Saturday night I learned two things about myself - one I already knew which is consistently proven as soon as I walk out the door, and the other I find troubling on the surface but in my head I'm thinking, "Score!".
a) Social events are not for me. Social events which involve 13 drunk people I don't know and a sober self, not me times one thousand. I would actually rather have a meeting with Good Lady Cooter Poker (ahhh...how I miss thee).
b) I seem to be turning into Madonna. No, I'm not wearing conical bras and forcing my whipped husband to put me in movies in which I prove I should not be allowed anywhere near celluloid, but rather this Yank has picked up a certain...hint of an English accent. I used to think Madge was beyond pretentious when I would see her on Letterman, decked out in her checked flat cap and matching cropped pants just looking for a pheasant to shoot, cooing, "Oh Dave, it's simply mahvalous in London dahling." I have crossed over.
On Saturday, I left a message on our answering machine for The Dude when I was at the event mentioned above. I got home before he did and checked messages and was thus greeted with, "It's me. If you get this before I get home, please ring me on my mobile. You have the numbah." The rest of my message was a mix of utterings of "numbah" and how I must get out of "hee-ah". Oh my god. My neutral Mid-Atlantic linguistic stylings have been compromised. I don't do it intentionally, I sweah!
So what is this social event I found such a miserable experience? I was fortunate enough to experience my first "hen night", that of a friend from work. For the uninitiated, this is the UK equivalent to a bachelorette party, though with lots more booze and no cutesy games involving sexual innuendo. My apologies for what is to follow for those of whom I have already discussed my hatred of the terminology "hen night". Men here have "stag" nights or weekends, whereas women have "hen" nights. Yes, we get it. Men are the all powerful, mighty stags. Women, on the other hand, are just twittering, inconsequential chickens. Charming. I refused to use the word "hen" in connection with the event, much to the disdain of my friend having the party. She doesn't find it in any way offensive, and thinks I'm way too sensitive when it comes to issues like these. It's called AWARENESS, not hypersensitivity. I don't expect a woman with a part time job for no apparent reason aside from domestic obligations to understand.
I have severe social anxiety that emerges every time I have to go to a gathering of more than a few people. I'm not agoraphobic in the traditional sense, but I get panicked at the idea of having to be around other people, especially those I don't know because I have such low self-esteem. I worry obsessively over how I look, to the point of sometimes not being able to get dressed to go out in the first place. This happened Saturday night and I had to try really hard to gather up the courage to go because I knew how disappointed my friend would be if I didn't. Once I got there I felt so inadequate, because everyone else looked beautiful and so well-dressed. I felt like a fat slob in my dull top and one of my 6 pairs of black pants. Situations like this are all the more disappointing for me since a mere 8 years ago I was voted "Best Dressed" in my senior class and had a fabulous extensive wardrobe of unique clothes gathered from vintage stores and little independent boutiques. I know it seems so trivial to place so much emphasis on a senior superlative from nearly a decade ago, but it is a constant reminder of how I used to be and how far away I am from that now.
The rest of the night was spent nodding to idle chatter about the other womens' children, pretending to care what they made at Brownies the week before. I was the only attached woman there without children, but I suppose the one good thing to come out of it was that no one said, "When are you going to have kids?" or "Oh, be grateful you don't have kids, they take up so much of your time and energy!". I spent the bulk of the night feeling as if I wasn't even a part of the occasion, that I just watched it all go by in front of me without being actively involved in any part of it.
The only time I was brought into any of the conversation was when my severely inebriated hen friend would shout to the others at the table, as well as the restaurant in general, that I had magnificent boobs and hair, and that she would "totally go gay with me" if it was the only way we could both bang Johnny Depp. So I suppose, in a way, all was not lost. Though I may have had a horrible time, clutching my purse to my stomach the whole night to hid my disgusting rolls, perhaps someone at the restaurant agreed with my friend. Maybe they were checking out my boobs and imagining me in a threesome with Johnny Depp and my drunk friend. Maybe not. Either way, I'm sure I did the other patrons a favour when I asked my friend to stop saying that various people mentioned in conversation were "stupid cunts" in her outdoor voice.
I think I'm finished with the whole going out thing for awhile. For now I think I'll stick to staying in, watching episodes of 21 Jump Street with The Dude, dressed in The Sweatpants and eating blueberry pancakes.