A few mornings ago, Saffy emerged from the bathroom sobbing piteously.
Amanda looked up from her copy of Vogue, blinked as she assessed the damage, and then went back to reading. Always taking my cue from Amanda, I suddenly felt lost, unsure of how I was meant to react. My eyes swiveled madly back and forth, my mouth opening and closing like a drowning goldfish.
Even Saffy eventually stopped sobbing.
“Uhm,” she said. “I’m sobbing hysterically here…”
Amanda’s voice floated out from behind the cover of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West. “No, you’re not. You’re just having one of your drama moments about nothing very important!”
Saffy gasped. “How…how…how dare you! I’ve never been so insulted in my life!”
“More than that time we went to Taboo with Barney Chen, and the waiter called you ‘Sir’?”
Saffy gasped again. Her formidable chest inflated to such a dangerous volume, I slowly inched my chair backwards.
Amanda sighed and put down her magazine.
“Alright, what’s the matter?”
Saffy’s eyes narrowed. “Don’t do me any favours! If you’re not interested…”
“Listen,” I said urgently. “Are you two having that time of the month at the same time? Because I’ve heard of such things happening when women live together, and suddenly their monthly whatsits occur simultaneously and drive all the menfolk to drink and adultery!”
Saffy’s natural thick skin combined with her need to share her latest trauma overwhelmed both Amanda’s insult and my sheer male pointlessness. In an instant, all was forgiven and forgotten as she pulled out a chair and sat down delicately.
“Something awful just happened in the bathroom,” she announced as soon as she was comfortably settled.
“You discovered a wrinkle,” Amanda said in the kind of bored tone that God must use when he comes home and picks up the missed prayers on his Holy Phone messaging system.
“Oh dear God,” Saffy said on cue, “it’s worse than that!”
In spite of herself, this got Amanda’s attention. “What can possibly be worse than discovering a wrinkle?” she asked with genuine concern.
Saffy closed her eyes and shuddered. She drew in a deep breath.
“I discovered a white hair…”
“Well, that’s not so bad…”
“…in my unmentionables!”
Even though I was fully concentrating on the conversation, for a moment, I frowned, feeling a little lost, though as Amanda later said, I could hardly be blamed. “With Saffy, her unmentionables could be anywhere!”
Apparently, Saffy had just emerged from the shower and was standing in front of the mirror examining herself with a critical eye, as women apparently tend to do at such moments. Her gaze swept down and did a double take along with a sharp intake of breath. She leant in closer, then turned her head down on her body for a closer look. Which, she says, is when she verified the reality of the strand of white hair.
“It’s the end! I tell you it’s the end,” she moaned to Sharyn the next day over lunch at the Ion’s Food Republic. “When you get a white hair in your unmentionables, it’s the end! I always knew the day was coming, but I just didn’t expect it to come so soon!”
Under the pretext of taking off her hairband and re-tying her hair, though you could tell that she was really just very quietly pulling her hair in deep frustration, Sharyn smiled tightly.
“Ay, first of all, hor, can you please stop calling your thing un-men-shun-able, can or not? Wah, you damn crazy, you know!”
“And calling it ‘your thing’ is better?” Saffy wanted to know.
“Ay,” Sharyn repeated. “Ek-skew me, but where got people talk about this kind of thing, one? Next time, hor, at least give me some notice, can? Where got sar-dun-ly tell people you find white hair in your thing, one? I’m eating, some more!”
“What am I going to do?” Saffy moaned. “I can’t let Bradley see it!”
“How can he see?”
Saffy blinked. “How…What do you mean, how? Because sometimes, you know, he goes…he goes…you know, he…he…goes there!”
The penny dropped. Sharyn rolled her eyes. “Ai-yoooh! Choy!”
“Can I dye it?”
“Hah? You want to put ammonia in your thing, ah? You get burn, then how?”
This morning, Amanda said she’d made a few discreet enquiries with her hairdresser and apparently some waxing salons will dye one’s unmentionables.
“I’ve booked an appointment for you,” she told an enthralled Saffy. “And I’m coming with you. I want to see how they do it.”
I was astonished. “You’re going to watch Saffy get her unmentionables dyed?”
“It’s like I’m in my own reality show!” Saffy said happily. “I can’t wait to Instagram the results!”