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Go Dancing


by Meg Keene, Editor-In-Chief

Go Dancing | A Practical Wedding

Several months ago, Robin (who I met through that first APW meetup ever) and I talked about The Things No One Ever Warned You You’d Give Up When You Got Married (if you didn’t watch out). And at the top of the list was slumber parties. While it seems to be very popular for women to say that they’re not the kind of girl who’s friends with other girls, let me be clear, I’m a girls girl. I’m a blunt talking, no-nonsense, say it to your face kind of girl, but the bulk of my close friends have always been other ladies. I like prolonged gab sessions, and cocktails, and dressing up. I like staying up past our bedtimes and whispering and giggling about sex, boys, secret dreams, secret fears (exactly like APW, if I think about it). And what I didn’t realize is that getting married, or more precisely, moving in with my partner, would shift the balance of that more than I wanted it to.

So a few months ago Robin and I decided that the time was right to introduce Married Lady Slumber Parties. Now, when one husband or the other goes out of town, we plan a slumber party. We stay up late, we drink cocktails, we splash in the pool, we talk so much that our heads spin, and then the next morning all feels right with the world. Problems we’d been pondering feel ironed out.

But of late I’ve realized slumber parties were not all that I’d been missing. I’d also been missing girls’ nights on the town, tottering around in hot-but-not-sensible-shoes, dancing, playing dress up, no-follow-through-flirting. So this weekend David went out of town, and Maggie and Kelly invited me out dancing. First we spent two hours playing dress up and doing our hair (it’s funny how that never changes). Then the ladies took some of the best pictures of me ever taken, slightly drunk, in the bathroom, reading Esquire while they did their makeup.

Go Dancing | A Practical Wedding

Then we went out. And danced and danced and danced and danced. Actual conversation:

Guy A: I’d like to introduce you to my friend.
Guy B: Hi, I’m Jim.
Drunken Meg: Hi, I’m very married.
Guy B: Ahhh.
Meg: I just thought I should put that out there.
Guy B: Understood.
Kelly: Did you just introduce yourself as very married?
Meg: Correct.
(Jim was cute by the way, or I might not have bothered getting out of harm’s way.)

And at the end of the night, bundling my tipsy self into a cab, I felt exactly like myself. Feisty, independent, self-sufficient, free. Maybe it was all the walking around town in heavy fog, in uncomfortable shoes. Maybe it was the flirting-that-wasn’t. Maybe it was just the hours of dancing (my favorite activity). Maybe it was the girl time. Maybe it was just a little time reminding myself that wife-hood, adulthood, and even parenthood is what we make it. I’m not sure what it was, but I know I need more of it: more dancing, cocktails, dress-up, and peals of girl laughter. It’s part of what makes me a excellent wife (and very married).

Photos by Maggie, though the last one was Kelly’s idea

Meg Keene

Meg is the Founder and EIC of APW. Her first book, A Practical Wedding: Creative Solutions for Planning a Beautiful, Affordable, and Meaningful Celebration, was published in January 2012, and has been a top three bestseller on the wedding bookshelf ever since. Meg has her BFA in Drama from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She lives in Oakland, CA with her husband and son. For more than you ever wanted to know about Meg, you can visit MegKeene.com.

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  • tupelohoney

    Love it. Thanks for the reminder. A night out dancing with the girls sounds amazing. And I love that picture of you on the bathroom floor.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01357487165783601091 The Elizabeth of Oz

    Oh my, aren’t you just TOO GORGEOUS!

    And dancing is one of life’s great delights. Let’s aim to be still kicking up our heels at 100. Deal?

  • http://poppiesandicecream.blogspot.com/ Amanda

    Oh yeah !
    a). you look very pretty indeed in the photo where you´re sitting in the bathroom.
    And b). definitely girls night out are the best, and I miss them… given that most of my best best friends are in other countries. We do talk a lot, the other day I stayed up until 2 just chatting with best friend in Bolivia.
    Should take your advice :) reminded me of the feeling, good times ;)

  • http://hartandsolphoto@gmail.com Maddie

    Is there something in the water? I’ve been feeling this lately too, as I am decidedly a girlfriends kind of girl.

    So last Friday night, when Michael was out of town, I went out with the ladies, had WAY too much wine, drank Lemon Drops (how did I not discover those before?!) and told one of my best friends’ boyfriends that I was The Godfather.

    I don’t know about you, but I’m much more willing to compromise on the big things (where are we going to live, when do you think we should have kids, etc. etc.) than I am on the little stuff that makes me who I am.

    Also, you guys look HOT.

    • http://www.linseykitchens.com Linsey

      Ha ha ha! The Godfather! How I would pay to be a fly on the wall for that conversation!

  • Amy March

    Ahh the full moon. Always makes me want to be out dancing all night and I’m not even a night person.

  • Aurélie

    Make sure to extra-congratulate your friends on those truly beautiful photos (and the model isn’t bad either)!

  • Cass

    My husband and I really feel we need to keep our other relationships strong like this in order to keep our marriage strong, too. So we never have problems with slumber parties or girls’ nights or guys’ nights with friends.
    Plus, it gives us something to talk about with each other, too! :)

    • http://dearwedding.wordpress.com/ Andee

      Yes, exactly! Doing activities without your partner gives you more to talk about and leaves some mystery in your relationship! Yes, love it!

  • http://jolynn.wordpress.com Jo

    I love this! I very strongly believe in Marriage being what you make it. I’ve lived my whole life being completely surrounded by people who think that marriage ends your life, and when they get married, they prove it. I’m very much out to prove that it’s otherwise, that it doesn’t mean the end of Freedom and Adventure. This post makes me very happy. I really like the idea of a Girl’s Night Slumber Party. And the Girl’s Night Out Dancing.

    • http://silver-sandalled.blogspot.com Maggie

      Hmm… maybe next book club should be a sleepover? Or at least include a night out dancing! I’ve been craving this kind of fun – it’s not so much marriage that’s preventing me, but worrying about being too old (which is silly, right??), or not knowing anyone else who would want to join me, now that my undergrad/grad school friends have scattered…

      • http://jolynn.wordpress.com Jo

        YES PLEASE. I think it should include both: fancy up and talk to go out dancing, then come home and sleep over. Next time C is out of town I’ll maybe throw one. :) Dancing options are semi-limited here but it’s what you make it, right?

        • http://webecomeus.wordpress.com Caitlin

          And we’ll make it awesome, natch. :)

        • Kinzie Kangaroo

          This should probably be the weekend when I come visit, eh?

          • http://jolynn.wordpress.com Jo

            EFF YES.

          • http://webecomeus.wordpress.com Caitlin

            what jo said.

      • http://jolynn.wordpress.com Jo

        P.S. You’re SOOO not too old.

    • http://bunniesnbeagles.blogspot.com Ms. Bunny

      Dammit I want to slumber party and dance with you guys.

      • http://jolynn.wordpress.com Jo

        I think that could be arranged…. ;)

  • Jamie

    I miss my girls. A year ago, I moved to a new state to be with my husband. We just got married a few weeks ago, and dancing around like a goof with my girls at our wedding made me realize how much I miss the ladies who knew me when.

    I hang out with the ladies who are the wives and girlfriends of his friends. We do sleep overs, we sit around and watch movies and bake cookies, but it’s just not as fun as having MY girls around. I’m still not entirely comfortable being 100% myself around them yet, because they’ve only ever known me as “his”. With my friends from home, we can gossip and compare our men, be very open and frank about our sex lives, share each others shoes, pluck each others eyebrows. I miss that closeness that you have when people know everything about you.

    At least my husband lets me pluck his eyebrows. He’s also a pretty good gossiper.

    • http://poppiesandicecream.blogspot.com/ Amanda

      Haha I also pluck the boy´s stray eyebrows, every now and then. Glad to read this, don´t feel so weird about it anymore :p

    • http://nickandnoragettingmarried.wordpress.com Annie

      My fiance and I are considering moving next year, and that’s a major concern I have about one very strong potential place. All of his friends are there (he was there for a few years out of college) and even though they’re great, they’re still all his friends. Glad to know it’s not just me being paranoid. Making your own, real friends takes a fair amount of time and it can be very tough.

      • http://jolynn.wordpress.com Jo

        Having lived there for the last year, it is HARD. My support system is zero, his is full, and while they’re totally awesome, they’re his friends. They may become mine over the years, but right now it’s not the same. It’s one of the hardest things for us. Email me if you’d like to chat about it at any time? It’s do-able, by all means.

