Most days, collecting the post is a dismal event. There is the usual avalanche of shit from the Inland Revenue, a flyer or ten from Graham the local Tory candidate, and reminders from the DVLA/bank. Quite frankly, the postman may as well vomit through the letterbox. But this morning was different. This morning, the hallway was filled with a transcendent white light. I shielded my eyes. I approached with caution, like Moses in front of the Burning Bush. There it was ... On MY mat ... In MY house ... The White Company catalogue.
Just to clarify, I have never bought anything from The White Company as I am not in the habit of paying £55 for a White T-shirt, or sleeping on crisp White 600-thread-count percale sheets. All I can think is that some kind, philanthropic soul from The White Company - intent on disseminating Happiness - hacked into NHS confidential records, traced the details of all those who have ever suffered from depression, and thought, “I know what would make these sad people feel better! The White Company catalogue!”
I made myself a mug of coffee. I flicked through the pages. I saw pictures of beautiful blonde women (exclusively White!!!), dressed head-to-toe in White, moving effortlessly from White sofa to White beach. But then, I remembered a couple of other things about White. So I listed them.
- White is not flattering. Unless you are a size zero, wearing White will make you look like a humongous maggot.
- Unless you also have a sun-kissed complexion acquired whilst a) quaffing Pimms besides a freshwater infinity pool on the Seychelles, or b) power-boating around Richard Branson’s Necker Isle, wearing White will not cut it. If, like me, your skin has the ghastly washed-out appearance of a prole, a White linen tunic will make look neither gorgeous nor Grecian; instead, you will lose all definition and appear as though you have a) no edges, b) no nipples, and c) no genitals.
- White gets filthy. This is obvious to most of us, except for Chrissie, the founder of White Company, who claims that White is an easy and practical colour. (Initially you feel sorry for Chrissie. She might be a big posh freak NOW, but on the White Company’s website, she tells the poignant story of her early struggle to overcome injustice, social exclusion, and worst of all, mediocrity. “It all began in 1993 … At the time, the few white items I could find and afford were somehow all such cheap designs and of average or poor quality ... and all the gorgeous, high quality ones I loved were only to be found in the designer departments...” How could anyone go through such a dehumanising experience day-in day-out and come out the other end unscathed, you ask yourself? Huh? Huh? And if there’s a God, how could he allow such things? “Chrisse”, you wanna say, “Are you sure you’re allright now daaarling?”) Of course, later, when you’ve had a chance to read the catalogue, your attitude will harden, and you’ll find yourself thinking, “Take me off your fucking database, you fetishistic horse-faced maniac.”
- Wearing White means that you need to invest in a new bra and new knickers.
- Gwyneth Paltrow wears White.
PS: You will notice that, throughout this list, I have capitalised White. This is not because I don’t understand the difference between nouns and proper names. I do. This is because The White Company capitalises the word White, presumably as an acknowledgment of the fact that White is less a colour, more a religion, a philosophy, a Way of Life...