To be fair, the party began smoothly (or perhaps it was that I began drinking?*). The girls painted each other's nails with glee, and although they also managed to paint the table and the floor, I didn't mind as I knew I could get it off later (and, well, I was drunk).
It was only when I started taking orders for pizza that the trouble began.
"I don't like pizza," said two of the ten girls. Don't like pizza??? Who the fuck doesn't like pizza? Do they have some disability of the taste buds of which I wasn't aware ? If so, shouldn't their mothers have warned me? I mean, it was a pizza party after all!
"I like pizza," said another of the girls helpfully, "but just the base and cheese. No sauce."
No sauce? Just the base and cheese? Who the fuck likes just the base and cheese? Is she not aware that that is not pizza at all, but rather melted cheese on bread??????
"Um... I'm not sure they can do pizza with just the base and cheese," I said.
"Oh you can order it," the child said to me confidently. "My mum does it all the time."
I sighed. Of course she does.
I rang up the pizza shop and ordered a variety of pizzas, then took a deep breath and ordered one 'with just the base and cheese'. There was silence at the other end.
"Um.... you mean melted cheese on bread?" the pizza man asked.
I burned with shame. "Look, don't worry about it," I said. "I'll just make her something. You shouldn't have to prostitute your talents as a fine pizza maker to accommodate the finicky demands of an overly fussy eater."***
"Oh it's no problem at all," he told me. "We'll give you some of our cheesy-bread-bites. The kids love them."
I nodded mutely. So now I felt like a right meanie. And ignorant too. Who ever heard of cheesy-bread-bites?
While my husband went to pick up the pizza I made frankfurts and noodles for Lulu and Saskia (aka They Who Don't Eat Pizza) and allowed my friend Karen to top up my glass. Within twenty minutes, the pizza was on the table, the frankfurts were on a plate, and the noodles were in a bowl. The kids fell hungrily upon the food, like famished beasts who hadn't been fed in a month. The pizza disappeared, the cheesy-bread-bites were snatched up, and the frankfurts and noodles.... REMAINED???
"The pizza was good!" exclaimed Lulu and Saskia. "We like pizza!"
I nodded mutely again. Then I walked silently to the table, collected the frankfurts and noodles, and motioned for Karen to pour me more champagne. There was still cake to go, and I needed all the help I could get.
*and for that I thank my friend Karen, whose presence was the excuse I needed to crack open a bottle of champagne.
**Okay, so I didn't actually say it like that, but it's what I was thinking.
***Okay, so I didn't actually say it like that, but I should have.