        • http://bringitinheavy.tumblr.com Genevieve

          This is exactly where I am now after moving across state lines in August to live with my fiance. I’m making friends slowly but it’s not easy!

          • http://cuvikingadventures.blogspot.com/ Jenny- Adventures Along the Way

            Me too! And a recent visit back to the last place I lived in the US made me realize how much I miss having friends where I live. :( It’s hard….

        • http://nickandnoragettingmarried.wordpress.com Annie

          Thanks Jo. I might just take you up on that.

        • Erin

          Can we be new friends?? I’ve had the same situation… it’s been a year and it is HARD to make new friends.

          • http://jolynn.wordpress.com Jo

            Yes, please! Email me: johannahharper at gmail dot com

    • http://truelovenuptials.wordpress.com April

      I moved to a different state after college, and I always LOVE reuniting with my college gals. We usually try to plan some sort of extravagant night out but end up spending the majority of the time sitting around in an apartment, drinking, and talking about boys and life. It’s always better that way, anyway!

      I definitely agree with not being 100% myself with my fiance’s friends (or girlfriends of his friends). It’s just not the same. I wish it was easier to meet/make girl friends in adult-life.

      • http://highdivingboard.wordpress.com/ Morgan

        But it can work! David has a good friend who married a girl they all went to high school with. And she, despite living a few hours away, is now one of my favourite people to talk to about some things. She’s now definitely ‘my friend’ and I actually think that our friendship has made the boys closer. (Because if we’re in their town, I make sure to see her and so the boys play road hockey while we chat.) It took a bit of time, but can be worth it.

    • meg

      It’ll come. We moved to San Francisco from when we moved in together, and I didn’t have any girlfriends out here. But four years later, I do! So as long as you care to build it, you will.

      • http://www.thefamiliarwilderness.com Erin

        Oh thank you for sharing your time frame. While I know four years won’t be true for everyone, I moved to a new state after marriage over a year ago, and boy I feel lonely sometimes. Glad to know there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. I’ve planned HS girlfriends’ weekend for a couple weeks from now (WOOHOO), but am really needing some full-time, local friends.

        • meg

          It shouldn’t take a full four years, mind you. I was there earlier, and would have been there earlier even than that if I hadn’t had a hellish job that made me wake up at 5am, and never go out. But yes, it will happen. And a year isn’t very long….

          • Marchelle

            THIS IS MY LIFE RIGHT NOW. Fuck.

        • http://bunniesnbeagles.blogspot.com Ms. Bunny

          It’s taken me about a year in a new place to start feeling comfortable with two female friends. I’m not quite to the gossip-and-go-dancing place yet, but we are at the don’t-need-to-make-advance-plans stage. It takes time and it is hard. But it will come.

        • cartascartas

          Me too, me too! His support system is by no means full, but he does have some good friends and mine is most definitively zero. We moved for my job, which was in a new city for both of us, but he happened to have college friends who lived here.

          It has been tough–on me, mostly, but as a consequence, on us. Because I am a total girly-girl. I also crave shopping days (even if it’s just window shopping!), sleepovers and brunches with the girls, and spending hours getting ready before going out dancing in too-high heels. I went to an all-girls school, this was always a given for me! I miss it, dearly, and I know I could be a better wife if I felt more fulfilled in this way. My survival strategy so far has been to host non-local friends, as frequently as possible. Gives me something to look forward to, and makes it easier to invite acquaintances along to hopefully (one day?) have them turn into friends.

      • http://www.bridesanstulle.com Sharon

        I couldn’t agree more. Hands down the hardest thing about moving across the country right after we married was losing all the people who’d known Jason and me when we were single. It took awhile to convince a lot of the women I met here that no, really, I want to be invited to girls’ nights and manicures and dancing and slumber parties. These things strengthen my marriage because they strengthen me as an individual.

        We’re getting there. My girls “back home” will always be irreplaceable, but my friendships here are starting to take on their own look and flavor and to feel like they’re headed toward irreplaceability as well, if that makes any sense.

        • Robin

          We also moved cross-country right after we got engaged. And I will be honest and say that the first year here was really difficult. It’s taken longer than that to really feel like I have good girl friends. I’d say this happened maybe sometime last year? So, maybe at the 2.5 year mark or so? And I am typically SLOW to like/get close to people. But. Here I am. Nearly four years later, having Sunday brunch, and sleepovers, and playdates with amazing women I hadn’t even met two years ago. So, patience. And tenacity. It will happen!

          • Meg

            I moved cross-country right before we got engaged and am having a similar experience. My fiance had already lived here a year for graduate school and thus had a built-in group of friends. I’m quite introverted, so this can be difficult for me, but I agree with Sharon that the key is letting people know you’re interested in a social life that doesn’t always have to include your partner.

        • http://webecomeus.wordpress.com Caitlin

          High-five to the movers! At least we have all these understanding internet friends, right? :)

          • Susanne

            Very nice to read all of this as I am in a similar situation. I moved to Mongolia over a year ago to be with my boyfriend (who is now my fiance). I miss my friends back home (Belgium) a lot but have found a few good friends here as well. It is just frustrating sometimes as not only do you have to start from zero, culture and language barriers play a significant role here as well. There is a relatively small but nice group of foreigners here (for when I want to speak my own language for example). However most tend to be here for just a short period and rotate quite a bit so I find myself meeting new interesting people that I know will be gone soon. Also starting from nothing everytime is sometimes slightly tiring. The story of how I ended up here and the obligatory what do you do are starting to sound rehearsed :) As mentioned before by others it is just so nice to be with people that know you, that know who you’re talking about when you mention your sister’s boyfriend and who you can just be with without thinking about what to say next. I have not been back since Christmas last year but will be going to Belgium in October. My fiance will join me for a week after which I will stay another 2 weeks. Looking forward to that while making sure I live my life here and build new relationships little by little.

    • Jenny

      I moved to the other side of the world two years ago now and that has been the hardest part by far – finding the girls that I can share anything with, be serious or be silly, but just be myself. I’ve luckily met some awesome ladies who are the wives/girlfriends of my fiance’s friends, but you’re right there is something very different about this. It is still sometimes easier to fall back on just spending time with my guy – we’ve been together for years, have made moves to a number of different countries together and are really each other’s support system. But at the end of the day, there are things you just need your girls for. Hang in there – hopefully we’re both lucky enough to find those girls to dance the night away with!

  • http://justneedthisspace.wordpress.com ddayporter

    ahhhhh love this! definitely a girlfriends person, definitely need my nights out with the girls on a regular basis, haven’t really made time/budgeted for it enough lately. ALSO think I’m going to need to organize this slumber party idea, it’s been entirely too long since we did that. <3

  • http://www.christytylerphotography.com Christy T

    DUDE. YES to this entire thing! Seriously. James always says that I’m more myself and happier when I get home from a night out with my girls. I get all my chitter-chatter/wearing high heels/dancing my face off – out of my system, and usually come back so so SO happy I’m no longer in the dating scene & oh-so-madly in love with James for being totally cool with me getting all dressed up to hit the town without him. And now that I’m writing this – I realize it’s been quite a while since I’ve made the time to do that. So… I think I need to call my ladies and make a dancing date! :)

    • FawMo

      EVERY time I go out I come home to C (usually sleeping) and say, “I had such a good time, I love them so much, I’m SO GLAD I’m not dating. I love you.”

    • Kinzie Kangaroo

      Next APW book club, eh? Dancing and a sleep over???

      • Julia

        Yes!!

  • http://emiliajanephotography.com Emilia

    YES! Agreed on all counts. I normally just enjoy the quiet when Wil goes out of town…but I am definitely going to implement your plan instead! How fun, I miss slumber parties and nights out dancing :-) Meg, your intro with the cute guy was hilarious and I would probably do something exactly like that! Hey Christy……let’s do this thing!

    • http://forcause.wordpress.com Sandy

      i’m in for dancing, chicago ladies!

      • http://theatreprojects.blogspot.com Jessamarie

        I’m always ready for dancing:) Next night free is totally getting posted on the chicago facebook group.

    • KD

      DANCING! Chicago! YES!

  • Sarah P

    I am all for this but why wait until the man is out of town? My best ladies and I do this somewhat regularly. It’s not always dancing but getting together for a good chat (the kind of chat you can only have with your best ladies) is a regular occurrence.

