The Cathartic Effect Of The Girls Night

A girls night was exactly what I needed last weekend, even when a sore throat threatened to spoil my “old man-free” weekend and several new series on Netflix teased me tantalisingly right up until that first sip of Sparkly. fashion-1284304_1280


When you get out of practice and fall down the dark hole of giving zero fucks about making an effort because you’re tired all the time, you forget how cathartic a night out with the girls can be. How you belly laugh at the same things; how highly inappropriate you can be without feeling judged… how your girlfriends just seem to know what to say to tickle your humour and curiosity.


The conversation is comfortably predictable, but the great thing about middle-age is that we’ve gone past the focus on the kids and obsession with men stages and progressed to thinking about ourselves again and our own aspirations for the rest of our lives.


Girls nights are actually better when there’s only a handful of you. Strategically it means there’s more wine to go around which reduces the inhibitions much more quickly and as we gathered around the end of one of those awful communal tables – which we all know is just a way to get more bums on seats – we discussed anything and everything with a renewed energy inspired by each other’s company.


There we were, this loud group of middle-aged women, cackling at our own jokes, and I suspect that if the old man had been a fly on the wall he would have described our group as rather more akin to a “coven” – one that would cause immediate shrinkage if he stumbled across us unprepared.


And as ‘invisible’ as we were, if laughter and wisdom were defining factors of attractiveness, we owned it.


I suppose it was inevitable that vibrators would come up in the conversation at some point during the evening, because thankfully we haven’t grown up that much, and when normally my longest bestie would have recoiled at the mere mention of them because she’s always been the sensible one of us, (the sort of person that it gives me the greatest pleasure to shock), give that girl enough alcohol and tacos and all those signs of awkwardness disappeared as quickly as that second bottle of Pinot Grigio.


Egged on by the rest of the coven, she’s buying me a “rabbit” for Christmas, apparently – we’ve just got to work out the logistics of when she gives it to me without a) the untimely death of our teenagers from awkwardness b) husbands rolling their eyes with disdain and c) dogs thinking they’ve got some mechanical new bone to play with.


Which is a scene that should definitely appear in the next Bridget Jones movie.


So while my twenty-something daughter NC battles her way through the unwanted attention of the shameless young lotharios of Europe, I recommend a night of liberating invisibility to all you middle-aged women, because the stories of our lives continue to be written at the same time as our appreciation for female company, honesty, humour and trust deepens.

What Really Happens On A Girls Night Out?

The following video is an educational film about the degenerative effects of alcohol on the brains of middle-aged and teenage women.

Karaoke Chicks
Oh Dear, oh dear, oh dear…

We understand if you feel the need to turn off your screen if your preconceived ideas about women and how they should behave in public areas are compromised, or if you judge women on how much they drink or how they handle themselves when they drink.

You may exit this post if you find the production of Gloria Gaynor‘s ‘I Will Survive’ amateur or in any way offensive, or if you are at all sensitive to bright lights, strange sounds, high pitched squealing and mum-dancing.

Look away if you thought that Karaoke was limited to:

The Asian community

Young people

People who can sing

But please watch this video if you need reminding that sometimes it’s ok to let your hair down and make a fool of yourself to have a good time, even if you are middle-aged and should possibly know better.

Please ignore the dud notes, awkwardness of the more mature women and the youthful charisma of the teenagers who still enjoy the sight of their own faces (in something called ‘selfies’), the sound of their voices and seeing themselves on camera….all the time.

Believe me when I assure you that the huge cylinder of beer on tap was there for medicinal purposes only, to massage the vocal chords.

Please appreciate that it was harder to work that bloody Chinese Karaoke system than it looks, and that not only did we have to master a remote control, (a technique many of us had forgotten a long time ago), we also had to select ‘foreign’ music to find the top 40 (!). That fucking machine required navigational skills that are not endemic to the female physiology.

Embrace the fact that you can look ridiculous with your teens as long as it on their terms ie. they choose the songs.

That if you too decide to brave a girls Karaoke night, no amount of practice makes it easier to sing a perfect rendition of ‘I Will Survive’ after three hours of drinking.

And before you judge our vocal talent, you should know that during Karaoke you cannot hear the sound of your own voice.

‘So what did you take away from this experience?’ I can hear my therapist ask.

1. For a Karaoke group to be effectual, it needs the following key members:

The surprise performer – the quiet one, who suddenly jumps up and launches into a perfect and heart-rendering rendition of Celine Dion’s Titanic.

The Leader – every serious Karaoke group needs a leader to motivate the troops and we had one who supervised us expertly from fear to fame. It was kind of tricky getting the mike and camera away from her most of the time, though.

