Please welcome guest blogger Meagan Lopez, author of The Lady Who Lunches Blog, my favorite new blog of 2009. Meagan is a recent ex-pat, moving from America to Britain to be with her man. It’s never easy fitting into a new culture, especially when you only know one other person, but Meagan has the moves down and she’s here to offer advice for anyone thinking about jumping the pond.
A Ladies Group.
As a young girl, I would have giggled at those three words not really understanding why boys needed to be separated from girls. As a teenager, I probably would have rolled my eyes and shuddered at the thought of something as cliché as a ladies social group. But, as an adult woman, I think its the best invention on this planet.
Especially as an expat, and even more especially as an expat by way of man.
I was lucky in so far as I moved to England with a boyfriend who is, well, English, and that my English boyfriend came with a built-in social group. With that built-in social group came girlfriends of my boyfriend’s friends. And that’s how they remained to me for the first couple of months because we only went out as couples.
The first four months of living here was maddening. On the one hand, it was exciting and exuberant, but on the other it was frustrating and isolating. My boyfriend would go to work, and I would spend my days on the computer supposedly writing my novel. I was deathly afraid to drive on my own on the wrong side of the road. There wasn’t much in terms of places to go near our house, and I didn’t feel comfortable calling any of the girls because we just weren’t that close yet, and I didn’t know what to do to get to know them better.
Female Chit Chat Withdrawal.
Finally, I made a decision. I missed chatting with women about the drivel of celebrities, the fascinating nuances of hair products and casually joking about different sexual positions; i.e. woman speak. I craved that common ground, but quite frankly wasn’t at all sure if British woman would be of the same mind set or even get where I was coming from. I was also very aware that “ladies groups” might be something extremely American, and therefore extremely cheesy and bizarre. I certainly knew that Sororities didn’t exist here, but nor was I trying to start something so tedious as that.
The Coy Approach.
The best way to approach the topic of coordinating a ladies get together?
Get everyone drunk.
Then make jokes about our boyfriends – in the most lovingly way possible.
Find out likes and dislikes of ladies to use later when discussing ideas for themes of evenings.
Broach topic of a ladies group in a completely ludicrous way which shows that you in no way intend to start such a bizarre thing as a social group.
Put down and make fun of social groups over and over again until it seems so out there that, well, why shouldn’t we try it just for laughs, or just to be, what’s that word? Oh, ironic. Plus, surely the men will only wonder what we could possibly be up to once a month.
Taunt the men with idea of us leaving them for a few hours every month.
Then, go back to the idea, casually say that it will occur every last Thursday of the month at 7:30PM, and invites will be in the mail!
They won’t know what hit ‘em!
Innovative Themes Each Month.
We enjoy ourselves so much that we probably don’t really need a theme, but it keeps things fresh. We all get to experience new things together which brings us closer, and gives us more things to talk about. I now feel that these women are not just the girlfriends of my boyfriend’s friends, but my own friends. The ladies group really has made me feel less of a foreigner with strange habits and smells, and more of just another woman living in a country with a different accent to the rest.
I strongly recommend any woman heading to a new country to join a woman’s club, or if one doesn’t exist, start your own. You’ll get to know the way of life of the host culture by making new friends, experiencing cultural events, and at the very least, seeing where you fit in. I find that once you get to know the women of a country, you’re more likely to understand how that country works in comparison to your own.