I’ve started drinking beer. I pointed this out, grandly, at the pub last night. ‘I’m drinking beer,’ I told my friends, whose faces looked a great deal less impressed than I had hoped they would. ‘Beer,’ I repeated, pointing to my bottle. ‘Bottled beer.’ I stopped at this point, because I was concerned that I was sounding like Rain Man. But I took a gulp of my beer vigorously, to prove my point. One of my friends relented. ‘Why have you started drinking beer?’ she asked, kindly. ‘Ah,’ I exclaimed. ‘Thanks for asking.’
I have started drinking beer for two reasons. The first is that I’m trying to reduce sugar, although my friend pointed out last night that all booze is pretty much exclusively sugar, so I’ve had to stop trying to do that. But the second, not-as-yet-debunked reason, is because I’ve been re-watching The L Word, and the best character on it drinks bottled beer.
Trying to reposition myself as a fictional character is nothing new. When I was eight, I spent several weeks locked in a screaming battle with my nannny over shower times. I wanted, like the girls in the Sweet Valley High books, to take a shower in the morning. My nanny, who had three under 10-year olds to get dressed, fed and in the car before 8am, wanted me to shower in the evenings, like my siblings. (Actually, my little brother, who was always terribly behind on these sorts of things, was washed in a hilarious baby bath-type thing, that I was strongly reprimanded for using as a doll swimming pool).
Having lost that battle (and finished the book series), I moved on to my next transformation: as one of The Saddle Club.
I couldn’t ride, and had no real interest in learning, but I badgered my mother so persistently that I was bought a pair of M&S leggings with straps under the feet, which I ardently told everyone were jodhpurs.
A little while later, I drew up plans for a walk-in wardrobe (Clueless), which were refused on the grounds that my little sister needed to have a space to sleep. After this, I was big into making up cheerleading chants (Bring it On), and posing precariously close to passing trains (Anna Karenina), and recently considered buying a pair of red Converse, as worn by Leslie Knope, on Parks and Recreation.
Not all fictional characters are worth emulating, naturally. For instance, I’m pretty sure my little sister is trying to pass as the chicken-under-the-bed-hider from Girl, Interrupted. (Her bedroom, at last count, had six of our glasses, and one had to trample over swathes of clothes to get to them).
Obviously, there are other ways I could try and be more like Shane, the coolest girl on The L Word.
But the beer thing is where I’m really focusing my energies, at the moment. That, and speaking less like Rain Man.