Last week I got to forsake my house full of testosterone and jump into the collective pool of estrogen that is made up by the women in my BOOK CLUB. I’ve been a member of BOOK CLUB for about two years now. It’s an informal group made up of a loose collection of friends who have brought other friends to the group over time, and we always have a good time. When I got home my husband said the same thing he says every time I go to BOOK CLUB: “First rule of BOOK CLUB, no talking about books.” And while I’d like to say he’s completely wrong, he’s not. BOOK CLUB is largely an excuse for a number of us to abandon our husbands and children for the night – to drink and talk…and drink. We could call it “DRINK CLUB” but then that would just make us sound like a bunch of middle-aged, alcoholic women, which we clearly are not (middle-aged that is).
If you don’t get his reference, then you’re not familiar with the movie “FIGHT CLUB,” a story about an everyday Joe who ends up joining an underground fight club that has a transformative influence on his life. One of the seminal scenes in the movie is the review of the FIGHT CLUB rules, as follows:
1st RULE: You do not talk about FIGHT CLUB.
2nd RULE: You DO NOT talk about FIGHT CLUB.
3rd RULE: If someone says “stop” or goes limp, taps out the fight is over.
4th RULE: Only two guys to a fight.
5th RULE: One fight at a time.
6th RULE: No shirts, no shoes.
7th RULE: Fights will go on as long as they have to.
8th RULE: If this is your first night at FIGHT CLUB, you HAVE to fight.
In BOOK CLUB we have a set of rules a well — a code of conduct, if you will, that we adhere to that is not completely unlike FIGHT CLUB, as follows:
1st RULE: You do not talk about BOOKS. That’s not completely true. We DO talk about books. Those of us who read them. But we talk about lots of other things too. Like the different ways we all deal with facial hair. Or The New Jersey Housewives. Or kids. Or perimenopause. The conversation runs the gamut. So, yes, while we do talk about books there is a general understanding that book club conversation is including, but not limited to, books.
2nd RULE: You do not talk about BOOK CLUB. Remember that thing about facial hair I mentioned above? Yeah, well, we see no need to share that with anyone else. What happens in book club stays in book club. While we may share gossip and personal information among ourselves, there’s no reason for it to leave the room (public blogs being the exception).
3rd RULE: If someone stays “stop” or goes limp, book club is over. Because clearly that person has alcohol poisoning and needs to go get medical attention.
4th RULE: No husbands or children allowed. Why? Because we don’t want them there. BOOK CLUB is not a freakin’ dinner party. We’re not there to mix and mingle as couples. We’re there to have a serious discussion about an important piece of literature. Hahahaha. Nah, I’m just messing with you. We gals just want to get away from our families for one damn night every few months. Oh, husbands are welcome to hang around the periphery, and children are welcome to stay in the basement or attic or some other cast off room that no adult will be expected to visit during book club. But they all know they’re not welcome to sit down and participate. Because this is BOOK CLUB and it’s for adult ladies only. (And if they do we’ll just start talking about our menstrual cycles…that’s always a good way to clear the room.)
5th RULE: One book at a time. Really, because most of us can barely manage to get through the one, never mind reading multiple books at a time.
6th RULE: No shirts, no shoes. Oh, no, sorry, that’s a FIGHT CLUB rule. Although I’m sure some of our husbands would mind it a lot less when we had hosting duties if that was an actual BOOK CLUB rule.
7th RULE: BOOK CLUB will go on as long as it has to. Yeah, so no punkin’ out after an hour. Unless your babysitter has to go home early.
8th RULE: If this is your first night at BOOK CLUB, you have to read the book. Really. It’s like an initiation. The newbie comes in all excited to talk about the book that was assigned until they realize this was just an excuse for the rest of us to get together and drink. The initiated ladies of BOOK CLUB find that initial confusion so amusing. (“So, I’m the only person who read this book? Because it kind of sucked and I would have stopped if not for this club.”) But after the confusion the newbie feels like they’re in on the joke and a true part of our group. (“Really? Seriously, no one else read this book? Why the hell did you bitches choose a book if no one was going to read it?”) Or not. Then they have a few drinks and they don’t care either way. Welcome to BOOK CLUB!
I look forward to next month’s BOOK CLUB. In preparation I will be purchasing some wine.
This is an original post for Jersey Moms Blog.