I’m not very good at going OUT out. I can’t do makeup. My hair’s too short to ever look fancy, and I can’t walk in high-heels. Then, of course, there’s the whole socially awkward factor, as discussed in great length last week, which means that it’s probably in everyone’s best interests for me to stay at home and watch First Dates.
As improbable as it may seem, I’ve actually become worse at going out since having kids. You’d think the urge to leave the house would be greater when the living room’s full of small children cutting up cheese scones with scissors (THIS IS HAPPENING RIGHT NOW), but no, I’d still rather be at home, watching shit TV and eating Scotch fingers with my husband (not a euphemism).
And so it came to be that Paul and I went to a ball last weekend. A BALL. For this non-going-out-out individual this was looked forward to with the same degree of enthusiasm as one might look forward to, um, I dunno, that weird new reality programme on Channel 7, whereby a dude is encouraged to root a chick that’s not his wife. (Actually …) To clarify: the ball was NOT looked forward to. I’d only agreed to go because I’m too socially awkward to give the appropriate response (“I cannot attend, for secret reasons”) so instead I had to say yes and hope that the end of the world came in the meantime. It didn’t, and we did go to the ball. This is how it panned out:
1. I remembered, late on Saturday, that I don’t own a ball gown, or anything vaguely resembling a ball gown. I do own a dress that I wore to my best friend’s big fat Jewish wedding a couple of years ago, so I dug that out and hoped it still fitted.
2. I remembered that I don’t own ball shoes. I do own a pair of high heels that I wore to my wedding five years ago, so I dug those out and hoped that my feet hadn’t permanently swollen with child-bearing.
3. Same for earrings.
4. I remembered – AS WE WERE LEAVING THE HOUSE – that I don’t own a handbag. My two-year-old daughter does though, albeit handbags emblazoned with Elsa and Cinderella and Barbie. In the end I stuffed my belongings into a small black sack that came free with my Senheisser headphones, and made Paul carry it.
5. I remembered that I don’t have visible eyelashes. I do own fake eyelashes though, bought for the aforementioned Jewish wedding two years ago.
6. I remembered that I don’t own glue to stick the eyelashes on, so I rang my mummy, who made a quick dash to Woolies, ‘cos she’s a fucking lifesaver.
7. I remembered the three children, and the fact that leaving them in a cupboard while attending a ball is, largely, frowned upon. I raced them round to my mum and dad’s, swapped three children for one small tube of eyelash glue, and then realised I’d left myself with just 16 minutes to get ready.
8. I remembered that I can’t put on fake eyelashes, so handed eyelash-sticking duties to my husband, who put them on upside down, sweeping DOWNWARDS. He looked at his handiwork, smiled, and said they looked good. My husband’s a well-meaning dickhead.
9. We left the house! We got on the train! We got off the train! We found the venue!
10. We couldn’t find the entrance to the venue, but we did find a man in a shiny suit also looking for the entrance to the venue. This man got on my tits, ‘cos he assumed we were at the ball because of Paul’s profession, rather than my profession. Silly shiny-suit man. Paul was just there for the free booze.
11. We found the entrance! Hurrah! We went in. It was then the true meaning of ‘ball’ became clear. ‘Ball’ means ball-gowns, doesn’t it? Ball-gowns with sparkle and shine and fucking TRAINS. I did not have a train, although I did have my belongings in a small black headphone sack. Cue social anxiety …
12. And champagne. ‘Cos nothing cures social anxiety like champagne, guzzled like a parent who hasn’t been out of the house in six months. As such, we found the lady with the tray of champagne, and guzzled it like parents who hadn’t been out of the house in six months.
13. We wobbled into the ballroom for dinner. I was hungry but couldn’t reach the bread rolls, so continued with the whole hunger thing.
14. I made friends with the waitress, who quickly gathered that we were parents who hadn’t been out of the house in six months, and topped up our champagne. She was a good waitress. Maybe I should’ve asked her to pass the bread rolls.
15. The waiter came round with the main meal and asked – in slightly broken English – whether I had any dietary requirements. Because I was (a) deaf (b) drunk (c) a dickhead, I grabbed the plate enthusiastically and said “YES! Thank you!”
16. I became obsessed with the MC for the evening, one Basil Zempilas. In my first-ever publishing job – on a slightly average homes magazine in Watford, England – I was tasked with writing the readers’ letters (cos no readers meant no letters, natch). One of the regular letter writers was Basil Zempilas (“I have mould in my bathroom!” “My front door-knob is loose!”), so to see him in the flesh kinda blue my drunken, stupid mind.
17. I got the hiccups. I continued to have the hiccups until Sunday morning.
18. Everything got a bit blurry.
19. I became obsessed with the band – Frankie and the Seasons. Did they WANT to be up on stage, spinning and smiling and entertaining a room full of drunken humans in ball-gowns with trains? Was this what they’d hoped and dreamt of? Were they being paid VERY FUCKING WELL?
20. I started filming the drunken humans in ball-gowns with trains dancing (with ALL the moves) to Frankie and the Seasons singing Grease Lightening, cos it blew my drunken, stupid mind.
21. I COULD NOT STOP HICUPPING.
22. I decided that this was the perfect time to find that guy who looked a bit like the guy I went to school with 20 years ago, and ask if it was the same guy who I’d never spoken to in high-school anyway. And also the Mayor, to apologise for the whole tree thing.
23. I made moves to join the dance-floor.
24. Paul made the WISE and SENSIBLE decision to take me home. The hiccupping was getting louder, and I was edging closer to the dance-floor. And the Mayor.
25. We called an Uber. The Uber arrived. The Uber driver thought I was going to be sick, so Paul had to explain that it was just hiccups, and he’d catch my spew, if worse came to worse.
26. Can’t remember a fucking thing after that, except for thinking that I’d lost my earrings, only to find them still in my fucking ears the next morning.
27. Never going out again. Okay?