FEELING LIKE THE UGLY DUCKLING

My weekends are for relaxing. Despite being in my early-twenties and living in London, I really can’t think of anything worse than spending a Saturday night in a night club, spending money that I don’t really have and wasting my entire Sunday feeling shit. Generally speaking, my ideal weekend is spent with my boyfriend, my puppy, wine and good friends. We’d stay in, preferably and really make the most of our two days off.

This weekend however, has been different. I used to live in Dublin, with my boyfriend who is from there, and we currently have an Irish friend of ours staying with her boyfriend. On Friday we had been vehemently against the idea of a night out, planning instead to take these guys out for dinner, and send them on the merry way into the direction of a night club, but come our fourth bottle of wine and the closing of the restaurant, our plans inevitably changed and we were the ones forging the way to more drinks.

So yesterday was of course, a right off. We spent the day cuddling ourselves and rocking back and fourth, shouting at the guests on the Jeremy Kyle show and half heartedly cheering on England in the Rugby. (The other three were all in Green), before it was time to brave the winter chill once more and head into the centre of London for a fancy dinner with our tourists.

We really did only want dinner this time, I was dressed for the weather and was not even feeling slightly ‘sexy’, desperate to be polite though, we did end up agreeing to one drink, a night cap if you will. Before we knew it we had been lead into a nightclub just off Piccadilly Circus.

Let me set the scene for you: we descended the four flights of stairs into the basement club, home to every single pop song you’ve ever heard, drunk sweaty men and hen parties en masse. This was not what we’d agreed to. The group closest to us was one of the aforementioned hen parties, girls who had undoubtedly made the trip up from Essex to celebrate the forthcoming nuptials of one of their friends. All of them looked AHMAZING. Dressed to very much impress, fake-tanned stomachs, legs and cleavage all showing and hair and makeup that had probably been done at the hands of the professionals.

Anyhoo, I took off my coat to reveal a dress that would have looked very sweet on a toddler at a third party, or at least that was how I felt. It drowned my figure, which was probably no bad thing considering the hangover food I had filled myself with, my hair was flat and boring as I had been too busy licking my wounds to do anything about it and my make up was sloppy, for lack of a better word.

I was completely sober and the wine in my cup tasted more like urine than grapes. I was immersed in my own misery and even if I could have afforded the twenty jaeger bombs it would have cost to loosen me up, this night was already a right off. Because I felt like the ugly duckling; cripplingly self-conscious in my less than impressive outfit.

I am of course, generally speaking a huge advocate for not giving a shit. I believe you very much should embrace the fact that you’re never going to see these people again, so to throw inhibitions to the wind, down some jiggle juice and dance like no one is watching, if only I could practice what I preach.

I left that club feeling flat. Actually, more than that I left feeling sad. I was close to tears in the taxi back, not helped by the fact that I am, at heart, a very sensitive soul and had received the stink-eye from a number of those beautiful creatures next to us, which I had taken very much to heart.

So really this piece is a note to them as much as it is to people like me. If you are dressed up, looking good, and knowing it, please make the effort to smile. It makes you much less threatening and puts everybody else at ease.

But for everybody else; when you’re not feeling very attractive, and your confidence levels have not been boosted by copious amounts of alcohol, I understand that clubbing is a horrible thing. When everyone around you seems to attract the opposite sex and you feel like you are being deliberately ignored it can be incredibly depressing please remember that this is not the end of the world.

Although it felt to me last night that my problem was my outfit, my hair and my lack of makeup, to everyone else it wasn’t that. It was my attitude. I stood, the entire time, with my arms folded and with a scowl on my face, something that for other party-goers is a little bit annoying. I looked judgemental and was acting as a sponge for the fun going on around me. I was absorbing it and turning it into negative energy, I was photosynthesis, if photosynthesis was shit.

So although last night there was seemingly nothing I could have done at the time to make myself feel better, I realise now that the best thing I could have done was to have smiled. Easier said than done probably, but if you do find yourself on a night out, or somewhere where you feel underdressed and self-conscious, please try to relax. You are and will always be your own worst critic.

Life is too short to miss out on fun because you don’t like your dress. Or your hair, or even your body. Next time I find myself in this position, I’m going to throw my arms in the air and dance like I just don’t care, even if it’s only for one song before I retire to my bed.