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Someday you will find me
Caught beneath the landslide
In a champagne supernova
A champagne supernova in the sky

– Noel Gallagher, Oasis – Champagne Supernova

 Christmas champagne

This time of year is always going to be fraught with juggling, occasional stress, shopping, planning and, of course, festive catch ups… and drinks…a lot of drinks.

I have been catching up with lots of people of late which is fantastic, and attending quite a few functions. The catching up with gorgeous friends is always lovely however,  is it just me or does it feel like every time I turn around at the moment, I have a glass of something alcoholic in my hand? A glass of champagne here, a cosmopolitan there, Prosecco here and several margaritas over there…

‘Tis the season to be merry, for sure, but how much merriment can a Good Girl handle? I seem to have a high tolerance for the party season. Being a bit of an every-ready-battery type bunny, I can manage to weather lots of gatherings in one week and still be highly functioning. Of course the trick is, aside from being naturally energetic, that I drink a lot of water, I drink alcohol moderately whenever possible (okay, it’s always possible, stop laughing) and I generally sleep well.

I don’t hold myself up as saintly or pious, that’s for sure. In my younger days, when nightclubbing was a given, I consumed sometimes scary quantities of alcohol. I don’t think I was a “binge drinker” as much as I was a steady drinker…too often and often too much. I grew up and seamlessly swapped partying for civilised glasses of wine over dinner. Occasionally my girlfriends and I would absolutely let our hair down and hit the town, dancing all night and sporting impressive hangovers the next day. (Sometimes we still do). I was raising young kids back then so those nights became more occasional but they were always enjoyed!

The Yuletide season seems to be an excuse to drink way too much. Actually it’s even encouraged. I heard this great term the other day. “Legitimised deviancy”. Brilliant.

Apparently it’s a term used in psychology and really all it means is that as adults, or even societies, we find really great ways to legitimise sometimes poor behaviour. Alcohol is legal. We buy it openly – from the bottle shop, on-line, in restaurants, concerts and bars everywhere. In Australia it’s almost part of our collective psyche that adults enjoy a beer or a wine.

Sometimes though, this time of year gets the better of even a chick like me.

Recently I had a bit of a “lunch”. I started at a women’s function – A Women in Business luncheon held at the Palladium Ballroom at Melbourne’s Crown Towers. I love these events. A room filled with 700-800 women all unified by the fact that they work hard coming from many backgrounds and from many different fields. There is always plenty of champagne and wine on offer, delicious food, a gift bag filled with chick-friendly goodies, and best of all there are always inspirational speakers.

I have to say that a number of champagnes were enjoyed over lunch and I was sharing the table with gorgeous, funny and intelligent women. It’s Christmas so I guess I let my red locks down a little more than I would normally, especially since I was surrounded by professionals.

What a gorgeous lunch it was and a lot of laughter ensued as we listened to the panel of Kate Langbroek (Presenter, Nova FM), Jane Kennedy (TV Producer; Working Dog Productions) and Rhys Muldoon (House Husbands). The topics covered were varied, from Australian politics and the place of women in it, to the issues facing working parents (mothers in particular). Hugely entertaining and informative and I have to say I was inspired by both Kate and Jane who juggle children and their successful careers, with incredible humour and honesty.

After lunch, I went with a few lovely colleagues for drinks. Well, “drinks” were margaritas and there were many to be had. Delicate French style cocktail glasses rimmed with salt and sugar, filled with tequila and Cointreau.

This is what I’ve come to realise. There is always that one drink too many, when in the drinking of it, you are pulled over a line where your sense of reason is diminished somewhat. That drink sends  very bad signals to your brain, like the proverbial little red devil upon your shoulder. It whispers for you to continue to drink the next margarita placed in your hand. That’s the drink that catapults you from a little bit tipsy to way beyond merry.

Damn it, I had that drink. That damn demonic drink.

One rule of thumb of course is never…and I mean never, mix your drinks. You are simply asking for trouble there. Champagne (always a good idea) shouldn’t be substituted for tequila. Second rule…stop drinking!

It’s possible that one extra cocktail will take you from glamorous to trashy faster than you can say Paris Hilton. After a number of margaritas I was fretting that I was running late to meet my guy, the Producer. I left the merriment with a lovely girlfriend in search of a cab. On the way we actually stopped to have our picture taken with an authentic looking Santa Claus.

Now that was a major neon sign that I had too much to drink. There I was in my black 50’s inspired dress and cute shoes, perching on Santa’s knee. He was thankfully a dignified older man who refrained from asking if we had been “good girls” nor did he ask what I wanted from Santa!

I’m thinking I’m going to be on Santa’s naughty list this year, for sure.

