Date: 21 September.
Location: East Melbourne library. I've finally discovered what all '5 tips to being productive while working at home' articles, my ex-boss and conventional wisdom all dictate: it's bloody hard to do actual work from your sofa. My new 'office' is the snazzy East Melbourne library. It has free-wifi, that comforting musty book smell, a back deck that gets morning sun. And, right now, twenty children at storytime signing Old McDonald Had a Farm. Children or alley cats in their death-throes — it's hard to tell from down here.
This time of year, the Cancer Council encourages women to host a 'Girls' Night In' to raise funds to be put towards beating breast and gynaecological cancers.
I personally find that orchestrated 'girls nights in' fall flat. (Much like their sluttier big sisters, 'girls nights out' which always start with too much champagne, squeaking and false merriness and end in too much texting of boyfriends, grimy dancefloors and excuses to leave early.) Like one night stands and buying leather jackets, some thing just have to be impromptu.
However, I firmly believe in the cause so, instead of hosting a girls night in, I prefer to simply make an annual donation to the Cancel Council — and, of course, skulk miserably down to my friendly local lady doctor for my biannual Pap test. In the spirit of encouraging anyone reading to do the same (to the extent that their sex allows, of course), I want to dedicate this post my most recent 'girls night in'.
It was last Friday afternoon. Bawling, I insisted down the phone to Bunky that I just wanted 'to go to bed'. I was in a viciously feral mood following a bitter fight with family. I hate the football, so going to Fitzroy to watch a preliminary final in company that included an avid, vocal 'Roos supporter didn't particularly appeal. Mywell-worn tracksuit pants were comfortably warmed, and I had the suitably dark and gory Scandinavian original series of The Bridge to binge watch. Further, I'd have to ride my bike over to Fitzroy which was effort.
But, as she was far too adept at doing by now, Bunky twisted my arm and managed to get me dressed (kinda, and entirely courtesy of Lululemon and other stretchy apparel-makers) and on my bike (literally) so I found myself at Lady Lovelylocks' house before the first siren. Bunky and I, fashionably early, sat on the front steps and nattered about the front garden and nothing until Lady L and her boyfriend wandered down the street lugging promisingly-laden Piedemonte's grocery bags and a slab of Asahi.
We all trudged in together, nattering continuing apace. There's something about entering an old friend's house that just makes you want to pull off your shoes, kick them anywhere and instantly settle.
Sober September ruled out a therapeutic Asahi for me, so a pot of tea was made (a proper one, as Lady L's father is a true British stickler for such things and abhors double boiling a kettle more than the thought of Scotland breaking up with its better half). While I fielded a call from a UK recruiter, the others set about chopping ingredients for some homemade pizzas and engaged in battle with the kamikaze old gas oven. By the time I had finished up pretending to be a lawyer, the house smelled of warm pita bread and melted cheese.
More tea was made, couch spots claimed, including by the family cat. Lady L's boyfriend (becoming a mouthful, so let's dub him 'Bryon' for his hometown), whipped out the iPad so he could watch both the AFL and … some other ball sport, (rugby?) at once, utterly baffling Bunky and I. One is bad enough, surely?
In the oven, cheese melted and prosciutto crisped. Onscreen, the 'Roos were off to a terrible start. On the couch, the girls discussed penises in depth and Byron grew uncomfortable. Pizzas were removed and devoured, a block of Cadbury's Marvellous Creations was wrestled open, Byron escaped upstairs, we laughed so much that I accidentally farted on Bunky and everyone dissolved into giggles once more. Lady L tried to teach me football player names, Bunky wanted to talk about her sex life, the chocolate was decimated, and so were the 'Roos.
Then I bicycled home — tired, and sporting a happy, hazy sugar buzz.