Essex Girls

They are loud, gaudy and vulgar, as one could have guessed when the first conversation revolved around “vajazzling.” Essex girls, or in this case women, are unlike the typical Londoner.

Last Sunday, sipping G&T’s at the posh Maltby Street Market, my friends and I were quickly chatted up by the two women sitting next to us who noticed our American accents. These ladies both had bright blonde hair, gem-clad outfits and jackets with fur hoods – one of which was pink. Despite the negative stereotypes associated with their title, these Essex Women were a blast.

Despite being in their mid-fifties, one of the first things they wanted to dish about was British boys: “So, do you find the boys here quite lovely? Have you fallen in love?” Lady, we wish. Regardless, these women lacked a filter with strangers. Fine by me.

We chatted and exchanged banter throughout the afternoon. We learned one of the women had a son who was soon to be married in Mexico. The other worked in the city and found great joy in bringing her friend into Central London, showing off all the hip, new hangouts – as we all do. They both loved Disney. One had been to Las Vegas, clearly worth Essex bragging rights. Neither was married, though one, surprising even to herself, had recently fallen for a man.

Seeing them interact, you could have sworn they were sisters. My friend, Abby, who is infinitely curious, inquired about their friendship. They both smiled and sighed, grabbing hands to tell their story: “Well, I always lived on this street, but then her parents moved in behind mine. We just starting chatting on the bus. I guess people don’t really do that now, but 35 years later, we are still best friends!”

By the end of the day, all of us were slapping one another on the arm, giggling like we had come to the market together. These women found great joy in simply being themselves, and they didn’t care who stared. They reminded me how the simple things – recounting memories with friends for the zillionth time – are the happiest, and how important it is to always leave room for this in our busy lives.

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