No, I do not want to attend your Jamie at Home, Body Shop, Pampered Chef or Virgin Vie ‘party’. (They’re not really parties, are they? And if I wanted a new mixing bowl, white musk body spray or nest of sieves, I would buy them myself and not pay you to do it for me.)
No, I do not want to sponsor you to run, walk or cycle 5k, 10k, 1,000,000k in your bra, bare feet or covered in your son’s powder paints.
No, I do not want to sponsor you to tightrope walk across the Zambezi, circumnavigate the Cape of Good Hope in your bath tub or climb Everest on your fingertips.
No, I do not want to see photos of your new baby, puppy, kitten or new house, kitchen or car. I especially, do not want to see photos of your baby covered in chocolate or ice-cream, or your dog wearing a dress.
No, I do not want to attend your garden party, tea-party, coffee morning, jumble sale or any other event you perceive to be ‘entertaining.’
Do I sound like an ungrateful, sour-faced, curmudgeon? Probably. Do I care? Absolutely. Which is why I say ‘yes, I’d love to’ to every request lobbed my way. I say ‘yes’ and then regret it afterwards.
And don’t we all do that, every single day? How many times have you been sat at someone’s dinner party/barbeque/reading group thinking bad thoughts? Mine are usually: ‘I want to go home. I’m missing my date with Jack Bauer and these tedious tales of your daughter’s bowel movements are killing me.”
If I do muster up courage to say ‘no’, I always follow it with a justification for the decline. This implies my choice to say no, requires further explanation. Why won’t ‘no’ simply suffice?
A friend’s mother offered me a chocolate digestive yesterday (something I would never usually decline) to accompany my tea. I said: ‘No, thanks. Just the tea please.’ “Ooooooh, no biscuit. No biscuit! Did you hear that Stan, Teeky doesn’t want a biscuit. Ooooooh, why not? Are you on a diet? You’re not watching your weight are you? Look at you, there’s nothing to you. Go on, have a biscuit!”
The same thing happens why I tell people I no longer eat meat: “Oooooooh, don’t eat meat? Don’t eat meat. But why not? You will wither away and lead a life of lethargy and tedium without a once-a-week spaghetti Bolognese.”
Other people want to know why I make the decisions I do. And why is that? Yes, I’m a vegetarian. No, I don’t want a biscuit. And no, that should not require me to put forth a case worthy for the jury of the Old Bailey.
Similarly, if you choose to stuff your face with chicken nuggets every night or down a bottle of Chablis in front of Cash in the Attic, you won’t catch me asking ‘why?’ Although, I’ll probably be thinking it and will no doubt discuss your worrying nugget dependency with my husband. But that’s beside the point.
I say yes far too much and I justify every decision I make. Therefore, with a generous nod to my self-empowerment friends, I’m going forth clutching a banner bearing the words: “No. And don’t ask me why!”