Fancy Dress

May 3, 2012 § 31 Comments

I went to a seriously fuck off party a few nights ago.

It was fancy dress.  I fucking hate fancy dress.  Well, I had never actually been to a fancy dress party but I am deeply prejudiced and phobic about them all the same.  It is my right.  I am almost 48 and so allowed to be bolshie.  For weeks after the invitation arrived, I had palpitations every time I thought of having to get into some BO-imbued costume from some dreary, down-at-heel hire shop, fork out a million quid and look like a prat.  But the party itself was being given by very, very good old friends whom I adore, and whose friends are specially lovely, warm and cheerful and always give every appearance of being happy to see me.  So I wanted to go very much.  I’d just have to stop being such a wuss about embracing the fucking themed look.

In the event, I managed, the day before, to score a rather wonderful dress and wig (which made me itch as if infested with nits but looked fab) and found myself, arriving alone at the host’s imposing front door, very much getting into the spirit of the thing.  I suppose my beef with fancy fucking dress has always been that it is invariably so tacky.  But as I crossed the threshold into Versailles and found myself mingling amongst the assembled courtiers, I was transported by the splendour.  The house had been so transformed that everyone just gasped and laughed with joy.  The modern kitchen had been kitted out with ceiling to floor red velvet  hangings dotted with various “portraits” and, every unit and pot and pan hidden, it was no longer a modern kitchen at all but an elegant inner sanctum in Louis xv1’s private apartments.

No one let the side down.  Everyone – even the pre-party churlish moaners like me – was there in their  powdered wigs and beauty spots and startling cleavages.  (One of my friends even fished her car keys out of hers!).  The fair few footmen were handsome and smiling and helpful and didn’t put a foot wrong. The hostess looked more beautiful than on her wedding day and said she had put me next to the most attractive man in the room – “Sorry, married, darling, but heaven”.  He and I had a gratifyingly deep conversation about men and women and marriage etc over the coruscatingly delicious dinner.  On my other side was an old (male) friend and we talked openly, honestly and cheerfully about life as a plankton (though I didn’t use that give-away word, natch).  The old friend was suitably polite and told me he couldn’t understand why on earth I was having such difficulties, that he’d always thought I was gorgeous, but he managed to say this without giving rise in me to any threatening feeling that he had ideas about being unfaithful to his wife (also a friend).  He pitched it perfectly – not remotely creepy but flatteringly sincere enough to make a plankton feel good for once, and for me want to hug him.

I had THE BEST time even though it was fancy dress (I had an unlikely conversion: maybe partly because it WAS fancy dress!) and though I liked many a guest there enormously, I didn’t fancy any one in particular.  So it was I felt relaxed and happy.  Alone, of course, but there were enough friends there that the solitary, hateful in-between times didn’t loom too miserably, if at all.

I stayed till 1.00am; didn’t even realise the time.  Found a place to hide and change back into the 21st century metropolis, slipped down the stairs and out of the door unnoticed into the dark and the rain and drove home, miraculously not wanting for all the world to slit my wrists.

Surprise Twinkle, eat your poncy-arsed heart out!


§ 31 Responses to Fancy Dress

  • Lydia says:

    How lovely. That is what you need, to enjoy yourself or else be so busied with family and work that you do not dwell on how you might be feeling.

    Mind you in the worst recession for years and now moving into a double dip when plenty of people can hardly afford to eat it seems a pretty insensitive kind of party to hold.

    If (Times this week) your weight is down to 7 stone 10 (unless I am remembering wrong) it probably wasn’t too hard to find one to fit – standard sample size.

    • Now THAT’S more like it! That last line sums up what every single (older?) woman should feel about any member of the opposite sex who brushes her off for whatever reason. I know it’s hard to believe, but quite often, it really is THEM, not YOU!
      Glad you enjoyed the party and even more happy you have such good friends.

    • The Plankton says:

      You remembered the weight correctly, but now it has gone up again, more’s the pity. As for a party in the recession, insensitive may be, but very occasionally, I don’t see how they can do all that much harm; and are quite good for the spirits of those lucky enough to be asked to one. There are going to be plenty during the Olympics and will everyone be carping then? I am carping about the Olympics (yawn!) but not the odd party. Lydia, I didn’t know you were so puritanical? Pxx

    • Margaux says:

      Lydia you are indeed a woman of contradictions. You tell us about your skiing holidays and privately owned island and yet you begrudge someone holding a party for their friends because we are ‘in recession’.
      *scratches head in puzzlement*

      • Lydia says:

        Yes, I’m laughing at myself here. It was not a very helpful comment. Plankton does seem to live ina very different world from mine with a load of parties and dinners and seeing friends, a sort of social round which isl ike another planet from the life of many of us who work and see to our children. I suspect the main reason for the difference is personality – my heaven on earth is sitting in my office in total silence reading and the last stages of hell would be parties every night and dinners with people you may be sick of seeing. It’s a personality thing although I am not entirely unsociable.

        I also cannot get the picture of Conrad Black and his wife in fancy dress which is often used rather unfairly in the press when they write articles about them although today’s Times which has his picture doesn’t use it.

        The island is pretty primative, tents and survival skills. I was learning about construction of tidal pools this afternoon in a break from work. I suspect they are far too b ig a job easily to do although the idea is nice – in essence you build 4 walls around the area in which you swim, tide comes in, fills it, tide goes out – water left then you can swim. The seas are rough and dangerous in that bit of the Pacific and I certainly don’t; heva a budget for a normal swimming pool.

