This only got worse when we had kids, because then I had the perfect excuse not to go out. Sorry - can't find a babysitter. (Truth - hadn't bothered looking.) It makes me sound like a miserable eejit - and perhaps I am - but it's not the fact that I don't like people, it's just that I don't like people when they're drunk and shouty. That's all.
I envy people who like going out. I would love to look forward to a night out, with the excitement that we used to have as teenagers getting ready for a big date. To make sure the whole look was right, from hair and make-up to stockings and shoes. To really care about it. And to look forward to shrieking at people for hours upon hours, until I was hoarse.
Instead, I dread big evenings out. I'm not talking about going round to a friend's for dinner - I like eating, for God's sakes - more about the big parties where all the women seem to be wearing leopard print and towering heels and the men are either slightly fed up or rip roaring drunk. And everyone seems to be shouting. There's laughter. Jokes. Silly faces. And I grin like a loon, but at the same time survey the room for possible escape routes.
If it weren't for the dancing, I wouldn't go out at all. Now dancing, I like. I can forget I'm sober; forget I look less Beyonce, more tea tray; forget I'm not one of the girls in my non-leopard outfit and flat pumps. I can just about scrape a dance together for some modern 'toons' (see how down wiv the kids I am?), but if anything between the narrow window of 1983 - 1989 comes on, I am away. Rhythm is a dancer, and that dancer is me. I can do a mean Kate Bush, morph into George Michael and end quite happily with Yazz.
But if the music stops, and I'm forced to talk to someone, I get my coat and leave.
There's a point to this story, and here it is. I'm now a single mum, so I have a whole list of perfect excuses not to go out. Top of the list is: I can't afford it. Followed closely by: I can't get a babysitter. And then: I'm just too tired.
But truth be told, top of the list is this. I want to spend time with my kids. They are good company. They make me laugh (sometimes). I like looking after them.
They make me feel whole.
Which in my book is better than losing your voice, and 50 quid, on a night out with lots of drunk people who started the evening being very lovely and amusing, but ended it being sick on your shoes.
Having said all of that, I've literally had to separate my children as they are knocking six bells out of each other. One has a lump the size of Ben Nevis on his head. The other is slamming doors.
Change of heart. Pass me my stilettos, please.