The Social Butterfly

By Alison March 9, 2023 No Comments 7 Min Read

If I was a butterfly I would be the kind who spends most of her days tight in her cocoon, only occasionally popping out to flutter her wings through the night skies, before retreating to swipe off the make up and exist in her cosy bubble thereafter, happy with her lot and pleased to have enjoyed the walls beyond her hidey hole, but always glad to make her way back within them.

But then sometimes life gets all kinds of silly busy and this butterfly starts feeling adventurous and agrees to doing things her inner caterpillar cringes at, and she has to force herself to don her gladrags and fluff up her wings and go dance on branches she has never before gone a-fluttering. For oh yes, this week there was dancing. And not just the mad kind I do by myself in silky pyjamas in front of Emmerdale, but dancing in public, in front of people, with people!

You see I have been in a social whirl recently, and frankly that’s dangerous. A few weeks ago I went to the Scouse Pantomime (think mad pantomime with Liverpool based jokes throughout) and no sooner had my sister and I arrived, than I got hot, fainted (twice), vomited and worst of all, poured my drink on the head of the man sitting in front of me and had to be escorted out in case my dramatic shenanigans got out of hand. Two minutes later I was covered in ice packs applied by two very lovely teenage attendants and the next thing I know Helen and I are in a Hackney home, because you can’t take me anywhere. And if you do I am likely to keel over and you will have to disown me. Yeah, soz about that.

So popping high heels on and going out for tapas followed by a long swoosh around a dancefloor was taking a risk, but oh how worth it it was, because I do believe we forget who we are under all the layers of life we start wearing as time ticks by. We forget that underneath the heavy weight of the furry blanket we snuggle under, there is a butterfly in gold hoops, ready to waft her mad hair with an amoretto and coke in her hand and a song in her heart! We forget that there is a sort of liberation we abandon when we start letting the pull of the all grown-up business of being ever so slightly middle-aged shackle us and it is only when we find ourselves doing what was once a weekly occurrence that we realise how very much we have missed being who we were.

So yes, I danced. And screech-sang various anthems from my lost youth and grew blisters on my high heels and my make up got wildly smudged and I was sooooo happy. For isn’t it true that contentment is all very well, but those moments of silly-happy can truly serve to lift us up? So I remained giddy happy and then got home and within ten minutes I had lost my phone and I was holding a slightly merry conversation with the cat who denied knowing anything at all about its whereabouts and eventually I gave up and went to bed all of a fluster because somewhere in my head I have come to the conclusion I cease to exist if my phone isn’t firmly glued to my palm, and the next day I had people up the wall. Up the wall I tell you! There were cards to cancel and those who I had been with the night before to harass, insisting that their car was turned inside out in case in my merry madness I had flung the darn thing into the boot, while money worries piled up as I realised that without my phone I had no access to other money because internet banks are all very well until you can’t access the blooming things and children are all very well until you realise that your Mothering skills have not extended to writing down their phone number in case of emergency and how is a mad mum to phone her perpetually disappointed in her child to announce that she has lost her phone if she hasn’t got a phone and wouldn’t know how to call him if she did and worse than that, oh yes, worse than that, doesn’t actually know his address but could walk you there if she had to?

I really am a special kind of hopeless you know? Calamity follows me like a waft of dodgy perfume and the more I throw myself into adventure, the sillier life gets: though let it be said what I call adventure, other people call the civilised attendance of a theatre performance, or the simple (discombobulating) business of finding themselves shouting the answers out in a pub quiz when a person was simply expecting conversation and a tonic water, or you know, sitting have a quiet coffee in a noisy coffee shop? Ordinary stuff. The kinds of things people do every day and I experience as anxious potential for heaven knows what kind of kerfuffle and usually succeed in manifesting mini crisis’s from!

I have decided this may be unbecoming on a woman of almost fifty-one. I have decided in fact that my social life and my behaviour both thereat and thereafter requires analysis and that anyone considering inviting me places should probably give their heads a little wobble and go without me, for while I might be having a plain old ball screeching I Will Survive and feel perfectly fine after developing theatre related heat stroke (it has happened three times – always at the theatre and nowhere else or else I would be worrying!), other people will find themselves harassed when I lose something or mortified and missing the show when I have to be escorted out.

But then I don’t suppose a way of being is something a person can alter just because she decides to is it? There’s no twelve step program for ludicrosity. It is a sort of overwhelm. A state of doing things beyond myself when I am only just beginning to understand where my boundaries lie. Only just beginning to force myself out of my comfort zone, and to be honest there is just no predicting what my inner lunatic will consider uncomfortable, so its a lottery really?

A few weeks ago I attended a date (other people go on them, I attend them as if I’ve been summoned to court) and when I arrived said date was standing with presents. Oh my. I’m not good with presents. I like presence, but my head gets in a muddle when presented with a collection of tiny somethings from strangers and heckity pie it seems gifts are all the rage in certain dating classes nowadays. So in the past few months I have been given champagne, teddy bears, bouquets, wine, chocolate and now a book. Oh yes, there was nice man in posh donkey jacket standing clutching daffodils, a pineapple (!) and Mrs Hinch’s memoir! And it was kind and thoughtful and sent me spinning into a kerfuffle. So I took them and arranged my face into varying degrees of gratitude and surprise and inside I was utterly astonished by his kindness and beyond my head I was so busy trying to fathom the appropriate reaction I popped them on to a passing table. And left them there as I followed him in to the pub. Yup. Do something kind for me and I will somehow manage to demonstrate that it means nothing at all. And he turned and looked at me in bewilderment because I was trotting along behind, hands quite free and there at the entrance to the cosy little pub we were visiting was a stack of leaflets advertising roast dinners and a collection of gifts so carefully chosen to please only me that anyone else would be mystified. (Could have been worse though right? He could have taken me to the theatre and asked me to look after something important). Instead he went back to the table, picked them up and handed them back to me and we proceeded with the night as if I was a normal human being.

Anyway, the moral of this long and winding tale is that I’m not safe to be let out among the chattering classes, but I’m in such a social whirl that I have become the kind of girl that just can’t say no, so this weekend find myself with something to do on all three weekend nights, which is frankly the sort of predicament that if I were a Victorian lady might just give me an attack of the vapours. But being the thoroughly modern butterfly that I have become, I am instead relying on a heavy fall of the kind of snow I deeply fear, so I can save the nicest of nice people from having to deal with me and can instead snuggle back into my cocoon and try to behave myself.

Who knew I would turn out to be a menace to society? Have a lovely weekend won’t you?

P.S: After nearly worrying myself into an early grave, I climbed on the treadmill, looked up and my phone was hiding on top of the fridge. I blame the cat.

P.P.S: I decided not to see said nice man again. He didn’t seem like the kind of person who should have to deal with me on a regular basis. I fear it would exhaust him. One must not inflict one’s madness on those not up to the job.

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