Being the youngest never leaves you – I went to work in Lion King socks

Coco Khan
Being the youngest never leaves you – I went to work in Lion King socks. My family’s idea of me will never change, even when I’m trying to celebrate my 50th

Recently I was interviewing someone for an article – a serious article about serious stuff – and I noticed they were distracted by something on the floor: my feet. Specifically, my socks: Lion King socks with Simba ear embellishments that were poking out above the shoe’s tongue. This professional embarrassment is my mother’s fault. She bought me the socks last year; I am merely an idiot who ran out of other pairs to wear.

For the longest time, I was the youngest in my family and even though I no longer am, I remain frozen in that era. For example, as a teen I said in passing that I liked prawns, even though I’ve often said since that I prefer other proteins. If we eat out, someone will invariably tap me on the wrist: “Oh you’ll love this dish. It’s got prawns.”

Back then, I also read a lot of harrowing books, though I shirk the morbid now. Whenever there is something sombre on TV, someone will say, “I bet Coco will like this emo stuff” to which I also scream, “I am not emo!” and lose my argument.

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For years I’ve daydreamed about moving to mainland Europe. “You’re too young,” Mum will say, or if she’s in the mood for some Asian drama: “You want to leave your own mother? Here is a knife, just kill me yourself.” And although I point out that she was just 18 when she left home for Britain, and I am 31, she will say that I am her baby and must stay at her side for ever.

It will never change. I will be trying to celebrate my 50th with a sophisticated soiree, and my family will roll through with a cake shaped like a prawn and someone dressed like Pumbaa. Maybe I should stop fighting it. These are, at least, very comfortable socks.