The Thinking 

Girls Partying with Girls

August 6, 2012


MARY writes:

In light of your recent post “Britain’s Plague of Drunks,” I must pass on this ad for Skinny Cocktails. It shows girls getting drunk together. What fun.

Through a guest who brought a bottle of this stuff to my house for a barbeque I learned that the creator of this line of drinks is a former Real Housewife (of God only knows where). Anyway, the priorities seem to be, in no particular order: skinniness; flip flops; tanness; alchohol consumption; grinning; girl fun; bikinis; laughing; and dancing-with-a-drunk-sexy-expression-on-one’s-face.

Of course girls are rebelling against the British posters warning of drunkenness – there’s a lot at stake here!

Laura writes:

Bring back tea parties, please. Girls getting together to celebrate the girl bond with over-the-top partying and pampering seems so much forced fun and desperate escape. I recently met a middle-aged woman who was going on a cruise with dozen or so other women her age. Mind you, they didn’t represent an organization that was gathering around a cause. I could understand that. They were just having a girl vacation and leaving their families behind. It sounded dreadful. Women aren’t meant to travel in packs.

Jane S. writes:

Laura writes: “They were just having a girl vacation and leaving their families behind. It sounded dreadful. Women aren’t meant to travel in packs.”

My mom went on several exotic vacations with one of her ladies’ groups, and I am so glad she had the chance to do that. For her and my other female relatives, a vacation with the family was more work for them than if they had stayed at home.

I grew up taking for granted that it was normal and natural for women to socialize exclusively on occasion with other women (and men also with men). My mom would get together with her friends for morning coffee, afternoon bridge, women’s Bible study. I love women-only gatherings; baby showers and bridal showers being two of my favorites.

I married into a non-Western culture where it is considered unseemly for women to socialize independently of their husbands. If the women get together, the men have to be in the next room, within earshot. That came as a real shock. It was a rare occasion that I could talk with my sisters-in-law in private. If it happened, it was purely by accident. There was no way I could call one of them up and say “let’s do lunch.”

I once took a friend of mine to a favorite Indian restaurant for lunch. It was a weekday and the place was nearly empty. We took a table in the back, near the corner. Then a bunch of big Punjabi guys came in. So many empty tables in that restaurant and guess what they did: squeezed themselves around the table right behind us. Two lone females out together need monitoring, in case we might be saying something disrespectful about our husbands. It went right over my friend’s head, but I was extremely annoyed. I almost turned around and told them to get lost.

Laura writes:

Yes, it is important for women to socialize with each other and it is good for them to get away from their families if they do it in the right spirit. I wasn’t referring to things like lunches out or baby showers. I’m talking about hedonistic girl gatherings.

My mother never expressed a desire to vacation without her husband or her children. I’m sure she wouldn’t have chosen a trip with twelve friends when we were young. A few friends maybe.

MarkyMark writes:

I looked at the ad, and it quickly became apparent that they were disparaging lady like behavior. They’d show the old woman in the blue dress saying “Ladies do/don’t…”, then juxtaposing that with the opposite action. For example, she said that ladies wear sensible shoes. They first focused in on the narrator’s shoes, then showed women in flip-flops. Notice also how the narrator is old and dour, as if ladyhood is old and dour. The ad was yet another assault on ladyhood.

Jane S. writes:

I expect you’ll disagree, but I sometimes wish that my mom and other female relatives, of her generation and older, had not been such flawless models of selfless devotion. I wish that they had said once in a blue moon, “Okay, forget you guys, I’m going to do something for ME for a change.” Maybe not anything so extreme as going on vacation leaving young children behind. I’ve also known couples who went on vacation without their kids and I thought that was a bit mean-spirited.

If the women in my family had set the example of doing for themselves every so often, then I might have learned how to do that. I didn’t know a thing about setting boundaries when I went out into the world, because no one ever taught me. People don’t think of me as a person. They think of me as service or a convenience store. They reach out to me when they need something without having to give anything in return.

 Laura writes:

I strongly agree with you that it’s important for a woman to learn to set boundaries and I think a major reason why many women have left home is their inability to do this and the fact that they were never taught how to do this. The great thing about having a job is that you can say no and have what appears to be a legitimate excuse.

As I have said before, it is not a woman’s obligation to do everything and anything anybody asks of her and it is especially important to turn down organizations looking for volunteers if a woman is overworked or has no time for pleasures of her own. There is enough to do in life.

However, I still think there’s something off about girl get-togethers today.

My mother, by the way, was not a selfless doormat. She didn’t go on girl vacations, but she took time for herself. She read, she learned to play guitar, she started a business too. She knew how to say no.

Laura adds:

By the way, there is nothing wrong with a husband and wife going off on a vacation without their children. And I don’t see anything wrong with a woman having time away with her friends, even a vacation. Again, it’s the spirit in which it’s done.

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