G. N. O.

Today I was emailing with several of my girlfriends and something became blatantly clear to me.  A GNO (Girls’ Night Out) is in order.  Like…right this second.  Some of us are feeling blue, others of us are wrought with stress, and all of us have too much on our plates.  We need an outlet.  We need to be surrounded by supportive women.  Women who are strong, and bright, and independent, and swear like sailors (out of earshot of our children of course).  We need to be surrounded by girlfriends, booze, and loud music.  STAT.

When I was in college there were plenty of GNOs.  We would go out, find groups of guys with whom we could flirt, and drink more than any human should.  Ever.  I remember heading to the Nankin and buying a fruity drink called The Wanderer that was the size of my head and would literally do me in for the whole evening.  Or heading to Gasthof’s and drinking dark ale out of a glass boot while dancing with their resident Santa Claus that was on-hand all year-round.  Or heading to the dance clubs where we’d sweat out all of the alcohol we’d had and would stand in line for 30 minutes for the bathroom.  All the while bonding with the girls, scoping out the guys, and feeling carefree and relaxed as we made our way through the bars downtown.

As I got into my later 20s I realized that such nights out needed meticulous planning.  Smart, strong, independent women do not have an abundance of free time.  When you’re planning to drink a bunch and be carefree, you need to coordinate schedules, drivers, locations, and more.

The first large coordinated GNO I planned as an adult was in the Winter of 2003.  We had a plan to start at Eh’s house and then we were heading to a towny bar on the other side of town.  The last time I’d been at said towny bar an ex-boyfriend told me I should marry him, that I should quit working, and that he’d pay for me to go to grad school (yeah…that didn’t happen).  Needless to say, there was a soft spot in my heart for that place.  At Eh’s we did shots, had drinks, and did a bang-up job of pre-GNO drinking.  Such a bang-up job, in fact, that I was being driven home (with stops on the highway so I could throw-up) after being at the bar for a mere 30 minutes.  Nothing but class people.  Nothing but class.

Since then we’ve done our best to plan a GNO every once and awhile but we rarely have the rip roaring time we all claim we need.  Something happens and it’s canceled, or it turns into a different kind of evening out, or many of us can’t get our husbands to pick us up so we end up staying sober and leaving early.  For some reason, us women?  We have a hard time letting go of the other roles we fill…wife, mother, employee, etc.  There are so few times in which we feel like we can actually let loose, ignore our Blackberries, and have fun like we once did.  What a shame.

Wine nights often do the trick.  The opportunity to talk with one another about our trials, tribulations, and successes in sweats and with wine…it’s an amazing way to go to therapy for free.  But there is something to be said for getting gussied up, putting on expensive jeans, and going out to celebrate and/or wallow among the masses.  To be flirted with by our waiters.  To be admired by groups of younger girls who are looking at us with the knowledge that they will likely be us in ten years.  To run into people we used to know in former lives.  And to celebrate our friendships with the accompaniment of booze and far too loud music that will make our ears ring throughout the rest of the weekend.

Many of our husbands have outlets of their own.  They play softball, golf, cards, etc.  But for some reason many of us girls feel so tightly wound to what needs to get done at work, at home, and with our kids, that we feel like it’s okay to forego our own time away from home.

Simply put…that’s bullsh-t.

Today I put a GNO on the schedules of my closest girlfriends.  We are going to go to a local country bar where the waitresses pretend like they’re in the movie “Coyote Ugly” and the patrons pretend that we live somewhere other than Minnesota.  I’m hoping we can let our responsibilities go and have fun like we were able to in college.

TODAY:  What if every once and awhile we have a GNO and let go of our responsibilities and real life in favor of a RIP.  ROARING.  GOOD.  TIME.

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