    Might I also suggest a ladies only road trip?

    And because my friends and I are SUPER mature, the occasional make up party wherein we all bring out crappy makeup we hate and do each other up to look as terrible as possible and then take lots of photos (bonus points if you call it a “pink princess pajama party” and wear tiaras and all pink outfits and drink a lot of gin).

    • Ashley B

      I’m taking a ladies trip to Vegas where the goal is to drink girly drinks by the pool by day and dance our asses off by night and I can’t wait!

  • http://silver-sandalled.blogspot.com Maggie

    “Maybe it was the flirting-that-wasn’t.”

    I would be interested in a Reclaiming Wife post on just this topic.

    I wish I could do this – flirt, but not in a REAL way. I used to be a huuuuge flirt–which had good and bad consequences (I’ll admit I sometimes look back and cringe at the unintended results). But I feel like this side of me shut down towards other people since I fell in love (long before marriage), and was redirected towards my guy. Which is awesome, don’t get me wrong: I still flirt like crazy with my husband and want to keep it that way. ;)

    But it’s like… now that I have a 24/7 outlet, I’ve forgotten how energizing it can be to spread it around, if that makes any sense. My desire to flirt used to be motivated primarily by sexual attraction or (if I’m really honest) the need for validation, but it would often spill over into something purer, more about paying extra attention to an individual, inviting them to pay attention to you–men and women, old, young, whatever. It was about making connections vs. minding my own business and limiting contact.

    But even though my former flirting wasn’t always sexually-charged, I also feel like I don’t quite understand how to flirt-but-not-in-a-dangerous/meaningful way. I absolutely believe it can be done, but I don’t have the grasp of it yet, or know how to keep it from getting… weird. I also worry that I was TOO hooked on flirting in my early twenties, because I needed the self-esteem rush… and I don’t want to fall into that trap again.

    Anyone else feel this way? Or have advice? Sorry for the tangent– this post just reminded me of something I’ve been wondering about lately.

    • Vmed

      I was a big flirt whenever I was single and looking for romance or friendship or whatever, and I toned it waaaay down when J and I were dating. The more serious we got, the more careful I was to not be overly friendly with strangers. Like you, I didn’t want to give the wrong impression. But once we got engaged, it was a huge relief to be able to be friendly/flirty while wearing a symbol of my commitment.

      And especially now that we’re married (haha, this is my first post since eloping) I feel like by keeping my hands visible I can just go with it. It’s fun, it’s innocent, and it lets me practice being charming and being charmed.

      Long story short: I can relate, and I wave around an obvious wedding ring to send the message that I am very married.

      • meg

        Ha. The wedding ring does help with the flirting. And TRUST ME, they notice it (and mine is tiny!)

        • Olivia

          People are terrible about noticing my wedding ring. I often get shocked reactions when I say “my husband.” I look younger than I am, so maybe that’s part of it.

        • http://bunniesnbeagles.blogspot.com Ms. Bunny

          My engagement ring never stopped guys before. Maybe cause it’s not a diamond so they didn’t realize what it was? Hoping the addition of the wedding ring beefs up how noticeable it is.

          • KD

            One of my best comebacks ever was about this.

            Random guy at bar who came over and tapped me on the shoulder: “Hey, are you really engaged or do you just wear that ring so creeps don’t hit on you”

            me: “umm…I’m actually married, and apparently it wouldn’t work anyway….(eye roll)”

            He didn’t get the hint and kept trying to chat me up. I eventually walked away.

        • Vmed

          Oh, I also don’t mean my ring is big, it’s just pretty traditional, so that makes it obvious.

          • meg

            Mine is not terribly traditional or obvious (two thin bands), but I’ve found that once you hit your thirties, guys are looking.

      • FawMo

        Just wanted to say: Yay elopement!

        • Vmed

          <3

    • RachelLyn

      I think my male friends are the perfect outlets for flirting. The night I met my husband he thought I was one of my (now our) closest friend’s girlfriend – and he asked for my number anyhow… So I have always had a touchy-feely and flirty relationship with my guys. We all flirt with each other, which is life affirming and energizing without feeling .. dangerous. And I’ll be damned if my marriage is going to get in the way of those relationships. So that same friend whose lap I was sitting in when I met my husband? We still get low on the dance floor (really low).

    • http://www.3upadventures.com Beth

      I always enjoyed flirting. I don’t know that I was very good at it but I definitely had my fun in college. However, there was always this feeling in the background that I needed to find someone to flirt with to validate how pretty I looked (I like to believe I would have grown out of this if I’d remained single).

      I find it a great relief to go out and NOT be looking for someone to flirt with. I find myself really dancing and laughing and having fun rather than scanning the room looking for the next cute guy because I know I get to go home to my handsome love.

    • http://www.linseykitchens.com Linsey

      My friends used to say that I would “go out on the hunt” when we went out. I would have no problem leaving the group of friends I’d arrived with to trot off and meet new people. And flirt with most of them. I’d do it for my friends too, “retrieve,” they’d call it. (Don’t worry, I don’t wear camouflage!)

      I didn’t notice how much I’d missed it until my best friend came to visit me in my new state. We went out till all hours and that quixotic side of me felt alive again; there was something about “hunting” (as I’m now apt to call it) that gave me a total thrill and, since I was then engaged, felt totally harmless, which actually made it more fun! It’s like I could flirt and not even have to think twice about what I would do if he tried to make a move, cause now I’m in the no-move-zone–the harmless zone. The I wouldn’t go home with you even if you were Don Draper (wait…) And it’s amazing that I don’t even have to think about that.

      I’ll liken it to being able to eat ice cream without the calories. Best of both worlds!

    • anon for this

      I am also really wary of this. Probably because of this one time I was babysitting a drunk and engaged friend, and ended up following her around because she kept getting realllly close to guys in dark corners, and I just did not feel comfortable leaving her alone in that situation. I was probably way too overprotective–I felt like I was watching a 13 year old little sister or something. But for me personally, I really do feel like the line of what flirting is ok and what isn’t changes significantly.

      I think for me, the line is whether I’d feel comfortable if my husband was sitting next to me watching me flirt.

      • http://silver-sandalled.blogspot.com Maggie

        “I think for me, the line is whether I’d feel comfortable if my husband was sitting next to me watching me flirt.”

        Interesting you say this – I’m realizing just now that that is my (subconscious) gauge, too–or “would I be uncomfortable if the roles were reversed?” In my case (obviously, this isn’t true for everyone), that doesn’t lead to much (any?) flirting, really. Huh. Have to think on this more…

      • Cassandra

        I’m with you on this. I used to be a big flirt, and I’ve always been more comfortable getting along with men than women. Since getting serious with the boy, I’ve really tried to tone that side of things down and rely much less on flirtation in my conversations and interactions. It can be difficult sometimes because I do think it’s largely my personality more than intentional flirting, but I always keep it in the back of my head – “How would the boy feel about how I’m acting?” If the answer leans at all toward him not being comfortable with it, then I’m not comfortable with it. More power to couples who can innocently flirt, but it’s always on my mind how I would feel if he was flirting and how he would feel if I was, and we’d both just be more comfortable without flirtation.

    • NH

      Dan Savage actually gets a lot of calls from people who are opening up their marriages and are seriously shocked by how good the married sex gets as soon as they start flirting with and thinking about other people. This is obviously not true for everyone, but I think there are a lot of people out there for whom the thrill of having someone new recognize you as sexy and exciting is good for the relationship. Even if you’re not planning to go anywhere physical with it. I don’t know if it works for me, really, because I’ve never been much of a flirt, but it’s what I thought of when I read your post.

      I really love the idea of flirting as a way to seriously connect. Getting rid of the fear that someone might notice that you’re really interested – sexually or not – seems really important for that.

  • http://libudgetbride.wordpress.com Ariella

    I went out a few weeks ago with my editor’s wife. She told me she never thinks about invited married friends out because she thinks that they always have something important to do. This was an interesting thing to say, considering she was married. I told her I never really understood why girl time dies when so many women get married. All of a sudden they get married and become Super Wife and attached at their husband’s hip. My own MIL told me that she LOVED to go dancing and once she got married, she never went again. Not because my FIL forbid it, but because she just didn’t.

