Pink. Pink, pink, pink. The room is unapologetically pink. The electric fuchsia of the satin tablecloth really brings out the green in my eyes. Does it compliment my skin tone too? God, I shouldn’t have worn this colour on my lips. Pink is cool. Pink is rock and roll. I don’t need pink to prove my femininity – nor does it jeopardise my masculinity! It’s like a mantra bouncing around my otherwise empty brain as I set the table with my new ornate glassware set (it’s rose quartz, just in case you were wondering). It’s okay to like the colour pink. I add a few orange candles to mix it up, maybe even a green lily here, and a royal blue napkin there. God don’t tell the boys we’re stealing their things! It’s okay, they can keep their beer (just for tonight)!
A cocktail or some wine? Gin or champagne? Tall or short? I’ll be your waiter tonight, but you decide. Someone’s drink of choice says a lot about them – we know this. But what if femininity could be boiled down to mere glassware. What if understanding us was as simple as understanding the appropriate use of the different varieties? In hindsight, maybe I should’ve waited until after my guests had arrived to start drinking…
As I glance around the table, I notice Ginny constantly smoothing out her hair. She claims to not take herself too seriously, but the $400 blowout and decorative lime wedge forced onto the rim of her glass beg to differ. We’re just in my small-town dining room, for crying out loud. I don’t even own this house! I watch as the juice falls down the outside, and a seed pops ever so innocently into the carbonated water. I watch as she takes a sip. The seed is gone. I smile. However, the mix of unblemished glass and fresh juice causes Ginny to lose her grip. Suddenly the fuchsia becomes spoiled with a deep purple gin blotch, with the broken stem of the glass sticking out of it like a dagger to the chest. It’s a ghastly sight. With the legs of a supermodel and the tits of a Hooters server, it’s really a shame she hasn’t also got the brains to carry herself properly. Fuck you Ginny, that tablecloth was brand new too.
Meanwhile, Winona demands attention from the entire room with just her mere presence – in fact, it’s probably her fault Ginny ruined my bloody tablecloth. Anyway, not just because she’s five foot ten, but because she’s always been the prettiest of us all. She doesn’t speak up much, but instead takes on the role of observer. She’s careful not to raise her forearms from the edge of the table as she swirls her glass, takes a brief whiff, and then finally takes a conservative sip of the blood-red liquid. You see, she’s incredibly self-conscious of her arms, even in such a familiar setting; familiar doesn’t always mean comfortable. Winona much preferred a mojito as a teenager; by the end of the night, you’d have to pry the tall thin glass from her white-knuckled fingertips. Some may say she’s let herself go, maybe even become bland or distasteful. But the truth is, she’s just matured, and I envy her for that.
As Taylor takes a swig of their margarita (yes, a swig), I notice the way the grooves of the glass seem to be perfectly moulded around their fingers. They’re short and plump, and their nails are terribly bitten down. Unlike Winona, Taylor never grew up. They’re still drinking the same zesty concoction they did at eighteen – lord knows how, considering how some of those nights ended! They’ve tried on different suits of armour – as we all do – but none ever stuck quite like the ‘margi’.
The abruptness of their swig leads to sticky fingers and a guilty conscience. I pretend I don’t notice them rubbing the evidence on dimpled thighs beneath the tablecloth. It’s really the least I can do given the state of those nails.
These bubbles have gone to my head. Nonetheless, I balance the half-empty bottle against the brim of the delicate flute, lips pursed in concentration. My lanky limbs almost give way, but I catch myself just in time – as per usual. Without Ginny’s cleavage, Winona’s maturation, and Taylor’s self-assuredness – I’m just Charni. I’m 26 years old, I look like a teenage boy, and I’m drinking champagne because that’s what the girls on TV do at fancy dinner parties with their friends. I swear the girls on TV like their friends though. Where have I gone wrong? I love them, I really do – but I can’t help but feel as though I’m lacking something whenever they’re around. I can’t help but pick them apart, the same way I do myself. I’m so sick of this one-sided competition. God, I hope it’s one-sided.
The ice has now long melted, and I don’t know what’s to come of us yet, but what I do know is – I’m going to have one hell of a headache tomorrow.
The doorbell rings.
Ah excuse me, that’ll be the girls finally here.