Today was the official opening of the 53rd Queensland parliament.
I am on parliament duty this week (and actually, quite happy to be so), and decided to commemorate the occasion by doing something I haven't done in years.
I wore pantyhose.
Despite being quite used to tights during my high school days, I shrugged them off upon graduating and have managed to successfully avoid any long-term exposure to them since. Sure, the odd trip to the northern hemisphere or ski slopes has required a pair of thermals, or a big fancy party might necessitate whipping out the nylons. But life in South-East Queensland is for the most part blessedly warm enough to leave my legs bare most of the year. When it gets chilly I generally just go with pants.
They're funny things, pantyhose. You really do need to get used to them. For starters, I wrecked one pair straight away this morning by pulling them on overly enthusiastically and tearing a giant ladder all the way up my calf. Now far be it from me to prevent everyone getting their Stairway to Heaven jokes in, but I just didn't think it would go with the classy look I was trying to project for the first day of observing our state's new representative democracy in action.
Luckily it was a twin pack of beige tights, so I quickly peeled out the other pair and put them on - much more carefully this time. The feeling is odd. Constricting, but not crushing. Like a firm meshy film all over your legs. They are quite lovely on the feet, and can prevent some of the chafing that wearing nothing with your heels can bring. But I'm always aware that I'm wearing them - and that's with freshly smooth legs. I think wearing hosiery when you've got leg stubble growing through must one of the most cloying feelings I can imagine. It's like having worker ants bustling up and down your pins stabbing you with lots of tiny daggers.
Ladies can identify with the waist issues too. You really have two options with the waistband of pantyhose. You can either fold it down around your hips, or pull it so far up it virtually reaches your armpits. Either way, it's never going to stay that way. At some point in the day you'll have to repair to the ladies' room to have a quick shifty under your shirt to unfurl the roll of nylon accumulated like a synthetic eel around your middle.
And after all that, I really needn't have bothered with the pantyhose. I'm still just a radio journo, and spent most of my day in my tiny cubicle listening to the chamber audio feed through my earphones. They did make me feel a bit more "grown-up" though, I will admit. Well, at least until I found myself gorging on delectable mini-eclairs and pecan caramel tarts at the Speaker's Green post-opening tea party. Thankfully a young Labor minister had taken pity on me and a couple of other starving journos and let us hoe into their intricately presented plates of posh sandwiches and sweet treats. I had been hanging out for scones with cream, which I thought would be a lay down misere at a garden party with the Governor. But I suffered through the cakes regardless, my rapidly bloating gullet a reminder that I was not so grown up and classy as I should wish to be. Also, that I would have to make another trip to the loo to fix the frigging pantyhose waistband again.
As I left the Parliamentary Annexe not long after, I ran straight into the Treasurer, Andrew Fraser. Some of you may remember him from the opening night of He Died with a Felafel in His Hand. He asked how the show was going, describing it as, and I quote, "a cracker".
I told him that we were starting to sell out houses, and starting to receive complaints. "Why so much foul language?" and "What's wrong with the young people today?" I mimicked at him. I then mimed typing a reply email with the phrase "Well - the Treasurer liked it!"
And he laughed.
And I felt rather pleased with myself.
Until I realised I still had a large chunk of turkey and cranberry sandwich lodged between my teeth.
Yup, classy as ever.