I am a huge fan of invites. To anyone reading this, who is concerned that I will view that invitation to their dinner party/ wedding/ honeymoon as a terrible burden and inconvenience, be immediately reassured. I am delighted to receive invites to any old thing at all. Honestly, I recently went along cheerily to Homebase, to purchase some flat sheets. (In the spirit of full disclosure, no-one had actually invited me to do that, but I thought it would lend an aura of cheery insouciance to the trip, if I made myself a little e-invite to “GET TOGA PARTY READY”. Spoiler alert: it did).
Last week, I received not one but two invites. “Hello!” my friend texted me. “Want to come to a spin class this evening?” What an excellent suggestion, I thought, wondering if my flatmates would notice if I purchased a power pressure washer. (It was on special offer, and I think we’ve all seen those absurdly satisfying patio-cleaning adverts. I don’t currently have a patio, or any outdoor space at all, but if I let things like that hold me back, I would never have purchased my tyre swing).
I was about to accept, when I received the second invite. “Come to a gym class with me? The instructor is insane.” Initially, I was a little confused. I forwarded the text to my little sister, who is still avoiding boring family events by being a doctor in Africa, and therefore has endless time to help decode all of my social snafus. “What do you think this is?” I asked her. “A text”, she replied helpfully, before making spurious excuses about “being on call” and “in charge of an A+E department”. “A text inviting me to a gym class?” I asked. “Or a set-up?” “What on earth are you talking about?” My little sister replied, referring, I assumed, to a technological problem her side which had prevented my extremely clear and rational text from being properly received.
I had neither deciphered nor decided which event I was going to attend, when, as I was leaving Homebase (sans power pressure washer, but only while I move some monies around), a woman handed me my third invite of the day. “Want to get ready for Summer?” her leaflet asked me. Ignoring my initial panic (what is Summer going to do to me that I need to prepare for? Was this a stealth marketing campaign for the power pressure washer?) I read on. “Join us on Hampstead Heath for a fun, social way to get fit.”
Now, as an extremely perceptive and observant person, by this point I had begun to notice some sort of pattern. “Isn’t it nice,” I thought to myself as I walked home, eating a reduced-price bag of malteasers, “that everyone thinks of me as such a sporty and active person?”
This evening, my Mother has invited me to dinner. (I’d like to pretend to be cool enough not to count an invite from a family member as an actual invite, but it’s a numbers game, and I’m here for quantity over quality). She emailed me a few minutes ago. “I’ve booked the cinema. See you at 7.40pm. Don’t be late, and don’t bring anyone else.”* “When will we eat dinner?” I emailed back. “We’re not,” she replied. I’d like to retract my earlier statement: I am a huge fan of invites, but not at all a fan of this secret and unpleasant plot to only invite me to things where food is not present. Please don’t let my supermodel-esque body fool you: I love to eat.
*You bring 8 people to one family dinner, and suddenly you’re the person who “brings too many people to things without asking”.