    The truth is that my husband is a homebody. He’s happier being on his own, playing video games or making music than going out with friends. While I enjoy spending time with him, I need that girl time. That night out was my first since I’ve moved away from all of my friends. If I knew more people here, I can guarantee that I’d be heading out more often, even if it’s just for a cup of coffee. Next month I’m heading back up to NY for a weekend with friends and I’m really looking forward to it. Granted, the only reason why my husband isn’t going to this co-ed weekend is because we can’t afford it, but part of me is thankful I get to spend some time with my girls without also having to entertain him.

    • http://www.accidentallyyours.wordpress.com Novice Wife

      I’ve noticed this same thing as well – since getting married, the fun night-out-on-the-town invites have dried up and the Sunday barbeque invites have flourished. Not that Sunday barbeques aren’t fun, but I miss the dressing up and dancing! I think I’m just going to have to take it on myself to start organizing one . . .

      • http://libudgetbride.wordpress.com Ariella

        Yes! It’s like everything has to be done as a couple. And don’t get me wrong, I enjoy spending time with other couples, but there’s really nothing like spending time out with just the girls. You should definitely start planning some girls nights out.

        • KD

          THIS! This is exactly what I was going to comment!

          “since getting married, the fun night-out-on-the-town invites have dried up”

          It’s so sad that people assume I don’t want to go out and act like a fool and play wing-woman now that I’m married. I’m still meeeeeeee! I still love those things (and I’m a damn good wing woman)!

  • http://www.jehara.blogspot.com jehara

    I just spent a long weekend in Texas having slumber parties every night with (married) girlfriends. Girl time is so so energizing. For me it is vitally fulfilling and necessary.

    I remember in college (way before I was married) one of my married girlfriends invited a bunch of us girls over for a sleepover during spring break. I remember being floored. I never knew anyone to do that after they were married. It was a great inspiration and reminder that being married doesn’t mean you have to give up things like sleepovers and copious amounts of girl time.

  • http://nighttraintodetroit.com amy

    The last time I was complaining about getting too old and sleepy to stay out all night, my brother-in-law said, “You are not old. You just aren’t single.” And he reminded me that when you ARE single, even when your night is just so-so, it is probably more exciting, and holds more possibility, than going home and falling asleep in front of the TV. When you are partnered, a so-so night is perfectly good grounds for going home and falling asleep in front of the TV. Together! Maybe with the leftovers of whatever bottle of wine you had with dinner.

    This concept of “single stamina” was an eye-opener for me. And I realized it was something I could get back if / when I wanted it, if I was conscious about it. A few weeks after that conversation, after some band friends finished up a show, they invited me to an after-party at some stranger’s dingy house. Normally I would have said, “No! I am tired and married and old!” But instead I said, “OK!” And there was cheap beer, strange conversations, hippies climbing trees, and country bands playing so loud that they blew out the power. And it was a good night. And I felt just like this: “Fiesty, independent, self-sufficient, free.”

    • k

      Single stamina — I’ve never called it that but I’ve told many people the exact thing your friend told you. I’m about to get married in three weeks. I’m 44 years old. I’ve never been married. Until two years ago when my man moved to the same city as me, I went out five nights a week, easy. Now….not so much. Not because I no longer like going out, but now I have a reason to go home and a reason to stay there once I get home.

  • RachelLyn

    We call it vitamin dance party, as in: “Who is going out tonight because I need to get my vitamin dance party.” Now, I am definitely a mixed group kind of girl, and I made a point of marrying someone who would want to come out and dance, but a good dance party at least every other week is absolutely necessary for my mental health and so I simply cannot wait for my husband to go out of town. Besides, it’s more fun if he’s there.

    Ladies night is another regular need (the conversation is just different when the guys aren’t around), but similarly, I think it is important that these nights don’t wait for our men to be out of town. It isn’t that hard to kick him out for an evening…

    Now I am feeling inspired- I am going to go and organize a ladies night right now!

    • meg

      Oh, David is a dancer, and he’d come out and dance. But there is something different about a girls night out… even if it’s just fending off all the boys.

  • Carissa

    Love it! I remember when my oldest sister got married, I was SO sad that we didn’t have slumber parties in my room anymore when she came to visit. That was when we had our best, silliest, most important conversations.
    And as my friends have married off, and I moved in with my boyfriend and got engaged, it’s continued to sadden me. But still – when my friends come into town, I kick my fiance out of bed! He doesn’t like it very much, but he puts up with it for me. And I have a great time giggling and whispering with my friends til the wee hours. :)

  • http://highdivingboard.wordpress.com/ Morgan

    Now, I’m not much of a dancer other than at weddings, oddly, but that’s probably because I like to go nuts to silly songs like 500 Miles and hate dance/techno music, which is about all you can find in my city.

    But ladies nights and girlfriend trips? ALL over that. David has a friend who loves sports just as much, and has buddy passes on WestJet, and so I’ve decided that every time he takes off to see a hockey game in a new city, I get to go somewhere with friends too. Just yesterday I started trying to arrange something for January, during the NHL All Stars Weekend. Because while I do enjoy hockey, I also enjoy hanging out with my friends, and it’s so nice to take a whole weekend. Spa weekend in the Rockies > Ottawa for hockey.

  • Bethie

    I love this post so so much. There is this misconception or feeling that if you are married or living with your partner, then suddenly things like sleepovers with your girlfriends or going out dancing is out of the picture. I think a lot of it comes from this idea that your spouse is supposed to fulfill all of your needs, and friends are less important – what a ridiculous idea! I need my friends now just as much as I’ve ever needed them. I feel very lucky that during college I became friends with an amazing group of women who I spent four years with (much like Meg, spending hours getting ready together and then going out and dancing our asses off) and now they are like sisters to me. Although we all live all over the place, we made a pact to have a reunion all together at least once a year. After these reunions, I always feel so renewed!

  • http://amidlifeofprivilege.blogspot.com LPC

    You look amazing. I can only imagine the energy this brings back with it.

  • http://boredzilla.blogspot.com Linsey

    I’ve been feeling really sad recently as my girl time seems to have declined to non-existant, and I’m not even married! I’m definitely a girls girl so I’m making an active effort to do something about it

  • http://www.fancynotion.blogspot.com/ Kerry

    I’m forwarding this to all my girls.

    To the married ones, to say “We’re doing this.”

    To the unmarried ones, to say: “You can still ask me to do things like this. We’re doing this.”

    • http://www.bridesanstulle.com Sharon

      Best. Idea. Ever.

  • Lindsey

    I love this post! I’m not married yet, but I’ve lived with my fiance for 3 years and have kept it a priority to have Girl Time on a regular basis (and he has Boy Time too). My closest girl friends and I make the time at least once a month to get together for dinner and a movie, epic dance nights, or just crashing at someone’s house for an evening to drink wine and catch up on the couch. It’s essential for me to have that time with my friends, even if it’s more infrequent now than it used to be when I was younger.

    In addition to nights here and there that are designated as Girl Time, twice a year I do something special: GIRLMAGEDDON. My fiance goes out of town for business for 2 weeks, twice a year, and on those weekends when he’s gone I have a full-blown Girlmageddon at our place: lots of wine and bubbly, best girl friends spending the night, lots of movies (last time: “Burlesque” and “Spice World,” naturally), and all the decadent food and treats we could want. We all clear our calendars months in advance, and then that weekend can include whatever we want–getting all fancied up and going out dancing, staying in all weekend in our jammies playing with makeup, or taking a road trip.

    (We are all in our late-20s to early-30s, btw, and in all stages of relationships.)

    My fiance’s version is Boyzone, and while I am out of town less frequently, I encourage him to do Boyzone baseball games and bar-hopping when he can get the guys together. (If he were to do a weekend with his friends, it would of course be BOYPOCALYPSE! His busy work schedule makes that happen a lot less frequently, sadly.) It’s so important to both of us to have that time apart and with our closest friends, and I want to keep that on our minds after we get married next March. (Although two weeks after we get married he has to go out of town for two weeks, so I’ll get the chance for some Girl Time very soon after getting married, funnily enough.)

    • meg

      Amazing.

    • http://www.linseykitchens.com Linsey

      My partner in crime used to have “Mansday.” They worked on their cars, drank beer, scratched in all kinds of places, drove their project cars to a spot where other men would oogle them and then eat lots of meat.

      Since we’ve moved, “Mansday” no longer exists, which is a total bummer both for him and me–it was a guaranteed free night to myself!

