The pub is just starting to busy up, the music is inching towards deafening and I’ve been nursing a now warm unwanted vodka soda for the past hour. All around me there are groups of people, individuals struggling to be heard over the bone-rattling bass of the speakers and it smells like stale breath and lime cordial. I glance down at my watch and realise it’s almost half past eleven and my friend has just ordered another drink; much to my horror. In the back of my mind the voice of my bed (who I imagine to sound a bit like Kirsty Young on Desert Island Discs) is coaxing me home, seductively peeling back its covers to reveal a freshly made hot water bottle, a clean pair of pjs and a brand new unopened best seller and wait- what’s that? A steaming hot cup of tea. Stop it.
Charlotte?? Oh yes, sorry, I was miles away. What do I want to drink? What do you mean you’re fine? What? Another vodka soda for my friend here please and two tequila shots!
The idyllic vision of my cosy bed drifts further and further away while my eyes start to scratch with tiredness and I try my best to stop yawning. I want to go home.
I am now twenty one and have managed to avoid nightclubs for three years. I reckon I peaked when I was seventeen and my friend, who was eighteen, and I used to go out, her in first with her drivers licence and me straight after with her passport. At 5’9 I towered above my clubbing companions so when you add three inch heels to an already extremely self conscious minor and shove her in a big noisy room full of inebriated students and rubbish music it’s a recipe for anxiety.
More often than not I’d have gotten so bladdered during pre-drinks that I would have already chundered in the queue outside, and if not my head would soon be in the bowl where my best friend (who I’d met at the mirror seconds before and bonded through slurred compliments on each others playsuits) would be holding my hair back and telling me about the guy she was seeing who asked her for anal after just two dates. After a few forced nights out, I decided to put nightclubs in the ‘done it’ envelope and seal it tightly. As the headmaster in Wild Child would say ‘to me negotiation is like a nightclub, not something I tend to enter into.’
I was at a pub quiz the other night, shock, and one of the questions was ‘in Scrabble, what are the only five consonants to be worth one point each’ and I almost followed through with excitement. This, combined with the fact that I recently invested in my first puzzle since becoming an adult is obvious sign that I will certainly not struggle for simple pleasures in my later years. But I wonder… are my grandma qualities endearing or just plain boring? Let’s explore.
The old in me:
- Dramatically throws hands over ears as soon as there is a noise that is louder than ‘general hubbub’. Babies crying (kill me now), shouting of any kind, Kanye, Drake, Cardigan B, any song with the word ‘Thicc’ in it, sirens, dogs barking… can’t handle it.
- Will ALWAYS be the one who orders a hot drink instead of an alcoholic one. But fear not- those in my company need not worry as my impeccable sense of humour is at it’s best within the borders of sobriety.
- Will fall asleep before you, probably mid conversation. As sooooon as my head hits the pillow I am out like a light- so should probably avoid all cuddling, film watching and/or general horizontal bodily positions after 8pm if you’re wanting me to stay awake.
- HATES the idea of leaving the house after 7pm unless it has been thoroughly organised and there will be sexy men present. Please come to my house and I will entertain you with a baked Camembert and an exciting game of scattergories.
- Comfort comes first. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for interesting garms and will often be seen sporting some pretty strange pieces- but you can guarantee that one thing always am is comfortable. When I’m out walking, especially in this weather when there’s actual frost on the ground and my lips are blue, I often see girls wearing crop tops, no coat, jeans rolled up with their ankles on show or bare necks and chests. I mean, you look far better than me but when I can VISIBLY see your flesh turning a worrying shade of beetroot and you’re so cold you can barely string a sentence together I wonder who’s the real winner here. Tuck those thermals into those socks and get on out there girl.
- I know I personally have a thing for older men, but so much so that I actually can’t look at a guy under the age of 24 without thinking ‘awh wee kid brother.’ I will find myself stroking their prepubescent cheek with a warming gaze of motherly love and think to myself, when I was your age…. even though sometimes I haven’t actually reached their age yet. When I walk into a room of uni students or anyone who looks like they might watch Love Island I recoil in petrified repulsion. After some weird looks I quickly pack up my crossword and head back to my home planet.
- I don’t own a TV and haven’t watched it for about five years (excluding films and series on Netflix etc). Don’t have Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter and have absolutely NO idea what’s in fashion, what the trends are or what’s in the charts. A complete technophobe in every aspect and completely threw my toys out the pram when I transitioned from Iphone to Samsung, woe is me as I cast the device aside and returned to my typewriter and candle.
The young in me:
- Being the open minded millennial I am, I find it hard to deal with the older generations refusal to accept the changes of the 21st century. LBGTQ, people of any race or colour, background or upbringing are all welcome in my boat and I have a very short fuse with anyone who claims otherwise; I adapt to situations very quickly and find it irritating when others don’t or won’t.
- I do like loud music- if it’s good music. If it’s 60’s, 70’s or the occasional 80’s then feel free to blare it, louder the better. Classic rock, Indie rock, Arctic Monkeys, The Kooks, Razorlight, yep, yep, yep. And IF I’m in the mood, then a well executed throwbacks playlist containing cheesy R&B from my childhood can also be guiltily indulged in. However if it’s in the charts please leave it by the nearest lamppost so a little dog can come and poop on it. (old in me)
- As I always tell people, 364 days out of the year I will be in bed by 10 with a cuppa cha and a good book. But every year, usually on my birthday or more likely my brothers birthday I will go completely wolf of wall street and doubly make up for the 364 days of sobriety. I’ll let my hair down in buckets and surprise everyone around me by being the 21 year old youth that I am expected to be and party harder than everyone else. And like always I will severely pay for it in the coming weeks when I am picking up the pieces of my wrecked mental state and trying to refill the empty bags of serotonin that were ripe and plentiful pre narcotics.
- I am up for every and any activity and rarely say no to an offer- so long as it’s before nine o’clock at night. I really am so much more of a morning person.
- I very much like sex… but that’s not a young thing that’s just a human thing isn’t it?
- Will give pretty much anything a go (not linked to above bullet point) so long as it doesn’t include going on stage, heavy metal, football past and present, Marvel, night clubs, steam trains or heroin. Line dancing? Sure. Nudey beach? Why not. Volunteer at an angora goat farm? Sign me up.
I used to (and sometimes still do) feel isolated and excluded because I’m not into the same things as most people my age, I feel boring or uninteresting and like there’s something wrong with me for not wanting to go drinking every weekend. But thankfully I have found others like me who live for pub quizzes and a new flavour of hummus, who I can chat to for hours about extremely important meaningless garbage and who make me laugh until I wee. Who love a nature documentary and an early morning stroll and who like me for me.
Never apologise for being who you are and don’t force yourself to be anything you’re not. Learn to say no instead of just doing things because you feel you have to, or because you think your friends won’t want to hang out with you if you don’t- which is probably true if they’re temporary but don’t worry you’ll find your people. I’ve spent so long trying to be the London city girl, the girl who parties, the girl who stays up late, the girl who drinks, but I’m just not. I am however the girl who listens, the girl who cares, the girl who laughs, the girl who travels, the girl who loves art and writing and reading, the girl who loves ferociously and tries her hardest in every situation. Which qualities do you value more?