A few months ago when I wrote how I had drastically reduced my alcohol intake and started buying art instead, what I should have emphasized was that I didn’t just cut back on booze, I cut back on going out period. While I still spend time with friends regularly, for the most part, my party dresses and stilettos have been gathering dust for the past year.
I’d love to be able to say that this decision was 100% motivated by a desire to be healthy, but that would be a lie. The truth is that I wasn’t just avoiding alcohol, I was avoiding the people I associated with alcohol – namely, Party Guy (remember him?) When I started dating SA, Party Guy and I had an ugly falling out, which lead to another falling out with a mutual friend. While I’m on the path to reconciling with said friend, my falling out with Party Guy was so unsettling that I have zero desire to the him (unless he’s in a burning house fire. Kidding. Kind of. Not really.) So, I’ve been avoiding local social events and bars where he’ll likely be, which is pretty much all of them.
I regularly receive emails from young women who’ve reached out to let me know that this blog has inspired them to be more confident and bad-ass in their own love lives. These emails make my week/month/year. They give me the fuel to keep writing, creating and being a voice that other women can relate to. So, while my health has definitely benefited from not drinking as much, it feels lame to admit that the impetus for this all comes down to avoiding a dude. Not very bad-ass right?
At the time though, it just felt easier to avoid certain social situations than risk running into someone that I no longer felt safe around. Whenever I’d receive an invite for a high-profile social event I’d immediately press delete without a second thought. I was fine with this, until I wasn’t.
Avoiding alcohol in the summer is easy for me. I don’t really like day drinking and I’d rather be up early reading on my patio/at the beach/lounging by the pool than hungover in bed. However, now that Fall is in full swing, I’ve been feeling much more social. When a friend suggested I come with her to Art of the Cocktail, I said yes.
In it’s 8th year running, Art of the Cocktail is a giant cocktail party where you can sample about 35-40 different (mini) cocktails and appetizers from local Victoria chefs, regional distilleries & international brands. I love me a good craft cocktail, so I threw caution to the wind, purchased a ticket, got dolled up in my favourite Tibi skirt & slinky heels; knowing full well that I would probably run into everyone I (wish I didn’t) know that night.
Surprise: I did!
The official theme of the event was “Havana, 1955” but it really should have been “A retrospective of Simone’s questionable dating decisions circa 2011-2014.”
Within the first five minutes of walking into the venue with my lady friends, I saw Fitness Guy (I don’t think he recognized me. Again. Go figure), bumped into Young Dude (we hugged it out because we’re cool like that) before rounding the corner to use the bathroom and coming face to face with Party Guy. After agonizing over this moment for over a year, when it happened it wasn’t that bad. Armed with my favourite red lipstick and some sick finger waves, I was feeling myself that night. I gave him my best resting bitch face – the one that says “I see you but if you want to make contact with me you need to call 1-900-I’mOutOfFucksToGive” (perfected for generations by Eastern European women before me) and kept on walking.
And, it. wasn’t. a big. deal.
It was like the Universe was saying, “we’re going to get all of the awkward stuff out of the way within the first 5 minutes so you can enjoy the rest of your night” because aside from that brief, intense trip down memory lane, the evening went off without a hitch. I had a great time!
I drank and ate all of the delicious things.
I made some new lady friends.
I posed for photos.
I chatted & hung out with SA who was there as well (because apparently, I’ve dated everyone at this party.)
And I got followed around all night by a creepy 60-year man who looked like a cross between Drew Carey and the Glad garbage bag man, minus the charm (because I’m a weirdo magnet ….but seriously, WHY DUDE WHY?)
I finished off the evening with a nightcap of shrimp tacos with my lady friends (new & old.)
(Me: terrible at bathroom selfies)
Originally I was going to wrap this post up with something cliche about facing your fears or how everything is better with girlfriends by your side, but the truth is far more simple. Sometimes the stuff that used to seem like a big deal 1.5 years ago, doesn’t really matter anymore. Also, cocktails are delicious.