Sunday was Super Bowl Sunday….lots of testosterone, beer, and bad (for you) food. Every year there is a bowl party at the home of our friends Greg and Lois. The guys are all invited; the wives have a gals day elsewhere. This year more than ever it hit me how great these get togethers are. I’m not sure if anyone else sees it that way but I do. I have not had many girlfriends as a child/young adult. Growing up I was the only girl in the neighborhood; when I got into high school it seemed that all the girls were hell-bent on sacrificing brains for beauty and boys. Later in the work place I always ran afoul of the kind of woman that used her body for bonuses…
When I got married I thought surely I would be immune and could finally have female friends. Alas, they too had an agenda-my husband. I’m not sure if it’s a function of youth or just a character flaw but over the years few women have been interested in me for…well just me. After my divorce (due to another woman with an agenda) the Bowl parties started and I got invited. I was no longer part of a couple, still these women liked me for myself and my crazy stories.
So this past Sunday found an assortment of wonderful women gathered together at another friends home. Lots of food, a roaring fireplace and an endless supply of stories made for a wonderful evening. To the outsider it might seem it was nothing special, but to me I simply reveled in the knowledge that here were ten (give or take) women enjoying each others company. No agenda. No ‘one-upsmanship’. Some of these ladies were truly courageous in the face of catastrophic illness that was clearly taking a toll on their physical selves. They were not mired in self-pity, but were enjoying life minute-by-minute not caring about the future, just being in the present. One, a bee-keeper, brought a small jar of honey to our host; the product of her fledgling hive. Another shared her recipe for the secret soup that was served. I brought some of my art-jewelry to share; ladies always love jewelry.
None of this was done in an atmosphere of “Look at me! Notice me!” The talk was easy, flowing from one subject to another, one room to another. Once when I walked back from filling my plate (yet again) I surveyed the room, struck by the camaraderie and ease of every one there. Sad that I wasn’t able to experience this in my youth, and yet heartened that perhaps it is one of the gifts that we are given in old age as recompense for the loss of youth. As though nature in giving us saggy bodies was also giving us lots of supportive, non-critical gal pals to make up the difference. Whatever the reason-I’ll take it. Life has made us all so much more interesting than those silly high school girls could ever be. Jean Shinoda Bolen describes this in her book as juicy. And after our gathering last Sunday I would have to agree. We are all truly juicy women.