Friday, 6 December 2013

The Inappropriate Christmas Wishlist

I was sort of an odd child. Bookish and curious. My sisters played barbies and I did wordsearches. My favourite books were the Atlas and the Argos catalogue. Is that a potential band name? I think it might be.
My Mum did loads of catalogue shopping, which she once told me was because her Mum never did catalogue shopping and so she loved it. As a fully grown person in charge of my own money I never do catalogue shopping, so I suppose I have reversed the trend. But as a child? I totally loved catalogues. I used to come home from school and read the aforementioned Argos catalogue, then the Grattan one, then the Littlewoods one, then the Freemans one. Needless to say, I was really cool and had loads of friends and all the boys fancied me.
It was a family joke that you could name any item from the Argos catalogue and I could tell you which page it was on, how much it cost, which colours it came in and the catalogue number.

Did you know that I briefly worked in Argos when I was 17? Well you do now. I did not love it as much as I loved the catalogue.
Oddly enough I don’t really remember us ordering many things from the catalogues but I loved to look at the pretty pictures of patio furniture, toasters, board games,  and women in bras while wondering if I’d ever grow breasts. I dreamed of duvet covers and video cameras and mugs and mix-and-match beachwear. As I said, I TOTALLY LOVED catalogues.
I have always been drawn to September as the start of a new academic year means fresh starts and pencil cases and notebooks and NEW CATALOGUES. This was especially good because I was then allowed to cut up the old catalogues, a task that seemed much more exciting in my head as I flicked and licked (catalogue people are pros at the art of dampening page corners for speedy perusal) my way through the pages and daydreamed of cutting and sticking dream home layouts. Hell yes I made mood-boards in the nineties, I practically invented Pinterest.
Never mind that the images weren’t to scale and the paper quality was weak and my cutting and sticking skills left a lot to be desired.
September also marked the arrival of the highly coveted Christmas catalogues. The ones with personalised dressing gowns and wallets and gumball machines and inflatable furniture. As I said, it was the nineties.
Once the Christmas catalogues arrived I used to rush home and browse the pages whilst frantically drawing up a incredibly detailed chart for my parents (and Santa). Hell yes I made hand-drawn spreadsheets in the nineties, I practically invented Excel.
A set of personalised coloured pencils, please
One column for the price.
A journal (I’ve seen American TV shows, a ‘diary’ will not suffice)
One column for the catalogue it was in.
Fluffy animal slippers (must NOT be the same as my sisters)
One column for the page number.
A manicure set
I’d finally stopped biting my nails.
A quick-dry hair towel (PINK)
I wanted everything that would transform me into the stylish woman I knew I was becoming.
Chocolate body paint
Anyone who ever seen a Christmas catalogue will know there is always a page with novelty adult gifts. Here you would find tasteful presents such as the apron with a semi-clothed man on it, penis and boobs pasta shapes and, well, chocolate body paint. It came in a jar. With a brush.
I really did love chocolate. I loved chocolate so much that Christmas Day breakfast was chocolate coins. One of my most highly anticipated gifts was a selection box. And I loved chocolate so much that I could think of nothing better than smearing my arms in the stuff and licking it off because I was clearly a child gone wild. I loved chocolate so much that the other items on this page were oblivious to me. This was THE CHOCOLATE BODY PAINT PAGE and I knew I had to have it in my life.
So onto the Christmas list it went. Every year. For four years.
I do not know what must have gone through my parents minds when they sat down to review my Christmas wishlist. I have never asked. I sincerely hope they pissed themselves and had a right good giggle at what an idiot I was.
I did not receive chocolate body paint for Christmas and I felt the frustration of this keenly. One year I do remember that I got chocolate scented bubble bath which was rank and clearly not what I had asked for so there was an incident involving a minor huff.
One year the Christmas catalogues arrived (YAY!) and I sat down to make my wishlist. As I flicked through the pages my eyes were drawn to the chocolate body paint and I was suddenly filled with the horrifying realisation that for the past four years, unbeknownst to my tweenage self, I’d been asking my parents for a sex toy for Christmas.
I did not put chocolate body paint on my Christmas list that year nor ever again.


  1. For years, my brother and I used to base our lists to Santa on perusing the Argos catalogue - because obviously Santa's elves shopped there too.

  2. Ha! This is brilliant!

    I still love Argos a little bit. My favourite bit is watching the stuff come down the conveyor belt from upstairs.