Girl’s Night Out- An Edith Story

“Are you ready for fun Edith?” asked Molly, the designated driver this night.

“Oh, yes. I’m thinking that if the church sponsored this musical play, it must be wholesome good fun,” Edith replied.

Molly and Mandy shared a suppressed chuckle and decided to carefully step their way through the conversation.

“Well, I wonder how this Girl’s Night will be like the ones we have Mandy? What daya think? ”

“Oh, I don’t think anything can be close to our GNOs. Remember the last one where Steph’s hair extension blew out the window? Or how about the time Bailey passed out in the coat room and we left her there?”

By now both Molly and Mandy were laughing so hard Edith wondered if they could see where they were going.

Eventually they pulled into the parking lot at the Sun Coast Community Theater and rushed to the door with just minutes to spare.

They had their tickets, which included a free drink, and headed to the door to join the rest of the group. There they were: an assortment of women and girls and one man from the First Reformed Presbyterian Church:  some with skirts at ankle length, some with little spandex minis barely covering their bums, some with glitz and sparkle, and some with modest necklines in black.  And there was Edith in her polyester pantsuit in deep purple. There certainly was an assortment here.

“Oh Myrtle, thanks for saving me a seat. I feel kind of rushed.” Edith sat and plopped her bag under her chair. Around the cabaret tables were scattered drinks in plastic cups and some beer bottles.  And here came Molly with Edith’s drink.

“It’s called Charlene’s Shot. It’s really tasty. Give it a try.” Molly said cheerfully.

Now Edith didn’t drink at the Sun Coast Retirement Center and didn’t know about shots. She took a sip, decided it tasted like lemonade and sipped the rest over the next few minutes.  Yum.

Before the show started, Molly was already offering to buy Edith another shot for just $2. Edith got out her wallet and sent obliging Molly on her way.

The show began with a young man who was moving rather fairy-like around the audience. He had on a pink GNO tee shirt and a pink boa around his hips. Various people were being interviewed and the man was encouraging everyone to drink and “parteeeeee!”

Edith was getting the feeling that this would not be like the female gatherings at the church. She was mildly disturbed but ready to be open minded. Strangely, she was settling into a relaxation mode. Her whole body felt warm starting with the tingles in her feet and hands. Maybe I should just let it happen she was thinking.

Finally, a woman dressed in white pants, shoes, jacket, and shirt came out on stage and started to talk about the event that was to happen that night: a engagement party for a young woman given by her mother’s friends.  She was the mother. Her name was Charlene. The only problem: she is dead. Thus the reason for the angel wings and white clothes.

Oh good. This play will have religious overtones. Edith thought.

Poor dear. She was in for a surprise.

The four friends on stage were vastly different in sizes, shapes and temperaments.

How did these four get together? One is an annoying nerd, another is hugely overweight and has horrible taste in clothes, another is tall and flashy, and the last is skinny and whiney. To Edith, friends should be more alike. Sort of like clones of each other.

Girl's Just Want to Have Fun

Not only did these four look so different from each other, they also were clearly uninhibited. But Edith was sipping her second shot and beginning to actually like the way the women were hiking up their bras, crawling into their girdles, talking about their “twats” (whatever THAT is) and shaking their rumps.

“I thought this was going to be clean fun.” Myrtle was dead sober. “Why did the church say this was clean fun? I think this is dirty!” She was not clapping, singing along or even smiling.

“Oh give it a chance. Have drink and loosen up.” Edith cajoled.

Myrtle harrumphed into her chair, crossed her arms, scowled and grew quiet but her eyes were tuned into every movement on the stage.

The engagement party moved through encounters with strangers, French kissing, trips to the bathroom, vomiting, and plenty of dancing. Revelations were made about husbands, divorces, pregnancies, and memories of Charlene who died at 17 in a moped accident over 20 years ago.  Some numbers brought the girls out into the audience. Some brought the obliging men up to dance including the dour and straight laced Mr. Forsythe who was now smiling and shaking his hips! Well, doesn’t that beat all, Edith mused.  She vowed to keep the image frozen in her memory bank.

There came a long intermission and Edith went to the restroom. When she returned to her table, there were two more shots waiting. Apparently Molly and friends had chipped in to buy Edith the drinks. What dears. They know I’m on a fixed income. Edith was in that warm glowy feeling now and wanting to talk to the world.

As she gulped her third shot she started to comment to people around her. “I just LOVE your boots. Don’t those pointy toes hurt your feet?” and “You were having a lot of fun during the first act. What do you call that dance where you lift your leg like that? It looks like a dog next to a fire hydrant.”  Edith tipped toward a neighboring table and shouted,” What’s in this drink? I must get the recipe so I can make it again.”

People around her were noticing that Edith was lubricated and ready to go either way: she could be a lot more fun or pass out. They couldn’t wait to see what was to come. They were encouraging her.

All except Myrtle. She was mortified. Here they were, the only two 80 year olds in the entire place and she was the only one who was sober! I’d leave if I knew how to drive. Now I’m stuck here with all these inebriated 30 year-old women and one slurry, silly old friend. I wonder if I can hide under the table? Myrtle was more than peeved at this point.

“Whoopee! Here comes the second act!” Edith stood up and shouted. Everyone cheered right along with her.

Moving to the music the audience, and especially Edith, was in full swing. Everyone was on their feet swaying, clapping and singing along. She started moving away from her table and hanging on to anything that came near. The urge to dance overtook her.

“Girls just want to have fun!” she sang and, since she didn’t know any more words, she just kept repeating, “Girls just want to have fun!” Slowly heads turned away from the stage toward her. People started putting boas around her neck. Someone put a flashing tiara on her head. The pink fairy man came up and took her hand and started dancing with her.

Edith didn’t remember having this much fun in the past 50 years. The actors had come down to the audience and were surrounding her. Edith was the Purple Peril of Performing. She was the Dancing Queen. Ecstasy Edith.

And then, over the course of thirty seconds, something tipped. Edith’s head started to spin. She groaned and bent over. Pink Man led her back to her chair. Edith slumped over the table and passed out with her head on her arms.  Myrtle was mortified. She grabbed her bag and went to the lobby.

Edith was oblivious and alone.

Soon, the musical drew to a close. Molly and Mandy now had the task of getting Edith out to the car. They were propping her up and walking her slowly toward the doors. Edith was mumbling, “Play it again. Twisssst Again, Like We Did Last Summer” but some of the words were hard to decipher.  M and M were taking mental notes. Now they were on the caregiver side. They were the responsible ones. Seeing an eighty-year-old woman “in her cups” was both funny and sad.

“I hope I’m this cool when I’m her age,” said Molly as she maneuvered Edith into the car.

“Yeah, but having to drag someone with white hair and sagging skin through the parking lot is definitely not a perk.” Mandy added.

But it was all redeemed on the ride back to Sun Coast Retirement Center. Edith, in a moment of lucidity, said “Girls, I want to thank you for the best night I’ve had in years. Let’s do it again sometime.”

Then Edith closed her eyes, folded up in the corner of the backseat and replayed images of Mr. Forsythe gyrating his hips encased in pink feathers.

Molly and Mandy drove on hoping that Edith would forget it all tomorrow.