I’ve got a thing about labels. I don’t mean buying expensive ones as there wouldn’t be much point. My clothes could be from Dolce & Gabbana and Karen Millen, but they may just as well be from Dodgy Old Pullovers and Millets. I have no way of proving the source of any item in my wardrobe as I have a terrible phobia of scratchy, itchy, sensitive skin-enemy, hive-inducing, information-imparting… labels.
Every tag must be cut out before I can even contemplate putting a new purchase on; even those loops that help to keep clothes on hangers have to be snipped within minutes of getting them home. You recognise me now? I’m that strange woman with the hanger marks in all her shoulders. I know you laugh at me behind my puckered back but I just can’t help it. Washing instructions must be guessed at and I’ve had more than my fair share of laundry disasters. That lovely white silk blouse, which should really have gone to the dry cleaners, is now part of Baby Teeny Tiny Doll’s extensive wardrobe. I’ve ruined most things that require hand washing and please don’t get me started on grey bras and colour runs.
I sincerely hoped to avoid passing this foible onto my children but it seems the little sponges pick up things even when we don’t want them to, especially the things we have some sort of OCD about. Sharks in the sea, spiders in the bath, egg shells in the scramble. I have a friend in the UK who’ll never be able to visit me as she’s terrified of getting on a plane. Her 13-year-old daughter has never even tried. I recently took a load of excited kids to an adventure park and spent the day consoling one child who refused to go on any of the rides – even the baby ones. ‘Oh she gets that from me’ said her mum, cheerfully, when I returned the traumatised child to her at the end of the day. ‘I’m afraid of heights, speed, merry-go-rounds and water’. If she’d only told me that before, I would have understood. After all, everyone can be a bit neurotic at times. Or am I labelling again? Pass me the scissors – I need to cut it out.