The most exciting thing that’s happening to me right now is that I’m currently waiting for a pink doughnut shaped cushion to arrive. It was on back order but has finally decided to show up, thwarting shipping slowdown from China. Other than the yet-to-be-born baby, my partner and my daughter — the core family unit — the doughnut will be my companion and salve. It’s essentially a very decadent cush for my postpartum tush and I’ll be holding on to it for dear life. After all, there are seemingly few comforts that don’t feel tainted by some external force.
Gorging on sick-pleasure snacks like Marmite peanut butter on cinnamon bagels comes laced with fear of carbs and soaring supermarket prices. Bingeing on the steelblue hues of the second season of the very well-observed banking drama Industry makes me a bit nauseated as each unredeemable character catapults from one self-destruct mode to another. Drop in to coffee shops and people bear deepening worry lines and their conversations are hushed as they discuss interest rates, because suddenly those things aren’t weird abstract concepts that you shunt to a dusty corner of your brain, but have become looming realities with very tangible effects. When you go out for dinner with your loved one and one hour of conversation is dominated by the topic of mortgages, you know it’s bleak.
If I weren’t heavily pregnant waiting for doughnut cushions in London, I would be escapading around Milan and Paris. Fashion shows are BACK-back. Instead I’ve been watching them on live streams. Guest arrivals in their carefully curated outfits. Nervy handlers guarding Kardashians, Blackpink members etc etc. Then finally the bit I actually care about — the clothes, which on the whole signal a return to pre-pandemic excess of craft par excellence, creativity and ultimately, titanium-strength brand prowess that can weather any storm. Read into that what you will. In particular, I’ve been fascinated by the gargantuan sets that are anything but understated. Shows have been backdropped by epic fountains — both erected (Saint Laurent) and real (Rick Owens) — a giant gush of quicksand cascading from the ceiling at Courrèges and a recreated full-size, 18th-century grotto at Dior. Surreal, faux-real and, quite appropriately, purposely not real at all given what’s going on outside.
I’m marvelling and hate-watching from afar with a giant dose of fomo. And then I’m duly brought back down to earth by the actuality of our shared outrageous reality. A week when our currency is being obliterated, an Italian prime minister is holding melons to her chest as part of an election campaign and women are cutting their hair in Iran in protest over the right for tresses to fly free.
And so I’m quite literally cushioning the blow with my own acts of padded comfort zones. It means things like the timely delivery of doughnut cushions or sized-up ultra comfy underwear hold the utmost of importance. Rewatching moments of the rise-and-fall of yeasted dough in Bake Off (I’m not going to apologise for being THAT basique person) is more needed than ever. Decanting bags of flour that I’ll never use (sprouted wheat? chickpea?) into clean jars and then meticulously labelling them with my Dymo is an evening well spent in this voluntary housebound stasis. As I sit here impatiently waiting for life to spring from me, I’m momentarily shunning the external. Save for opening the door to the delivery man, of course.