      • Lindsey

        Mansday! I love it! And yes–the best part of Boyzone nights is that I can either have a girl night of my own OR just slarf around in my pajamas and have a night completely to myself. So important!

  • http://marylandmel.com Mel

    My fiance is definitely a guy who doesn’t mind staying home and reading, playing video games, etc. And I’m a homebody too but every once in a while, you just have to get out of the house with your girlfriends. I feel like I’ve done a pretty good job of this so far, but I’m wondered if it will be more challenging after we’re married?

    Not necessarily because of my attitude about marriage, but because my friends may think I’ll want to suddenly spend every waking moment with Trey.

  • http://www.icookwithwine.com Melinda

    Love this! I’ve definitely had the same epiphany – sometimes you just need girl time. My lady friends (some married, some not) just had girls’ karaoke night last Saturday and it was such a blast, although, as a newlywed, I’ve still got weird flirting guilt. Should I be chatting with strange guys? Do they notice the ring? These boys are so nice though, I can’t be rude… Haha, crazy, yes, but I may have to borrow your “very married” line next time. :) Or just stick with dancing in the Castro.

    • meg

      A) Of course you should still be chatting with strange boys.
      B) Of course they will notice the ring.

      • N

        I dunno, I had an internship last summer, and mentioned something about my fiance about two weeks in and the guy who was sitting TO MY LEFT for 8+ hours a day was all “whaa? you’re engaged?” After that experience I generally assume people don’t notice. I think it’s all dependent on the life/relationship stage of the other person. Before I was pre-engaged, I don’t think I noticed left ring fingers much, but once I started to think about it for myself, I started looking to people’s left hand on instinct. If engagement/marriage is not on your own personal radar, I think it doesn’t register as a possibility, especially for the early twenties crowd.

    • Stephasaurus

      In my experience, even when strange guys in bars/clubs notice AND ACKNOWLEDGE the ring (or, if I tell them I’m engaged), they keep flirting anyway! No shame, I tell ya. And no harm in flirting back — I always tell my fiance about it later and he just thinks it’s hilarious because 1) guys in bars say hilarious things to get girls and 2) at the end of the day, I’m still all his.

    • Harriet

      Maybe this is silly, but I think my husband is a little flattered when guys flirt with me. And I feel the same when girls flirt with him. It’s part of the fun. :)

      • meg

        I think mine is too ;)

        • msditz

          I just said this exact same thing to a flirting partner the other day! My sister lives in a fated complex, and there is one security guard who always remembers my name and gives me a wink and a joke when I come through. The other day I was visiting my sister solo and he said, “I feel like I can’t flirt with you when your husband is in the car,” and I said, “Please do! We both appreciate it!” I get to think I still got it, and he gets to think, I’m married to the girl that’s still got it. Win-win.

  • Class of 1980

    A couple of years ago, we had a huge slumber party for a friend who was turning 50! It was a lot of fun and we had a game where we drew questions out of a hat, which led to all kinds of laughter and intimate revelations.

    I had a great time, except for the sleeping over part. I missed my cats and my home like crazy as silly as that sounds. I think next time, I’d just do a super late late night thing.

    The thing about this stuff you miss doing is that it’s all up to you. All you have to do is decide to do what you want to do. My friends give regular parties, and I’ve been thinking I’d rather do something different … like have them all come over for an afternoon of lounging around, eating beautiful food and drinking beautiful drinks … talking … walking in the garden.

    Sometimes people even get stuck in entertaining ruts and I’d like something more creative. Oh, I also want a 1960s party with sixties music, dancing, and a psychedelic maxi dress very badly.

    • http://www.linseykitchens.com Linsey

      I find myself wanting to comment on everybody’s comment…I guess this post really speaks to me.

      BUT…Class of 1980: PLEASE, PLEASE invite me to one of these upcoming events you dream about. I am so in! ;)

      • Class of 1980

        Do I have to buy your plane fare? ;)

  • Harriet

    My husband travels a lot for work (as in, he’s home every other weekend, and sometimes not that often), and I do my best to look for bright sides to this arrangement (there are some!). Girls nights are definitely one of them! Nothing like going out for dinner with a girlfriend and then deciding to stay at the bar until 2 AM just because we’re having a great time. Because my husband isn’t home that often, I don’t tend to do that when he’s around (though he would have no problem with it). It’s definitely something I need to keep doing when we’re living full-time in the same city again.

    P. S. Meg, I exchanged a couple of emails with you a while ago when I was freaking out just before my wedding. I just wanted to say thanks again for your calming words–you were totally right (the wedding was all I needed it to be, the honeymoon was amazing, and so far marriage is even better).

    • meg

      Then you owe us a wedding grad post! (Payment time :)

  • http://txtingmrdarcy.wordpress.com Txtingmrdarcy

    First, I loooove this post. The pics are gorgeous. :)

    Second, I kinda found myself giggling when you were all “Oh, IDK, I just went for a girls’ night with my BFF Maggie (friggin MightyGirl)”… Coolest girls night EVAH. :)

    • meg

      Well, Maggie and I did share an office for the first six months of the year, so we do, you know, know each other in real life!

  • http://thecelebrationgirl.com Marcela

    Ah, I miss my friends! I live in a different country (me: Cyprus, them: Argentina) so whenever I see groups of girls sitting together at a café and laughing I end up looking at them with longing. Female friendship and its rituals are definitely necessary not matter our marital status or wherever we are in life. We (all my family of 4)are travelling to Argentina in November and I can’t wait. It’s been 4 years already…

    • Olivia

      I sympathize. I’m living in a new country and I don’t speak the language, and I miss having local friends so much.

      • http://cuvikingadventures.blogspot.com/ Jenny- Adventures Along the Way

        Me too! Though I do speak the language, it’s still hard to make friends. And I think it also doesn’t help that the city I live in tends to have mostly people that have grown up here, so it seems harder to break into these long-standing friendship networks. Hopefully it will come with time……

        • Olivia

          Jenny, I read your blog sometimes. You’re in QC right? Montreal or Quebec City? I lived in Montreal for school and found the local culture pretty hard to penetrate. I do think it comes with time, though. My friends who have continued to live there have a pretty good network by now. The English/French thing can be difficult – not linguistically, necessarily, but culturally. Best wishes to you. I wish all of us lonely ex-pats could meet up!

          • http://cuvikingadventures.blogspot.com/ Jenny- Adventures Along the Way

            I was in Mtl for almost a year, but now am in Quebec City (for the last year). I have a few friends in Mtl, but I rarely get to see them since I moved away. I guess you are no longer in the Quebec/Mtl area? If you are around, it would be fun to have an ex-pat meet-up! :)

          • Cassandra

            In Montreal, it’s all a matter of toughing it out… I’ve been there for 3 years now I think and with a lot of patience (and a cute Quebecois boyfriend ;), I’ve really settled into the place. Wherever I am in the world, Montreal is home now, and that’s a pretty cool feeling.

        • http://thecelebrationgirl.com Marcela

          :( Almost as soon as we arrived here I got pregnant with my twins, so that was “bye bye job” and less chances for social interaction…where do you girls live?

          • http://cuvikingadventures.blogspot.com/ Jenny- Adventures Along the Way

            Oh, I bet that does make it hard to meet people! I haven’t been able to work since I moved here to Quebec (because of immigration), so I know how not working and being home a lot can be isolating and make it super hard to meet people!

            Cyprus sounds like a beautiful place to live, at least! :) We are hoping to take a Greece maybe this fall….

          • Olivia

            Marcela, that is difficult. I’m not working either and it definitely adds to the isolation.

            I have started going to the library every day to study (I’m studying independently for an exam) and being around people and having a routine, even if I can’t really talk to anyone, helps tremendously. I also listen to a lot of Radiolab, The Moth, and All Songs Considered.

            Jenny, I’d love to meet up but I’m far away from there now! I’m in Central Europe.

            I’d love to go to Cyprus, too.

