I told you about the men in fluoro right? Well, sadly the hi-vis didn’t extend to me. While I spent three days in the Hunter Valley chaperoning men wearing fluorescent orange and making no attempt to hide the dirt and grease under their fingernails, I was secretly envious of their fashion sense.
Because all I wore was black.
Don’t get me wrong. Every girl knows that black is the most flattering colour on the clothing spectrum and on any day that I feel my muffin top hanging over the top of a waistline more than usual, I’ll head straight for the black section of my wardrobe (yes, I have my wardrobe colour-coded, please don’t judge!), but as I packed my bag with everything black that I owned (right down to earrings for heavens sake) for an adventure of the mining and construction kind, I threw in just one pair of hot pink undies. I needed to know I had them there to brighten my day if necessary.
But wouldn’t you know, it turns out that blokes who drive tractors, are a lot of fun to be around and I didn’t need pink undies to cheer me up. Friendly and charming in an I’m-not-trying way, as I herded them from bus to hotel, to lunch, to dinner, to heavy-machinery driver training, to stocked-with-bourbon bar, to gala dinner, with every unread itinerary, un-pinned & pocketed name badge and “where’s the smokers area?” request in between, I began to look forward to the appearance of an orange jacket on the horizon. By the way, fluorescent orange is a far happier and more pleasing-to-the-eye fluoro than yellow. Not that I spent any time thinking about that…
By the end of the weekend, I’d had conversations about the size of the big yellow diggers, the length of the silver sequin dresses the dinner entertainment wore (the right amount of short apparently), the difference in temperature between Mount Isa and the Hunter Valley and whether I was single and “keen to be introduced to my young colleague”. I’d also got used to them checking out my boobs as I leaned over a desk or my clipboard and ticked their name off yet another list (the undersized shirt I was instructed to wear with “a couple of buttons undone” certainly encouraged this action). Men are so predictable.
But as I herded them onto their buses one last time, zero degrees and 5am, the bourbon oozing from their pores after a big night comparing the size of their machinery, the black under their nails slightly faded and their hi-vis shirts balled up and shoved into their bags, I thought how lucky I was to have met these red-faced, rugged and cheery men, who love big machines and digging holes. After all, not one of them pointed and laughed as I ran smack bang into a glass door (apparently I was moving too fast for the sensor…), instead they came to my aid and picked my deflated black-clad self up off the floor, handed me back my collection of lists and highlighters and took charge of the head count. Apparently gentlemen come in all shapes, sizes and shades of fluoro.
That being said, on my return to the city, I hopped straight into a hot bubble bath, with a glass of wine, called all my girlfriends for a chat, dressed myself in head to toe colour and painted my nails.
Yep, craving a bit of colour I was.
And there’s nothing like a rainbow manicure and your besties to bring you back from the black.