I am not a big fan of social engagements. It’s ironic because in my younger days I would love to have led an exciting life full of nights out and partying-on. Every night spent in alone felt like I was the social reject of the world.
But these days, I like to spend my evenings at home, with my partner and my dog, a decent meal, a glass of wine, some conversation and maybe a book – or a quick internet browse. And an early night.
One of the reasons I am not terribly sociable is that I do not like explaining for the zillionth time why I have made certain choices in life. It is sad but true that the people I know/meet are not feminist, vegetarian, animal rights supporters, left-wing, environmentalist etc etc. It’s unlikely that they will be really, as my views are not the most run-of-the-mill conventional ones.
And any conversation is guaranteed to raise at least one of those issues. At any event with food, it is fairly clear that my plate is bereft of flesh, fowl and fish. So then the inevitable questions start about ‘Are you vegetarian?’ invariably followed by, ‘Well do you eat fish?’ Yawn. I am lucky if I get away with not being questioned about my marital status, lack of children, lack of wedding ring, and separate names. And even in a situation with so-called dog-friendly people, you can see them cringeing with horror when I say my dog came off the street, and they are wondering if the ticks and fleas are jumping across the table to land on them.
I don’t ask other people why they have made their – to me, unthinking and unethical choices – what gives them the right to stick their nose into my decisions?
So I was not, in all truth looking forward to last night. An invitation to the official opening of where Partner has been working. Free drinks and food all night, starting from 6pm. The chefs had even included some vegetarian options on the menu. No, said the owners, get rid of that rubbish. That, and a few other niggles, made Partner wonder why on earth he was even thinking of us going out for the purpose of consuming a couple of free beers with a bunch of wankers.
We didn’t go, and had a lovely evening in. Ah, old age – it has its advantages. (I should probably have said middle age.)