          • http://cuvikingadventures.blogspot.com/ Jenny- Adventures Along the Way

            Olivia, that is too bad you are also so far away. Ah well…. I think I need to force myself to do things like your library routine if I don’t find work soon, just to have a bit more routine and (potential of) interaction with other people. :)

          • http://thecelebrationgirl.com Marcela

            Jenny: Let me know if you pass by Cyprus when in Greece (some people take a cruise to Egypt/the Middle East and they pass by here) and we can meet :)
            I lived in Québec City for a semester in 2000, I was there with an exhange program, studying at Université Laval and it was really hard to make local friends. All my friends were French! My local classmates explained to me, little before I left, that they preferred not to be friends with foreigners because when they miss them when they leave the country (being friends with a foreigner = suffering when the person leaves). It was a pity, I would have loved to get to know them better! :(
            My babies are starting kindergarten next January and I am planning to start going out more by then. I am now studying for an LLM and that is taking every single spare minute I have-thus increasing the isolation :S

  • Stephasaurus

    Just last month I went out of town for the weekend with three of my girlfriends — they’re all married, and I’m a just over a year away from being married too. Thankfully, my friends and I have no trouble getting away for a bit from the husbands/fiances, who never mind at all. It’s part of what keeps our relationships (with our guys, and with each other!) so strong.

  • april

    First: The photos of y’all are just FAB!!!

    I *LOVE* this post and the ideas in it. Because I’m a girly-girl too. My husband travels a lot, and I always try to have a girly date with a friend or two when he’s gone; more often than not, my wild plans end up being a sedate dinner with too much wine or brunch at the beach.

    But I’ll admit: I’m jealous of the get pretty, get dressed up, wear fancy shoes and go dancing idea. That is SO. ME. And I haven’t done it in a reaaaaaallly long time. Or a slumber party either. Just love and adore my gal pals, but 95% of them are just not the play dress-up go out on the town types.

  • http://www.seemetalk.blogspot.com Genki

    Exactly! This is exactly what I did this weekend! Well, with a bunch of gay boys but that’s not the norm for me, just happened to be that birthday celebration. I felt fun, free and independent! It was amazing. I even got to do the getting ready thing with a female friend. And we danced. Oh how we danced!

    I’ve been far far away from everyone I know and love for the last two years and was always His Girlfriend, not me. I felt like me again.

    Hurrah for dancing!

  • http://bunniesnbeagles.blogspot.com Ms. Bunny

    This is exactly what I have been missing. But moving across the country makes it hard to find friends you can gossip and go dancing with.

    Mr. Beagle fully supports my girls nights. So I guess I better figure out a way to make them happen.

    • meg

      It’ll happen! Remember, I moved across the country too.

    • http://amusinglist.wordpress.com Christina

      I highly recommend meetup dot com. There’s always girls’ nights out, and I met a few ladies through that in my city. Also – APW book clubs are a great way to meet ladies in your town. A few of my go-out-with-the-ladies I met a book club (and apparently Meg too!)

  • Other Katelyn

    I deeply value my independent friendships and hang-out time with friends sans my boyfriend. It helps me to be able to process stuff, remember who I am outside of the universe of my relationship, and get needed perspective. My version of “let’s go dancing” is “let’s go to happy hour and talk for hours.” (Less makeup required.) So crucial.

    One of the reasons I admire my boyfriend’s closest group of friends is that they’ve remained so flexible and committed even through all kinds of relational permutations. The dynamic changes when single friends get hitched, but the group has managed to stick together (and even strengthen) through those shifts.

    I’m remembering this from a different circle: A friend, who got married (and was in a Very Serious relationship) wayyyy before any of the rest of us, pulled the “but it’s supposed to be girl time, a break from the boys” card on me once when I asked (for the first time ever) if people could bring their significant others to a get-together. It took all of my strength not to mention that none of the rest of us in this circle had significant others to take a break from until this past year or two, and what she was experiencing as “girl time” for the last several years, we were experiencing as just “time.” Communication failure, brought on by a collision of latent bitterness (on my part) and a blind spot (on hers). I now understand more about where she was coming from, but at the time, her sentiment was almost impossibly annoying.

    Maybe because I didn’t date seriously until I was in my 20s and had a large group of friends of various genders (none of whom were in serious relationships either), there wasn’t a need for me to separate my life out into “girl time” and “couple time”– for me, it was “social time” and “recharge time.”

  • http://www.verhext.com tamera

    Dancing is basically the #1 thing I miss!! It’s more my own laziness than the married-thing, though when I was living in an art collective filled with people going out every night I DID do a lot more…

    I told Sean last night I wasn’t wild enough in my 20s and he almost choked.

    • meg

      When I read that last sentence, *I* almost choked. Dancing. Let’s do it!

    • http://www.alosangeleslove.com Becca

      I blame my current lack-of-dancing laziness on being spoiled in my 20s. When I lived in Madrid, there was dancing every weekend. Sometimes twice a weekend. And on weeknights too. I love dancing. But now, if it’s not dancing in my living room, it’s such effort. I hate that. I want good music to be in walking distance, darnit. Or not, apparently, just in the Bay Area.

  • http://www.linseykitchens.com Linsey

    “Feisty, independent, self-sufficient, free.”

    If we lived near-by, I’d stalk you into being my friend, Meg. Love the descriptors, and accurate, too (so far as I can tell from my cyber-stalking!)

  • a.

    I love the spirit of this, but why can it only happen when someone’s husband goes out of town? I’m really asking. I see the same thing among my girlfriends. If being married is about becoming *more* of who you truly are, then why does something as important as free-wheeling, unimpeded time with trusted girlfriends have to fall by the wayside until someone goes on a business trip?

    • http://highdivingboard.wordpress.com/ Morgan

      I do both. Monthly nights out with the girls, and occasional girl trips timed to match boy trips. Because it is easier to go away when he’s also away, because there’s always so much going on that it can be hard to duck away for a weekend and leave the work to the other person, because I hate sleeping alone in my house, because he really is my favourite person to travel with… But then, if you’re just asking about evenings out and not weekends away? I have no idea. In fact, in my circle, the husband is starting to have to be in town, to look after the kid(s). Kids change things, I think…

  • http://amusinglist.wordpress.com Christina

    ABSOLUTELY RIGHT. I absolutely, totally and completely believe in this. Having gone to very small girls’ schools most of my life, my ladies are incredibly important to me. Having fun with them is so important for my sanity. Investing in people in addition to my husband is vital to both my personal self and my relationship. (Although sometimes my husband comes along too because he loves lady gaga dancing more than I do!)

    Also– there’s all this rhetoric around bachelor and bachelorette parties that’s like: “This is the last time you’ll do this! Live it up now before you get married!” And that totally didn’t apply to me and my friends. On my bach night we partied it up and danced like crazy anyway because why not, and while we were all dancing I was like, “We should do this next week too, ok?!” And yeah, we did.

  • NH

    “While it seems to be very popular for women to say that they’re not the kind of girl who’s friends with other girls…”

    You know where this comes from? Sexism, that’s where. Like it’s way cooler NOT to be friends with girls because girls are less interesting/exciting/smart.

    • Julia

      I also often find that women who “don’t get along with girls” are mean or have inappropriate relationships with other women’s partners. And girls simply won’t put up with it.

      • NH

        Well, I don’t know. Sometimes I think it’s about gender. I have a friend who grew up in a small, conservative city. The model of womanhood in her town involved getting married by 21, having kids by 25, and being valued for a combination of your appearance and your willingness to nurture others. To be attractive you had to be conventional. Being smart or tough made you unfeminine.

        She was smart and tough, so she decided she couldn’t be feminine. And she didn’t know a lot of girls who would support that, but for whatever reason there were more guys who could have a super tomboy friend. So she thought of herself as someone who didn’t have close female friends.

        Now of course she’s my close female friend, so I think that part of her identity is changing some. Still, I can easily imagine myself having that experience if I hadn’t lucked into some queer/feminist high school groups. Which considering where I grew up is a minor miracle. So some of it has to do with gender and opportunity and where you grow up. It’s still internalized sexism, because it has to do with what she thought women were like. But it doesn’t have to do with being inappropriately flirty.

        I am also interested in this question of what counts as inappropriate relationships with other women’s partners. I think some people (NOT you; I’m thinking of my dad here, actually) see any close opposite-sex relationship as inappropriate once one person is partnered. Historically, that used to be a SERIOUS RULE. One of the great miracles of the modern world is the idea that people can have non-sexual mixed-gender relationships, but I think it’s still sometimes hard for people to get used to.

    • Class of 1980

      NH,

      One of my pet peeves is when women or girls say they aren’t friends with women because women are so catty. Sigh.

      I found a woman on Facebook I went to school and church with and she recently said that’s the way she used to feel. Then her church started a group for women to nurture each other and she feels that she missed out all these years not having a group of women friends.