Trying to be as dignified as possible, I arrived at the Producer’s place. He very kindly carried my bag up the stairs and then stated the obvious – that I was a little drunk. No, just tipsy, right?  So we went to dinner…to the Producer’s most favourite local Italian restaurant where I was, apparently, much louder than normal. Here’s something I seriously didn’t know because no one has ever pointed this out to me…it turns out when I drink too much, I swear. A lot.

The Producer was very calm over dinner, because I’m sure he was embarrassed, and it’s always difficult to be sober when you’re dining with someone who isn’t!  On several occasions he quietly reminded me that I should stop swearing. Other patrons were apparently looking in my direction.

Kill me now!

I like to think that I am always a little gracious and can hold my own in any situation. It turns out I transformed into a drunken sailor and possibly scared small children. It’s fair to say I’m not feeling a little sheepish. I adore the Producer and certainly wouldn’t deliberately embarrass him, nor anyone else for that matter!

So, now he knows – I’m so not perfect! (I suspect he already knows that, so I kid).

I called my brilliant friend Bella the next day and asked her if I swear a lot when inebriated (she more than anyone would know since we have been sharing drinks for years). She seemed quite puzzled. She had never noticed that I swear a lot. Is it possible that when we’ve been a bit merry together we both swear a lot and therefore don’t notice each other’s profanities?

I would like to think not. At 44 years of age, no one has ever told me that I swear too much, or even a lot. I’ve got many girlfriends I have known for many years and that’s just not a criticism I’ve been dealt before. Sure, I do tend to drop the f-bomb when I am surprised or outraged. I’m an Aussie Vegemite kid after all. Occasionally I even swear in front of my children but it’s seldom enough that they actually tell me off!

So no one was more surprised than me that I apparently was suddenly Charlotte-trash-can-mouth.

The Producer has never seen me drunk before…it was no doubt a shock. Thankfully although I am a strong woman, I’m also a bit of a pussy cat. I’m not a grumpy drunk!

The embarrassment continued though the next day when I checked my phone. I am certainly not one to drunk text and never have been,  but I have to say that I checked my text messages from that night and realised I had sent a text to the Producer, calling him “baby”…something I had never done before. Not that terms of affection are terrible. Sometimes they can be quite lovely but not if you’ve been drinking!  Yes, all class lady.

I do have a friend, the Pocket Rocket,  that sensibly hides her phone if she is going to have a big night as she doesn’t trust herself to not drunk text ex-boyfriends.

Damn you Christmas cheer.

So I curled up in bed next to the Producer trying to be all sexy and glamorous and proceeded to fall asleep. Yes, I really was the bomb-diggity.

So what is it about Christmas that turns quiet drinks with friends into crazy nights on the town? Have you ever had a night where some of your memories are lost and your only way of piecing things together is through photos you find on your trusty mobile phone the next day, like a scene from The Hangover?! Nooo, me either!

Alcohol does strange things to the human condition. The gorgeous Grecian, who normally doesn’t drink, got rather sloshed recently at a wedding and paid dearly for it by being so hung over she graced her bed for an entire Sunday! The poor thing was paying for her night out the next day, feeling seedy and sad.

I once went out with the Blonde Bombshell and actually slipped in behind the bar at a pub and poured beers for patrons, much to the joy of those receiving free beer.  After giving away several, I was caught by a bar tender who charged me $10 for the beer I had just badly poured. I don’t drink beer by the way. It was a very funny night. Had I been sober, I of course would never have presumed to go behind a bar!

I’ve heard tales of course much less tame than these. Friends who have canoodled with colleagues, and friends that have gone out on yuletide benders and woken up with a strange guy in their bed. The hilarity that ensues when drinking probably seems someone more sobering in the cold hard light of day when some dude is on your feather pillow, and you’re badly hung over!

I know people who certainly don’t drink. At the very least they drink very little. Which is a good thing. Nay – a great thing. I also know a few people who are marathon drinkers. Of these two camps, only one tends to lose whole week ends in recovery mode, and thinking they need to seriously detox. I’ve been in both camps really and nowadays although I hover someone in the middle of that road, I do very occasionally completely over indulge. I really do think it depends who you are drinking with. I do have a couple of friends that have a touch of the naughty about them, and some that are much more conservative.

All I can say is this. During this festive season, do take it easy out there people. Try not to get too pickled and make sure if you’re drinking, you’re not driving.  Be kind to your liver and drink lots of water in between drinks which probably helps.  If you happen to drink a little too much, do try not to swear too much.

I didn’t wake up with a hangover after my über long lunch, much to the surprise of the Producer. The next morning, he told me what by then I already knew…I had indeed been a very, very bad girl. Now what’s a boy to do? If I’m to be suitably punished for my naughtiness, he’s the only man for the job!

As for my Christmas cheer, I’m over the Margaritas and I promise to be a good girl next time I’m out on the town.