Occasionally… I say things without fully thinking them through. I have had it suggested (and reiterated) by my lovely wife, that I need to filter a bit more than I do. Fair enough.
One of my more awkward social moments occurred at a crowded Hornswood Christmas party. As per usual the blokes had separated from the ladies and also as per usual, everybody was well on their way to the wonderful world of semi-inebriation. I had just journeyed to the bar and was carrying back five open beers for the lads (not an easy task). I thought I’d check in with the women folk on my way past.
Now just to set the scene, this particular crowd are the more “well-to-do” element of Hornswood. Not that I always hang out with the rich and the powerful (on the contrary actually), but this crowd are more… upper crust, than the bulk of Hornswood.
I eased my way into the big, very neat, social circle, being careful not to spill any of the five beers on my wife or the other eight or nine wonderfully dressed, champagne-sipping ladies. I’ve noticed women’s social circles by the way (and I mean the literal circle of standing women) are much neater than men’s. This circle of women was indeed, perfectly spherical, so as to not accidentally exclude anybody. A men’s group, is more of a random, disorganised, shifting form and blokes have to stand their ground, to not get pushed to the side or ignored.
The ladies continued their conversation. I was friends with most of them.
Jenny – “I was 20 hours in labor, also at Hornswood Private.”
Rebecca – “Oh I feel for you Jen. I was 14 hours and I thought I was going to die. I lost a huge amount of blood.”
Michelle – “I know Beccy, you had a terrible time and we were all so worried. I was 20 hours also myself.”
Gale – “23 hours for me! It was horrible. You know, on some level I couldn’t help but resent my gorgeous baby. I know that sounds terrible.”
Jenny – “No it doesn’t Gale. You’d been through a terrible ordeal.”
I was about to chime in with – “My wife here was 19 hours and was torn like a pocket on an old school shirt”, when a very close friend of ours Sarah, spoke up particularly loudly.
Sarah – “ONE HOUR, FIFTEEN MINUTES THE FIRST GIRL. FIFTY FIVE MINUTES THE NEXT GIRL. FORTY EIGHT MINUTES THE BOY.” She looked proudly around the circle, like she was a self-satisfied old gibbon, perusing with disdain, the rest of the troop.
In my possibly alcohol-affected mind, I saw Sarah, her information having been presented in a completely mocking tone, sip her champagne with a smug look. All the women in the circle just stood silently and absorbed Sarah’s amazing numbers.
Being fresh from the much more aggressive and piss-taking, lads conversations, I assumed two things.
Firstly, that Sarah (who has always been in very good shape) was suggesting by her intonation that the rest of the women were somehow physically inferior to her, wasting that amount of time on anything as trifling as just giving birth.
Secondly, I assumed all the ladies were thinking exactly the same thing as I was. So I said it.
Me – “Jeez Sare, you must have a fairly big vagina.”
It turns out the ladies and I weren’t, thinking the same thing. Not at all.
There was dead silence. Dead silence! Some women who I didn’t know just stared at me blankly, a few mouths opened but no words came out.
Sarah – “My God.”
I saw out of the corner of my eye, my wife’s head drop. A friend standing next to her, put a supportive arm on her shoulder.
The ladies’ reactions (or more to the point a lack thereof) to my remark, were very different to what I was expecting. I thought they’d all laugh and maybe even slap me on the back and make comments like –
“Nailed her there Jase! That’ll teach her for showing off at the expense of us girls”.
“Thanks for sticking up for us ladies Jase. That was on the tip of my tongue but you just beat me to it”.
“I like what you did with that one Jase”.
“Nice one Jase. Nice one”.
I turned and took the five beers over to the lads.
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