And I’ve got sequinned tits! The Wannabe Hollywood Mom shouts happily and spreads her arms wide, because she does.
The Wannabe Hollywood Mom’s name is really Helle. She’s never been to Denmark, but her mother apparently had family in Aarhus, and thought that Helle sounded nice, or exotic, or something like that. The Wannabe Hollywood Mom hates her Danish name. It’s so… Danish. If only she’d gotten a more Swedish sounding name, or at least Nordic neutral, Maja for example. That works internationally, too. Or maybe Margrethe, this royal name, then she could have introduced herself as Margareta and just mumble at the ending. One vowel here or there doesn’t really matter, right? But what The Wannabe Hollywood Mom really would like is to have a real Hollywoodesque name, something as American as apple pie. Samantha, or Eliza, or why not Barbara, it’s the name of a former First Lady after all, and can be shortened to Barbie. Sounds a bit youthful, and who wouldn’t like to be associated with that kind of figure?
Her fingernails scratch over the sequins when The Wannabe Hollywood Mom scrapes them over the sequinned tits, nonchalantly, like she’s just touching her intimate parts by accident, like it’s not a big deal. The fingernails are long and plasticky and a light, bright, zesty marzipan pink. She’d like to say that she’s had them done at a nail salon, but that’s not entirely true. Alone in her kitchen in her shitty suburb, The Wannabe Hollywood Mom has slowly and carefully fastened each nail, even though she’s not very practically minded. You can’t afford to go to a nail salon when you’re a divorced, underpaid, mid-life crisis suffering, lonely lonely lonely Wannabe Hollywood Mom. Not even to the scruffy, second-rate nail salon in the basement under the hairdresser’s that she can see from her window. She gives them a contemptuous sniff; she can do it better herself. Correction: She looks longingly at the rusty basement stairs, which look like the Gate to Paradise, while she struggles on with the fingernails. They won’t be straight no matter how much she fiddles and prods and pleads. Truth be told, they are laughing her straight in the face. But still, she sits there, cursing bitterly. It’s a Saturday afternoon in February, and she’s lit some tea candles and put them in the window because it’s supposed to be so good for the winter blues and the grayness and sleet and the non-existent light. She struggles on with the nails, wishing that her daughter was there to help her. But she’d never dare showing herself with these kinds of nails to her daughter. The daughter goes by the name of Jonna, a compromise between Joella, which The Wannabe Hollywood Mom wanted, and Johanna, which Jonna’s father wanted. A compromise none of them have ever liked, least of all Jonna herself. Jonna is fourteen and avoids her mom like the plague. The Wannabe Hollywood Mom knows this, and she tries to bond with her impossible daughter, but in the end it’s so much easier to just leave her alone and ignore her, except for an occasional reminder at dinner time to not eat too much, because that makes you fat.
When the nails are finally more or less in place, The Wannabe Hollywood Mom starts to cry. It just sweeps over her, and she can barely get a hold of some tissue paper to blow her nose, because the nails are so long and in the way, and she’s so afraid that one of them will fall off now that they finally sit approximately as they should. She’s sitting by the kitchen table with the candles burning in the cheap IKEA candle holders, tears and snot running freely and her hands lie tense on the table in front of her with ten pink pieces of plastic screaming at her. The Wannabe Hollywood Mom thinks that she just wants to look a little bit like someone who would fit in a glossy magazine, and the pack of sugary nails were on sale after all, and there was nobody she knew around, so she just seized the opportunity, okay? The nails are like a mocking, aching layer on her fingers, a glued on false nose that could fall off at any moment and reveal that she’s really just… herself. She carefully wipes her eyes with the tissue. She’d like to have nice Kleenexes in pretty designer cartons, like they do on Dr. Phil and Oprah, but they are too expensive, so she buys cheap tissue paper in bulk instead. And then, she blows her nose and pulls herself together. Lo and behold: She pulls herself together. She is not just herself, tonight she’ll be someone else, someone special, someone who’ll sip on cocktails and hold her glass with eye-popping coral nails and survey the premises and someone will survey her back. That is the main point of the evening: someone will survey her and see her, SEE her! See The Wannabe Hollywood Mom and then die. Die out of amazement and wonder because of this celestial being, this nymph, this goddess! When said someone has recovered slightly from dying, this someone, who of course is handsome and interesting and well-mannered, and of course not just looking for a quick fuck but for something more long-term, and who straight away realises that The Wannabe Hollywood Mom is the woman he’s been looking for all his life, he will walk up to her and they will have an Inspiring Conversation. After a few drinks (or wine, she can accept wine as long as she gets a glass with a stem) he will suggest that they take a taxi to his place, paid by him of course, and in his cozy and stylish and pretty neat but still charmingly messy bachelor’s pad they will have a passionate erotic session and they’ll realise that they are in love, straight away, and then they’ll live happily ever after on his money, because he’s pretty well off as well, of course.
The Wannabe Hollywood Mom returns to reality and gets up from the kitchen table. Carefully, she removes every trace of the nail building kit. Jonna is at her father’s place and shouldn’t come home until Monday, but you never know. She goes to her closet and hangs up her H&M dressing gown, a discount find in one of those lovely, slinky materials that feels luxurious even though it’s synthetic. She puts on her new, black lace underwear, also from said clothes chain. The lace is a bit chafing, but that won’t stop The Wannabe Hollywood Mom. She pulls on black stay-ups too, it’s a bit bubbly at the top, where the gluey bit is, but it’s not that noticeable. Over all of this she puts on a newly bought dress, short and black and pretty low-cut and tight. And with sequins on the tits, as previously mentioned. It bubbles out on quite a few places under the dress, for a second she thinks that she looks like an over-stuffed sausage. But she dismisses such negative, unhelpful thoughts. Men like tight dresses. She finishes off by pressing her feet into a pair of red, high-heeled pumps. Sky-high, as a matter of fact, and she hasn’t worn them in maybe five years, but they are the only high-heeled shoes she owns and they still fit, more or less. Her walking is wobbly, but what does that matter? She will be sitting on a bar stool, one leg crossed over the other and a nonchalant cocktail (or a glass of wine) in her hand, so it doesn’t matter if it’s a bit wobbly and painful.
When the clothes are in place, she goes to the bathroom and puts her face on. A thick layer of make-up, a different Wannabe Hollywood Mom, maybe a real Hollywood Mom? Foundation, powder, rouge, black eyeliner, black mascara, red lips, red red red lips. Seeing her own hand in the mirror, she realises that the lips clash quite a lot with the sugary marzipan nails, but at least her lips matches her shoes and the nails were on sale, after all, it wasn’t like she could choose the colour. The hair gets a proper tousle and spraying, then a bit more hair spray and a final tousle. The bleached hair strands doesn’t quite live up to the sought-after Hollywood locks, but at least they are blond. And if it’s not too bright in the bar, you won’t see the roots too much.
She avoids looking into the full-length mirror before she leaves. Tonight is a night for illusion, and The Wannabe Hollywood Mom doesn’t want any reality to get in the way. So she grabs her purse and prim, grey down jacket and steps out, into the night.