  • MissBates says:

    Sounds like a rollicking good party — so glad you had a great time after your recent travails.

  • Elle says:

    Sounds great – hope you had a Pippa good time!

  • I hate fancy dress too, but the one you went to sounds like it was great partly because of the enormous effort involved by the hosts.

    The last fancy dress party I went to was a charity event and I knew almost no one, the organisers were a bunch of cows and I was so bored I left early, though after the buffet which was a let-down.

    You sound way too skinny. Get some meat on you and give a bloke something to get hold of. 🙂

    • Lydia says:

      8 stone at average height (my height – but not my weight) is actually a healthy BMI (18.5 lightest which is healthy). It’s just that most people in England are fat – in fact more are overweight now than healthy weights so we lose recognition of what is normal and think it’s dangerously anorexic. I wouldn’t go below 8 stone though unless you’re very very short.

    • The Plankton says:

      Got plenty, never you worry! Pxx

  • AnonW says:

    I’m generally against fancy dress parties, although one of the ;last parties I went to before my wife died, was fancy dress. It was rock ‘n’roll themed so I just borrowed some clothes off my middle son, who has a wardrobe to match his alter ego, of an easy-listening DJ in Brighton. My male line has this odd gene that means, I’m a similar size and shape to my father and two of my sons have inherited it. It’s a bit difficult at times, as we’ve all got 30″ waists and size six feet.

    My late wife and I, both went to Liverpool University and the Rag Week then, was called Panto Week and it was rounded off by a fancy dress ball called Panto Ball. One year, the Panto Secretary was a girl, who wasn’t particularly liked. So that year, a male student, went to the Ball dressed in exactly the same dress she’d hired for one of the other balls earlier in the year. She had fairly recognisable hair and an appropriate wig was secured. She was reported to be absolutely incandescent and even more so, when she found out that her look-alike had been danced with by something like fifty gallant engineers.

  • Barry says:

    YESSSSSSSS!!!! ‘Nuff Said ….xx

  • Londonista says:

    You know, I met my husband at a fancy dress ball. We both turned up in the same costume (I had a moustache and a mask on), and I honestly thought it was going to be the last place I’d meet a bloke as I’d turned up with 7 guys from work, promising not to ‘act like a girl’. You just never know.. Good to keep going out, however unlikely it seems that you’ll enjoy yourself.

  • rosie says:

    I’ve always wanted to go to a Venetian masked ball, they look so decadent. Even if the men were complete warthogs you’d never know and could fantasise that they all looked like [insert male fantasy figure of choice] and all really fancied you. Kind of.

    • AnonW says:

      My late wife and myself, went to a New Year’s Ball in Venice. It wasn’t really masked although we were given one.But it was great fun, especially as my wife found out that the skirt and top she’d bought didn’t fit. However with a few safety pins, a shawl and a basque to pin it all to, I created a rather interesting evening dress. Being taught how to make clothes by your mother sometimes comes in handy, even if I say it myself. But the moral of this story is never travel without safety pins.

  • EmGee says:

    Sounds like a grand, good time, not haughty at all, glad you enjoyed it!

  • Lizzie says:

    Well done P! Sounds like a fabulous night – and a great attitude. Keep that attitude from now on. Promise me!

  • Chris says:

    Wow, all sounds a bit ab fab to me !! Dammit , party on and to hell with the peasantry !!

    By the by, went a bit of a do for single people this weekend, ‘ mature’ people obviously. Took me foreign girlfriend and she had some very perceptive thoughts. She asked me if all the men in this country are gay and all the women lesbian. Her reasoning ? Because the men and women did not mingle much, they seemed to stay in their own groups. I have not noticed this before but when she pointed it out it did appear tpo be as it said. Why is that ? Do the sexes not like each other in this country anymore. Or is it that they are all looking for something ‘better’, not realising that what they’re are looking at is their level. I don’t know but I did spot a fair few ‘ Madge from Benidorm ‘ lookalikes among the women. And that’s about as serious as I get !!!

    • EmGee says:

      I am baffled, you took your girlfriend to a singles’ event?

      If one cannot figure out why a group consisting of both sexes doesn’t readily mix with each other, no matter the purpose of the get together, take a course. Saying that people are gay and would cluster amongst their own sex, sounds like just being mean, sarcastic and smug. Then again her date took her to a singles’ party. Glad you two enjoyed the spectacle.

      • Chris says:

        Yeah, guess it sounds a bit wierd but I think singles is maybe a slightly loose interpretation. Couples go there to, principally I think because there is a dearth of venues where older people can just go and have a night out dancing, or at leasty there is in ,my town !! As a matter of interest I met her at the same venue years ago, so I suppose there is a kind of sentimental attachment. See, there’s always hope !! Oh yeah, mean, well she comes from a pretty wild culture where theyn don’t really do ‘ sensitivity ‘ You’re probably right there. Not that sensitive meself, brought up in the rough and tumble of the old east end in the ’50’s, not much room for sensitivity there either. Come to think of it, that’s probably why we’re well suited. Not the sort of couple the average planklton would approve of methinks !!

      • EmGee says:

        You can rationalize it as you please, but it isn’t a question sensitive vs insensitive. Some of the most unpleasant and spiteful people I know are that way because they are sensitive, just in a negative way.

        Mean is mean. Making fun of people for your pleasure is simply mean.

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