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Tuesday, January 01, 2008

You want to make the man in your life nervous?

I like making my husband nervous and it's really exciting when I find something that's sure to make him start belly button diggin'. And this one is easy...and fun! All I have to do is invite friends of ours who don't happen to know each other to the same event. Our friends have a few things in common; they're all smart, funny, nice and insanely good looking*. I know that sounds vague, but aren't those all good qualities? And they all seem to like us, so they must be tolerant. Given their evident tolerance of odd and sometimes uncouth behavior (ours, of course), I never worry about mixing them all together. My husband, on the other hand, is not so sure about cross-socializing.

I suppose it could have something to do with those old theories about the way men and women socialize. Traditionally, men are supposed to define themselves by group association (church member, fraternity brother, stoner) and women self-identify based on their relationships with other people (mother, sister, slut). Maybe my husband is afraid that if he mixes his groups, he'll get ousted from one of them. But it's not like he's a member of both Born Again Christian Glee Clubbers and Cussin', Drinkin' Vandalizers**. This isn't middle school. I can hang out with other Pilates teachers and not be shunned by my Monday Night Ladies' Drinking Club. In fact, most of my circles ooze into each other. Many of the moms I know also go to my church. Some of the moms from my kids' school are in my Bunco group. So are a couple of my friends from "back in the day." And I've run into some Pilates teachers at parties also attended by the Monday Night Ladies' Drinking Club members. I guess I'm also part of the great blogger universe, a group that doesn't include any of my "IRL***" friends. But some of my IRL friends read my blog and I read other moms' blogs. The fact that someone who used to be a priest at my church has read my blog is another story. That's like running into your boss in a bar, when you're still young enough to care. But! Even though she knows a little more about me now, she doesn't seem to have shunned me.

My social life is one big happy Venn diagram. My husband's is more like a list. He has work friends, tennis friends, old school friends (divided into subsets: college, law school and the in between years), wife friends (those would be mine), family friends, etc. I'm sure there are others, but I can't think of them off the top of my head. It does seem that his groups are intersecting more often these days; he plays tennis with people from all of his groups and doesn't seem to mind. In that case, though, he's not directly responsible for the interaction, so he's not afraid of anyone getting mad at him if they don't like each other.

When A gets together with his friends, there's a point to it. They come together in the name of some activity. My friends, on the other hand, come together to...come together. Last Saturday, I was left alone with Baby J. I don't like to be responsible for Baby J on weekends; I will actually call A from another part of the house to change his diaper, because I don't change diapers on weekends. Anyhow, A had been out with his tennis friends and, when he got home, as much as I wanted to hang out with him, I wanted to get away from the (cutest, sweetest, loviest, clingiest) baby even more. Since A was the most available caregiver at the moment, I left the two of them. I got in the car and pealed out of the driveway, almost hitting a dog, a mailbox and two joggers reluctantly headed for the bookstore. I don't mean to whine, but why is it that mothers are so unoriginal in our solo time? How much coffee can you drink? How many free magazines can you read before you feel like a thief? And how many screaming toddlers will you have to listen to while you try to relax? Too many. It was 4 o'clock in the afternoon and I'm too old to drink coffee after noon. And I prefer to read magazines in the tub. Tout d'un coup, it dawned on me that I could go for a drink, just like old times.

I was wearing the perfect outfit for afternoon drinking, too****: a brown Lily Pulitzer v-neck sweater with red and pink acorns on one shoulder, white corduroys and tan patent leather flats, with ruffles on the toes. Wheee! I called three friends, the ones I knew were most likely to drop what they were doing to have a drink. I couldn't reach one of them, but found out later she was already headed to a bar when I called. L. had a date with her husband, but sounded intrigued. I hit pay dirt with J, who was putting on her shoes to go for a walk when I called, but immediately took them off and put her jeans back on. I think all of my friends would agree that going for a drink is more fun than exercising.

I picked J up and we went to Saluda's and sat outside on the porch. I made her pledge to drink 2/3 of it before agreeing to order a bottle of sparkling. After I had a glass, L called and said she and her husband had decided to start their date by meeting us. That inspired me, so I called A and convinced him (didn't take much) to get a sitter, ditch the cutest baby ever and meet us for dinner. J had to go home, so I also told him to catch a ride with L and her husband, so he could drive J home when he got there and me home later. Then I had another glass of wine. And a great time. I know it wasn't necessary to tell that whole story, but I wanted to take a moment to recommend the porch at Saluda's. It's upstairs, so you can watch people, from a distance, just like I like it. The food was just fine, too; I had fish. There are some places that are best when you can eat outside, like Terra and the Gourmet Shop. The porch at Saluda's is covered, so you can eat outside when it's raining. Cool.

Maybe I don't mix groups after all. Maybe I'm just a member of one really big group: People Who Like to Hang Out and Talk Without Involving a Specific Activity. Most of my friends will agree to come hang out and talk, over lunch, drinks or coffee or at the pool or the park or even at the bookstore. A lot of my friends, while hanging out and talking, said their husbands were the same way about mixing groups. I think it might be that they aren't as comfortable as we are admitting that they just want to sit around and accomplish nothing for a bit. They need an excuse to...hang out and talk. They ramble as much as we do, too; A always comes back from tennis or lunch with work friends with plenty of stories, many of them more gossipy than mine.

In conclusion, any time you just want to hang out, call me. And if you want to hang out with A, tell him to bring a tennis racket. Or tell me to talk him into it.

Namasté, y'all!

* Call me shallow. You won't be the first. You won't even be the first today. But I like hanging out with good looking people. I developed this theory in high school: you don't have to be good looking to be seen as good looking. People associate you with your group of friends. Plus, you can borrow their clothes and get good hair and makeup tips from them. Aren't I charming?

** He's not actually in either of those, but I bet they exist. And I bet you can find them on the internet.

*** Dad, "IRL" stands for "in real life" and refers to actual flesh and blood friends you can see, as opposed to people you only know from internet interaction.

**** Yeah, I know this is probably one, or two, too many footnotes, but this is important. PSA: If you are old-ish like me, wear a nice outfit to drink in the afternoon, so you don't look like a crazy person. I know wearing Lily Pulitzer makes anyone look a little crazy, but in an endearing way, not in an I-need-to-go-to-rehab-again-because-my-kids-got-taken-by-DSS-way.

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