Wednesday, 19 April 2017


My friend Kay is having a house-warming party in Clapham on Saturday night. I want to wear my new boots with flowers on them but all my dresses have flowers on them also and the combined effect, when I try them together, is much too much The Mamas and The Papas.

"You need something in a block colour," says my friend Jai over a flat white (one shot, extra hot) in a local cafe on Monday morning, when I explain the problem. "Preferably a LBD (little black dress). My husband is taking the kids camping on Friday so let's go shopping."

Friday afternoon, after her husband has taken her kids camping, Jai and I go shopping. We start with tea in the RA and end with drinks in the BFI via cocktails at the Royal Festival Hall and dinner at the Tate Modern with roughly six hours of trying on clothes in between. Jai buys two tops and I buy two dresses. One of them is a LBD from French Connection with a narrow sheer section in the middle at the front.

On Saturday evening when the doorbell rings I've just ended a long call to my mother and the phone has rung again. I answer the door with the phone clamped to my ear. Jai is standing on the doorstep looking stunning in skinny jeans, new top, and very high heels. "You're not changed for the party," she says.

"Who's that?" says the voice on the other end of the phone.

"It's Jai," I say. "We're going to Kay's party."

"Kay's party?" Says the voice on the other end of the phone. "Don't take drugs."

"I won't take drugs," I say. "I never have. Except for once when I lived in Norwich. But you have to take drugs if you live in Norwich."

"Don't take coke," says the voice on the other end of the phone. "I won't take coke," I say. "I never have."

I come off the phone. "Was that your mother?" asks Jai. 

"No," I say, "that was my son."

I go upstairs and put on the LBD with my new Summer of Love boots. "What do you think?" I ask Jai, walking back into the kitchen.

"Whoah," she says.

"I'll try it with a camisole," I say.

I come back downstairs with a camisole on underneath so that the sheer section in the middle at the front isn't sheer any more.

"That's sort of spoilt it," says Jai.

We drink champagne cocktails made with prosecco and then I go back upstairs and take the camisole off. Fuck it, I think, it's not like I'm going to take drugs.

At the party I find lots of alcohol and my friend Sas in the kitchen. "You're Cheryl Cole!" she says, when she sees the LBD with the sheer section in the middle at the front.

"Thanks!" I say. Then I remember Cheryl Cole headbutted someone in a ladies toilet.

As we tour the house while drinking more prosecco Sas is behind me on the stairs. "You have a pert arse in that dress," she says. 

"Thanks!" I say. 

Then I bump into Kay on the landing and in lieu of hello she rubs her nose in the sheer section in the middle at the front of my dress. "You're a MILF in that dress," she says.

"Thanks!" I say, because that sounds like a compliment. 

My body is being objectified, I think, because of this LBD, which is great, but any more acronyms and I'll span the whole alphabet.

A group of us kick off the dancing in the living room, and then stay there. After about an hour I head for the kitchen in search of more stuff to drink.

"Rock and roll!" says a man as I pass him in the hallway, a bottle dangling by my side. "You've got a whole bottle to yourself!"

"Yeah," I say, "of Badoit."

By 1am I've drunk the whole bottle of Badoit and my hip is killing me.

"My feet are in literal agony!" shouts Jai. 

"So is my hip!" I shout back.

We tell the host we have to leave because we are in literal agony. "You can't leave!" he shouts, pushing us back on the dance floor. But we leave anyway, when his back is turned.

In the taxi home Jai texts her eldest son, who hasn't gone camping. "He thinks we're leaving early," she says.

"Tell him bits of us are in literal agony," I say, "and I've normally had three hours sleep by now." 

I text one of my sons. My text says: I don't have a door key. Are you still up? I'm on my way home. I don't have a door key.

His text back says: Your text just began and ended with the same sentence. And I'm in bed.

After what seems like a very long time standing on the doorstep ringing the bell, one of my sons finally opens the front door.

"What time do you call this?" He says. "And what the fuck are you wearing?" 

Love E x


P.S. The little black dress -

My little black dress, which according to the above might not actually be one -

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