Saturday, 15 January 2011

Life's Unhelpful Lessons: The Unreconstructed Male is Alive And Well, And Hanging Out in Northwick CLP.

Oh, God, my head hurts. Why do I do it? I am far too old to drink red wine if I'm to stand any chance of avoiding a three day hangover after a night out.

And what the hell is wrong with me? Why can't I just order a gin and tonic instead of red wine whenever I go to a Labour Party social? It's pathetic. I only do it to stop members thinking that I'm giving myself airs and graces, just because I work for the MP. As if that was even remotely possible, given my pathetic excuse for a salary.

Talking of which - in an admittedly tangential kind of way - it doesn't seem as if everyone in the Party understands the meaning of the word broke. Greg and I had to spend half the night listening to Pete Carew banging on about his holiday home in France, while Billy Jeffries argued the case for Tuscany.

Local councillors' allowances must be more generous than I thought, that's all I can say. Either that, or being a self-employed consultant with expertise in a pointless subject must pay very well indeed. I made the mistake of asking Pete what the hell life coaching was, and nearly lost the will to live when he explained. Maybe his clients pay him to keep quiet.

I'd happily have followed suit but, when I tried to withdraw another ten pounds from the cash machine, it seemed to have run out of money. Wouldn't you think bankers could at least re-stock the damn things to earn their bonuses?

Mind you, it would have taken more than I earn to pay everyone who was being boring last night to shut up, even if I could have got hold of any cash. Pete and Billy weren't half as bad as some of the other men, including The Boss. He spent the evening assessing the merits of various single malts, and trying to decide which of the new Party members was the most attractive.

"See what I mean?" said Greg. "That's why Andrew was so keen to have all the volunteers invited: he wanted all the young women who've joined the Party since the General Election to be here. He's taking an unhealthy interest in their development, if you ask me."

"Seems he's not the only one," I said. "Who are those two girls over there? Jim Bradley can't take his eyes off them, even though they're young enough to be his grand-daughters."

"That's because someone told him they were lesbians," said Greg. "He's obviously watched too much porn and hasn't grasped that life rarely mirrors art. Probably thinks he'll get to take them home with him afterwards. To discuss our policy agenda while wearing no clothes."

I think that mental image may have been the point at which I decided there was no option but to borrow some money to buy more wine.

"Oh, my God, Greg," I said, when I returned from the bar and gave him his change. "I still feel a bit sick. Do you have to be so crude?"

"That's nothing," he said. "Jim's no worse than the others. Pete Carew keeps asking the girls to stuff envelopes, just so that he can watch them lick the stamps. And then he stands there twirling that ridiculous moustache while they do it. It's bloody horrible to watch."

Eeurgh. Honestly, sometimes I despair of the local Party. Or of the men in it, anyway. Last night was supposed to be about celebrating Debbie Abrahams' win at Oldham and planning the next stage in the fightback against the cuts. And there's a revolution going on in Tunisia, for God's sake, and yet all the men of Northwick *CLP could think about was cleavage!

I said as much to The Boss, who pretended he was listening to me, but obviously wasn't.

"For Christ's sake, Andrew - stop looking down that girl's blouse," I said. "You're supposed to be a role model and, as for the rest of you - haven't you ever heard of feminism?"

"We used to call it women's liberation," said Pete Carew. "And a very good thing it was, too. Especially all the bra burning. Let it all hang loose, that's what I say."

"You wouldn't if you'd ever been stuck in a lift with *Ann Widdecombe," said Greg. "I'm sure that's what originally caused my *PTSD. I still can't go into Portcullis House without getting flashbacks."

At that point, thank God, Joan decided to draw the raffle, so everyone was spared further details about the size of Widdy's bosoms, but Greg still looked a bit stressed by the memory - even when he won the first prize. I don't think he felt that a free life coaching session with Pete was something to look forward to.

When he offered to give it to me instead, I probably should have accepted. It's not as if I've mastered how to run my life, after all.  Especially since it turns out that the cash machine hadn't run out of money as I'd thought - but Max and I had.

Our last twenty quid, and I spent it on giving myself a headache and watching a bunch of voyeurs in action. Some people might consider than money well spent, but I don't think I'm one of them. And nor is Max.

"Bloody hell, Molly. I can't believe you've left us with no money 'til the end of the month," he says when I drag myself out of bed just before lunchtime today. "You don't even like red wine. Or Party socials."

He's right, but I didn't do it on purpose - and there's no need to go on about it now, is there? Not when my head hurts so much. Haven't I been punished enough?

When I stagger to the bathroom and open the medicine cabinet in search of Paracetamol, I find that the answer is a resounding no.

If life coaching could teach teenage sons not to take the last tablet and replace the empty packet in the box, I'd book Josh in tomorrow.

*CLP - Constituency Labour Party. Enough said.
*Ann Widdecombe, former Tory MP, well-known for the size of her boobs, amongst other larger-than-life things.
*PTSD - Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Commonly cited by Greg when he wants to take a day off.

No comments:

Post a Comment