As discussed in the past, my Saturday nights tend to revolve around obscure shows on SBS, The Bill (I don’t think you can be an Australian parent without watching this show at some point) and a bottle of red wine. Every once in a while, however, I am dragged from my comfort zone (aka The Sofa) and made to, gulp, Go Out.
It needs to be pointed out that Going Out in Fibrotown is not like Going Out in The Big Smoke. For starters, there are fewer places to go. In some ways, this is a good thing. I have long felt that most of the problems (and I use the term loosely) that we suffer today come from the simple fact of having way too many choices.
A takeaway in our old house, for example, was fraught with difficulty – would we have Thai? Vietnamese? Indonesian? Turkish pide? Mexican? African? And if we did have Thai, from which of the 35 Thai restaurants in the district would we order? By the time we’d worked all that out, The Bill was over and it was time for bed.
In Fibrotown, that’s all much simpler.
What is not simpler, however, is Going Out. Because there are fewer places to go and you’re likely to see similar (aka The Same) people at any event that you attend, party organisers have to be much more diligent in order to tempt you (or maybe it’s just me) away from the sofa. Everything we go to here has a theme or a dress code. You can’t simply turn up in jeans. Your dress must be Fancy.
Okay, I’m exaggerating slightly (I know, you’re shocked). When friends invite us over to dinner we generally don’t need to drag out the nun’s habit and the clown suit. But big events tend to require effort. Lots and lots of effort.
On Saturday night, the preschool fundraiser required us to dress not only ourselves, but our table. Right down to the cutlery. I spent a week searching for ‘vintage, fancy silverware’ to suit our theme (more on that in a minute), only to discover a box of it sitting in my linen cupboard. Note to self: the decluttering is not working.
It was all my own fault. I’d set the theme. ‘Cowboy,’ I announced cheerfully, thinking of warm flannel shirts and comfortable shoes. ‘Terrific,’ said my friend C, ‘we’ll do Old West Saloon glamour.’
And so it was that I left the house on Saturday night ready for Wild West Whoredom, wearing several layers of corsetry, petticoats and fake roses, with a large velvet table cloth, fancy silverware, gilt-edged plates and a cowboy (The Builder, very dapper in a mean, outlaw way he was too) under my arm. It’s not exactly travelling light.
In the end, despite my whinging about the work, it was an enormous amount of fun. People I see every day at the school pick-up were transformed for the night. Which, at the end of the day, is the point of it all. You get to see each other in a new light and strike up conversations with people with whom you’re usually only on nodding terms. Even if it’s only to ask how they manage The Pride of Erin in their gumboots.
Quite how they’ll view me next time they see me is another question. Once ‘Miss Behavin’ is let out of the closet, in her brand-new second-hand cowboy boots, she’s very hard to stuff back in.