As a kid, I remember my parents going out and leaving me with a babysitter. I also remember times that they would ship us to our grandparents so they could spend the weekend alone. And of course there were many times when my dad would go on fishing trips or leave to play golf with his friends. What I can’t seem to recall is a night where my mom would throw on her tightest jeans, a low cut shirt and 6-inch stilettos, and head out the door to party with her friends.
But that was then, and this is now. These days a Girls Night Out is a very common event. So common that it has earned itself an acronym… “GNO”. Personally, I hate acronyms, especially this one. It gives me chills when I see people write it, but due to my journalistic responsibility, I thought you should know. I needed to share this because it stresses how important this night is for our generation. These days, you can easily text a friend and say, “Hi BFF, I need a GNO badly. WTF is wrong with my husband? He makes me crazy, LOL.” Everyone would know exactly what you are talking about.
I believe that these nights have become so important to women because sadly, many of us are on the brink of depression, debilitating anxiety, and seemingly unmanageable stress. Therefore we each need a place to unload, compare, complain, and commiserate. What better place to do that than in some random Mexican restaurant, dressed up like we are going to the Prom, and slamming Margaritas as we try to relive our youth and find a way to remember what it was like before it all got so crazy.
This past Saturday night I went out with some girlfriends. I blew dry my hair, threw on some eyeliner and searched through my closet for something that didn’t scream ‘Ann Taylor’ or ‘Spring Break 1995’ (my closet seems to have only those two categories.) As I was getting ready my kids came in and said “Mommy, are you going on a date with daddy?” I looked at those sweet faces, those precious faces that I was literally racing to get away from, and said, “Not tonight little ones. Do you think I would be taking this much time to get ready to go out with Dad?”
See, the thing about going out with your girlfriends is that it makes you feel young and happy. Going out with your husband can be fun too, but at times, it can also make you feel old and tired. The problem is that when you go out with your husband, the expectations are extremely high. In about three hours you have to accomplish many things. You somehow have to find a way to reconnect with your husband, fall in love all over again, and successfully plan out your next ten years. It can be exhausting. And the best part is that in order to do this, you have to pay some teenager $18 an hour to check Facebook while your kids are asleep. How can that not be fun?
None of this is an issue when you go out with your girlfriends. Instead, all you have to do is hug your kids, kiss your husband, and head out the door. The drinking and driving issue is easily settled because some poor girl in the group is always pregnant. She has been forced into driving everyone to the bar and watching her girlfriends make fools of themselves. She stands there yawning, while holding her pregnant belly, and daydreaming about how much weight she will lose and what cocktail she will slam as soon as that kid is out.
I went out Saturday night and it was just what I needed. It wasn’t the craziest night I have ever had, but it made me laugh. These days, that is about as good as it gets. We started by rushing to the bar and ordering drinks, so quickly that you may have thought we were dying of thirst. For the next four hours we talked about three main topics…our husbands, our kids, and our sex life. Near death child experiences were shared, past boyfriends were remembered, and martial problems were solved. At the end of the night, a midget (this is not a lie, a real midget) came up to our table and told us we were beautiful and wished he could go home with us all. Does it get any better?
By 10:30 everyone was yawning and the waiter came over to give us the bad news. We needed to vacate our table because our two-hour time limit was up and another group of younger, hotter girls were waiting to be seated for dinner. Once I got home, I took off my painfully high shoes and snuck quietly into my house. I felt refreshed, content and grateful to be alive. I peered in at my two sleeping kids and lay down next to my sweet, snoring husband and smiled. Sometimes you just need three hours, a group of girlfriends, a margarita and a midget to realize that these may just be the best days of our life.