It is 6pm in H & M, retail rush hour. I am squished amidst an exodus of other sassy girls who have just left their offices, manically squeezing in one final hour of retail therapy before heading for – oh, I don’t know – hot yoga or Happy Hour. It’s like the “parting of the Red Sea” scene in “The Ten Commandments,” except the Red Sea collapses back into the sea bed and everyone proceeds to drown in cataclysmic waves of singlets, skirts and sundresses.
Retail therapy isn’t my real intention; I prefer to do my shopping in relative peace and quiet. I don’t intend to do hot yoga or Happy Hour afterwards, either. Well, not just any other Happy Hour, anyway. I am getting ready for Sassy Hour at Envie, and I need to look smashing. It’s gonna be a homecoming of sorts for me. I was part of Sassy Hong Kong’s launch in M1NT on September 2009. I wasn’t yet known as “Fabiola” back then. I was merely a no-name Marilyn Monroe impersonator.
“Who is Fabiola? What are her characteristics?” Hester wondered aloud. “What are her likes and dislikes?” Natalie piped in. “When is her birthday? We should throw her a birthday party!” Maura exclaimed.
I didn’t know how to answer their questions back then, pretty much the same way I don’t know now what size dress I should grab from miles of racks in H & M…
I am overwhelmed.
I am not always painfully clueless. In fact, I consider myself fairly smart and self-aware. But then again, these circumstances are… Different.
Whilst I do enjoy being a girl, my shopping sprees have largely been limited to custom creations or private re-fittings of one-off designs. I’ve got a relatively tall frame, which I like to exaggerate by wearing ultra-high heels. Some describe my features as “masculine,” but I prefer to be called a “handsome beauty,” instead – thick eyebrows, full lips, wide shoulders, large ribcage, narrow hips.
I grab two bright summer dresses totally by random, because what choices do I have?
The attendant in the male dressing room doesn’t give me a difficult time. I am in a rush. It would have taken ages to wait for the next available ladies’ fitting room, otherwise. Eventually, I settle into a Size 42. A size 38 or 40 might have been a better fit, but with severely limited time before the Sassy Hour, I willingly take what I can. Besides, with Hong Kong ladies as tiny as they are, the chances are slim to none that I’d find a regular size. Extra Large it is.
I run home. I pad my hips and chest with silicone to fill out the unusually roomy frock. I hike up the halter neck tighter in order to create less droopiness around the boob area, and I slide my Size 43 feet into a pair of 6-inch nude peep toes.
I pat my lash extensions in place, I swipe a bright pop of Guerlain lipstick across my lips, and finally, I go through the ritual of lovingly running a brush 100 times through my wavy locks – just like my momma taught me.
I am ready.
At 8pm, I make my entrance.
Once again, the Red Sea seemingly parts down the middle as I walk into Envie, then converge once more as the bright pop of flashbulbs blind my eyes in a delicious tidal wave of paparazzi love.
Fabiola, honorary Sassy Girl, has arrived.