I will be celebrating my fortieth birthday this June. My regular readers will be familiar with my chronic shyness, and would naturally therefore assume that it would prevent me from doing anything to commemorate the occasion, other than watch 80's teen movies, screaming 'You can do better, you stupid cow!' at my TV with Bailey's Irish Cream fuelled fervour. I would have assumed the same thing not so long ago, but a friend of mine said something to me last week that brought about an epiphany.
We were discussing the way some women treat social outings as man-hunting exhibitions. They put on their most dazzling camouflage paint, slip into their shimmering, semi-backless safari garb and head out on a mission to capture their quarry, (I know, I mercilessly kicked the crap out of a guy for using the very same word in a dating 'advice' site a while back; I'm using it in a different context, and I can't think of another word that fits the hunting motif I'm running with - shut up). I was never comfortable with it, but for some reason I just assumed (there's that horrible word again) that this was what I was supposed to do, given my age and lack of marital status. The fact that I'm not at all interested in marriage did nothing to deter me from following the same carcass-laden track whenever I ventured out into the neon jungle, and I always returned empty handed. Despite the music, the bright lights and the abundance of alcoholic beverages at my disposal, it never occurred to me that I was supposed to have fun so, invariably, I didn't, and consequently just stopped going out altogether.
Thus, getting plastered and watching DVDs was looking like an extremely attractive way to kick off my fourth decade on the planet, until my friend Patrick gave me an unintentional come-to-your-senses slap across the face with the following words:
Why does it have to be about men; can't you just have a good time?
It was a bit radical, but I decided to go with it, in my own inimitable fashion. To psych myself up, I started cruising eBay for going-out clothes, it won't shock you to know that I don't have many, and before long I had bought three dresses, two necklaces and a pair of the most gorgeous vintage shoes I'd seen since I visited a pop art exhibition eight years ago. Then I went onto Google Images and saved a picture to show my hairdresser of Lily Allen sporting a beautiful layered bob that would set off the nod to the sixties look I envisaged. All this planning worked a treat, and now I'm as excited about my fortieth birthday as I was about my thirteenth. It might seem anal to you, but believe me...
...this is me relaxed!