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.
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.