      Now she can’t do without them.

    • msditz

      Whenever I hear a woman say, “I don’t like girls. Girls are all drama!” I run. Away. Fast. Because guess where the “drama” is coming from? Not those other women.

  • http://www.alosangeleslove.com Becca

    I don’t trust women who say they have no women friends. Because things like this are what make women-friends wonderful. Girl time is an absolute must. As is non-couple going out and having fun time (usually with women, in my case and men in his.) This post reminds me I need to find more dancing-music bars, because it’s been way too long.

    • Olivia

      I think this is a pretty alienating thing to say, that a woman who doesn’t enjoy “girl time,” or have female friends, is not trustworthy. I understand your point, but perhaps consider those out there who don’t experience friendship the same way that you do.

  • http://www.shinyprettybits.com kc

    I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. My inner circle of girlfriends all moved away a few years ago and I’ve had the hardest time making new ones. The friends I do have here all feel like arms-length friends, which makes me kind of sad (and makes me wish there were APWers in Hawaii).

  • Shannon

    Okay, I’m not totally sure how to word this… I totally agree with the idea that it’s important to maintain somewhat separate friendships while in a marriage. This is something that has been a struggle for me in my relationship, although we are slowly coming to some good compromises. All of that is a long story, and this isn’t the right place for it.

    I have to admit that the thing that jumped out at me about this post was the idea that it’s popular for women to say that they don’t like hanging out with other women. Really?? Because as a girl/woman who has NEVER enjoyed girls’ nights or pretty much any all female gathering (honestly, I don’t), I have felt nothing but pressure from other women to enjoy the whole girly thing. It is just flat out not okay with a lot of women that I’m not into it… Women have actually gotten mad at me for refusing to attend all female gatherings that I knew would not be fun or comfortable for me, even though I was respectful about not attending and explained all of my reasons. Maybe I exist in a different world? I am a country gal, and I know most of y’all are in the city, so maybe that makes a difference? I dunno…

    Fundamentally, I totally agree with the spirit of what is being said here. The form of that “spirit” would just be very different for me. I guess I felt like I needed to offer up the perspective of a woman who truly doesn’t enjoy most girly things or girl nights (and I haven’t had a sleepover since I was a kid…). I don’t really distinguish between my close female friendships and close male friendships, i.e. I feel the same level of closeness and connection with my close male friends as I do with my close female friends – they are all equally important to me. I’m not part of, and have never been part of an all-female group of friends who go out and do stuff together. This is not, of course, to say that I have a problem with women having girls nights! However, I have always resented the pressure I feel from other women to participate in all woman events or gatherings. For a really long time, I thought that in order to be a feminist I had to be more girly… It was only after I studied feminism that I was even able to call myself a feminist! And then when I learned what feminism really means, I realized that I’m no small “f” feminist, I’m FEMINIST in so much of the way I think and experience the world.

    But that’s a topic for its own post, and probably not here on APW… Thanks, Meg, for reminding us all that our other relationships are so very important for maintaining our sense of self within our marriages! Hooray!

    • NH

      So here’s my experience, which probably has nothing to do with yours. But I thought I would share anyway.

      I’m not particularly girly. I might wear a dress a couple times a year, mostly for other people’s weddings. Putting on makeup sounds like smearing crap all over my face and then poking myself in the eye with a sharp stick. I’m queer and vaguely butch. Although I do love me some champagne and cocktails and dancing.

      So growing up I also believed that girls’ nights would never be my thing. I lived in a Midwestern town where female culture involved being thin and conventional and pretty and seeing gender roles as good, or at least inescapable.

      Now, I live in a big coastal city and have a lot of friends from my weirdo liberal arts college. My female friends also like going on hikes and barbecuing and quizzo and playing with the dogs and watching movies and drinking whiskey until we start shouting at the TV. So do my male friends. That’s why they’re my friends. So I don’t particularly differentiate between my male and female friends, and I think there’s an important lesson in Meg’s post about having independent experiences, outside the relationship. It’s not just about gender. And I’d like to hear more talk sometime about mixed-gender friendships and jealously and relationships, because I can see that being a problem.

      Still. Even for me — despite my total non-femme-ness — having time with other women is sometimes totally different from having time with mixed groups. There’s a shared experience women have that can be really really awesome, if it works with your own understanding of your gender; there’s also a way in which being in the right all-women’s group is more relaxed than being in a mixed-gender group. There are things that are easier to say. And sometimes doing something fun and non-serious is exactly the way to reaffirm that.

      • Class of 1980

        You can come party with us and we won’t even make you wear makeup. ;) LOL

      • Shannon

        Thanks for this! I really relate to what you’re saying at the end there about the right group of women being great… Especially as I get closer to “mid life” (whatever that is!), I really appreciate that realities are different for women in our society, and I feel that inequality in certain areas of my life. Men are struggling with their identities too, but the place of women is unique and pretty vulnerable. I do appreciate my connections with women on that level, and there are certain times when the company of women is more comfortable, though I would say that usually has something to do with the absence of a certain type of man, as opposed to the absence of any type of man…

        The gender thing can be very confusing for me, because I never seem to fit in with anyone’s definitions (not even the definitions of the queer world). It’s the same with my sexuality. Lately I’ve been trying to talk about it more openly, and that has proven quite challenging… I tend to feel pretty isolated in conversations such as this one. It’s clear that female friendships are vitally important to a lot of women, and I think I get why… I just don’t feel it very often myself, and although my close friends are very important to me, their importance has nothing to do with their gender. Each of those friendships is unique and important in its own way.

        Maybe part of it is that I’m not much of a group socializer… I love one-on-one conversation, but I’m usually the wallflower at parties (unless it’s my party!), and I never feel like “going out” is really a valuable social experience for me, although it can be fun in a different way, depending on the event. I’ve found that it is my female friends in particular who tend to be very critical of this side of me. I suppose this makes sense, as we are sort of socialized as women to be social.

        Damn, this is all kinda complex! Thanks for engaging with me on such a tricky subject!

        • LanyTaz

          Shannon — I’m super late to the party-discussion. But I thought I’d throw my two-cents in….

          I do love girly-stuff, BUT — more to the point, I have a close group of women friends that I socialize with often — at our women’s hockey team. We practice, play games, and go grab a bite to eat together fairly often (once per week during the season) — It’s a lot of women-time that I love, but no pressure to feel girly at all.

          I don’t think it’s the “women” aspect of it to me which is the most important, but feeling like you have a “center” in common with a collective group of people… In this case, the “center” is hockey, and the bonus is that it’s women’s hockey —-

          Sooo… maybe you’re the same way — that it’s not a “gender-defined-center”, but an “activity-defined-center” or something else like that? Maybe your “center” is finding people who also would prefer one-on-one socialization. I agree with you, it may be harder to find, but it’s always out there!

          Anyways, just wanted to reassure you — there are lots of other outlets out there besides being girly to get that time in! :)

  • http://www.treelovesjake.blogspot.com Theresa

    My girlfriends and I do a ‘Hen’s night in” about once a month, where we hang out a someone’s place, drink sangria, eat, and play Apples to Apples and just laugh. I love it!

    • FawMo

      Apples to Apples FTW!

  • Marchelle

    MEG! You’re in my head again, dammit it to hell woman.

    THIS. This is what my life has been missing recently, with all that exam and work stress fuckery. Most of my best lady friends live on other continents, but I’ve just texted the ones in the UK. Let’s do this shit!

    So, um, THANK YOU for the kick up the ass. I’m going dancing! Wheeeeee!

  • http://thebestofintentions.tumblr.com/ Sarah

    I have a theory about why my husband fell in love with me: because the night we met, I was in the middle of one of the happiest years of my life. I was a 21 year-old college senior, living with my best friends and having dance parties followed by slumber parties almost every weekend.

    Three months later, I graduated and a lot of things changed. Despite crying for practically the entire four and a half hour drive back to my hometown, I had a happiness hang over that lasted me another six months or so. And now, three and a half years later, most of us girls have spread ourselves out, but after every reunion, I feel a little more like myself. And I can tell that when he looks at me, after I’ve spent a night or two staring at them, he sees that crazy-happy girl he fell in love with.

    So as good as girl nights can be for ourselves, I believe they can be just as good for our relationships.

    • Class of 1980

      YES.

