Knickers in my handbag and pretending to be someone else

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could be someone completely different, just for a day, to see how we like it?

Some psychologists reckon that children with imaginary friends are just experimenting with different characters, trying them out to see if they like them or not. I had an imaginary friend, a naughty alter ego to the good girl I believed I was.

And a few years ago I invented Carrie O’Bagg as a pseudonym so I could review my friend’s band anonymously, trying out what it might be like to be a writer.

I’m not mental, I promise…

Anyway, a few weeks ago I found myself walking the streets imagining myself to be a very different person to the one I am, and all because I was carrying a clean pair of knickers in my handbag.

I’d had an impromptu sleepover at CC’s and she lent me clean pants in the morning. I washed them and put them in my bag to return them to her but every time I saw her I forgot to give them back.

So they went everywhere with me. No one knew I had them in my bag but me but just the fact that they were there meant I could pretend to be a different kind of girl for a while – someone a little more spontaneous and glamorous, someone not just hopeful but expectant. Pants in my bag made me a slightly less innocent person and a little more racy.

And last week I had a guitar with me all day because I was playing it that evening but not going home first.

I walked down the street with it to the bus stop, and carried it onto both buses and into work.
I took it from work with me onto the Tube and then onto the train.
I walked up the hill with it towards Putney Heath and the whole time I got to pretend I was an up and coming folk singer or rock star or something.
And the fact that everyone looks at you like you’re an interesting person when you’re carrying a guitar – especially if you’re hair isn’t lank and black and you’re not wearing a long overcoat, heavy eye make up and heavy boots – I kind of like it.

Even if it is all just my imagination.


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