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Romance – Part one


Not only was it my birthday but it was my twenty-ninth, something I took great exception to considering it was neither my thirtieth, thus making it a big celebration faked through by women the world over, or anything closer to twenty. Twenty-nine is a birthday only its mother could love. The birthday looked forward to by no one except maybe one of your friends who’s at least six months younger than you, and therefore supposedly qualified to buy you a happy-birthday-you-sad-old-bag card, the first of many to come.
It was the birthday night out that tore me between wearing a cool Topshop outfit and an elegant Monsoon dress (they’re so timeless); between a pashmina and a bloody well warm coat, (I don’t care if it doesn’t match anything – it’s minus four out there); and slathering on anti-wrinkle cream under my No7 makeup. I’m a grumpy insecure teenager in a woman’s body (which I may add is also doing things I didn’t give it permission for), and it’s just. Not. Fair.
I’m younger than Gwyneth Paltrow for god’s sake. Sarah Jessica Parker, Grace in Will and Grace, that glamorous Scottish newsreader, Madonna and Jennifers Aniston and Lopez. Ok, I only scrape by on the last two but it’s still true. What on earth have I got to complain about? Plenty of women don’t do what they really want to do until they’re thirty and I bet they’re the ones who grow into their faces.
My mum always says that everyone has their ‘time’, whether it’s when they’re young or old. Some people are beautiful as children and grow up into wasp-chewers, similarly, those less blessed when they’re young will always have a period of years later on when they shine. I have decided mine will be my thirties.
As soon as the cream kicks in.
I went out with Julie, someone from work who only started a few weeks ago, who I like, obviously, and have an alarming amount in common with and all the usual stuff. But mainly the reason she came was that she was still in the early stages of trying to be friendly at work and everyone else was too married to go out on a Monday night.
It was ok, but extremely unwild. Monday’s a funny night to go out to my usual pubs and early-thirtyitis kicked in to prevent me trying something new when Julie suggested it. We got plastered, had a laugh and then, obviously got a bit maudlin, but on the whole it was ok if not momentous.
All right, since it’s only us here, it was awful and I never again want to have another birthday. At least not one without a large, well-planned party and possibly a celebrity or two who are dying to meet me. But only if.
The worst thing, the absolute dog-arse thing about my twenty-ninth birthday night out with Jules was that I ran into Karl, not in a cool basement bar as I’d planned in my head, but in the chip shop after coming out of Kucamara’s, while Jules dragged me to the front of the queue, boobs first. She knew instinctively that he’d walked in by the subtle way I grabbed her arm and said, (on reflection, pretty much shouted);
“Bloody hell. Bloody, bloody hell!”
My reaction was not unprecedented, nor was it unreciprocated.
“Shit,” said Karl, and walked out.
Thirty years on this planet, I thought later, walking home in the drizzle. Thirty years of experience and considerable knowledge and that’s what it comes down to in moments of extreme drunken stress. A man and woman who at some point shared the same sock draw, when ambushed, can only come up with a few syllables of expletives. Sad really, I thought.
“Bugger,” I said aloud proving my point majestically.
So, I got home and decided to go all the way. Find out exactly how sad I could be now I was the big three-o. Sad enough, apparently to line the cat litter with pictures of Karl, (go puss, go), smear half a pot of marmite on four slices of toast and fall asleep watching The Thing or The Wicker Man or some other late night weirdy on the telly. That’ll show him.
I woke up, freezing because I had left the front door open, and had the most horrifying thought known to civilised woman. One banging hangover doth not a Saturday make.
In fact, I remembered with agony, I was smelling of vodka and covered in crumbs and marmite because it had been my birthday, and far from being a Saturday, that would make it…
“Tuesday,” I groaned weakly. “It’s only Tuesday.”

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