It is Em’s 40th birthday and she has decided to have a theme party – Mutton Dressed as Lamb! I don’t usually like dress ups mostly because I don’t seem to be very imaginative when it comes to putting a costume together! It is now days before the party and after shopping for groceries during late night shopping I decide to go in search of something to wear.
I start with some fishnet stockings that are already part of my wardrobe and decide that a short bedraggled pair of denim shorts might just do the trick. We are looking around Jay Jays…a shop patronised by teenagers. A man abut my age, dressed in business clothes has brought along his teenaged children and helps them shop for jeans. I feel weird trying on the pair of shorts and try to pretend I belong here. Magically, the shorts fit but Steve has still not settled on exactly what he might wear. He has found an old school tie and shirt in his wardrobe but we need something else to spice it up. On Saturday morning we decide to shop for wigs and our outfits our almost ready. We’ve found blond dread locks for him and blue hair for me!
We arrive early and find Em all dressed up in a short tiger print dress. She looks great – no hint of mutton here. Most female guests have either gone with the short dress/ tall heels look or have settled for the short denim shorts or skirts with short tops. The men are dressed in shorts or pants that hang low and many have also purchased wigs – blond Mohawks seem to be popular!
Earlier that day it had been bucketing again but the rain stopped and the evening has turned out to be brilliant. We sip champagne, eat canapés and catch up with friends. Em has invited 40 people from different parts of her life – school and university friends from Cape Town mingle with her neighbours and extended family in Sydney.
It is a great day and is topped off when we sing happy birthday. The darkness is lit with the 40 sparklers we wave in the air to symbolise the years of her life. We tuck into a great Tiramisu cake from her local cake shop and drink more champagne. It has been a lovely celebration – Em enters her forties just as I say goodbye to mine!
“At the age of 20, we don't care what the world thinks of us; at 30, we worry about what it is thinking of us; at 40, we discover that it wasn't thinking of us at all.”