The Bar Tender, who takes control of the drinks and understands the importance of lubricating the vocal chords and lungs at all times.

The Technician, who can work out the Karaoke machine – a degree in Chinese helps to first read the instructions and then flirt with the staff.

The DJ, who knows his audience and selects exactly the right blend of music to fit into that precious hour – not easy when the age range is between 19 and 50. She taught us that Adele is not good Karaoke music and Cee Lo Green‘s ‘Fuck You‘ was a masterpiece.

English: Single sleeve of "F**k You!"...
English: Single sleeve of “F**k You!” by Cee Lo Green (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Backing group, which is made up of those who don’t really want to be there and have come out either out of some sort of sense of loyalty or threat. In as much as they are terrified of being centre-stage, they prove to be surprisingly talented at providing a self-conscious background hum that aids the overall volume and makes the pushy performers amongst you shine.

2. You still have the potential to wet your knickers laughing in middle-age.

At 11pm the middle-aged songsters went home (with a private sigh of relief) – back to the soothing consolation of a ginger and lemon tea. The teen songsters, meanwhile, had only just started their evening, and headed off to the nearest club for some vodka chasers and real stimulation.

At first, I was afraid, I was petrified…..but I’ve got all my life to live’.

Middle-Aged Girls Night

Chocolate Fondant Cake/Lava cake
Chocolate Fondant Cake/Lava cake (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yay, it’s finally the weekend!

If there’s one certainty in life about the weekend, it’s that the vast quantities of food and wine I consume over the next 48 hours will be substantially greater than the meagre volume I allow to pass through my lips on the other five days of the week.

The weekend brings a different mindset to party people.

Fuck the diet! Fuck the weekly alcohol allowance dictated by some pretentious medical association who stupidly believes that 13 units is enough to keep us women sane and happy.

This is the first weekend in a very long time that I haven’t had to brown-nose to clients on a Saturday, and so the potential for liver damage is close to suffocating me with excitement.

All concerns for my health fly out the window at the weekend and my approach to eating and drinking becomes distinctly libertarian, turning from caution to decadence. I can already taste the melting chocolate from my Chocolate Fondant dessert coursing down my throat.

OF COURSE I can party all night long with NC and her friends, silly! Hangovers are for losers.

Anyway, there’s always sodding Sunday to worry about that shit.

On the menu tonight is a very late birthday celebration with some girlfriends in the city, followed by a session of Karaoke. NC and some friends are also coming along to help keep us middle-aged party animals awake beyond 9pm.

‘Why Karoake?’ I hear you ask.

Because I’ve never done it, and because I still can. Because during some mad/sad moment when I was feeling that life was slipping me by, I forgot that I wasn’t eighteen and it suddenly seemed appealing and something I HAD to do – of course, I could blame Pinterest for allowing me to believe all those crappy inspirational pins about ‘only being as old as you feel’ and embracing life while you still can.

Nevertheless, I’ve been practicing all week. My defining Karaoke moment will be ‘I will survive’ by Gloria Gaynor, and don’t worry, I am sure that it will be video-ed.

This is all complete bravado bollocks, obviously. All of us middle-aged women are secretly petrified. 

Nights on the town are a little different these days and if truth be told, the fall-out to this evening was embarrassingly disastrous – only the ‘real’ women are still ‘in’.

I’m not sure when exactly we women lose our ‘party’ balls? When did we start drinking equal measures of water to wine, cutting out carbs and sharing desserts?

Oh, the shame of it!

When did we start worrying about how many Tannins are in the wine or if the cream on our Tarte Tatin will make us bloated? What happened to those nights when we weren’t afraid of enjoying ourselves, or making fools of ourselves  and were proud of bad hangovers?

When did I start worrying about how I will feel on Monday on Friday night?

Half my girlfriends are driving tonight. WTF!

When did we become so fucking sensible? Did the ‘Sensible Fairy’ visit one day, sprinkle us with ‘sensible’ dust and cut off our balls in the process?

At what point in my life did I start getting anxious about getting rat-arsed on a girls night?

I need someone to blame. Is it the kids fault, or that old devil called responsibility? Is it my deteriorating body or fear of premature death? I think the fear truly started from that first torturous 24 hour hangover (post kids) after a night drinking beer and chasers with my younger brother?

NO, tonight’s going to be different. I’m going to throw caution to the wind, let my hair down, party like it’s 1984 and show those teenagers how to really have some fun.

If I book the cab for 10.30pm, I should be in bed by 11, shouldn’t I?