My daughter wanted to have her mates over to celebrate her 15th birthday. Sure, I said. But there were some conditions (hers, not mine). She wanted her mum, her brother and me to fuck off out of it for the evening so they could have the house to them-selves.
Also, she wanted me to lay on a Domino’s delivery and some prosecco. What if her mates got pissed and their parents blamed me? No problem, she said. They’d stay the night so their parents would never actually get to see them inebriated. A watertight plan.
I found myself saying yes to everything. It took a couple of days for the absolute piss-take nature of her proposal to sink in to my tired and weary brain. After which, I went back to the negotiating table with some conditions of my own. If she wanted me to lay on booze then there was no way I would be vacating the house. I would, however, get her mum and brother to make themselves scarce.
My wife is a light sleeper who gets a bit, erm, volatile when she is awoken in the night. Also, she is far less intimidated by teenage girls than I am. So when they stay awake noisily talking shit all night, it’s a nailed-on certainty that my wife will storm in on them and make a massive scene at least twice.
I, on the other hand, am shit scared of both my daughter and her mates – they would have to be literally on fire for me to enter the same room as them and start issuing orders. Plus, these days, I will sleep through anything. My ability to kip any time, any place, anywhere is magical. I shut my eyes and – BAM! – I’m straight off to the land of nod, with no chance of even a stir for the next nine hours. Lovely stuff.
So I laid on three bottles of prosecco to be shared between seven girls. I figured this was enough for them to feel like they were having a mild piss-up without actually getting pissed up. These girls are amateurs, they have no idea what feeling battered is really like, with all the horror and dread and confusion. But they understandably crave some sense of escape from their lives, defined as they are by schools and bus rides; petty friendship dramas and suffocating social media obsessions; anxious parents and strung-out teachers; meaningless rules and existential dread.