Once a month I go out to dinner with a bunch of girls. (Can I just say straight off that yes, they're all over 30, some over 40, but yes, I am going to call them girls. 'Cos they're mine, so I can. Ok?)
It's an odd grouping, gathered together by one of our number who's an immigrant from another town, and they're always better at making new friends then us complacent Capeys. We know each other through our husbands mainly, who've mostly worked together at various different companies. Some of us are part of a group who (pre-babies) used to 4x4 together regularly, some of us had never met before we started doing this 5 or 6 months ago.
Each month we meet at a different restaurant for a cheapish meal, a couple of bottles of wine and lots and lots of laughs. And slowly we've gotten more drawn into each other's lives, peeled back the layers of superficial acquaintance, delved beyond the daily mundanities, and become quite important to each other.
Last night our 10 broke down like this:
1 was absent due to a business trip to the Maldives
2 of us are work from home mums, trying to maintain the balance every day but for the most part loving it
3 are pregnant - one due in 3 weeks time, the other 2 due within days of each other in February
1 had gotten engaged since our last meeting and had a new sparkly and a new look in her eyes
1 is happily divorced, at ease and seems very in tune with herself and her current life
1 is single, with a rich and fulfilling career, life, spirituality and many beloved pets
1 is quiet, married, not particularly revealing but seems to enjoy sitting back and laughing along with us all
Most of us have some linking threads; husbands, children, hobbies, but I would still hazard a guess that if we were to lay our personalities bare as a group, we'd have more differences (life-styles, beliefs, political inclinations), than similarities. That on paper, it wouldn't seem as if we would particularly get along. That some recruiter, or market researcher, wouldn't think to group us together, wouldn't expect much coherence. But there is.
Throw a bunch of chicks together (ja, we're chicks now, that's how much I care about feminist sensibilities) and we'll always find something to talk about, that's no suprise. But what has suprised me is how quickly we've gotten beyond that. We don't just entertain each other, there's a fondness that's developed that is real and enduring, and very quickly these monthly gatherings have become anticipated and necessary, for us all.
I don't think I'll start seeing any of them more than I had before. I'm lucky enough to have great girl friends much closer to me and with whom I share far more, but I'm glad I've found my Dinner Club gals (oh lordy) and look forward to many more fun evenings with them.