They say in Spring that love is in the air. I haven't seen much of it this year, I have to say, but I suppose the hoopla and excitement surrounding the imminent Royal Wedding is so grand and all-encompassing as to be sufficient for all of us. Thankfully.
I read with interest a headline in a tabloid yesterday concerning a "new slimline Kate". I was not sure to whom the article referred at first. Kate was once Kate Winslett. Or God forbid, Katie Price. Say no more.
Imagine my surprise to discover that they were referring to none other than Kate Middleton. Seriously, was she ever anything but slim? Guess what - a "femail" journalist wrote the article and managed to find an 8 year old picture of Kate looking slightly more puffy in the face - ie glowing with teenage good health. A page was thus filled with pathetic drivel about brides and nerves and weightloss and slimness generally. Poor Kate. As if she did not have enough on her very royal and gilt-edged plate.
What could be worse than being compared for ever to the mother-in-law you never knew? Having your clothes, body and hair commented on for the rest of your life, I should imagine. Still, married to a prince, there may be some compensations. Well I should hope so.
Meanwhile the Telegraph, inspired by Wills' and Kate's example, extols the virtues of inviting some "exes" to your nuptials. How many exes can a couple of twenty somethings who met in college have? I ask. But I am a tad old fashioned, I grant you. Westminster Abbey is a bloody big church. I'd have found a few exes too if I had been tying the knot there with an unlimited budget and a public holiday for the nation as well. And let's not forget that the All Black Captain graciously declined an invite - being too busy winning world cups or some such macho nonsense...
The things is, they are a lovely young couple. They are lifting all our spirits. Kate's outfits are super. Who cares whether she has the style of Moss or the panache of Blanchett. One day she will be queen and clothes will not be her only claim to fame.
Mind you, my dear friend Mara, in Australia, has asked for as much Royal Wedding Memorabilia as I can get my hands on. Tea towels especially. Goodness, where does one shop for that sort of thing. The online business ideas are almost overwhelming... I have visions of myself queuing alongside various women of a certain age in Home Counties towns. And those coffee/tea cups that are too hot to hold, and some of those layered cake plates. No doubt a very big hit at the next charity morning tea in suburban Brisbane.
Despite the general excitement - street parties (or in our case a garden party, with scones, tea cake, sandwiches and bunting) and lining the route of royal carriages aside - I have to admit that explaining the idea of a monarchy to the Off-Spring was not easy. The idea that nice, normal people more or less like us, are born into the role of king, or queen, was not easy to justify. It was particularly difficult to explain why Prince Philip is not a King. The relevant rules reflecting an attitude so antiquated and sexist as to be almost anachronistic in today's society - or so I tell myself, until I read that outfits, weight and hair styles trump intellect, ideas and gravitas, anyway, as far as women are concerned.
And yet, I read that Bridget Jones and Carrie Bradshaw have no place in the lives of twenty somethings, whose ambitions run to intellectual self-improvement, rather than securing husbands. Elsewhere that same group classes parenting as more important than the relationship they might have with a romantic partner.
Isn't slimline Kate in that group?
It's very confusing. I can think of many women over 35 who share these views, to a person, and yet...
So I can only think that it's all posturing, no?
Love is a timeless commodity. We'll take what we can get, within reason. But, we'll fight for a career as well. Til biology gets in the way and the good old employer can't manage the whole part-time equation...
At the end of the day, people are people. This generation will have different challenges and opportunities from those that came before, but at a fundamental level, we are still the same - keen to hear about happy endings, hoping for the best, wondering "what if", dreaming and aspiring, and in the Spring - overjoyed to know that for some - Love is in the air.
And that is just as well, for the pollen count is high.