Terminator evaluating a threat. She has no resource for external expression and fripperies like conversation, because she’s mentally re-calibrating the Christmas lists. She knows someone is missing something, but for the life of her she can’t remember what or who. In fact, she is sure that she may have, in fact, purchased something for someone, but again, she can’t quite match gift to name.
What she does know is that sometime in March, or possibly April, she will find something at the bottom of the wardrobe that was meant for Aunty Margaret or cousin Donald. Here’s hoping it wasn’t artisan cheese.
These women are veterans of the tinsel wars and wear the scars of battle, quite literally. Look at the lower lip. Sellotape, man, it can be brutal. I once ripped off about six layers of skin having let super-sticky tape rest just a fraction too long on dry lips.
Of course, we do it to ourselves, all this ‘perfect Christmas’ baloney. The food must be perfect, the table must be perfect, and the presents must be perfect, because that’s how it looks in the magazines and the telly. Away with this nonsense I say.
Let’s start a movement for an Anarchists Christmas and bin the picture-perfect Chrimbo.