“What do you think?” I ask the LTLP. “I have never worn braces before.”
From her expression, I can see that she is awe-struck. My new birthday braces were allegedly used on TV’s Black and White Minstrel Show; they have graphics of musical notes up them and are incredibly snazzy.
“What the fucking hell have you got on?” she replies.
I blink at her, puzzled, before cheerfully ‘pinging’ them, like people with braces do all the time.
“Can’t you adjust them or something? Your trousers are pulled up so high and tight – oh God, I can see the outline of your…”
I fiddle with the adjusty things. I will get the hang of it in a minute. “I have to say that I quite like them,” I report. “They seem ever so fashionable.”
“What’s that stain on them?” demands the LTLP, scrutinising the rust marks from where the clips have aged. “Ugh. They smell.”
That is the trouble with the LTLP. She is so conservative in her fashion sense. I stare at myself in the mirror, for ages. This could be a completely new look for me.
A small doubt crosses my mind. “Do you think if I go out in public wearing braces from the Black and White Minstrel Show then people will think that I am racist?” I ask.
“Well ARE they from the Black and White Minstrel Show?”
I consider this. They were a present from Glenn, who played bass on the song ‘Toast’, so he is a pretty central figure in the world of showbiz and light entertainment. There would seem to be no reason why he would claim to be giving me braces from the Black and White Minstrel Show if they were not, in fact, from such an origin. It would be a bizarre thing to make up.
I am still a little worried about the racist thing. I sit down and strum my banjo for a bit to help me think. Probably the best thing to do would be to establish their authenticity beyond all doubt. I am just about to fire up the YouTube to look for episodes of the Black and White Minstrel Show when it occurs to me that if I wear the braces out of the house and it incites some sort of public disorder and I am interviewed by police on suspicion of being a racist, and I claim not to be, they will probably examine my laptop for evidence and say ‘aha he has been downloading episodes of the Black and White Minstrel Show to view in his own home, throw the book at him.’
It is one of those common dilemmas of modern life.
I remove my braces after a few more minutes. They seem a little formal to be wearing about the house, and besides, my crotch is chafing. I hang them up carefully in the wardrobe. I will have to consider this further before venturing out into the Village.