Something weird happens to the streets of NYC when the sun
comes out. A giant drag queen descends from the sky and blows a puff
of magic gas all over town. Helplessly, women of all ages succumb to this gas
and turn out in gharish, sextastic outfits.
I noticed it a bit last summer but I thought it was just me
being nasty. Now I know the truth. Just watch SATC2 and you will get the full picture. Attractive women
transform themselves into ladyboys in NYC when the sun shines. Vivid frocks,
slashed low at the front or short in the leg adorn every body-type. Disco brides in all-white ensembles queue up in my
local Starbucks. There are Flamenco dancers on the Subway, Brazilian carnival
queens on the bus.
Summer is the
ideal time to pick the locals and strangers apart. I am very definitely a
stranger. I can’t do summery,
semi-professional clothes. I’ve just been up half the night trying to decide
what to wear for a work meeting this week. I am either in Raggedy Annie cotton outfits or full-on-Ascot-formal. That is the
sum total of the average British woman’s summer wardrobe. It would be very hard, boring and
pricey to furnish oneself with the sort of full-on summer outfit required for
the streets of NYC.
Don’t get me
started on the hair and make-up. New Yorkers must have access to a secret beauty glue that binds
everything together in the melting humidity. A British Editor
friend here shares my pain. She
texted me one hot, rainy morning to say ‘Left home with a blow dry, now look
like Andrew Neil’. I was
surprised because she belongs to a group I call, The Others. The Others dress
in the same sort of outfits all year round. Apart from carefully arranged
leisure activities in the Hamptons at the weekends, they never set foot
outside. The Others hop from one air conditioned lux interior (remember him?)
to the next, via an air conditioned limo. They never wear tights or coats in
the winter and they always have cardigans and fur wraps in the summer. Seasonal dressing means nothing
other than the odd pair of evening sandals or big ear rings. I thought my life here might be a bit
like that. It’s not!