7. Hang


7. /Hang/ 
Eixample Barcelona, Spain

Is it even justifiable that I’ve spent 24 euros on 3 margaritas and a plate of patatas bravas (cheeeeps) in an empty bar in Barcelona??

Eixample is one of Bareclona’s more quieter neighbourhood with it’s grid-like blocks and tree-lined streets with fountains and cosy cafes. It’s about 10.30pm on a Thursday night and I’m sitting in a pub by myself 2 streets away from the hostel I’m staying in.

It’s got a mixed vibe about it. It’s a Spanish bar alright but it’s got B&W checkered tiles on the floor like an American joint with Stevie Wonder music videos playing on a screen amounted on the wall. There’s a couple and 2 guys sitting outside on the street tables who’ll leave soon. A guy sitting at the bar chatting with the lone bartender who doesn’t speak a word of English but I suppose sees all kinds of humans through his bar.

I have to admit though – this is a good mix. Like lip-smacking good. I can pop the fat lemon pulps against my teeth with my tongue. As sad as this may sound, I am actually quite content sitting here and doing just this.

There’s another girl sitting opposite me with a beer, glued to her phone. She occasionally giggles at something in her phone then sips her beer and repeats the process. I scan her out (as we women do), she’s tight. In a grey sweatsuit seated cross-legged, hair pulled back in a bun and she’s got the shimmery nude lipgloss going. You know, the whole J-Lo shebang. Her sweater zip is slightly open, her boobs just the right amount of plump and perky ready to bounce in a ‘heyyyy’.

This makes me look down at my own miserable breasts. Along with the age spots and lines, this Gita Babita have also decided to go south lately. I look in the mirror and God they just…hang there these days. I try to remember when mine were also perky and plump and if I had also displayed them as unabashedly. Ohhhh no not me, I’d been too busy covering them with my collared shirts and neon safety vests but not before strapping them up with heavy-duty sports bras, dare they not bounce up and down those site ladders in front of the boys!

J-Lo asks for another beer and still no one has joined her. Curiosity gets better of me. I mean I’m the one flopped here with love handles spilling from all possible sides of my body eating deep fried potatoes not her so why is she sitting here alone?

I strike up a conversation and she pleasantly takes it up. Turns out she’s from Panama working in Barcelona as a shop assistant. Came here as a student. Because she speaks some English, her Chinese boss makes her work long hours in his tourist central shop. She’s stopped on her way home for some beers to wind down and she’s got work again tomorrow.

Panama…hmmmm. I comment to her the only time I hear about Panama is in those Miss World pageants where usually they are in the top 10 along with Miss Venezuela. She’s starring at me with slit eyes now because I’ve been doing my voice-over (with full action) as a pageant host. “Ourrrrr next contestant to go through is Miss Panaamaaaaaaa….then Miss Venezuelaaaaaa….” I stop abruptly because she’s still staring at me. No? Ok fine I’ll stop.

3 seconds of silence.

Then in her Latina accent she says…”Noooo it’s not usss. That’s Miss Colombiaaaa. That bitch is always in the top 5!” I nod my head vigourosly. Yeaaahhhhhh she the one! Then she gestures at her breasts and says “they always got the hard boobs!”

Well. And here I thought I had issues. Yes, now when I look at it, Miss Sweatpants got nothing on Miss Colombia. She finishes her beer, waves adéu and takes off. I order my 3rd margarita.

Strange isn’t it, here I am in one of the most happening cities in the world and instead trying out some swanky Barcelona bars meeting one of my recent Tinder matches – I’m sitting here in a empty pub in a quiet neighbourhood that I actually chose to stay in. And stranger still is that I am utterly at ease in sitting right here and enjoying my drink in this vibrant, Spanish city just as Miss. Sweatpants J-Lo Panama was.

Sometimes there’s absolutely nothing sad about your own company. You see, growing old isn’t just about sagging boobs, age spots and foot problems. Growing old is also about being able to be finally home in your body; to own it’s marks, dents and rolls as yours. To wear it’s imperfections without trying to cover them. To be utterly and completely content in it wherever you are.

So here’s rising my glass to single women out there sitting in bars – be you in Berlin, Barcelona or Brisbane, may your drink be strong, your love handles made and rolled out in pure taste and if you’re on the other side of the 30’s sag – may you hang in pride and happiness, girlfriend!

And to all the Miss. Colombias of the world, chalo, may yours forever remain ‘hard’ – one for the sisterhood! 😀

Shyamni. xx

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