Halal & Haram

I assume the “Latest Arrivals” section of Zalora.sg is populated by a simple feed of all the new additions to its various product categories, based purely on time of addition to their various brand pages. Here’s the amusing juxtaposition that greeted me in that section a few days ago.

Page with mix of bikinis and modest clothing

All I Was Missing Was The Trucker Cap

As usual, I woke up late, threw on some clothes, grabbed my bag and headed out for my morning lectures. Later, I caught a glimpse of myself in a mirror and was slightly horrified at my indie conformity – black Sonic Youth T-shirt, black plastic specs, bedhead hair, copy of Garden State in my hand. If I were a jock, I’d beat me up.

So tomorrow I’m wearing an orange halter-neck top and skanky hoop earrings. Better ho than hipster.


The July issue of Glamour is out, and as I peruse its glossy pages (courtesy of Tamara, household supplier) I grapple again with the fact that I am a traitor to my sex.

I’m not meek or submissive. I don’t buy the whole “surrendered wife” thing, neither do I believe in The Rules. I certainly believe a woman can have a successful career and be a great wife and mother at the same time, and should be allowed to do so. No, my friends, my betrayal goes beyond such peripheral issues to strike at the very core of womanhood: I prefer sensible, comfortable shoes to silly pretty ones.

I run screaming from any shoe heel that isn’t at least as wide as, well, my heel. No hobbling around on mildly obese pins for me. I like walking the streets knowing I could charge after a snatch thief or sprint for the bus if I had to. I insist on clubbing in shoes I can actually dance in rather than twitch awkwardly from side to side. I acknowledge that stiletto heels look elegant and feminine, but do not think I would look particularly elegant or feminine while shuffling along screaming in pain from my blistered feet and falling down frequently. Of course, there is the argument that many women the world over manage to spend the day striding around in 6 inch heels, which may also include breaking into the Kremlin and acrobatic sex depending on whether or not they’re in a Bond movie, but I just wasn’t born with that gene, okay?

While we’re on the topic of shoes and betraying my sex, I’m not even sure if I’m normal as regards numbers. According to Glamour I am meant to have cupboards overflowing with them. I have a small shoe rack from Argos with space left over on its top tier for two (sickly) houseplants. Here is the extent of my consternation – under a rarely-felt impulse to make too much information available to the world, I hereby list the contents of my shoe rack and ask fellow females (male views welcome too, unless you’re Alec who already makes his views on my shoes all too clear) out there to comment on my normality.

  • Dark grey slip-on trainers (Acupuncture), bought for £50 in my first year in college and worn pretty much every day since then. My shoe of choice for clubbing and holidays where I spend hours walking.
  • Black lace-up trainers (Nike) for my rare attempts at land-based exercise.
  • Red lace-up casual shoes (Mango) which I love because they’re red.
  • Light grey slip-ons (some cheapie brand, I think they cost $20) with lines in orange. Rip-offs of those types of trainer that hug the shape of the foot extremely closely.
  • Khaki casual rubber-soled slip-ons with two stripes, one navy blue and one burgundy (Shelly’s). They look better than this description makes them sound, I promise. Current favourites given that I am going through a brown phase.
  • Chocolate brown strappy open-toed shoes with slightly chunky 2.5 inch heels.
  • White strappy open-toed shoes with 2.5 inch heels.
  • White slouchy sandals with subtle leaf detail and a sort of toe strap (I really need to read more girly mags to bone up on the lingo)
  • Black courts with ankle strap, heels about 2.5 inches.
  • Black strappy evening shoes, 2.5 inch heels
  • Silver strappy evening shoes, 3 inch heels
  • Dark purple punk whore boots, a Christmas present from Alec a month and a half after we started going out.

Despite the fact that I think this is a veritable shitload of shoes, apparently I am meant to own more, and they’re meant to be sillier. It’s so hard being a girl.


I knock on Tamara’s door. I’m wearing extremely baggy grey Gap-copying-Maharishi trousers (my mum calls them my Ali Baba trousers), and a Beck T-shirt under a scrubbly (I have no idea whether that’s even a word, but it just seems like the most descriptive word to use here nonetheless) navy blue Benetton jumper my sister wore when she studied in London 15 years ago. The T-shirt is substantially longer than the jumper and flares out from the elasticized waist of the jumper like a strange skirt. On my feet are black toe socks and Japanese slippers.

I ask, “Hey, where’ve you put the latest issue of Glamour?”