So I went to the wedding, and I didn’t drink. In fact in one of those beautiful/tragi-comic ironies, I actually drank less than the pregnant women at the wedding. While I watched them treat themselves to a glass or two of champagne, I barely had a token sip during the speeches to avoid looking conspicuous. Looking like you’re drinking when you’re not is hard. Although sparkling water with ice and lemon does a mean imitation of gin and tonic. And it helps if you volunteer to go to the bar – or if one of your friends in the know kindly offers to get you a ‘gin and tonic’ when they go to the bar.
But you know what? Having dated sober, I think I could pretty much do anything sober. (Although I’m not sure how I’d feel about having sex with someone for the first time while sober. I’ve done that after only two glasses of wine, which given my tolerance for alcohol pretty much counts as sober, but none at all? Anyway, that absolutely wasn’t on the cards at this wedding so I digress…) I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about taking to the dancefloor without having had a drink first, but I did it, and it was fine, it was more than fine, the wedding was brilliant. I danced, I drank (sparkling water), I ate, I chatted, I flirted, I danced some more.
And nobody knew that that morning I’d had a scan to count the follicles in my ovaries and had some blood taken to check my oestrogen levels. And that at one point during the reception, when, mid-conversation, my phone rang and I excused myself to take the call, that it was the doctor from the clinic calling me to tell me that my oestrogen levels were fine so she wanted to increase my Gonal-F dose from 175iu to 225iu. And only a handful of people knew that, sitting in my bag was an insulated M&S picnic bag that contained a rapidly defrosting pack of frozen peas, a pen of Gonal-F, and some needles. And that when I nipped to the loo later on in the evening, I was injecting myself and praying that I wouldn’t fuck it up and get blood on my cream top. (I didn’t.)
But as ridiculous as it all seemed – the faux drinking, the very real sobriety, the frankly insane vignette of me, sitting on a loo seat at a wedding, scrambling among the frozen peas for a syringe – I didn’t care. I didn’t feel stressed about it, it wasn’t defining me, it was just a thing I was doing and choosing not to tell everyone about.
And maybe it was because I danced all night in killer heels, while sober, and had a brilliant time, which made me feel a little bit like I was invincible, or perhaps it was because I saw O (who was the one who encouraged me to write this blog in the first place) and C (one of the only straight men I’ve told about this), and both of them made me feel like they had my back, that this wasn’t a weird thing to be doing, that they got it. But for the first time, I didn’t feel like this was a dirty little secret that I had to hide from everybody, I felt like it was a brilliant, exciting secret that I wanted to hug to myself.