Friday, 15 April 2011

My Night Out with 'The Girls'

Occasional Thursdays are dedicated to curry night at Wetherspoon's. I meet with a group of ladies I got to know nearly ten years ago when my eldest son was two. Seven of us have maintained a friendship of sorts, though I only have the mobile number of one - Helen.
'The Girls'- this conjures up images of  young, overdressed and heavily made up ladies, grinning, with a bottles of cheap wine providing the fuel for a night of fun. Flirting, bitching, raucous laughter at some double-entendres laden with sexual innuendo. Moaning about partners is essential - "he leaves the toilet seat up!" "He doesn't change the toilet roll!" "He doesn't clean the toilet when he's pebble dashed it!" "He  leaves his stubble in the sink after a shave!" (I'm all out of toilet related gripes now).
'The Girls', not strictly girls-I'm the youngest at 34. When I reeled off the names of the females who were able to make last night's meet up, my partner thought I'd be visiting a nursing home (Val, Eileen, Meryl, Gail, Meryem and Helen). We're a mixture of mothers and grandmothers who happened to be looking after children of a similar age at the same time. We happened to attend the same toddler group every Monday and Friday for two hours. I doubt we ever would have met in any other circumstances, and such relationships usually fizzle out once lifestyles change. Helen and Meryem were so timid the first day I met them a decade ago. It took weeks to strike up a flowing conversation with Helen, and months to do the same with Meryem. Both had gentle, clear voices and never said anything outrageous or ill-informed. Gail; sucessful, classy, educated and very graceful. Val, Eileen and Meryl were the grandmothers of the group, their confidence kept the group alive and their dignity prevented any unsavoury lines of conversation taking over. We ate endless rounds of anaemic cold toast, guzzled mug after mug of tepid tea.
 Last nights' chatter was mainly led by an animated Val, who has exceptional story-telling skills. The gossip was simply jaw-dropping, the stuff of real-life magazines. A local girl has fleeced friends, family and various companies out of at least £100,000, and sent a letter threatening a bomb attack to the bank in an attempt to prevent her in-laws finding out. There were stories of scandal, divorce, affairs, domestic violence, gastric bands, family feuds... We didn't have time to touch on the toilet behaviour of our spouses. Alcohol barely featured, we all had to be up early this morning and are careful with our cash. The dress code was less Sex and The City glamour, more no-nonsense blouses, a bit of lipstick and comfy shoes. To bystanders I imagine we looked like a group of office colleagues, very sensible, boring, staid. To the young boys and girls who were out to get very drunk, some dressed to the nines (why?) I imagine we embodied everything they hope to avoid becoming. I overheard some conversations on the next table, where a group of students were celebrating a 20th birthday. "I said to her, 'are you coming?' She was like, 'yeah' but I was like, I know you're not coming. Why lie, like, say 'I'm not coming'" (this went on for ages).
Our table; seven ladies with seemingly unremarkable lives,  blended in very well with the furniture. As Val finished her story about Marilyn's divorce and impotent new partner, I quipped "the truth is far stranger than fiction".
Thursday nights, eating a lukewarm glorified ready meal in the company of six very different ladies, offers a strange sort of comfort for me. I leave feeling relaxed, refreshed, any loneliness I have felt through the week with just a toddler for company  evaporates. So much has changed for us all in ten years, yet in some ways, nothing has. My time with these women leaves me feeling something quite unfamiliar-normal.


  1. lol - sounds like a good night out! I havent had a girly night since before my son was born 9 months ago, really need to make more mummy friends I think as my party hard girls have done a runner! Scarlett x

  2. I like the comfort of getting together with old friends - there are few things quite like chatting away with people who make you feel at ease! I struggle sometimes with socialising so I definitely appreciate feeling relaxed :-)

    Jem xXx


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