“I’m having a party.”
Ooh great.
“It’s fancy dress.”

Actually the last two fancy dress parties that I have attended, both celebrating 40th birthdays, have been lovely. But fancy dress really isn’t my bag.

If I’m totally honest, I’m not good at parties generally. I find groups of more than six people terribly intimidating. I would rather pull my own toe nails out than start up a conversation with someone I know nothing about. I find men downright scary, having almost no point of reference with them unless they are married to someone I know and even then I struggle to think of things to say. And I don’t drink so as the party progresses and tongues loosen, I find myself in the quietest place, looking at my watch and longing for my bed.

I make myself sound like a proper misery guts and I really don’t think I am. If I know plenty of people and I can dance at a do, then I’m happy as a sand boy.

Fancy dress hooks into all these feelings. If I want to go to a party then I need to provide myself with appropriate armour. In my case this is finding self confidence from feeling that I have scrubbed up well. And I really can’t do that dressed as an elf or a hippy or whatever it happens to be.

And then I never know what to wear. I have a remarkable lack of imagination – or at least I have in the run up to the party. After the event, the ideas for possible outfits come thick and fast. But as the date approaches my panic mounts. I think of something that it is straightforward to achieve, that will allow me to preserve a level of dignity and by extension confidence and then sort it.

I know that I should really lighten up, throw myself into these events with more gusto, let my hair down, risk a hangover and all that normal stuff. But the older I get and the greater my understanding of my own psyche becomes, the more I realise that there is little point in turning myself into something that I am not just in case I might be missing out. Give me a small group of women that I know well and I’m perfectly content. And let’s face it, it’s not hard to orchestrate that kind of do. I have never been a party animal and unless something most peculiar happens, I never will be. And that is just fine by me.