My natural, cosmetic-free complexion and the Woodstock-style hairband rounded things off nicely, and I could tell that Julia the Just had just become Julia the Just-Hooked.
Tarquin the Twit was living up to his name with every gesture, phrase and mannerism. He was pushing the envelope, running things past me, cutting at the edge and flying kites to such an extent that he was in danger of burn-out, breakdown or at least a double hernia. For Tarquin's session, I was Bridget the Bold: the pinstripe suit, the Buddy Holly glasses, the fishnets, the blouse, the stilettos, lashings of Chanel and the real leather briefcase. The Director Wears Prada.
Tarquin was well and truly flabbergasted. He seemed to be talking to my blouse and was amazed to know that I was familiar with Croydon. I matched buzzword with buzzword, jargon with jargon, cliche with cliche and Tarquin was sweating profusely. I deliberately softened my accent and could hear myself changing from Kelvinside to Croydon. Tarquin had obviously seen Basic Instinct, so appreciated my Kenny Everett leg-crossing act.
He shook my hand, too profusely for comfort, and wished me well. He all but asked for my phone number, and I nearly burst out laughing as I left the room, which by now reeked of stale perfume and even staler sweat.
I retreated into the changing-roomloo and reverted to the real me. I must have been successful, as Tarquin passed me in the corridor and didn't even give me a second look.
The only person who had twigged to my wee game was the cleaner, who leaned across, resting on her rarely-active mop and whispered "guid luck tae ye, hen, ya wee beezum."
The long wait started. Phase two interviews were to be held later in the month and successful candidates would be contacted by phone. My dearly beloved was unaware of these events and carried on with his life of indifference, disinterest and apathy. I sometimes wondered why I married him, but the passing baker's van reminded me of his family's wealth.
I was driving out to one of my schools when my mobile rang. I almost hit the kerb. Was this the call I had been waiting for? Yeeeeeeees! Bridget McElroy is a candidate.
The phone rang again. Number unknown. "Bridget? Hi, this is Tarquin ... You remember, from the interview? I was wondering if you were interested in meeting for lunch when you're down in Croydon again?"
I hit the kerb.