Broke and Single

What I Learned from crashing a "Ladies Night" Out

Have you ever felt like you saw something for the very first time? Imagine setting foot inside the Friendly Confines in Chicago and seeing the dazzling ivy that adorns the brick outfield wall. Imagine still setting eyes on the person you just know you’re going to love so much it’s going to hurt at times. These are the moments when seeing, quickly creates thoughts of “I can’t believe it”. That is how I felt this weekend when I witnessed first hand what it’s like for a large group of women to get ready for a “ladies night” out on the town. Some were single. Others were hitched like moving vehicles. One had a baby. Despite their easily check-marked differences, all of them were in the mood to make bad decisions that night.

A girls night out starts how a night ended for those same ladies when they were thirteen – in their pajamas for a slumber party, bounding around the carpeted floors sipping fruity cocktails in crystal stemware instead of fruit punch in red solo cups that inevitably stained the rubber-bands on their braces. As males, this is something we just don’t do. We go from a state of readiness to a slightly more polished version that really just involves going from casual jeans to dress up jeans. For these ladies, the transformation was incredible.

First, they did their nails. Whether it was the tequila in my drink or the acrylic bouncing off every surface in the apartment, it was dizzying to watch. I wanted to tell them that in the history of mankind a man never looked at a women’s nails, but to them they were painting the Sistine Chapel. There were reds. There was considerations about the color dresses they were wearing. Some had to reapply a base coat after letting their desire to dive into a bowl of guacamole consume them. Ladies get ready by doing their nails. Guys get ready by watching sporting events where announcers comment about “putting the nail in the coffin”.

Next came the showers. Here was the only time I really hoped I was asked to join in, but alas, I was left parked on the couch with a trusty male Cocker Spaniel who had already been neutered. He and I were the only ones aware of the term “emasculated” at that very moment. Hey, I understand the value of  cleanliness just like the next guy. What I don’t understand is why ladies needed to rotate in and out of the shower. Why hadn’t this been done at their own homes? Sure, if they had been out riding dirt bikes all day, or one too many drinks led to an unplanned breaststroke through a curb-induced puddle, then by all means, lather up at my place. I finally understood why women smelled so damn good – they were in a perpetual state of just having got out of the shower. With the amount of citrus, lavender and lime-scents in that apartment, I thought asphyxiation was a serious threat.

Then there was the food. This was actually a pleasant surprise as ladies are often painted as creatures who battle away junk food with pieces of crudites that serve as medieval swords and lances. This was not that kind of party. There was pizza. There was pasta. There was erroneous goop that lay in wait next to another bowl that looked to be a mixture of drip-dropped guacamole into a bowl of ranch dressing. They weren’t gorging themselves, but they were certainly ensuring that the liquor had carbohydrate companions in their bellies – stomachs that were looked at in profile in recently fogged bathroom mirrors. I was happy to know that at least men and women shared one thing in common before heading out into the world and hopefully picking one another up through barbecue flavored advances.

Finally, there was the actual part that involved almost being ready to go out. Expert touches were put on hairstyles that looked like they required me to head out into the smoggy night air and go track down eight corsages. Dresses were then cinched at the waist, purses were packed with candies that made them ripe for smooches and pictures were snapped that made them all look like time travelers who had made it back to the days of sepia toned photographs. These ladies looked good, felt good and it showed in the way they danced through the apartment. It only took a quick 3 minute jab from Adele to bring the mood down ever so slightly. The energy would soon be ratcheted up when Missy Elliot politely asked for them to “get their freak on”.

It was mesmerizing to watch. I only moved to get more beers. And I only really spoke when spoken to – which was infrequent because I had a ding dong – and didn’t really know that a clutch was different from a purse. They had allowed me into their inner circle and I was grateful. As last drinks were consumed, I stood on wobbly legs and prepared for the night out. For I had showered hours before, been dressed soon after and helped myself to the free food. I was ready to go. That is until I finally came to understand what a girls night out actually meant.

“Have a good night, Alec. See you soon.”
“You mean, I’m not coming with?”
“This is ladies night.”
“Then what the hell was I doing here this whole time?!”
“This was just us getting ready for ladies night.”

I’ll say it again. Being a woman is hard work.

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