There are two sides to every story. And in the tale that is a woman's life, these two sides are known as the fantasy and the reality – the sad, sad reality. We are poised between the women we want to be and the women we don't want to be, and never quite happy with the women that we are.
Fantasy woman buys bodycon dresses on Asos.com. Reality woman squeezes into these dresses when they arrive before conceding that she wasn't in her right mind three days' earlier.
Fantasy woman signs up for Pilates classes. Reality woman decides that she'll go next week instead, but not before stopping into the chipper on the way home.
This alter ego comes to the fore ahead of a holiday. Holidays mean reinvention, and reinvention means fantasy woman can come out and play.
So we make plans and pen to-do lists and sit at our desks, staring into the middle distance, as we imagine the fabulous women we will become when we go abroad.
The list looks a little like this:
Fantasy: I will book my holiday earlier this year.
Reality: Two days before you're due to take time off work you find 1) an all-inclusive deal in Lanzarote or 2) decide on a stay-cation. Sure, everyone's doing it.
Fantasy: I will boycott flight 'deals' after the way I was treated last time.
Reality: You see the prices of other airline tickets and quickly come to the conclusion that every man has his price. Yours is €63.99 each way.
Fantasy: I will arrive at the airport in a timely fashion.
Reality: Ohdearjesus NO! A high-speed sprint through departures does not bode well for fantasy woman. The expertly applied fake tan is sliding down your legs, your hair looks like it was blow-dried with an airplane propeller and the ankle bracelet you bought in Monsoon seems to have fallen off.
Fantasy: I will learn the local language.
Reality: "Hola senor, una botella de agua con gas, por favor. And also, can I have this one here? Yes, numero 18. And do you have chips? CHIPS? Cheeeeeeeeps. Do you understand po-TA-toe?"
Fantasy: I will lose weight before I go.
Reality: You discover the many different style variations of the sarong and the kaftan. Your plan to do 20 laps of the pool each day doesn't quite pan out, either. Maybe next year, you think, as you wedge another Cornetto into your mouth.
Fantasy: I will get a golden tan.
Reality: On day four, as you assess your sunburnt ankles, and the profusion of freckles on your shoulders, you are forced to concede that you are, indeed, Irish. A quick glance at your passport confirms this.
Fantasy: I will put everyone in the shade.
Reality: You leave the €200 designer sunglasses that you splashed out on, in the restaurant on the first night.
But you have other problems to deal with. "What's the address of our apartment? I think it's on my phone... s***, my battery's dead..."
Fantasy: I won't check my emails...
Reality: ... before noon. By day three, you are labouring under the delusion that your workplace will implode without you. By day five you're checking in with the office to make sure the empire hasn't collapsed in your absence.
Fantasy: I will go on various cultural excursions.
Reality: Despite picking up shiny pamphlets for just about every excursion possible – hang gliding, pottery making, falconry – the only outing you go on is to Crazy Croc's Water Park.
Fantasy: I will fall in love.
Reality: A group of beer-swilling Brummies pass a comment on your breasts as you walk into Cha Cha's nightclub, and the fella who cleans the pool is quite hot.
But it's probably best to abandon all fantasies concerning long walks on the beach and moonlit dips.
Indeed, it's probably best to abandon all fantasies and plans and to-do lists the day you go on holiday, but then where's the challenge?
Perish the thought you'd actually kick back and relax...