“I think I might be getting old - I’m rather interested in the adverts that fall out of newspapers now!”
PUBLISHED: 10:00 12 February 2019 | UPDATED: 10:17 12 February 2019
Our columnist is finding herself strangely drawn to adverts for unisex portable urinals and stove top ‘gap covers’. How about you?
It had to happen one day and for me, it began with the arrival of the Sunday newspaper.
After I had fought may way into the big plastic cover and then into the smaller plastic cover containing the magazine and various bumpf, a booklet fell out which invites me to purchase − what shall I call them − let’s say they are older-age-specific products. Over the years I admit, I have scoffed at these, considering them to be exclusively for older people.
But now, I am an older people.
The slow descent into comfort waistbands and the like, began to set in at Christmas when, as we have for the last 35 years, we exchanged jokey gifts with our best friends, Richard and Jane. This year, they were given a visitors’ book for their new bathroom... an opportunity for users to give a blow by blow account of their experience. It includes “Amount of time spent looking in the mirror” as well as a detailed account of toilet-based activities. Presented in a classy looking Fortnum & Mason-blue cover, we felt it matched the tastefully-appointed new facilities.
Their gifts to us were feet warmers. Mine is a unicorn, my husband’s is friendly dog... he thinks it could be a husky. Oh, how we laughed. Having seen similar items in aforementioned booklets that arrive with the Sunday supplements, we had often debated what might occur when you have both feet inside them and the phone rings or someone knocks at the door. There was a risk, we felt, that you would just stand up and make a fruitless attempt to walk and end up pitching over, unable to to get up, flailing about like a tortoise on its back.
No way would we ever use anything like that...
Guess what? We absolutely love them. I have my feet inside my fluffy unicorn most nights. In fact, they’re in there now. And so you see how quickly we start to appreciate things we once scorned.
Maybe I should have been alert to the danger when I first started wearing thermal vests and big ol’ knickers back in the noughties. It was, perhaps a tacit acknowledgement that although I feel no more than 35-years-old, I feel the cold a lot more too, these days.
Now I am seriously thinking about making purchases from the catalogue for wrinklies – a publication that, design-wise, remains resolutely the same as it has always been, with few concessions to modern presentation. The front page, which is selling plug-in wall heaters (I might need one of those as it happens) is very busy. Banksy it is not. In fact, it is probably deliberately styled to repel younger people,
While I may express and interest here and there, however, it is not addictive. I haven’t felt the need to order, for example, any of the range of hearing aids on offer. Nor am I enthusiastic about a pair of toenail clippers that look like pliers, featuring “chunky runner handles for a firmer grip”. But the “Miracle Vanish Pen” (not for use on husbands) is very interesting. It is: “The perfect solution to everyday scratches and marks that devalue and cheapen the look of your car.” I might need two of those.
I am not ready for the spray that removes “embarrassing stains on your cotton mattress”, nor for the socks that were designed to protect astronauts from the incredible cold of deep space (Tim Peake, please advise). There is also an item that will: “Keep your entrance dry.” No comment.
Meanwhile, the unisex portable urinal may save personal mortification in a two-hour traffic jam and the glare-reducing, wrap-around, night-driving over-glasses could be a real help for older members of the public and royals.
This next one is appealing. It is a strip that fills the gap between the cooker and the worktop, thus preventing the ingress of crumbs and fossilised petit pois. It is called a Gap Cover but, to be honest, it doesn’t look so great on the photo. On the other hand, you can see what you’re getting and it isn’t expensive – less than £10. Should I get a couple.. or will it make my kitchen look as if it is used exclusively by older people?
Shoe storage solutions. Someone in our house − and I’m not saying whom − has a tendency to leave shoes lying about all over the place. It’s not even as if he has many shoes.
On the back page has a fascinating purchase for just £29.99 you can buy a wrist watch that is accurate to one second in 138,000,000 years. How do they know?
Intending to write this column about the temptations that lie in wait for the older buyer, I have been carrying the booklet around with me for nearly a week without ordering a single thing. But I can’t bear to get rid of it... just in case I have a sudden and pressing need for a unisex portable urinal.