The Midult’s guide to...

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Nights out

Are you go­ing out? oh, that’s nice then. A cosy evening. Bit of a chat. Maybe a wine or two. Din­ner. Could be that you put on a swoosh of bronzer, an An­cient greek Sand al rather than a Havai an a,dan­gly ear­rings or present able jeans. you’ll brush your hair, pre­sum­ably, and maybe show it some dry sham­poo. And scent al­ways makes us feel more suit­able for pub­lic con­sump­tion. But not too much. We don’t want to be one of those ma­tur­ing ladies whose ar­rival is her­alded by a nox­ious cloud of some­thing pow­er­ful.

yes, you’re a tad weary. But it’s just a bit of ‘out’. noth­ing too in­tense. And it’s im­por­tant to do the out thing once or twice a week oth­er­wise what is t here? Lone­li­ness, which is ac­cret ive like moss, and so­cial anx­i­ety, which is cu­mu­la­tive, like debt. So out it will be and, all things be­ing equal, you’ll still be in bed by 11.

But what about ‘out-out’? oh yes, be not mis­taken, out-out is worlds away from the do­mes­tic out. out-out is a whole dif­fer­ent ket­tle of panic. it’s an oc­ca­sion. And it takes plan­ning. Let’s work back­wards: out-out means a han­gover. And, th­ese days, hang­overs last two days; the first is phys­i­cally ap­palling and the sec­ond is emo­tion­ally cat­a­strophic. And they area bit shame­ful. Why do we never learn? Are we al­co­holics? Firstly, we are id­iots, and se­condly, maybe a bit ( but we don’t want to talk about it).

out-out means late to bed. Per­haps, un­think­ably, like ,1 am. or, now and again ,2.30 am. new year’ s eve late. Best friend’s wed­ding late. Late. But no lie-in be­cause out-out could hap­pen on a thurs­day night so there’s work. or maybe there’s a small and self­ish child who needs feed­ing and just doesn’t get it. And even with­out a job or a crit­ter, there’ s the al­co­hol-in­fected, heart-pound yearly start.

this kind of night is her­alded by prep. not quite pre-first-time-sex wax- in ga nd pedi­cure ground­work, but per­haps a bit of a fake tan, pos­si­bly a blowdry, cer­tainly a wardrobe cri­sis( oh god, i’ve noth­ing to wear and i’ve run out of hang­ers, again) and of­ten a shop. We should know by now that, just as we rarely find a lover when we’re look­ing for one, we never find a dress on the day of the party. Just hor­rors.

And what about evening make-up that goes on prop­erly, rather than just hov­er­ing on our skin, mak­ing us look like painted skulls? the more tired we are, the less make-up we should slap on be­cause knack­ered faces re­ject it. they sig­nal their‘ Leave me the hell alone’ at­ti­tude with ex­treme ug­li­ness. So we wipe it all off and start again, but by this point we have pink-eye and it’s time to go, but we have lost the will to leave and we haven’t even sweatily wres­tled with the dress zip yet. that part’ s al­ways su­per-fun, isn’t it?

then there’s how to be. Fizzy or still? up or mel­low? How to gauge the mood of the out-out sce­nario? How to be fun, quick­sil­ver, the gift that keep son giv­ing, but not des­per­ate? How to re­lax while on dis­play? How to be your­self when, lately, you feel that you and you have only re­cently been in­tro­duced?

out-out creeps upon us. th­ese things are usu­ally planned weeks or months in ad­vance. And yet they blind­side you. Par t ic­ula rly if your de­fault set­ting is dread and, as the com­mit­ment looms, the dread grow sand feeds upon it­self.

So, if you’re go­ing out, t hen have a lovely time. Come back armed with sto­ries, slightly nudged per­spec­tives and that warm friend­ship feel­ing that is so nu­tri­tious. if you are go­ing out­out, then best of luck. And re­mem­ber– as your toes go numb in t hose heels be­fore you’ve even left the house–to find the trea­sure in the evening. it may look scary, but some­where in the sce­nario there’s a glit­ter­ing mo­ment with your name on it.

Just as we rarely find a lover when we’re look­ing for one, we never find a dress on the day of the party. Just hor­rors

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