Before anyone gets the wrong idea, I'm not celebrating my birthday - if you see what I mean. I've got absolutely no problem in being another year older. It's not as though I want to hide away and weep at the cruel ravages time has wrought - it makes my crows feet that much worse for one thing. No, my main issue is the party itself. You see, I hate parties. Actually, that's not true. I love parties - I just hate giving parties.
A party is meant to be all about excitement and dressing up and having a good time. And going to a party is all that. You can make a real event of it - get your hair done beforehand. Take an age getting ready before making your dazzling entrance. A few air kisses here and there - "Darling, how lovely to see you - we must catch up later on" before you get a few drinks down your neck and hit the dancefloor.
I confess to dancing like a madwoman at parties. I firmly hold to the old maxim of dancing as though no-one is watching. Although I have to say that when I dance, people do watch. They are, admittedly, standing slack-jawed in astonishment as I fling myself about the floor.
Given all the dancing - and hurried drinking in between numbers - I don't have a lot of time to mingle and circulate. Once I've exhausted myself, I can leave when I want to and head off to bed a happy bunny.
Having a party, on the other hand, is my idea of a living hell. Forget any time that you thought you might spend pampering yourself for your big night. Those hours are now reserved for cleaning every nook and cranny of your house.
All those dodgy items in your medicine cabinet have to be hidden away for a start. And then the worrying starts. You are convinced that no-one will turn up. There won't be enough food - although the rational part of you knows fine well that you will be dining on cocktail sausage rolls and coronation chicken vol au vents for the next month. People won't get on with each other.
No one will come. Nobody will have a good time - if anyone comes, - of course. But, just as you've resigned yourself to sitting alone, eating your own body weight in pistachio nuts, people arrive. Of course they do - they've booked a babysitter and have exactly six hours in which to Have Fun.
Now you have to start pretending that you too are Having Fun. Because everyone will ask you, "Having fun?" "Enjoying yourself?" You will, of course, lie through your teeth. You will continue to lie when someone smashes a glass, "No, really. Don't give it another thought." Or when someone spills red wine over the sofa covers that you had cleaned just days before the party. "Of course I don't mind. Please don't worry about it." Then you lie some more. "Of course I'm not tired - yes, let's have another round of slammers. Oh, you brought your guitar - how delightful."
And that's before you even contemplate the clearing up afterwards. No, I think I'll just celebrate quietly. Very quietly. Just a few people. Maybe just one or two. Actually, maybe just me.