We bobbed around in our bathers, sipping pale green drinks through long straws, nibbling cheese and bickies (the good kind, not Saos and Kraft Singles) from the edge of the pool.
We giggled and chattered and had contests to see who could glide the furthest on the inflatable flamingo.
We even talked about Barbie dolls!
I found myself thinking that this was every bit as good as the last pool party I went to, which was when I was about ten.
In fact, it was even better.
Here I was, the ring-in - the one who didn't know everyone else - and I felt welcomed and relaxed.
There was none of that awkward loneliness I remember from childhood occasions. You know the moments I mean - when you suddenly realise you're the one wearing the plain Jane swimming club togs while everyone else has pretty pink and lemon bathers with rainbows or flowers floating across them... or when you realise that the present you gave the birthday girl isn't nearly cool enough or expensive enough.
And don't get me started on those strange and awkward gatherings when I was the new kid in town.
Yes sirree. This pool party for ladies was great.
I hadn't felt the urge to hide behind a tree or pretend to be sick so my mum would have to come and pick me up. I didn't even linger in the kitchen, away from the crowd, breaking the Guinness World Record for the longest time taken to fill a glass with water.
This was lovely.
I embraced the occasion and the company.
Being a mature, confident adult attending a pool party was really cool.
As the evening wore on, the stars appeared in the sky and the light banter turned into more sophisticated conversation.
We discussed education and travel and life choices and architecture.
Conversation, of course, always reaches the calibre of the cheese and bickies.
It was all very stimulating and informative.
But then it happened.
That moment where I felt like a ten-year-old dufus once more.
'You know Le Corbusier?' said my lovely friend.
Uh oh! She was looking straight at me.
And my mind drew a blank.
Was Le Corbusier a brand of shoe?
A holiday location on the French Riviera?
A pelvic floor exercise?
A child-rearing philosophy?
I DIDN'T HAVE A CLUE!!!
And yet, my lovely friend, the one I liked so much and wanted to like me, seemed to think I would know.
I didn't want her to think I was dumb.
Perhaps she wouldn't like me so much if she thought I was ignorant.
Could I bluff it?
My mouth turned as dry as an un-buttered Sao.
My left eyelid twitched.
My mouth hung open like Venus flytrap waiting for a large, juicy dragonfly.
I considered retreating to the kitchen for a glass of water.
Guinness World Record slow-poured water.
And then I remembered!
I was not an insecure ten-year-old.
I was a mature woman.
I'd driven my own car to the party, for goodness sake!
I didn't even have a curfew.
And I was not surrounded by insecure ten-year-olds.
My fellow party goers were delightful, kind, intelligent women.
My hostess, the one in the know about Le Corbusier (whatever it may be), was the kindest of them all.
I smiled, looked my friend in the eye and told the naked truth. 'No. I don't have a clue about Le Corbusier.'
Turns out he was a Swiss architect who had a bit of a thing for concrete.
Not the other ladies, either, by the way.
But here's the thing.
Nobody cared. Not even my friend who was in the know. We all learned something new about architecture and modern design and the conversation flowed naturally on.
(I must point out here that I was kind of hoping that Le Corbusier was a brand of shoe. Something really glitzy and outrageously expensive that I could Google, eyes agog, when I got home.)
Being an adult is grand, isn't it?
The mature, affirming friendships.
The realisation that there's a whole heap of stuff that used to seem really big that just doesn't matter.
The freedom to wear your daggy old cossies without fear of poorly concealed sniggers.
The delight of being able to say, 'I don't know!' or, 'I don't get it!' or, 'I've never done that!' without feeling like a social outcast.
And of course, the fact that your pool party can involve cocktails and the really good cheese.
So, because I'm now so mature and secure, I'm willing to share a list of some other stuff I don't know or haven't done or simply don't care about:
- I don't know know how to change a car tyre.
- I can't roast a chicken.
- I've never read a James Joyce novel. I tried once, for two or three pages, and didn't understand it.
- I know very little about music . I don't even listen to it very often nowadays. I love silence.
- I don't get poetry.
- Documentaries bore me to tears. I want to be informed, I really do, but I just can't make the distance.
- I don't want to go to Bali.
- I've never been to a rock concert. Truly. Never ever!
- I don't care about fancy bathers. I love boring, staid, one-piece cossies in navy or black. The bigger the better.
Please feel free to educate me or to inspire me to behave otherwise.
And, in the meantime, thank you for accepting me just the way I am.