A few weeks ago, my husband and I had a “group dinner” with three other couples who we’ve known forever. You can imagine the scene: eight people seated at a table in an Italian restaurant. The women are together at one end of the table, the men at the other end. A bottle of red. A bottle of white. Blah, blah, blah. We used to go to dinners like this all the time when we were younger, and I loved them. But then people started having kids, they didn’t have sitters, schedules became harder to coordinate, and the group dinners happened more and more infrequently. So, recently, we decided to make more of an effort. We planned months in advance, got a date on our calendars, made a reservation. We did it. And now I never want to do it again. I think this snippet of conversation from the ladies’ end of the table may help explain why:
Is your son sleeping in underwear yet? Because my son is still in pull ups and I’m starting to think that something is wrong with him.
I wouldn’t worry about it. My pediatrician said that some kids are just deep sleepers, and it takes them longer.
Who is your pediatrician? Do you go to Dr. Bob? Because I interviewed him when I was pregnant, and something about him rubbed me the wrong way, but now everyone I know goes to him, and I’m wondering if I made a mistake because I’m not that happy with my pediatrician anymore.
I’m reading the best book right now. It’s about this writer who spends an entire year following the bible literally. It’s really funny. (Long pause as everyone stares at me).
Oh, my God, have you guys been to the shoe sale at Neiman’s yet? I got the best pair of boots.
Okay, so forgive me for generalizing here, but when did women become so boring? I know, I know, they’re not all boring. I said I was generalizing. It’s just that, I have to say, I’ve noticed a direct correlation between the number of children my friends have and their ability to talk about anything interesting. Not that kids and shopping and pediatricians aren’t interesting. It’s just that, they’re only interesting for a finite amount of time. Ten minutes: interesting. Ad nauseum: not so interesting.
When I couldn’t take hearing about Wife #3’s problems with her decorator any longer, I let my ear wander over to the men’s end of the table for a little while, where they were talking about the economy, about Obama, about an interesting study reported in the New York Times. Ah, I thought. That’s what I’m talkin’ bout. I scooted my chair closer to them and joined the conversation, abandoning the other wives all together.
My firm is representing a school board against a group of parents who are suing the district for not including intelligent design in the science curriculum. Can you believe that?
You know there’s a museum somewhere that is dedicated to intelligent design. They have huge exhibits of men riding dinosaurs.
That’s so funny, I’m reading a book about a guy who spends an entire year following the bible literally, and he goes to meet with the people at that museum.
Really? What does he say is the hardest part to follow?
Not being able to touch his wife for seven days after she gets her period.
He should marry my wife. She doesn’t let me touch her ever, so it wouldn’t be a problem. (Snickers all around).
Aaaand, I’m back to the other end of the table, where a discussion about how amazing Jennifer Aniston’s body looks in the new Vogue is in full swing. I find myself wondering, when, when will this dinner ever end???
I don’t think that I’m being a snob here. Okay, maybe I am a little, but I don’t think that semi-intellectual conversation is too much to ask from a group of women with advanced degrees from some of the best schools in the country. I want to hear opinions. I want to have discussions. I want to talk about what the guys talk about, minus the nasty wife-bashing comments. Why can’t we do this? Why do so many moms feel the need to talk exclusively about things that don’t matter, like about what jewelry they want for their anniversary, or what kinds of pajamas they buy their kids, or what Us Weekly is saying about Lauren Conrad. Why?
What I want, more than anything, is for things to be the way they used to be, before everyone went all Stepford on me. What I want is some substance. I crave it. I yearn for it. I check the New York Times app on my iPhone three hundred times a day in the hopes of finding it. I am, I think, a substance addict. Sigh. If only there was a corner in a bad neighborhood where I could score some from a guy in a grey hoodie.