Saturday, 11 December 2010

The (Crappy) Morning After The Night Before

Next time my instincts tell me not to go to a social event, I'm going to bloody well listen to them. Last night was hideous, and I haven't even got a hangover to show for it. Mainly because that would have required obtaining a supply of alcohol.

And since when has a gold lame dress come under the heading of "smart-casual" unless you're Shirley Bloody Bassey? I can't believe my eyes when we arrive at the restaurant. Late, due to the argument we have when I refuse to tell Max what to wear.

I'm nearly blinded by the amount of bling at the table, not to mention the cleavage and the sparkly eye-shadow. It looks like a Barry M convention - and for those of you unfamiliar with the lack of subtlety of that make-up range - I am not referring to Mr Manilow, although he'd have felt right at home. Talk about The Copacabana.

As soon as Max and I sit down, one of the girls he works with - who can't be much older than Connie - leans right across me as if I was invisible and says to him,

"Are you drinking red wine, Max?"

"Yes," he says, basking in the Spaniel-like adoration oozing from her non-presbyopic eyes.

"I'll share a bottle with you, then," says Miss Bambi. (I know I've just switched her from dog to faun, but the effect's the same: really f*cking annoying.)

"Why?" says her gold lame clad friend. "You always have white."

"But Max prefers red, don't you Max?" says Bambi.

This is true. Max does prefer red - which I'd have happily shared with him, had anyone bothered to ask me.

Bambi orders the wine and makes great play of pouring it slowly into Max's glass while staring at him at the same time. Then they both take big gulps of the stuff and sigh contentedly.

As a non-employee, I'm not in a position to order anything as, although Max's boss has just announced that the company is paying for the drinks, he has made it plain that the staff are expected to do the ordering to ensure that they stay within the budget.

So I have no choice but to sit there like a starched fart until Max remembers he actually arrived with a wife in tow.

"Oh - what are you drinking, darling?" he says. "Gin and tonic?"

"Looks that way, in the absence of anyone to share a bottle of wine with," I say.

He doesn't reply, but orders me a gin - a single - and then informs me that the restaurant has run out of lemon. I consider mentioning that I'm starting to feel like one of those myself but, instead, I try very hard to follow idiot brother Robin's advice about feeling compassion for anyone who annoys me.

Like most of Robin's suggestions, this one proves pretty useless: I get progressively grumpier as Bambi and Max continue to converse across me. I can't join in because I have absolutely no idea who or what they are talking about, though it sounds as boring as hell.

They order a second bottle and drink that too, while I resort to repeatedly asking Max to pass me the water jug in the hope that he will notice that I have finished my one gin. More than an hour ago. He complies each time without comment but, when he has re-filled my glass with water for the fifth time, he pauses and looks concerned. At last.

Then he says, "Bambi, have you got enough wine?"

I don't hear her reply for the sound of the blood rushing in my ears. I lean in towards Max and say, in what can only be described as a hiss,

"It'd be nice if you gave a shit about whether your wife had a f*cking drink."

Then I excuse myself and go outside for a cigarette. It starts to snow and I wish I'd put my coat on, and brought my handbag with me. Then I could just go home instead of having to return to the others for more of the same.

Except that it's not the same. It's worse. By the time I get back to the table, another young woman has taken my seat. So now I have a faun and a cuckoo to contend with. It's like Tim Burton does Disney.

I am left with the choice of sitting on a separate table with people I don't know at all, or standing at the end of the table I am supposed to be sitting at. I try both but neither are much fun and I drink the second gin in double quick time.

It's the last one I get, though, as I don't see Max again until we leave the restaurant. He hangs around in the doorway, probably waiting for the inevitable kissing-fest, while I stomp off down the steps, desperate to get home.

"What on earth's the matter with you?" he says, sotto voce.

"Where to start?" I say.

I breathe in, ready to let rip, as the rest of the party make their way outside. As I move aside to let them pass, I feel my feet start to move. I didn't know you could slip sideways on ice.

I slide towards the  busy road, wobbling as furiously as Josh does on his skateboard. It seems to take forever before I manage to stop, but it turns out that I've only travelled a couple of feet so, for a few over-optimistic seconds, I think perhaps no-one will have noticed.

Fat chance: when I straighten up, I see that everyone is staring at me, and trying not to laugh. I don't know whether I stiffen in horror, but something makes me begin to slip again.

My mouth open in gormless incredulity, I repeat the slide - wobble - stop process three more times, with the sound of mass laughter ringing in my ears. By the time I crash into the traffic barrier and come to a halt, it's positively deafening.

I challenge anyone to pull off a dignified exit after that.


  1. That was, strangely, not my view of events ;-)

  2. Understood, but as one of your other chaps mentioned, it's a tricky business navigating the blurriness between fact and fiction on MWC.

    So, somewhere the far side of the blur: aaah. And ooh. And cripes.

  3. Oh, I regret that this humiliation is all too clearly etched on my memory...though could not quite believe the skidding on the ice even as it was happening ;-)