I would like to give credit where credit is due: the newly formed magazine and wine club,
of which I am part, was inspired by ‘Bridesmaids’. A big thanks to Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph for making my friends and me feel like it’s okay to be part of something a little less taxing than a book club. I really don’t have any brain cells left to spare these days; magazines are about all I can handle on a good day!
In all seriousness, there are few things more therapeutic than a glass of wine (or cider, as was my drink of choice last night), a coffee table full of magazines, great grazing food, and a group of women who just want to laze about in their slouchiest clothes with little or no makeup on.
By 7pm on a good day it’s all I can do to string a three word sentence together (i.e. “More wine please.”), but last night I managed to break out the big guns and natter away until well past 9pm. There were no minutes taken, so you’ll have to bear with my fuzzy recollection of the conversation – I’ll focus on the highlights – and the food.
I managed to get through 2 People magazines, and by ‘get through’ I mean I looked at all the pictures, read about 1 page (quadruple spaced) worth of words, and then rested my cider bottle on top. While perusing the pics I gnoshed on some yummy treats, some of which I was responsible for. My friend that hosted the group provided nibbles based on Fleurt recipes: Chipotle Meatballs and Maple Bacon Cornbread. So fun to sample food made by other people, but from my recipes! I brought a new butter flavor I’m trying out – Horseradish Blue Cheese – and some homemade pesto, along with the requisite crostini. I also needed opinions about frosting/cookie combos that will be used for my daughter’s bday party next week. I thought a group of women, at the end of the day, with a glass of wine in hand, would be the ideal taste testers! And I wasn’t the only one sharing recipes…I’ve heard tell of a fabulous oatmeal bake (from Room on the Counter blogger Liz Brinkman) that I am anxious to get the recipe for and I’ve been promised a recipe for juicy, flavorful Thanksgiving turkey breasts!
Mind you, it wasn’t about the food. The evening was more about sitting around, switching our brains off, and establishing a sense of comraderie…you know what I’m talking about. The kind of BS that makes our husbands/boyfriends/men in general roll their eyes? Yeah, all that. There was no man bashing and surprisingly no gossiping. Talk of preschool was coupled with conversation about establishing mutual respect with our children, a feat I have yet to master.
At one point a friend read an excerpt from a recent article in The Atlantic Magazine by Caitlin Flanagan (Dec. 2011) about Oprah. It gave me pause to hear someone capture so perfectly in words what I think all women feel:
There are certain things about women that men will never understand, in part because they have no interest in understanding them. They will never know how deeply we care about our houses—what a large role they play in our dreams for ourselves, how unhappy their shortcomings make us. Men think they understand the way our physical beauty—or lack of it, or assaults on it from age or extra weight—preys on our minds, but they don’t fully grasp the significance these things have for us. Nor can they understand the way physical comforts or simple luxuries—the fresh towel or the fat new cake of soap—can lift our spirits. And they will never know how much our lives are shaped around the fear of bad men and the harm they can bring us if we’re not careful, if we’re not banded together, if we’re not telling each other what to watch out for, what we’ve learned. We need each other’s counsel, and oftentimes it comes when we’re talking about other things, when we seem not to have much important on our minds at all.
To read the full Atlantic Magazine article, click here.
Those few hours last night that I spent with friends gave my mind the temporary relief I needed in order to get through the rest of the week. I left my friend’s house feeling like a whole person, not a fragmented version of my former self, unevenly divided between my children, my husband, my family and my friends, with only a little sliver left for me. Last night made me feel like all those pieces merged together and for a little while, at least, I can simply be me and that is enough.
Deep breath. And now I’m back to my normal, sardonic self. Ultimately the magazine and wine club turned into a sort of high school sleepover…minus the sleep, plus booze and good food. Nails were painted (see pic for my favorite polish of the moment: Sally Hansen Hard As Nails Xtreme Wear In the Spotlight), hairstyles were discussed, and Ryan Gosling was drooled over. The recipe for a perfect night with girlfriends!