May 14, 2012 § Leave a comment
Conversations with women my age tend to lean toward date details, boy-bashing, boy-loving, etc. but we never spend time hashing out NPR segments (talk to me about All Songs Considered and I’ll be your best friend) or Romney’s latest ploy.
While I am probably one of the guiltiest parties when it comes to directing the conversation toward boy talk, I think as ladies we have to work harder to expand our discussions beyond our opinions on trivial topics like beards vs. no beards. On our own, we’re reading novels (yes, Hunger Games counts), watching movies other than romantic comedies, challenging ourselves with new workout routines, learning languages, kicking booty at work and SO MANY other interesting and robust things. We’re smart, unique women but we get so caught up in analyzing our encounters with men, that we forget to hold deep conversations with our girlfriends as often as we should.
Have you ever listened to your guy friends talk to each other? They cover so many topics. It’s fascinating, unnerving and envy-inducing. They don’t talk about girls at all. Not even to complain about them.
My circle of girlfriends recently started a book club and in my opinion, our first meeting consisted of the best conversation we’d had in a while.
After much debate, we started with the novel, “All We Ever Wanted Was Everything,” by Janelle Brown.
Looking back at our Facebook discussion, I think we pushed the actual book club meeting date by about six weeks, but we finally all arrived at Max’s Wine Dive, for good wine, fried food and a boy-free night.
We were all a little disappointed with the story and thought it dragged on much longer than it should have. The first few chapters of the book focus on one of the daughter’s incredible debt and constantly mentions the creditors calling her non-stop. While none of us are in over our heads financially, we are all 20-somethings trying to balance budgets for the first time. There’s something terrifying and gut-wrenching about paying bills each month and we found it painful to read about money troubles. It took us so long to really get into the book because we’d put it down after a few nauseous pages. I read most nights before bed as a way to calm myself down from the day and to think about something other than my life. Reading about the daughter’s worries would make me think about how I’d forgotten to pay my electricity bill that day or how Stella had an unexpected vet visit that didn’t fit into my monthly budget. All thoughts that are depressing and need to stay far away from the bedroom.
Talking about these chapters opened up a discussion that we’d typically never have. Sometimes you feel alone in your worries about grown-up things, but it’s an invigorating moment when you realize that everyone around you is going through the same thing. It’s okay to be poor-ish in your 20s and more importantly, it’s okay to air out personal things now and then to your close friends. Get talking! You’ll feel better.
Aside from the in-debt daughter, the story focuses on a wealthy, “new money,” family that is faced with about 7 million disasters all at once. Too many disasters if you ask me. I like to think that bad things happen in threes. Not in thirteens.
One of my favorite sections was about the high school-aged daughter and her exposure to one of those teen-friendly churches. As someone who grew up in the Methodist church, I attended my fair share of youth events with cheesy bands and over-zealous youth directors, but was fortunately spared a lot of the fakeness of it all. When we started talking about this section, it was fascinating to hear some of the girls share their stories about how going to churches like these turned them off or caused them to reconsider their thoughts toward Christianity. Again, it was affirming to hear that I wasn’t crazy or a terrible Christian because I don’t attend church every Sunday. Most of the girls at the table are in a similar boat as me, trying out new churches until they find one that feels natural and real. Prior to that evening, I don’t think we’d ever discussed God or our church background. It wasn’t taboo, it just never came up.
While I don’t recommend reading this book, I do recommend reading something with someone.
One of my best friends lives in Dallas and even though we don’t see each other every day anymore, we’re re-reading David Sedaris (sorry, I’m obsessed) books at the same time so we have something to giggle about with each other on a regular basis.
Just find something to read that will open up your eyes and start a discussion. I sound like a harping English teacher, but really books are great.
Join our book club if you’d like. Our only requirement is that you must like wine.
Next on our list is a spin-off of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, “Death Comes to Pemberley,” by P.D. James. I haven’t started it yet, but maybe this will get us talking about our thoughts on death. Doesn’t that sound happy?