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Cold Comfort Christmas

Chalet Girl

Who needs that Christmas Eve pint when you’ve got Ed Westwick, right?

The only first impression a sane person travelling by bus or train strives to make is that of utter odiousness. When I used to regularly take an early afternoon train every Friday from Heuston station to my homeplace I quickly realised the guy with the greasy chin and sprawling snackbox was the cleverest person in the carriage. The girl who places a small overnight Cath Kidston on the seat next to her signals she won’t be a problem. A literal pushover. You’re better off arming yourself with a stained and threadbare linen tote, wherein the contents appear lumpy. One also needs a Bus Face. The Bus Face is the opposite of the expression made when thanking a shop assistant or waiter. You hook your mouth, drastically curl your upper lip up toward your nose and risk future wrinkles. The Bus Face says what Greta Garbo never actually did. It warns, “I want to be alone.”

However, all these stratagems become redundant at Christmas. Waiting on the quays for the last private bus out of ‘nam presents a queue of bloodless-with-cold stares. Strangers assess you with eyes that have determined they will have a seat on that bus, even if they have to hang you with the handles of your filthy tote. The journey home is one of squashed limbs learning not to move. If you’re near enough to the driver to hear Christmas FM crackle out Driving Home For Christmas you wonder if you’re near enough to rip the radio and its wires out of place. Going home for Christmas doesn’t swell me with anticipation. Yes all that yadda yadda about family and chocolate and rest, but it always reminds me of how my use of that Student Travelcard dwindled after freshman year in university. How I lost touch with friends. If we’re being coldly honest, how I lost interest. I made a life elsewhere. It is only now that I realise guillotining the past wasn’t necessary. My dearth of a Christmas social calender is what I deserve. If my sisters are feeling charitable I’ll be dragged out to the local town for a Christmas Eve Pint. I feel as if brief introductions carry an unspoken caveat – Jeanne knows no one. I wear the opposite of Bus Face. And a borrowed Christmas Jumper. The garish armour is the spark for smalltalk. Twelve pubs? We can only stretch this polite conversation for two at most.

Instead of spending this time at home catching up with women who used to be girls I saw everyday in poorly heated classrooms, I’ll be more likely found in flannel pyjamas watching Chalet Girl, one of the most underrated rom-coms of recent times. Chalet Girl tells the story of Kim, a young woman who takes the job of a chalet girl, basically a housekeeper, in an Austrian ski-resort. She starts snow-boarding and while attempting to become a champion attracts the attention of her wealthy employer’s wealthy son who is played by Ed Westwick AKA Chuck Bass. I know, this stuff is more inspiring than Desiderata. Watching Ed Westwick wearing the hell out of an après ski fashion editorial beats parading a party dress through a town square on a crowded Stephens’ Night, right?I feel that the Germans might have a word for this not-at-all-unhappy loneliness which is not true loneliness. If they do, it is probably a direct translation of the sentence, invariably spoken by mothers, “We should spin into Shaws for the sale. That is unless you have other plans…”

How many times can a girl watch Chalet Girl before it becomes a problem?

Jeanne Sutton @jeannedesutun

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