  • Jeannine

    preach!

    whether it’s drinking, dancing, makeup-applying, writing-exchanging, eating or any other number of things that provide the excuse for the gathering, it’s really the talking, the getting things off my chest, the thinking things through with brilliant caring peeps that’s the heart of it all.

  • http://indiealbany.com irisira

    My mother’s childhood friend, her (married) daughter, and I (also married) (the daughters married, the moms not … though in fairness Mom’s friend is in a committed LTR) had a girls’ weekend last weekend, which involved drunken karaoke. Mom’s Friend’s Daughter (MFD) and I may or may not have drunkenly sang Baby Got Back. We also might have pissed off some Red Sox fans by chanting “Go Yanks, Go Yanks, Go Yanks!” during Sweet Caroline. (Hey, you’re in New York, what did you expect?) I also may or may not have belted out Journey with my cousin’s husband, still sober.

    Yes, my cousin also joined us for a bit of the evening, husband in tow. He was a good sport being surrounded by a bunch of women, and even pretended to be MFD’s husband when she was being hit on by Creepy McDoesntTakeHints. MFD, later in the evening, met a non-creepster whom she, like Meg, informed off the bat she was married, and right after leaving the bar he Facebooked her to invite her to breakfast the next morning. Ooops.

    It was a frickin fantastic evening, and I can’t wait for them to visit again (or us go to them) very soon! :)

  • L

    Edit: My browser somehow reset when I was writing this and the comment ended up in the wrong place – it was intended to be a response to the comment thread started by Shannon about six comments up.

    Thank you for this thread! Reading the ones above, I was getting worried that there was something wrong with me and wondering whether I am deeply misogynistic on some level. I have some very close, maybe irreplaceable female friends, but the vast majority of my casual friends are men. Put me in a room full of men, and I kill. Put me in a room full of women and I would probably either be very quiet or I would end up talking too much, too fast and making myself and everyone else uncomfortable. Put me in a room full of women with mascara brushes, and I might shrink back into my thirteen-year-old self wondering if I would ever get my period and silently pleading that no one noticed my complete ineptness with makeup.

    I do like getting dressed up sometimes, and I love dancing, and I value time that I spend with other women, but I guess I just don’t feel at ease around women that I don’t know (except maybe all of you?). My gender and sexuality are almost as straightforward as they could be in the context of the lovely little liberal arts college where they were awakened, so I don’t know that that’s the issue. I do work in the building industry, which is even more male-dominated than the physics and math communities that I was part of back in college, so it could just be force of habit. And having had groups of both male and female roommates, I found that I preferred living with men because it seemed easier to opt out of conversations or social situations if I just wasn’t in the mood. But I think on some level for me it comes down to self-confidence and I guess some deeply-seated ideas about gender: I’m pretty sure I know how to be charming among men (hopefully in the flirting-that-wasn’t kinda way, not in the inappropriate-relationships-with-other-people’s-partners kinda way), and I’m much less confident about it among women.

    Interesting stuff. The funny part about this is that my husband-to-be is a dancer and yoga teacher and spends a lot of his time with women. I think he likes it for the same reason that I like hanging out with the guys.

  • MA

    Yes I love “harmless” flirting too.

    Imagine your husband is traveling out of state for one of his business trips. He calls you from his room and tells you good night. He heads down to the Hotel bar for a nightcap. Takes a stool along side of the bar and orders himself a stiff drink. A beautiful young business women takes a stool two seats away—couldn’t be much older than 25. They start talking, chatting first about what they do for a living

    They order more drinks.

    They move closer together to one another. They conversation turns to sex – weirdest places they “did it”. She confidently tells him she’s part of the “mile high” club. Both are feeling the effects of the alcohol. She starts flirting with him – flicking her hair, laughing at his jokes, touching his arm. His wedding ring is only a challenge to her. A another trophy for her shelf.

    They order a shot for each other.

    Your husband flirts back – why not, it makes him feel wanted. He never hears how handsome he is at home. He’s just a husband, just a father.

    One more round.

    They inch closer. She puts her hand on his lap. She says lets go up to my hotel room. He says, “But I’m married”. She says, “So? She will never know”……..

    Agreed—harmless flirting is SO much fun.

    • http://happysighs.blogspot.com liz

      aaand this is where someone reads into things.

    • KD

      hmmm yeah, that’s a far cry from smiling at a cute guy who’s been eyeing you up (as opposed to closing youself off) so he comes over and tells you his bad pickup line, which you then smile and shake your head at and flash your ring and say you need to go find your girlfriends.

      I think so many of us get good at sending the “don’t approach me” vibe out of necesity, but letting it down so people will come up and talk to you is fun. There can still be a clear line – whatever that is for you is fine.

      If for you it means never speaking to someone of the opposite sex for fear they may proposition you, fine. I just think most of us would be open to chatting with the stranger, but would put the brakes on when the conversation turns sexual/you get a vibe like the person is prowling…or if it does get that far, I would trust myself and my husband to turn down the invite drunk or sober.

      • janie

        I’ve seen it before, where it starts off as harmless flirting and then progresses to a dangerous point. Alcohol lowers your inhibitions and makes you do things you don’t normally do (remember your college days??).

        Its one thing to talk to someone of another sex. Its another to flirt with him. If you aren’t for sale, why advertise? Would you flirt in front of your husband?

        • m

          Alcohol may lower your inhibitions, but it doesn’t remove them completely. If you can’t trust your partner simply because they are drunk, something’s wrong. Drinking is not a viable excuse to cheat on someone you are married to.

  • http://www.projectsubrosa.com Cate Subrosa

    :) :) :) :) :)

  • http://happysighs.blogspot.com liz

    oh, how many conversations have started at nightclubs with me saying, “I’M MARRIED. look at my pretty ring!”

    i like the words “flirting-that-wasn’t.” i don’t so much see meg grinding against some guys hard-on as i see meg looking awesome and other guys looking at her looking awesome and meg knowing she looks awesome.

    which is awesome.

  • http://www.stefaniedebestphotography.com Stefanie de Best

    I have been missing exactly this! I definitely need a girls night out now and again to remind me…. well to remind me of something.

    ps. i love your reclaiming wife posts! more please?

  • janie

    I’ve seen it before, where it starts off as harmless flirting and then progresses to a dangerous point. Alcohol lowers your inhibitions and makes you do things you don’t normally do (remember your college days??).

    Its one thing to talk to someone of another sex. Its another to flirt with him. If you aren’t for sale, why advertise? Would you flirt in front of your husband?

    • http://happysighs.blogspot.com liz

      i don’t know why this turned into a discussion on flirting.

      i don’t flirt with men. but i also don’t see that as anywhere close to what meg is talking about here. i won’t try to put words in her mouth, but the woman DID recount a conversation that BEGAN with her letting a guy know of her marital status.

      so why the veering of conversation?

      i go to clubs and bars with my girls often. guys make eyes and offer to buy drinks. they flirt. i smile and show my ring and gush about my husband. sometimes the conversation continues despite my marital status (which is awesome), but always ends if i feel uncomfortable. and that’s the extra perk of having your girls with you- they can ward off boys that just. won’t. stop.

      i don’t flirt. but guys demonstrating interest is a nice thing. knowing that you’ve still got it is a nice thing.

      and then being able to go home to your husband, a little tipsy and a lot sweaty and say, “guys think i’m hot! and i’m SO GLAD i’m not dating any of them any more and i get to come home to you.” and that’s a nice thing, too.

  • Paige

    is it wrong that i feel like after i get married i can be even MORE free? not that i really flirt with men much or anything like that, but i feel like i can let loose and not worry about people as much (IF they see the ring, i guess). my fiance and i have been together for over 5 years and i always have girls nights out and once a year girls only trips to vegas (only 3 hr drive, mind you). i will definitely keep having those fun nights out. i think it is healthier for our relationship when we have girls nights/boys nights out.

    as people have said, its fun to come home and share all the funny stories with each other:) keeps things fresh

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  • http://useyourwordss.blogspot.com/ Michelle

    Lookin’ good, ladies! I need to plan more nights on the town too. Thanks for the reminder! My girls’ nights out have been mostly bachelorette parties lately but those will taper off sooner or later, and it will take conscious effort to keep the nightlife rolling.

    And I love that this seemingly-straightforward post precipitated all this awesome discussion about married flirting. Food for thought (& hopefully future posts)!