I would like to take a little of your time in order to extrude a tale of an old acquaintance of mine. The girl’s name in question is not particularly German, nor spelt in the Germanic fashion, but wishing to spare her any embarrassment by relating these events - and her nationality being German - I intend to simply label her Brunhilde, satisfying the impulse of casual racism I adopted sometime back in 2009.
Brunhilde may or may not be a fashion guru, but one might be inclined on a particularly vindictive afternoon to assume that she regarded herself as such. My fashion sense has always been limited: Give me a pair of baggy shorts and some flip flops and the world suddenly becomes a lot simpler. She however saw the world and its contents as something to be rearranged, to be aesthetically attuned to the music of the spheres at all times, so that at any moment (should Jesus descend to Earth from his holy placement) he would find himself an underdressed gatecrasher and the source of much critique at the party of life.
In the spring she would combine sassy, floral pastiche with elements of the recent revamp of the Tom Ford 70s tuxedo, intoxicating the eye with the heady bouquet of bold rose-tints and subtler emerald hues on matt black bell bottoms. The following season saw sexy, summer skirts that blasted pure radiance at all frequencies of the magnetic spectrum, whilst autumn got her going Gucci in burnt yellows and plunging necklines. Winter would come and go and in that time Brunhilde would show the conscientious world that animal cruelty was far from over with her legion of furs, each stripped from the flesh of its own endangered specie.
She regarded the world much as she regarded herself. Living permanently in an era supported on such cultural pillars as Yves Saint Laurent and Coco Chanel, she would accept no substitute in those around her, particularly in her choice of men. I remember one afternoon asking her what made a man attractive. Her answer was bold in its simplicity: “His shoes”. Thus it was that her contact with men was seldom, and being seldom, rarely enduring. It came as some surprise to me therefore when she related that she had recently been swept off her feet:
It all began at a friend’s house party, as many of these stories often do. Brunhilde and her friends were discussing the finer points of Arizona Muse and Daphne Groeneveld’s interpretations of hairstyles and outfits using 60s stylistic trappings (Davina Trumpton commenting inanely that the sash should never be used without respect for its appropriate heritage), when her eye was caught by a figure on the other side of the room. He was clean cut with a stocky, square build and a tan sheen that oozed a sensuous style in and of itself. Yet it was his sense of taste and choice in clothing which so fascinated Brunhilde.
He had a classic, fitted, Hugo Boss single breasted suit with peaked lapels, which oozed opulent masculinity through its navy, slim peppered colouration - speaking to Brunhilde of dinner parties on riverboats and holidays in Costa Rica helping orphan children to build model hair salons and liposuction clinics. His shirt was of crisp linen, a daring peach in the face of so much dark blue. Its starched collar cut downwards in an aggressive arc, digging in to the soft folds of his cravat, which gleamed a deep purple in the supple light. His crisp, creased trousers drew an arrow of attention down toward his shoes - Ah, the shoes! Brunhilde felt herself step forward involuntarily. His shoes shone in the dappled light, twin suns in the midst of so glitter and reflection, pearly, opalescent, silvery – creating a combination of dark and light that was so counterintuitive to the senses that to see these shoes in tandem with the suit could almost have been considered a crime. Such was the taste with which they were fitted however, that Brunhilde could not help but be overcome with awe. Somehow the contrast between the two only served to complement the other half in a mesmerising contusion, which shocked the senses. Before she knew what she was doing, Brunhilde had abandoned her friends and found herself engaging in conversation with this dark and lofty figure.
She was enchanted and indeed became quite intoxicated by him – his oaky scent, his solid frame, his silent mystique only serving to dull her senses to her surroundings and the scandalous glances she was receiving from them. She was usually so reserved in her manner but in her heightened state she babbled at him, drunk on the heady liquor of attraction, speaking constantly, but never seeming to bore this bastion of style, this obelisk of the fashion world. He stood, absorbing all she said with an air of unaffectedness and stability so alluring that when her hand accidentally brushed against his Fred Perry scarf, she was overcome with passion.
Crazed with desire, she dragged her conquest out of the social gathering and heaved him in to a nearby bedroom, forgoing turning on the light. She divested him of all his garments in a fervour - his suit, his socks, his cravat, his beret, his trousers, his silvery shoes, his coat and proceeded to immerse herself in him. She heaved, she panted, smothering him with caresses, soothing him with kisses, dragging her nails across his smooth, hard skin, speaking to him of a thousand pleasures she had never experienced before she had met him that day. In the darkness she became completely one with the void and lost herself in the bliss of her new lover – her one, lifelong need.
Once she had caught her breath and regained her sight she lent over and kissed her bedfellow on his side, noticing his cool composition.
‘What is it my love?’ she asked, her heavenly contentment registering a blip of uncertainty.
He did not respond.
‘Speak to me my dear. Say my name.’
Again he was silent.
A cool doubt, that had begun to nestle in her mind, grew wings and she flew to the light switch, basking her and her naked lover in the cold white light of truth.
He had been stout, yes. His collection of attire was impeccable, true. But Brunhilde could no longer hide herself from the certainty that her ideal man had been an And So To Bed, Art Deco two door wardrobe. Her horror was immediate. She had to get out. She falteringly, in breaking English, tried to explain her error to him, yet he lay there unmoved. She pleaded for his forgiveness at her mistake, but he said nothing. In the end she simply got dressed and left as he lay there, wooden and unfeeling.
For a day she walked around in a stupor, trying to avoid anything and everything to do with fashion and furniture. She accidently walked in to a DFS and burst in to fits of uncontrollable tears. Later that evening as the shadows drew-in, she sat in her living room with a cup of cocoa and tried to forget the world. Suddenly, her phone rang. It was Davina. Apparently her boyfriend had found his wardrobe the next morning and decided that he was never going to touch it or its contents again. ‘Would Brunhilde pay for it?’ he asked? Brunhilde was too heart-broken to refuse, and the next day, the source of her embarrassment stood before her, as cold and motionless as before.
But friends, let us not consider this a bad ending. Though things were awkward to begin with, Brunhilde and “Art”, as she affectionately named him, began to experience some of their original attraction and soon the forces of love worked their way with them once more.
I asked Brunhilde how things were going.
‘Wonderful,’ she said. ‘I’ve never been happier.’
I asked her though if she’d prefer someone else, someone a little less rigid and more animate.
‘No,’ she said. ‘I admit, he’s not very talkative and he doesn’t earn much money. But he always listens, he’s never too clingy or demanding and he never throws away the clothes I buy for him.’
And friends, this is the awkward thing: Ever since Brunhilde told me that, I’ve noticed my girlfriend occasionally throwing longing glances at my chest of drawers.