Saturday, January 23, 2010

Day #17 - Food and Whine*

Today is Day #17 of my 2010 free writing challenge for myself. Proud to say I haven't yet skipped a day. Maybe this will get me charged up for NaNoWriMo in November. We'll see. Today's prompt from Lisa Romeo is:

Prompt:  Food and Whine*
*spelling intentional

"Join Me for a Little Food and Whine". That's what the e-mail invitation said. Though it turned out to be the night I met my best friend, I can't begin to tell you how turned off I was by the invitation.

"What do you make of this?" I asked David, forwarding the e-mail to him at work.

"Sounds like a hen party," he zipped back.

"Ugh, no thank you." I had always had guy friends, not girl friends. With six brothers, there were more guys hanging around my childhood home than at a college frat house. The boys used to call it the Mu Omega Mu fraternity — or the House of Mom. I don't know how she fed all those boys all the time. That's half the reason the entire neighborhood loved my mom — she always had great snacks in the house.

Now, with two boys of my own, a kindergartner and a two year old, I found myself being pledged by the sorority of Mommies, a club I had absolutely no interest in joining. This whole mom thing was way more than I had bargained for. Thank God for David, a real co-parent in every sense of the word. He has never once backed away from a dirty diaper or a snotty nose.

I stared at the email for a while.  Food and whine, I thought. Jesus, wasn't having a toddler enough whine for anyone? Why would I want to put on real clothes and shoes to listen to a bunch of women I didn't know whining about … I don't know, whatever women whine about?

I was about to send my regrets when I read the rest of the e-mail. "I'm a single mom new to the community and finding it a little hard to meet people, so I'm reaching out to all the moms in Kyle's kindergarten class. This is totally casual. We'll meet at the Martini Bar, have a little nosh, have a little drink, get to know each other and get away from our kids for while. Sound good? Meet me there at 7:30 on Wednesday. BTW, Dutch treat, OK. I'm a broke single mom."

Just then David IMed me. "You should go. You've been stuck with sick kiddos for days. I'll cancel my meeting and be home no later than 6:30. GO!" Did I mention he's a great guy?

So I went. It took me 45 minutes to find a pair of pants that didn't make my ass look like it needed a wide-load warning sign on it. The whole shoe thing was a nightmare, so I opted for flip flips, even though it was only 40 degrees. I almost chickened out when I tried to put on some makeup, but I settled for a big streak of concealer under each eye in a vain attempt to cover the dark circles and a swipe of "Hot Tamale" red lipstick.
It was pouring down rain by the time I got to the bar and my hair was frizzing. Three other women I knew were already there: Katie's mom, the sycophant; Matthew's mom, who seemed kind of normal, but we just never clicked; and Parrish's mom, an ultraconservative Christian who made me feel like a victim of the inquisition every time I saw her. I know that's not fair, but I get nervous around people who wear their religion on their sleeve. Then, a tall blond woman in great casual/professional clothes and real shoes stood up and shook my hand.

"Hi, I'm Jane," she said. "Thanks for coming. You're Ellen, right? Jake's mom? Kyle thinks Jake is the funniest kid in history."

She had me right then and there.

Time:  11 minutes

This scene is a combination of several real-life events that have happened to me over the past 15 years or so. I really did get this kind of an invitation from a single mom, although she did not become my best friend. I really did become excellent friends with a woman I barely knew over the course of one evening of hors d'oeuvres and cocktails. I really did know a woman with six brothers that called their house the MOM fraternity. I guess this is what they mean when they say that a single fictional character is often an amalgam of different real people, who merge together to make someone completely new. Cool.

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