Every now and then we get invited to a dinner and dance or a ball.
‘ooh, how lovely’ I hear you say. Yes, the chance to get myself dolled up in a posh frock used to get me excited. Now, as a cynical, grumpy old woman, you’ll just hear me sigh and moan at the thought.
For a start, these ‘do’s’ are usually work related. The ‘Celebration Dinner’ or the ‘Awards ceremony’ during a conference. You’ve already had a day of smiling nicely, and all you really want to do is go and sit in a bar with your chums and a bottle of wine. The reality however, is that you get less than an hour to get yourself sorted and ready for an evening of torture.
You have a quick shower, then attempt to do your hair with one of those stupid hairdryers you get in hotel rooms. You know, the one’s where you have to hold the button down to keep the air flow going. What air flow there is – they invariably have the power of a fly flapping it’s wings past your ear. Consequently, hair isn’t that of a tennis girl-friend (how do they get hair like that?), more of the not-so-fashionably tousled variety. You put ‘
product’ on to try and tame it. It looks like its been dipped in grease and sticks out at right angles. Hair should not have corners, should it? Ho hum… on with the dress…
You will have chosen a suitable posh frock to wear. A nice posh frock, I have found, invariably needs some pretty mega underwear to make it look half decent on me. Strapless bra that digs in, and has potential to slip either up or down, and make you look squashed in funny places. Big keks. Big, big, keks. Big keks that hold you in so much you go cross eyed, and feel sick if you eat so much as a stick of celery at the dinner – neither can you go to the loo quickly, so can’t drink too much either (I have discovered though, that a certain brand of big keks has a special gusset that kind of opens so you can do what you need to without taking them off – who knew??? It’s made me look at red carpet celebs in a whole new different way). The dress is long…bit too long, need high heels. You’ve bought a beautiful new pair, that make you feel a million dollars. You’re tall, you’re elegant, you are a Cinderella look-alikey, you’re held in, and your feet bl***y hurt.
After tidying up the make-up you’ve smudged inadvertantly at some point of the getting ready-ness, you totter off, clutching your clutch bag, which you will have mislaid by the end of the evening. Arriving at the reception you grab a glass of free champagne and swill it down. Then you grab a second. You immediately regret that second one. It’s ok now, but the first glass of wine with dinner is going to mix with those darn bubbles and send you giddy fairly swiftly. Never mind, you are charming, though wish you could remember the names of the people you don’t recognise at all who seem to know you quite well.
Then there is the dinner.
You are sat at a round table with some eight other people, none of whom you have anything in common with, except perhaps the woman opposite, who you think you might get on really well with, but you can’t actually hear anything she’s saying, because the enormous table decoration separates you. Instead, you’re stuck with the slimey Mr I Am sitting next to you for the evening. Have another drink.
There’s the food to negotiate. Soup for starters. Eating soup daintly is a knack I’ve yet to learn. Then there’s the chunk of meat for main, and who thought strips of pasta was a good idea – are they having a laugh? Slippery and sloshy with sauce, guaranteed to slither down your chin. Pudding is so often that little row of three teeny tiny same but different things. One is so so, one is revolting, and the third is the smallest one, that is delicious and you wish you could have just had a big portion of that. Then there’s the coffee…..don’t get me started…see previous post…!!
Speeches. Oh hoo bloomin’ ray! Does anyone, ever like the speeches. Sure, everyone laughs politely, claps a bit, but really we are all wishing we could get to the bar (the wine on the table went very early on). Awards to be given out. Endless awards, with endless photos to be taken. By this time, I am nodding off, possibly with a bit of dribble coming out of the side of my mouth. Then the ENTERTAINMENT. A misnomer. Need I say more.
Of course, there is always the disco at the end. Dad dancing at it’s finest! It does liven everyone up a bit though, and I actually start enjoying myself. Of course, it’s enjoying myself with the abandonment of more than enough glasses of wine enjoying myself. Heaven knows what I look like. My shoes, taken off discreetly during dinner, lie abandoned under the table, I’m tripping over my frock and trying to shimmy despite my big keks, and slippy bra. Doubt anyone else remembers anyway, and it’s giving me the chance to bitch about everyone else’s odd choice of clothing for the evening. I wonder why that woman’s boobs are such a funny shape – could it be her bra?
Oh god, it’s a mirror…