Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Sleepovers

According to Wikipedia:
The sleepover is often called a "rite of passage", as a young child, or a teenager, begins to assert independence and to develop social connections outside the immediate family.
Now I'm no sociologist, so I hardly understand the deeper societal and familial impacts of this teenage ritual. But I know this. There was nothing more fun than a good 'ole sleepover with your best girlfriends.

What's not to love? I mean, you sat around in comfortable clothes all night. You did each other's hair and make-up. You talked about boys. You read excerpts from your diaries to one another. You watched girly movies like Footloose and Beauty and the Beast. You gorged yourself on sugary pop, chips and dip, and cookies. You played silly games like Truth or Dare. And you stayed up way too late.

So. Much. Fun.

*Credit: lovelulumae.blogspot.com

But the best part about sleepovers was all the giggling. There was so much giggling. It was inevitable at any sleepover I ever attended that a parent would knock on the door and tell us girls to keep it down in there because our incessant giggling was keeping the younger kids up. 

God I miss those carefree nights. 

Which is why, just this past weekend, I found myself putting together an overnight bag and heading down to the Chateau Montebello with two of my dearest girlfriends for a little 24-hour getaway. 

It was kind of a last minute thing. The stated intention was to celebrate a 40th birthday. But really, we all just wanted to get away from our husbands/partners/dogs/cats/kids/step-kids/jobs/households/and-other-assorted-responsibilities for one night. We all just wanted to spend some quality girl time. 

And you know what? There is not a lot of difference between a sleepover when you are clinging to your 30s and one when you were desperate to leave the awkward 'tween years.

Okay. So the comfy pj's were replaced with evening wear suitable for a night on the town. 


But everything else was remarkably similar.

True, we didn't do each other's hair and make-up. (Well, I guess I did straighten K's hair for her, but that's only because she didn't believe me that it could look good worn down). But we did pay professional aestheticians to make us pretty as we relaxed in the hotel spa.

We still talked about boys. Although they are no longer the boys in chemistry class or on the football team that we had the biggest crush on. Now, we're married to them. Or living with them. Or divorced from them. Or in therapy with them. Or in therapy because of them. 

We didn't read aloud from our secret diaries - mostly because none of us have the time to keep secret diaries anymore. But we did share our secret fears about everything from work to relationships to finances. We did seek advice from one another about how to have that conversation with our bosses about the promotions that we feel we deserve. Or about whether or not we should move in with the new beau. Or about whether or not we really want to get married again. 

There was no girly Kevin Bacon movie to watch. But we did compare notes on one another's freebie lists (of the 5 celebrities you are allowed to sleep with should you ever meet them - watch Friends). And we seamlessly followed up this philosophical conversation with a debate about Sheryl Sandberg's Lean In, a book that claims that women inadvertently hold themselves back from succeeding in the work place.  

As for food and drink, well, there is still a lot of it. A LOT. We still gorged ourselves. Only the sugary pop was replaced with prosecco and rosé and martinis and negronis and Spanish wines, and even a little bit of scotch. And the cookies and chips were set aside for a four course meal in a luxury restaurant. The effect of all of this gorging is the same as it was back then - by the end of the night, none of us could move, and all of us looked forward to replacing our out-on-the-town clothes with the more appropriate sleepover attire of pants with an adjustable waist band.

We didn't play Truth or Dare. No, the "dare" part is dropped, and we play, simply, Truth. We tell each other true stories of all the crazy/silly/stupid/outrageous/wonderful thoughts that we have been too stressed out to articulate lately or that we simply can't tell our husband/partner/kids because they won't understand. And it feels good to get some of these thoughts off our chests without the threat of having to do a naked cartwheel on a silly dare.

Even though we haven't stayed up past 11:00pm in years, we still stay up too late. At 1:00 in the morning, we are still chatting and telling stories and giving one another advice and fighting sleep. And of course, giggling.

In fact, more than 20 years later, there is still a lot of giggling. We've been giggling all day long. We giggle when I tell my friends that I fell asleep during my facial and missed all the best massage parts. We giggled more when I recount the story about the guy in university who tried to pick me up after hearing me sing at an open mike night by telling me that he wanted to audition with me for a spot as a lounge-singer-and-piano-player-duet on a Caribbean cruise. We giggled even more when the three of us notice that we are being checked out by a table of men about 10 years younger than us, realizing that we have, in fact, become cougars. And we giggled the most when we call my husband - the sommelier - to ask him to help us pick a white wine to pair with our dinners that is not too fruit forward. "You know what I mean, right honey. We want a wine that is dry and tight." "Ummm... are you sure that's what you mean?" he said.

There is so much giggling. And it feels so good. 

Why don't we do this more often?

I know, I know, I know. We have husbands/partners/dogs/cats/kids/step-kids/jobs/households/and-other-assorted-responsibilities. We have too much to do and we are under too much pressure. We have calendars jam-packed with activities. We can never coordinate a date that suits us all. We are too damn busy. 

So many excuses. Some of them good. Some of them not so good. All of them getting in the way of experiencing those most enriching and replenishing of life's moments. 

Girlfriends are good for the soul. And we need more sleepovers.