First published in The Portsmouth News, 03/06/2014.
My average night out, circa 2004, pre-children: Spend two hours minimum preparing self. All external bodily surfaces pummelled with sea salt scrub whilst hands clad in wiry gloves to aid exfoliation. Slather self in scented unguents and apply make-up carefully. Walk through cloud of perfume.
Leave house after a meal consisting of one packet of Walkers’ crisps and a glass of dry white wine. Skip into taxi, sporting high heels, no coat, low-rise jeans and a boned corset. In mid-winter.
Arrive in Gunwharf at 9pm and teeter down to Tiger Tiger. Head to the main bar, consume own body weight in Archers & lemonade, dance to the S-Club 7/Michael Jackson mash-up that was doing the rounds at the time, teeter back out at 2am and head home in another taxi.
Fast-forward a decade: Sneak up the stairs commando-style, back against the wall, eyes rolling madly in head for sightings of the tiny enemy. Once path is clear, dive into bedroom and throw some products at face, whilst dragging a Hello Kitty brush through hair, praying it (both hair and brush) doesn’t contain any living creatures.
Place foot in slipper only to remove it, wincing. Upon close inspection find a small plastic rabbit residing in my slipper, with ears like razor blades. Resolve to write column about the injuries inflicted upon parents via over-priced children’s tat.
Escape from house at 6.15pm. Shut front door on the two weeping daughters that are fighting over ravioli and try to ignore the voice in my head that whispers, ‘You’re letting them eat horse meat. NEIGH!’
Feet are clad in attractive, yet sensibly low, Russell & Bromley wedges. Outfit consists of cardigan (it could be chilly later), and high-waisted jeans (holding stomach in).
Meet friends, Emma and Leanne, and go to bingo.
One bottle of Rose, three plastic glasses, and a packet of Marmite Cheddars later, and we’re sat down and ready to roll. Lose bingo virginity, realise that nobody actually shouts ‘Bingo!’ and get a full house. Sadly I don’t shout loudly enough to be heard by the caller, who just carries on and gives my win to someone clad in a tracksuit.
Walk home, zip up cardigan due to slight chill in air, and discuss after-school clubs. Arrive home at 11.45pm to find husband worried that I’ve been out ‘so late’ without checking in, and make self a cup of coffee and a slice of toast. How times have changed!