The Chicken and The Rats. It could be one of Aesop's Fables, or one of the stories my children demand I make up on the spot to entertain them, stories for which they detail the components and I have to flesh out the details ("It needs to have the Yeti, some ice cream and Daddy's shoes". Um, okaaaaaay....) but if there is a moral to this modern tale, it's this: loss of clothing confidence can strike even when you're going nowhere special.
So the parents from The Princess's nursery were having a get-together last night. Just at the pub, and not a particularly salubrious pub at that. But for me, it opened up a whole can of "what shall I wear?" type worms. I've not been out sans enfants since the bub was born last September (have been a slave to the breast) and, added to that, the parents at the nursery seem, largely, to be of the dressed-down, unbothered type. Of course, it's hard to tell if that's just a 9am thing, but my overriding impression has been of veg-box devotees with a fondness for macrame.
So what's one to do? Don jeans and t-shirt, and hope that the glow of fitting in (and a skinful of booze) will dull one's sense of sartorial boredom and shame? Or say "sod you all, I've not been out in bloody months and I'm wearing my Louboutins and Marc Jacobs if it's the last thing I do?"
I yearned to wear my Black Rats, probably with the cowl neck tunic I bought for the purpose a week or so ago but oh god, what if some of the dads were there and thought I was a slapper - especially as The Bearded One was to be on babysitting duty and I was attending solo .. they might think I was on the pull!! What if the mums shunned me; just plain refused to speak to me? What if The Princess's teachers disapproved and started treating her differently? It would be my fault!!
I mean, for god's sake. They're leggings. What on earth is my problem?
In the end, fate intervened in the guise of an "Oh my god, I'm so fat" moment, brought on by eating more than my acceptable quota of Brazil nuts and almonds for the day. And so I, the Chicken of the title, folded the Rats back into their drawer to await a less dysmorphic day.
When I eventually entered the pub, only teetering slightly (due to being out of practice, you understand) in my £6 Primark boots and Zara stripe t-shirt dress, I felt pretty good. I didn't look out of place. None of the dads were even there, having all been assigned to babysitting duty. And I was cheered mightily by the sight of one of the less likable (no, not just because of the complete lack of care she takes with her appearance) mothers hoovering her way through a plateful of food, the proportions of which had me and my dietastic tendencies recoiling with horror. Meanwhile, one of the lovely mums (no, not just because she wears large sunglasses and works in fashion) had a glass of Prosecco in my hand within minutes.
But you know what - even without all of that, the Rats would have been absolutely, unremarkably, fine too. Especially as I spent most of the night with my legs stuck under a table.