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All dressed up but nowhere to go on our first ‘new normal’ night out

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Justine O'Mahony

Justine O'Mahony

Justine O'Mahony

It was the night I had been waiting for, for months. I’d had the hair done, was wearing a new rig out, I even put on red lipstick, something that usually only happens once a year at Christmas.

We were going Out Out! After 16 weeks sitting at home, drinking wine in my pjs and scouring Netflix for something to watch that I hadn’t already seen, we were finally going out ... to dinner ... in a proper restaurant ... surrounded by other people.

When I say surrounded by other people, that may be a slight exaggeration. The restaurant was so eager to comply with regulations that the next table near ours had a different postcode. But still there were people in our vicinity, all dressed up and enjoying a night out too. So it was nearly like old times.

Nearly ... but not quite. The staff all wore masks. And as I have mentioned before, it’s quite difficult to communicate so when Himself mistakenly ordered deep fried brie, instead of Brill, we couldn’t send it back. He couldn’t hear a word the poor girl was saying.

“Say nothing and just eat it,” I muttered. I watched him gag as he put a miniscule amount of cheese in his mouth and handed him his wine. “Here drink that back – you’ll be grand.”

The mains passed without incident, although he wasn’t impressed when he was informed puréed potato was the only form of spud he was getting.

 It was a pretty fancy restaurant and the portions were small, so finishing our meal within the hour and 45 mins was not a problem. 45 minutes would have probably been enough! We waved at people we knew vaguely as if they were long lost buddies and tried to do the whole awkward conversation thing from two metres apart. It all felt a bit strange.

But by the time we left we were buzzing after all the lovely wine and the food and the salubrious surroundings. Standing on the street at 9.30 pm, we looked at each other as if to say, “where to next?” and then realised there was no “where to next.” We were quite literally all dressed up with nowhere to go and it was still bright.

“We can’t go home! I’ve spent more time getting ready than I actually have being out.” The streets were like a ghost town. Not a sinner to be seen of a Saturday night. “I don’t think we have much choice,” says Himself as he flags down a taxi.

Exactly one hour and 45 minutes after we left to go out, I’m sitting on the sofa in my pjs watching Netflix. The only difference to a normal night is I’m still wearing the red lippy. Next Saturday I’m ordering takeaway.

Normal life has not returned. We’ve a good way to go yet.

Online Editors