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Saturday, 30 October 2010

Sexy. Fancy. Dress. Or Not.

There are two kinds of people in this world. Those who would have sex with Piers Morgan and those who would only have sex with Piers Morgan in the hope that they would meet Simon Cowell. No, hang on, that's not right. Well, it's true, but it's not what I'm trying to say.

Oh yes! I know! There are two kinds of people in this world, people who do sexy fancy dress and people who don't.

I learnt this as a mere stripling acting as an unpaid skivvy at my Mum and Dad's fancy dress parties. The door bell would ring and there would be Mrs Anderson*, rouged cheeks, ringlets and cleavage like the San Andreas fault line.

Just as you're breaking into a sweat thinking "Bette Davis in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?" you notice the basket of satsumas and realise she's Nell Gwynn. If Nell Gwynn had been a thickset 53 year old dentist's receptionist with elephantitis. But still there she was, one sniff of a costume party and her sexy, sexy head was on. What a trooper.

Actually, it was much more disturbing when your parents' friends were really proper sexy. Like Mrs Frances*. She was some ancient old bird of 33 that you babysat for and if you slagged her off for having rubbish biscuits your brother would go red and say things like "I like her. She smells nice." but normally she was just in a Simon shirt and a pair of Wranglers and clogs so you would think, "Well she's no Victoria Principal, but she is quite slim, I'll give her that."

But then she turns up at your parents fancy dress party in harem pants and a bikini top with a belly chain and "Blimey!" for once you really sympathise with your brother who is having to chat to her with only a tray of stuffed eggs to hide his discomfort.

Suffice to say I am not a sexy fancy dress person. I learnt this from my mother who, despite being lovely and having what they called in the '70's "a smashing figure," NEVER did sexy fancy dress. My Mum was always Fidel Castro or Groucho Marx or something and was funny and cute like Judy Garland in Easter Parade and never had to worry abut whether her bosom was about to dip in the chicken vol au vents.

So having learnt it at my mother's knee I know my fancy dress mojo, but for those of you who don't, here is a short guide to fancy dress archetypes.

1. The Jordan

This is easy. Think "common prostitute in Hammer House of Horror. " Synthetic fibres only, particularly for your hair extensions, frilly pants like Chris Evert or at a push simply knickers with days of the week on them, but ALWAYS on show. Ladies, this is not the time for mystery. Make- up is classic, applied half-cut in the dark over a thin base of creosote.

2. The TV Chef

At it's simplest its just comedy lips and a hair net for Jamie. Or you could do Nigella but that does require full frontal nudity save for fairy lights draped over your pomegranates. Finally, if you can take a lot of pain, you could do Gordon Ramsay by wrapping twenty elastic bands around your face, putting two pain aux raisins up a tight white t-shirt, and shoving a Le Creuset milk pan in your underwear.

3. The Politico

Fidel Castro, Che etc. Just some basic camo left over from that survivalist's convention and a tache. The tache can be finest plug hair if you can come by it, if not any old merkin you have lying around the house will do just as well. If you want to do right-wing just hollow out a large ham, stick a wetsuit and sunglasses on it and put it on your head like Monica did with the turkey in the Friends Thanksgiving episode. You are the PM natch. (NB: Of course the Cam-Gamm thing is Trademark Caitlin Moran of The Times.)

4. The Fop/Aristo/ Historical Clergyman

18th century aristo with powdered periwig and knee breeches. A word of caution, unless you are Elton John there is a strong chance that wearing this means you are a complete tool. (See Conrad Black )

There endeth the lesson.

*All names have been changed or the entire story fabricated.

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