"Why don't we get together more often?" we said, tears rolling down our cheeks and doubled over with laughter. It was Sunday brunch at a friend's home and six of us were immersed in delicious girl chat that we'd somehow skipped for months.
We're puzzled about why we don't entertain more. What is better than giggling and gossiping with the women who "get you?" Yet somehow we've settled for condensing half a year of catching up into a three-hour binge.
Remember how easy friendships were when we were children? The kids next door knocked on the screen door waving Barbie dolls and demanding to play. Right now. All afternoon. It was spontaneous and effortless.
Today, not so much.
Scheduling time together requires 6 phone calls, 8 messages, 4 ignored emails and endless texts. "What are we going to do?" "Where should we go?" "What are you going to wear?" Then everything gets shot to hell if somebody forgot it was bunko night.
At our age, we don't question the value of our friends. By now we've all lived through the best and worst of times and couldn't have gotten through any of it without our nurturing girlfriends. Yet carving out time to get together has fallen to the bottom of the list, right after losing those last five pounds.
With kids off at college and living their own adult lives, is the problem really a lack of time?
Dig a little deeper and the culprit may be something more insidious. Blame it on the Food Network or Colin Cowie's articles in O Magazine, but we feel compelled to be the perfect hostess. Not only have women bought into impossible expectations, we perpetuate them. You wouldn't dream of having guests to your home if it weren't spotless. Or if you don't cook like Giada -- or worse, if you don't look like Giada.
We end up spending more hours in preparation for a party than at the actual event. There are all those trips to Whole Foods and Bed, Bath and Beyond. And you have to win the lottery just to pay for designer cupcakes. Then we pretend like it was all so easy: "Doesn't everyone make their own goat cheese?"
Can't we all just agree to be perfectly imperfect?
Let's be the REAL Housewives of America like our moms were: curler-wearing, SPAM-serving women who played cards with the neighbors all afternoon.
Yes, gals, we've come up with a simple way to entertain and see your friends without consulting Martha Stewart first. It's the Dirty House Luncheon (just be sure wine snobs, white glove dust testers and competitive frenemies are not on the e-vite list.)
As the hostess, set the right tone by greeting guests at the door in a soggy sports bra and Crocs. There are no party themes and color schemes. Just use the monogrammed napkins from KFC and set the table with sporks, preferably clean.
Sorry, Nigella, no midnight prep making hand-stuffed cannelloni with truffle oil. Don't even think about cleaning your house. Aren't we old enough to time to stop worrying about being judged by our clean toilets?
Here are the rules. 1. Move the clutter from the sofa to the floor. 2. Put out the eats in their fast food containers. 3. Answer the door and hug your guests.
We may not be entertaining well, but it will be very entertaining. Drink a lot of Trader Joe's two buck chuck while swapping stories and supporting each other's dreams. In the end, the only thing that matters is connecting with the people who help you know yourself, accept yourself and believe in yourself.
It's time to be spontaneous again with an open door policy that welcomes pals into our messy homes and lives.
So cheers to all, and pass the bucket.