As I was inviting half of the people from the office, I felt obliged to invite everyone, including a couple of people who I had hoped would turn down the invite, but unfortunately didn't. How was I supposed to let my hair down with my boss and his wife lurking in the background?
The evening was to start with a bite to eat in a trendy bar in Hertford, followed by drinks for as long as anyone wanted to stay.
My chosen look for the evening was going to be trendy: Black trousers, black halter-neck top, silver chain belt, chunky silver necklace, bracelet and earrings, black heels. Hair short and spiky. I looked good. I looked skinny. I looked like The Party Girl. Bring it on.
The party kicked off a little later than expected, and by the time people started to show up I had eaten some walnut bread to keep me going, and to soak up the first Vodka and Coke of the evening.
When the first friend arrived he asked "What are you drinking?" and that was the last moment of the evening that I mentioned the word vodka. Everyone who turned up after this came to say Hello carrying a new vodka: Vodka and Orange, Vodka and Coke, Vodka and Tonic. The word had got round that I was drinking vodka, and who was I to be rude and turn down a drink? Especially considering that nobody appeared interested in ordering any food - and after a couple of drinks in quick succession I was too drunk to be interested in food either.
But I wasn't too drunk to notice that my halter-neck top - which was matt black cotton-lycra with "secret support" was continually doing its best to head south. The broad elastic band kept sliding down my ribs, elongating the stretchy halter-neck straps in to thin strips. I couldn't seem to go ten minutes without hitching the top up one side and then the other. But at least I had the wherewithal to hitch it. Ha! I can handle my drink!
At 11pm the bar closed and we made our way to another bar that closed at midnight. To say that I was drunk was a little bit of an understatement *hitch*hitch*. One of my friends then decided to break the run of vodkas and ordered me a Lavender Aftershock (equal measures of red (Cinnamon) and blue (Mint) Aftershock). He warned me not to drink it all, but before I knew it, the glass was empty. How did that happen? *hitch*hitch* Someone then bought me a glass of water, which I knocked off the side with my elbow and turned round completely oblivious at the sound of the glass breaking all over the floor *hitch*hitch*
At the end of the night, another of my friends (the eBay Queen, pre-twins) asked me how I was getting home.
"Cab" I said, aimlessly pointing to where the taxi rank could have been.
"Do you have one booked?" she asked
"'shover there, shumwhere" I replied.
"Yes, but do you have one booked?"
Once I understood the question, I shook my head *hitch* hitch*
"Right, come on, we'll give you a lift"
The apartment I was renting was in an old building centred around a courtyard. At that time, there were three enormous workman's holes at the entrance to the car park, barricaded off with bright orange cones and florescent barriers. My friends parked up where they could easily turn round and we chatted for at least half an hour - the main subject being whether I had offended anyone during the evening or done anything which might become office gossip. I really couldn't remember, but apparently I'd managed to escape humiliating myself despite being ten times more plastered than anyone else there.
Finally I got out of the car, swung my bag over my shoulder, and tottered towards the front of the building, narrowly missing falling straight in to one of the barricaded pits. Coo, that was close. I regained my balance and my friend's husband put the car headlights on full beam. How kind, I thought. I turned round and gave them a big wave: I'm fine! Really! I turned back round and swaggered off, round the front of the building, up the stairs and in to my apartment.
Wow, I was busting for a wee... quick get to the bathroom... oo, what relief! That's better!
As I stood to try and drag up my trousers, I caught sight of my reflection in the bathroom mirror and froze in horror. The halter-neck top had twisted sideways and there I stood completely exposed - on full beam. No way! How did that happen? Or more importantly when did that happen? Surely this had happened only when I got in to the bathroom? Yes, it must have done. Maybe the dash in getting to the loo.... I couldn't remember. Crap.
I sent a text to my friend. When you left me, were my nipples showing?
Thirty seconds later, she responded. I cringed as I read her reply: Yep. Still laffin'
Thankfully I had managed to keep myself decent throughout the evening, and my top had slipped when I had thrown my bag over my shoulder as I clambered out of the car. Hence the full beam. My friend had laughed so hard on the way home that she had nearly wet herself and had to beg her husband to slow down over the speed bumps.
Practical joker that she is, she wasn't going to tell me what had happened, but wanted to see whether I 'noticed first'. Ah, a little bit of humility. We still cry with laughter every time the story is told.
I can wish that I had not been so drunk - blame the vodka, or that I had chosen a different outfit for the evening - blame the halter-neck top.
But deep down in my heart, I blame the slippery nipples.