Let the fight commence!
I love the party season in the UK. Every top and dress has sparkle in it, everyone agrees to one more glass of champagne and those of us that are of a certain age and with children finally lift ourselves from the safety of our sofa, take off our jogging bottoms, put a bit of eyeliner on and decide to be social.
Now despite my willingness to partake in as much of the party season as I can muster the energy for, I do things very differently now, as a 40-year-old, than I did as a 20-year-old embarking on a night out. Here are my two different versions:
20yr old: Get ready from about 6pm, take approximately 2 hours. Spend ages on hair & makeup. Call up friends to find out what they are doing. Drinks at home before heading out at 9pm.
40yr old: Get ready in mad rush between putting kids to bed and babysitter arriving. Leave hair as is, do minimal makeup. Head out as soon as babysitter arrives (hopefully 7pm), time is money!
20yr old: Wear short dress/skirt, heels and no coat regardless of the weather. Putting a coat in the cloak room loses valuable drinking time. Mini handbag, just fits a credit card, cash and my lipstick.
40yr old: Wear glamorous but sensible outfit (if there is food involved, needs to be roomy or elasticated), heels in handbag, flats for walking, cardigan in case bar is chilly and coat. Normal handbag, I need everything in there….probably.
EATING AND DRINKING
20yr old: Follow rule “eating is cheating”. Saves on money for drinking.
40yr old: Eat before going out to ensure you don’t get too drunk as you are up at 7am with a small child. May even pre-empt hangover with two nurofen.
20yr old: No specific plans organised. Meet in a bar Centrally, have a few drinks, go somewhere else, head of to a club when we’ve made up our mind which one.
40yr old: Must be a pub/bar with seating. Need to arrive fairly early as we have to leave at 10.30pm so we’re back before midnight to let the babysitter go home. (At any rate, I’m going to struggle to keep my eyes open until 10pm). We’ve only got 2 hours people, let’s have fun QUICKLY.
20yr old: Loud, Recent, Dancey, House Music ideal. Lets go mental!
40yr old: Not too loud I want to chat, definitely would like to dance, House Music still ideal as is anything on Radio 1 (still my fav station – I’m so hip!). Let’s not go too mental. I don’t think they dance like that anymore.
20yr old: Random conversations with strangers on the tube. Might pole dance on the bars. Swig of wine from a bottle working its way up the carriage. Singing, laughing, loud.
40yr old: My feet are hurting, I’m cold, I’m tired, we should have left a bit earlier, What the hell is that girl wearing? Please don’t talk to me weird bloke with beard. I just want to be in bed, I miss my bed, mourn for bed.
THE NEXT DAY
20yr old: Crawl out of bed at 1pm. Lots of tea and water. Bring duvet to sofa and watch anything that happens to be on. Everyone who stayed over wakes up and we do a full post-mortem on the night. Someone offers to go and get takeaway. We dare each other to be the first to have a cigarette.
40yr old: As I drank 4 pint glasses of water before bed and took 2 nurofen, my headache is minor which is just as well as I had a wake up call at 7.30am. Downstairs in dressing gown, breakfast made for children, finally lie on sofa and try to rest through the noise of Fifi and the Flowertots and the gentle bickering of my children.
I have to say the effort involved in making it possible to have a night out now sometimes just isn’t worth it. If I had a live-in nanny, things may be very different, but as it currently stands, you have to be a very important friend and have a pretty important event to warrant me getting out of these jogging bottoms!
So, how does your nights outs compare to the ones you have now?