The other night I went to an engagement party. My partner is a groomsmen so it was one of those need-to-go situations. This is also one of those events where you know there will be bucket loads of booze and that I, sober Gertrude, will be one of the few people not drinking. Usually these events make me feel like engaging my dried date self, and staying home with a pizza, however on this night I felt perfectly accepting of the affair. I didn’t even need to apply my imaginary armour of resilience, which is a cloak of social engagement I bring out of the closest when needed, and then safely pack away as soon as I get home. Probably needs a dry clean after the amount I’ve used it in the last seven months.
However tonight I felt no need for my Batman style ‘let’s get shit done then clear out’ cloak. I even made an extra effort with my appearance, which is somewhat rare for me, but I must say it makes you feel pleasantly confident when you know you look pretty damn good. It’s something I am going to instigate for future boozy events as if you feel happy with yourself before you walk into the room you’re already got an edge on the whole situation. You could even start a little mantra/rhyme to put yourself in the right frame of mind: I am pretty, I am witty, and I won’t let drunk people make me shitty. It might not be Wordsworth but it gets the job done.
I haven’t been to an engagement party in years. I guess it’s one of the benefits of having a lot of single friends, you avoid all of the big life events/obligations. At my last engagement party attendance instead of finding my confidence in beautiful attire, I discovered it in copious amounts of booze. I managed to get so boozed in fact that when my friend and I were leaving I yelled out ‘see you at the divorce party’. At the time I had thought it was funny until later when my friend informed me it was actually highly inappropriate. He also said I had been a jerk, and I see that. Fair call. I also vaguely remember trying to feed their dog cat food, and being told it could kill it. Not great. Let’s just say I wasn’t invited to the wedding
However, back to my booze-free universe. The first half of the evening went down a treat, I traversed the room, chatting and having a good laugh with a few different groups of people, and drank mineral water with lime like a thirsty camel. This was the second revelation I had for the evening: holding a glass in my hand made me feel more comfortable, even if it was filled with bubbles of h2o. I don’t know whether it’s because it acts like a security blanket or whether I simply felt safer in the knowledge if anyone attacked me I could always glass them if needed. Regardless, it made me feel less like a shining beacon of sobriety. I have also never been so hydrated.
Later, when everyone fell into the rabbit hole of drunkenness, I still felt perfectly fine. Only one person asked me why I wasn’t drinking, and instead of trying to explain I don’t drink to an inebriated person (a painful waste of time) I now have the perfect excuse: I am designated driver. I’m not officially a driver, I’m a learner driver but I was driving my partner so he could have a few drinks without worrying. For me, it’s the ultimate call of adulthood: the designated driver.
Once the bar shut in the reception room everyone made their way to the nightclub area of the hotel, a point of the evening I wasn’t overly looking forward to. However as soon as I walked into the sticky-floored bar area Whitney Houston’s I wanna Dance with Somebody blasted out from the stage, and I grabbed a member of our party and pulled them towards the D floor. And I continued to dance until eventually, some time after midnight, my partner sidled up to me and said ‘I’m kind of keen to leave soon. Are you?’.
I came, I saw, I chatted, I laughed, I drank bucket loads of mineral water, I danced like a demon, and all in all I felt like I had conquered my first sober engagement party.
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