Have you ever done something you’re really ashamed of? I’m not talking heinous crimes here, so if you’re reading this from HM Prison Holloway please log off and find something more educational to do. I mean something which seemed funny at the time, but now you’re really quite embarrassed about?
During my degree I worked as a silver service waitress at an exclusive and well known golf club. During these years I had the dubious pleasure of meeting the rich, the famous and the mildly royal in various states of inebriation. Like Monica Dickens in One Pair of Hands I eavesdropped and people-watched relentlessly. From the nouveau-riche couple who half-inched the silver (I offered them the cruet set to complete their haul, at which point they shame-facedly retrieved the cutlery from their pockets) to the arrogant business man who spoke about me in French as I served him (I replied, fluently and with a better accent than him) I saw it all.
At least once a week in the summer the golf club would be taken over for a wedding, each bigger and flashier than the rest. Ice sculptures, champagne towers and floral extravaganzas would pour into the banqueting hall, swiftly followed by beaming guests in elaborate hats and a bride in Vera Wang. As was the fashion, in additional to the exorbitant society photographer in attendance, each table would be given a disposable camera, guests encouraged to snap away and leave the camera on the table at the end of the evening. It was our job as waitresses to gather up the cameras at the end of the night and make sure they were ready for collection by the wedding planner or the bride’s family.
And this is where my shameful confession comes in. You see, frequently guests would tire of taking pictures long before the film ran out. Each collected camera would have one or two or more shots remaining on the film. I can hardly bring myself to confess to what we did with them, but here goes…
We would take the cameras into the cloakroom and finish off the films by taking obscure photographs of our body parts.
How we fell about laughing at the thought of the bride and groom collecting their developed films from Boots, perhaps gathering friends and family to look at the pictures together. Look, here’s Aunt Mildred in that terrible fascinator! Heavens, wasn’t the cake just beautiful? Goodness, whose bottom is this…? The absolute hilarity as we imagined them wondering which of their guests had been so uncouth as to take pictures of their breasts…
Some fifteen years on I am mortified by our childish antics, and by the thought of the dozen or so brides whose photographs we ruined in our quest for laughs. If you were one such bride, I apologise profusely. And if you still have a photograph of my bottom, could I possibly have it back? It looked so much better then that it does now.