From men to mid life crises, from Botox to Brazilians, from infertility to infidelity, every week Jacqui Leigh gives her personal take on being a fortysomething woman
Stone cold festive fun
Thanks to my clean living regime it feels like I have fenced myself off from the rest of the human race, observing them with mild revulsion like an advanced alien species, trying to understand and failing. Everywhere I go I find myself constantly questioning the way people are behaving...
Why are you killing yourself with that Sausage McMuffin?
How can you bear to inhale that stinky cigarette?
Why have you let yourself get so fat?
Add to this the usual alienation that comes with middle age, along the lines of:
Why are you staggering around in those hoof-like platforms?
Why are you waiting in line in the freezing cold?
Why have you stuffed your fat bum into those ridiculously tight skinny jeans?
...and you really start to feel a bit alone, a bit on the outside, a bit bloody old and boring.
All the fun things I used to do, eating bacon sandwiches, wearing unsuitable footwear or smoking fags, I am resigned to not be doing any more, because I do want to live. The only one I miss, the one I didn’t choose to renounce is booze, which as I’ve explained makes me feel miserably ill.
Which means I have to go to our office karaoke party stone cold sober. I arrive two hours after kick-off because I have to get Monica home and give her supper. After which there follows an extended period of getting ready, rejecting the dress I had planned to wear, trying on all the others with various combinations of shoes and boots, laddering two pairs of nude tights and generally trashing my room.
I emerge in the tight ruched black dress I bought on eBay, which I had not planned to wear, but in which I look ridiculously desirable for a woman of any age, let alone mine and, fuck it, I’ve earned the right to wear it, all the punishment at the gym, the healthy eating, the fasting, and anyway I might as well get some wear out of it before I’m really too ancient.
By the time I waft into the karaoke bar most of my workmates are half -- or totally -- wasted, half eaten pizza and empty wine bottles everywhere and I am as sober as a judge. I sit on a couch with my non-drinking friend and try to chat over the din, but much as I love her, I know she plans not to move from the spot all evening. Whereas I need to let my hair down and have fun. I crave alcohol like never before and decide to play Russian roulette with a beer, risking a three-day migraine in order to briefly join the rest of the human race.
A few slugs gives me the courage I need to venture into the karaoke room, from which people are emerging with damp hair and grinning faces.
Inside the hot fug of the room a bunch of women in my team are having the time of their life, completely wasted and wailing along to Dolly Parton. I envy them the fun they’re having and feel like a stiff. Even with the beer, my body feels as wooden as a jigsaw puzzle, legs bolted to the floor.
The boss puts her arm around me and thrusts the microphone in my face and I have to fight the urge to punch her. Instead I dutifully begin to warble along to Poker Face.
I work out to Lady Gaga a lot and I’m astonished to find out that that’s what she’s singing. Quite frankly I had no idea. Then it’s Islands In the Street, which I love,
Sweet Caroline, Moves Like Jagger – I work out to this too and it looks like I’m the only one of the oldies who knows it.
And suddenly I am hogging the mike, even a few tentative moves. I go add some more favourites to the playlist. This is great, like singing in the car only better because you get the words. Plus everyone else’s singing is as bad as mine.
I like karaoke. Who knew? Jesus, I think I might even be having... fun!