I’ve decided that, really, all swingin’ single 20-somethings in a big city should simply stop asking people like me – middle-class moms with young kids – what their weekend plans are. Because it does not matter how cool I think it sounds, how excited I am, it never translates well. The conversation just fizzles in a most awkward way.
If we’re going to a show (which is not a frequent occurrence in and of itself), we can’t just let it go at that. Oh, no. It becomes all about which bars and restaurants are close to that venue. Not only do I not know, not having lived in this city before kids, but we have neither the money nor the energy to go out before or after a concert. We just don’t look at our watches at 11:30 pm and say, Hey, we just blew $100 on those Wilco tickets and another $60 so far on the babysitter – let’s go out for $12 drinks and stay out a couple more hours!
But if all the 20-somethings had this reality spelled out for them, I fear there would be a whole generation without children. And then who would my kids babysit when they’re in high school?? Who will wax their brows? I mean – have you seen Baxter’s eyebrows?? So I listen to the explanations, the descriptions of great bars and fun nights out, and nod as if we might just stop by there. And that’s really the best case scenario, when I have something like that to chat about.
Here’s an example of a conversation I had yesterday with the girl* who was waxing my otherwise-insane eyebrows:
Girl with the tweezers: Any special plans this weekend?
Me, excited to have anything at all to say, other than something along the lines of “I get to go to the grocery store alone tomorrow!” or “Taking Lyle to a Pump It Up party” or “Church and soccer”: Yes! Some friends of ours are coming for the weekend!
Girl: Fun! Where are they coming from?
Me, laughing a little: Um, well, they live here, in Chicago! (See? It’s already going downhill – I should’ve said Manhattan or anything more exotic than “Here”.)
Girl: You mean…they live in the city?
Me: Yeah! They’re just coming up with their kids and spending the night with us, it’ll be really fun.
Girl: Wait – where do you live?
Me: Chicago, yeah, north side.
Girl: perplexed silence
Me, starting to ramble now, but still enthusiastic because I am super excited about this plan: Well, you know, with all the kids, it’s great because the kids can stay up late and have a sleepover party and then we adults can all hang out and stay up late without hiring a babysitter…and we can make dinner together and then breakfast in the morning…
It’s a good thing I didn’t mention the fact that we could even go to church together on Sunday. But I think I forgot to tell her about the booze. I mean, seriously, if there was one thing to tell her to help her muster up a little enthusiasm about my plans, it was going to be that our friends have some kind of fancy drink blender that they’re bringing so that we can drink some awesome cocktails tonight. Duh. I need more practice at this.
But at least she doesn’t know about the robe I’ll probably be wearing. That would’ve done her in.
* When I was younger, I was adamant that any female over 18 was to be referred to as a “woman”, not a “girl”. The older I get, no matter how much of a feminist I am, the weirder that seems. Now I choose the label based on the actual maturity of the subject in question. This subject? A girl.