"It'll be great. I'm doing a curry and there will be wine. Bring your own beer if you want to.
"Oh, and there will be at least ten single women there for you, each more combative for your affections than the one that passed before. They will sway to your utterances, pique to your crystalline wit. They are ripe for the plucking if you'll forgive me the vulgarity. You will not want to miss this."
Turns out I'm not most men.
The feigned ouch in my throat, some fabricated headcold, freeing me from the down-up-down of a Saturday night party where I sit in a corner fixated on the fact that I didn't iron my collar properly, some splashback from a korma, or that I think I'm seen as the awkward one of the group.
None of it true from the outside but all of it playing as loudly in my head as whatever's on the speakers, some ironic Roxette (the '90s music revival made flesh), or something vomiting next door. Organised fun has its place but its place doesn't have me. It didn't have me last night, anyway, another Saturday where I did the opposite, where I felt as I did when my mam would let me stay home from school.