More Girlish Pleasures

Well, perhaps girlish isn’t the right word – but I think the way I’m sociable is related to being a woman…

A few weeks ago for instance, the friendly neighbor hollered from across the street, “Hey Jeannie! Are you interested in joining a book club?” Well, heck yeah. Especially since at the moment I’m commuting 2 1/2 hours one way once a month to join my beloved old book club in La Quinta (by Palm Springs). I know all our new neighbors, whereas the men in this house? They panic a little if it even looks like I’m going to introduce them to somebody – and make sure they stay in the house out of sight. I’m outside meeting all the kids and giving away extra elephant figurines from my last trip to Thailand. That’s right, I’m going to teach the little girl across the street how to crochet – and I’ve loaned her mom a bunch of my Nancie Atwell teaching writing materials.

Turned out that there has been a book club in this community for nigh seven years! And that it had grown slightly too big to fit around the kitchen table and that there was an attempt to start a “Bookies II.” Sounded promising. But then, I checked out the reading list, noticed the word “pray” in one of the titles – and I started to worry. Was I about to blunder into a group of right-wing Christians? (To each his own, but I’d rather not be there if that’s the case…) And then zap, I got spammed by one of the members of the group: an offensive little ditty “by” Frank Sinatra referring to Arabs as smelly people who didn’t talk right.


But then again, it was (free) dinner, I had already read the book (My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult), and heck, it was walking distance and I had already RSVP’d.

So I went – despite my reservations.

I am so glad I did. The three other women who were there were terrifically smart, enthused, warm and accepting. Granted, they talked about having had retired at 63 as if it were already long in the past, so I was by half the youngest woman in the room, but on the other hand, my passion for getting information from people makes me a sucker for people with life experience. And these women had life experience in SPADES. And to be honest, our book discussion was deeper and more involved and more focused than any discussion I have had with my other (beloved) book club.

Then I had to go and confess all my aforementioned fears and anxieties at the table (over pumpkin pie and decaf coffee). Turns out nobody there was interested in reading anything religious or self-help as a group. AND everybody else had been offended by the faux Frank Sinatra ditty. So,

Can you guess the outcome? That’s right, I’m hosting the next Bookies II in January and I chose Self-Made Man by Norah Vincent, the woman who impersonated a man for a year and half to see what it was like. I almost chose Middlesex by Jeffry Eugenides, but somebody in the group had already read it. Not that we will always try to pick a book nobody has read, but right now the group is so small, it seems discourteous not to do so.

Two more ways I’m sociable like a woman. Today I met a complete stranger for lunch at vegan restaurant by UC Irvine, just because my friend Caryn said I should. We hit it off and didn’t stop talking the entire hour we were there. And she informed me that if I am interested in woman wellness centers run by midwives that I ought to check out Beach Cities Midwifery and Women’s Health Care (her favorite midwife works there!)

And next week I’m invited to play Bunco. That invite’s from one of the other cross country moms on Bella’s team. We just started talking, then laughing and exchanging emails, and next thing I know, she’s saying, “I think you would really enjoy this group of women I play Bunco once a month with…” She sent me the link to their website, which had this photo on it:

Looks like a fun bunch – I can’t wait! New friends! Red wine and lots of giggling (or uproarious snorting – whatever.)

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