You Can't Sit With Us: Coffee-Contemplations
A girl-friend and I are in a cafe on Walton Street.
“I am dyyyyy-ing for a coffee,” she announces before we both order green juice (you know, to prelude the caffeine fix).
The waitress tactfully sidesteps an overt mass of strewn-together tables, exhaling a sigh of relief as she finally reaches ours. I never really got this place (which is popular amongst the Chanel Boy-Bag types). Like, it’s supposed to be ‘kitsch’ - but me; I’ve already noticed 7 spots that appear not to have been cleaned since forever. It’s totally setting off my restauranteur’s-daughter-OCD.
I do appreciate the fact they’ve tried incorporating mirrors to create the illusion of space. We check our reflections.
My friend is looking cute today; her hair is up in a messy ponytail and she’s wearing a long, off-white cardigan hemmed with red and white stripes. And I am obviously en-point. I’m using a new natural tinted powder by RMS Beauty. I’m not usually one for the matte-look but this powder is so fine that it still shows off my near-perfect skin (don’t even - it’s fine to pay oneself a compliment).
In conclusion: we look good.
“Ok, so, my new year’s resolution,” my friend begins, “is to be really, really extra nice to her.”
I roll my eyes. By ‘her’ she means this woman at her work who seemingly can’t decide whether or not she wants to like my friend or not. “Like, really,” she emphasises; trying to provoke my response which I deliberately haven’t given yet.
Because, between you and I, I am sooo tired of hearing about this chick. It’s just one of those situations whereby my friend (who incidentally also looks like a supermodel…not that it should matter) has gone out of her way to be nice and no matter what, it just won’t take. Objective viewpoint: that’s never going to change.
“It’s a waste of time,” I reply finally.
Supermodel-friend snorts, “that is kind of rich coming from the person who told me right before the Christmas break to be compassionate to my bitch sister-in-law even though she literally told me that I’m fat: to-my-face!” She pauses for effect.
“Yes,” I attempt conviction (‘yes’ is such a convicted word, don’t you think?), “and I am definitely not telling you to stop being compassionate. I mean, if anything rude people need even more compassion because the only plausible explanation for them being rude in the first place is either bad breeding or severe insecurity. But going out of your way to make an effort with this person who you’ve already done everything for? It won’t change her opinion of you, trust me,” I finish.
See, I’ve been here before - many times. But it wasn’t until recently during an interview with a magazine that it actually dawned on me: people can be really mean (and it took me precisely three minutes to self-pity before I realised that wasn't a good look).
They asked what the biggest lesson I’ve learnt throughout my career is.
Previously when I’ve been asked this, I have always answered optimistically (in retrospect, my faith in people is kind of annoying): ‘eventually, everything returns to its natural state,” (my mantra).
But this time, I was all ‘no!’ (an equally convicted word). Actually what I’ve learnt in this hard-won industry (and it’s particularly hard when by nature you’re a drama-free type people-person) is not to waste time on those who give you none of theirs and by the same token, leach your energy.
Negative vibes - we don’t need ‘em, girl.
“Look,” I continue, “it’s like when people tell me that I’m closed-off when it comes to talking about stuff; it’s unfair because it’s untrue!” Supermodel-friend looks at me with what I can only describe as an ironic expression. “Ok fine, it’s a little true,” I admit. “But it’s not like I’m un-collaborative. People just seem to prefer to spend their time trying to trample the opponent rather than create their own thing.”
“They’re intimidated by you,” Supermodel-friend says matter-of-factly, “you are pretty intimidating.”
I mean, she has a point. I don’t mean to be intimidating but it’s a plausible explanation...
“Whatever the reason, there are some people who feel like dropping all their negative vibes on you no matter how nice you are to them. And in those times, the best thing you can do is to move on. By feeding into it or over-trying, you’re giving someone who really doesn’t deserve your attention all the power,” I conclude.
Supermodel-friend sighs. “Can we order coffee now?” I nod. A Flat White for her and Americano for me.
This time, the waitress literally does acrobatics to get us our coffees - the cafe is packed (I thought better than to let her know she’d brought me a double espresso….).
“It’s a power struggle,” says Supermodel-friend contemplatively taking a sip of her coffee.
“No,” I laugh, “there is no struggle. Your colleague wants to behave that way is her prerogative. Equally, you get to move on and that’s that.”
We sit in silence for a moment, pensive.
“Hey!” Her face brighten up, “wanna hit the Harrods’ sale?”
“Sure,” I smile, “totally.”
Because in this brutal world, when all else fails, there’s always you to preen and gleam. And gleam you shall.
Girl in Style.