I used to love a good party. Any excuse to get dressed up, slip on the high heels, and spend the evening meeting interesting new people. Who knew what might happen! Who knew what friends would be made!
This week I have not shown up to one party, cancelled another, and cancelled drinks with a very nice girl I met at someone’s house one night. I wanted to have drinks. I wanted to discover if I had potentially found a new friend, but as the evening approached, a sense of dread settled over me, and I realized it would take a force stronger than one I possessed to peel off the old, pilled leggings and oversized T-shirt and get me into a little black dress befitting the rather trendy cocktail bar at which we had arranged to meet.
It was the same with the party at which I forgot to show up.
It had a Dirty Dancing theme which was tremendously exciting for me because the outfit was easy! Blue jeans rolled up, white sneakers, and a white shirt tied at the waist. Not only do I have the curls if I don’t blow-dry my hair, my pièce de resistance is that Baby, the actress Jennifer Grey, is actually my cousin.
It is somewhat tenuous – our fathers’ Grandmothers were sisters, but still! She is a blood relative! I was willing to bet I would be the star of the party – who else could claim Baby as part of their family! Saturday evening rolled around and the laziness started to set in. As did my fear of small talk. I wouldn’t know anyone there other than Beloved, and whenever that happens I cling to him like a limpet all night and position myself near the buffet table (there is always a buffet table) where I have been known to single-handedly demolish enormous cheese platters and entire plates of sausage rolls by myself.
Social anxiety makes me eat, and although I was hungry on Saturday afternoon, I just couldn’t muster up the requisite enthusiasm. Then it was evening and the children were all home, including the Rower’s girlfriend, and we decided to run out for a curry, and – I swear this is true – we had such a good time, we completely forgot about the party.
I am realizing that I am very good at parties only when I am feeling very glamorous and gorgeous. When I am still recovering from my post-Christmas haze, finishing the edits on my new novel, re-writing the cookbook, developing a TV show, I do not feel glamorous and gorgeous. I feel exhausted.
I’m hoping I’ll feel better by Spring, and failing that, Summer. At least I think it’s the exhaustion. Either that or I have become, like JD Salinger, something of a recluse.
At least it means my career choice was right all the time.
(First published in The Lady magazine in the UK)
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