Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The rather unappealling face of Petronella Pan

I had what was termed "promotion drinks" last week.

I have recently been promoted to manager of my department and this was to celebrate the fact as well as enable me to socialise with my new peers.

Most of the evening passed off quite well at a City wine bar.

However the party was made up of at least three ladies of a relatively mature age- DOB range 1957-1967 who clearly had something of a Peter Pan complex- hence the title I will give them -Petronella Pan.

These ladies were not just wanting a fun evening out. They were wanting to re-enact their days as "bad girls". For me, a mere strippling in my early thirties, this was not so appealing !

First of all John, a rather worldly but wise and good hearted man in his 40s was telling me about his divorce. Quick as a flash, Sheila a peroxide blonde near 50 year old shouted in between swigs of white wine "Oh yeah- been there, done that, got the t-shirt". Clearly this was something she didn't want to be left out of !

Next the conversation turned to when Sheila had been "come onto" by various senior members of staff at Christmas parties past. These glories were relived with the emphasis being on how "gross" they were. Sandra, a slightly younger but less peroxided version of Sheila seemed to have a mildly envious glint in her eye !

This went round and round a bit with bad mouthing other people in the office. I would have left but as it was "my drinks" felt obliged to stay to the end.

It wasn't a late finish but by the end it was down to three ladies of the 1957-1967 vintage. Sheila said it had been a good night. Sandra agreed. Sheila said that Sandra was sort of person she'd like to go out and get completely "s***faced with".

Sheila then said it would be no problem as her (long suffering second) husband was always happy to come out and pick up drunk "girls". Sue, the most modest of the three, put in that her other half would never come out on such a mission. The taxi driver and I sat in silence listening to all this.

Sandra said if Sue's other half wouldn't play ball, Sue could always "crash" at her place.

I must have looked a bit sceptical about the Sheila's husband being happy to pick up drunk girls bit, because Shiela became more agitated and said "Oh yes, he's come out to pick up 6 or 8 girls before now- all drunk! ".

There then followed a discussion about various claims to have dated (and dumped) millionaires. Sheila proudly boasted she had dated one in an affair after her daughter was born. Still the taxi driver and I listened !

Thankfully we arrived at the station where we were all getting different trains.

Sandra giggled to me that it must have been an illuminating evening.

Sheila then asked my opinion of a teenage girl standing on the platform. My response of " a bit young" was not what she was looking for. She wanted "a male perspective".

It was harmless enough watching these vintage ladies act like bad girls. It was non-threatening to me to allow it be entertaining. However as I got on a train I felt a little bit sad. These ladies all doing relatively well in their careers have their sisterhood reduced to drunken boasts and tales more suited to some bad girls in their late teens. They haven't moved on and as the sun sets on their looks they seem to have found nothing else in their lives to provide meaning on entertainment.

Maybe I am being a bit censorious and maybe this was largely drunken banter. I have no idea if these are representative of many London women but next time ladies, I hope you behave in front of the "children" ! I'd rather not know all this !

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