Friday, 2 October 2015
The Groucho Club.
"Shall we have a mojito first?" says my friend.
Oh gosh, I think, a mojito? On a Wednesday lunchtime? Best not.
We're having lunch at The Groucho Club. I mention this as if it's totally normal. It's not. It used to be, a long time ago, but now it's very much not. My friend is still a member though and it's his treat.
Actually I got a bit over-excited and spent ages obsessing over what to wear (you never know who you might bump into in The Groucho Club), eventually settling on a green Cath Kidston dress, covered in a clock design, a bit vintage. Or perhaps that should be timeless?
I'm wearing it with beige heels and bare legs, because it said in the fashion section of the paper recently that it's fine to have bare legs up until October, if you can bear it, as it were. But it feels wrong. And cold.
You know that thing when you go out in the wrong outfit and then you feel wrong all day? Yeah, that. Actually the dress feels tighter than it used to, and perhaps I shouldn't have worn the push-up bra?
I'm trying to focus on what my friend is saying as he sits opposite at the cosy lunch table, but it feels a bit weird, like a date, only in the wrong clothes, with the wrong person. It's not a date, it's a business lunch with an old friend/colleague. Lunch with a man who is not your husband always feels a bit odd. But maybe that's just me.
He's telling me about his new diet, although for some reason he's not looking at me. Perhaps he thinks it feels it's a bit like a date as well? He's been inspired by Jamie's Super Foods, on Channel 4, so he's cut out red meat, sugar and fat. Now he eats lots of kale and nuts. This makes me want to order a large steak and a sticky toffee pudding. Not to eat at the same time, just the one after the other. In front of him. He says this new diet is not a chore, he loves it. I note that he's skinny as a whippet.
I, on the other hand, am not skinny as a whippet. Not since the summer's excesses, with its lashings of wine and ice cream and lack of my usual exercise. I need to take things in hand, go swimming twice a week instead of once, up the rowing regime (we have an old rowing machine in the cellar), cut back on things like pudding and wine, eat more fish.
"I'll have the haddock too, then," I find myself saying to the waiter, because my friend just ordered it. I didn't realise I was so suggestible, so that's good. Maybe I should hang out with him more?
The chat turns to work. We make films together, educational/information/marketing ones. We go way back, to when I bossed him around and he pointed a camera. Mostly it's the other way around now because he runs a production company. Except he bosses me around and I don't know how to point a camera. We're here to catch up and talk 'strategy'. I'm not quite sure what this means but it's a great excuse to have lunch.
I notice the dining room is full of men. In fact it's entirely men and they are all very friendly, and smiley. Which is nice. I wonder what they're talking about. I imagine Tarquin is offering work to Quentin and that they all go back to when they were at Oxford together, getting drunk and fooling around with dead animals. Like with politics, the media is a closed shop, and I don't know where the entrance is anymore. I think someone hid the entrance around the time I had three babies. I've been circling the building looking for it ever since. With a pram.
Now we're on to the wine and I'm struggling to focus on what my friend is telling me, again. It's something about using contacts, not cold-calling or emailing because this never works, and about a Canadian director he works with sometimes who is brilliant at getting commissions via his golf club. I'm wondering whether to mention that I don't play golf, or even leave the house very much, when I have a horrible moment of paranoia: I'm convinced everyone in the room is looking at me except for my friend, who is resolutely looking away.
Is this because I am not Canadian, or male, or called Tarquin, or adept at making contacts while playing golf? Is it because I lost the way into this world some time back and they all know it? I am an interloper, an impostor, a fraud. I shouldn't be in The Groucho Club. I'm not a member. I should be shown the door immediately (a-ha!).
Or is it because I am clearly drunk after two glasses of wine and a mojito on a Wednesday lunchtime? Also, I'm a bit worried about how I'm going to get Youngest to tennis and then go on to a charity party tonight somewhere in deepest Wandsworth, now that I'm drunk.
I go to the loo, and as I walk past the mirror I notice that the buttons on the front of my dress are undone all the way to the waist. "For God's sake!" I say to my friend when I get back, tucking myself between table and chair and finding I need more space than I thought, "why didn't you say anything about my dress being open?"
"Was it?" he says, not looking at me, again. "I didn't notice. Fancy pudding?"
"Yes," I say, "I'll have the apple pie and custard. And more wine.
Love E x
P.S. If you'd like a educational/informative/marketing film directed by me and not a Canadian do please get in touch.
And just in case you're not media enough, darling, The Groucho Club is a private members club in Soho, its members mostly drawn from publishing, media, entertainment and arts industries (it says here on Wikipedia).