Going out is something I don't do well anymore. I don't mean just venturing out of the house -I can manage that quite well if it's a jaunt to work, the school run or the shops - it's the proper going-out-in-the-evening-necessitating-dressing-up-a-bit-and-expecting-to-have-fun sort of going out I have a problem with. You know, the sort of thing you did a number of nights a week B.C. (Before Children) without any apparent difficulty. In those days staying in was something you had to do from time to time out of medical necessity and to avoid bankrupcy. Now staying in is the status quo and going out is fraught with issues.
The first thing is that I'm too damned tired/ lazy to haul my behind off the sofa most evenings. I like the coziness of staying in with a movie and Alpha Male primed to cook dinner. I like the fact that the sofa has a dent in it that almost exactly matches the shape of my rear. I like being able to wear my nastiest clothes and not care (after all Alpha Male has seen me in the throes of childbirth, he's unlikely to be easily put off by something so trivial as my favorite saggy-arsed baggy-kneed tracksuit pants). I also like the fact that if I want a glass of wine I don't have to pay a fortune if I want to drink something that doesn't taste like cat's wee.
This weekend I went out on Friday and Saturday night, an extremely rare occurance and one that I suspect it will take me at least a month to recover from. Friday night was manageable - dinner at a local restaurant followed by drinks in the pub - except that I drank a bit much (possibly from the excitement of being in public with Alpha without children) which meant Saturday was spent in a headachey, grumpy, lethargic haze. Then, on to Saturday. I had been commanded by my girlfriends to "wear something trendy" which had the effect of causing a major wardrobe malfunction. My make-up went streaky and I stuck the mascara wand in my eye. Then, just as I had managed to find an OK outfit that didn't make me look like Margaret Thatcher, the kids burst in, knocked the mirror over, broke my favorite necklace and wiped snot on my top.
I finally got to the restaurant an hour late, sweaty, windswept, flustered, and as I found out when I went to the loo, with mascara smeared down one cheek and lipstick on my teeth. The place was packed with long-limbed twenty-somethings and a smattering of B grade c'lebs, the prices made me mutter like Victor Meldrew and the music gave me a headache. Then, going into the bar afterwards I had a retro moment of the uncomfortable kind. Watching the assembled youngsters pound the air with not a trace of irony to 80's classics - the sort of stuff I last got excited to at the fifth-form school disco - made me feel a lot past it.
The thing is, it's not that I even want to get down with the kids. I have no hankering after my lost youth and don't plan on having a mid-life crisis anytime soon. I wouldn't swap anything I have right now for the smooth skin and stamina of my early twenties (although having pert boobs again would be kind of nice). I have a different kind of fun these days which doesn't rely on alcohol or non-prescription drugs. I'd hate to be 20-something again with all that angst and neurosis and dating hell.
So why does feeling past it bother me? Why would I care? Alpha thinks it's because I'm impossibly vain. Who knows? I guess I'll think about it once my hangover fades.