The Big How I Met Your Modern Friends Who Live In Apartment 23 Theory

Date: 18 October

Location: Queen Victoria Market, grocery shopping on a hangover and guiltily hangover-eating (Turkish gozeleme. No regrets.)

A friend* once confessed that there are certain songs on her iPod that she likes to play during certain moments of her life. They, to use her words, provide the right ‘soundtrack’. She plays, for example, Boston’s rock epic More Than A Feeling as she struts from the train station home.

I get it.

Not only am I guilty of something similar, but, quite regularly, something so tremendously awkward happens to me that I’m convinced that I need both a soundtrack and laugh track for surely, surely, I’m part of a sitcom. Somewhere, someone must be laughing at this.

Like the time earlier in the week when I was feeling like I had it all together.


Alex swishes by, clearly feeling as if she has today covered. She smiles and lifts her chin, basking in the sun, pleased with the weather, pleased with her preppy Laura Ashley ensemble of black blouse and creamy, spotted skirt, pleased that she’s taken the time to make her own lunch. We hear Westlife’s peppy 90s cover of Uptown Girl.

Passersby look askance at her.

Zoom out to see that the red beetroot from her carefully prepared super-food salad has leaked out of its Tupperware, through its carrier bag, crept down her pale skirt and zig-zagged creepily down her leg to pool in her shoe. Cut music with a scratch.


Oh crap.


Skirt hiked up, Alex is frantically scrubbing at her leg and dabbing at her ruined skirt and trying not to make eye contact with anyone who comes in.


…Because it’s day one of my new contract role and this is seriously not the great first impression I had in mind (Great hair! Nice lippy! She seems so competent!).


Or the time I thought some pizza and wine before a job interview could only help ease the nerves but Celine had bailed on dinner and +39 pizzeria only makes the one size of pizza. No problem: I’ll get one, eat half, and take the other half for lunch tomorrow. Bury self in pre-interview reading, munch cheerfully through capricciosa pizza and a tall glass of sangiovese. So engrossed am I (somehow) by trends in private equity secondary deals and the recent mega-sale of pharmagiant AstroZeneca to pharmamonster Pfizer that I scarcely glance up when the Italian waiter asks if I’d like to see a dessert menu and respond with a simple, ‘No, thankyou. Just the bill please. And could you please box up the –‘ I stop. He smirks, knowingly. Both of our gazes drift towards the completely empty stone pizza plate. I mutter, ‘Never mind’ and leave as red as the Napoli sauce.

Or the time I bought a particularly pretty Veronika Maine satin pencil skirt for a separate job interview. With a lux black sheen and a bold red, magenta and blue print, this skirt was psychedelic dream and, paired with a sleek black blazer, black silk blouse and black shoes, felt impeccable. Until I sat down. Turns out, slippy soft satin and office chairs don’t play well together. Come the all important job interview, it was all I could do to keep my butt on the chair, a careful balancing act involving exerting pressure through the feet against the friction of the roller chair and the carpet. Sartorial sabotage. A good backing track may have the Goo Goo Dolls’ Slide. Or perhaps Wilson Phillips’ Hold On.

Or the time I stuffed two meatballs in my mouth right before answering a videochat. Cue Hampton The Hampster’s Hampsterdance?



*Lady Lovely Locks, for those playing at home.


2 responses to “The Big How I Met Your Modern Friends Who Live In Apartment 23 Theory

  1. I’ve got one for you.

    First day of work at my new post-MBA job in London. My company has a business casual dress code so I wear a very work appropriate flouncy cotton skirt with a professional, knee-length hemline.

    Cut to my walking out to lunch to the Starbucks around the corner from my office building. Across from the British Museum, if you must know.

    As I’m walking, the wind suddenly comes alive and lifts my skirt as high as my chin. Fortunately I have the presence of mind to hold down the front of my skirt with my hands to cover my anterior, and to back into the wall behind me to cover my posterior.

    Except that, unfortunately, the “wall” behind me turns out to be the front window of the neighborhood Starbucks, and I ONLY realize this when the feeling of cold glass hits my butt cheeks, which are now pressed up firmly against the window pane.

    There were people inside that Starbucks, in case you’re wondering. In fact, there were people sitting at tables inside that Starbucks, very near the window where I left a fresh imprint of fluffy butt cheeks.

    Awkward indeed.

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