Tuesday, May 04, 2010

A League To Bemoan

There are many "not so proud' moments in my life.

There was the time when I went into a stall in my college dorm bathroom with an entire sheet cake (an action preceded by one or two thousand cocktails, if memory serves). My college roommate found me the next morning, on the floor half in and half out of the stall, surrounded by a dead-body-type-chalk-outline of chocolate cake crumbs.

I didn't date much.

Then there was the time that I took my Brownie uniform off for Timmy -- a boy who lived across the street from me in Syracuse, New York. I know, I know...a lot of people think this is perfectly normal and that sometimes little kids will do this when they learn that there are differences between boys and girls. I'm sure my parents would have handled it better if Timmy was not 37. Or my uncle.

But maybe my least proud moment of all was the few months I spent as part of the Junior League of Northern Virginia. (Tagline: We're like the Nazis. But less fun.)

As part of an effort to "get involved!" and "make a difference!" and "give back to the community!" a few years back, I signed on to become a member. (Which, not unlike a sorority, gave me a "pledge" status until I had been with the organization for six months and had accumulated a number of points. No...I'm not kidding.)

I joined this organization at the same time as my friend, Amy. Amy, who arrived late to a meeting one evening and was asked for the super-secret password at the secure door. She remembered that the password was the name of the cookbook that the Junior League published as an annual fundraiser, but could not remember the exact name. She said to the person on the other end of the intercom, "I know it is the name of the cookbook -- is it "What's for Dinner"? or "Can I Bring Something"? and guessed a few more titles that she thought might be correct. Instead of getting partial credit for knowing the origin of the password, she got denied entry. TO AN ORGANIZATION FOR WHICH SHE WAS VOLUNTEERING.

The cookbook title, incidentally?  "What Can I Bring?" (Though to be fair,  no members of the Taliban have thus far infiltrated any Junior League of Northern Virginia meetings -- so perhaps I should not poke fun at their security measures.)

The organization was structured in a way that the members were required to attend a large general monthly meeting and also monthly small group meetings. The small groups were configured based on geography, with the hope that you would meet other women who lived close to you. My small group leader suggested that we all meet for coffee to get to know each other. I guess she wanted to let us all know that her husband had just bought her some roses, because she opened the meeting by announcing that. And then by asking each of us what our husbands did for us that was romantic.

I learned that day that not everyone considers a "Tony Danza" a romantic gesture.

As you likely surmised, I never made it past my pledge period. Which is probably just as well. The rumors about showing up at initiation wearing just my underwear were freaking me out anyway.

What Can I Bring? It's Already Broughten,
Brutalism

26 comments:

The Vegetable Assassin said...

Holy crap, TONY DANZA is now going to be my stock response to any inane questions today, thank you for that! :) Hilarious!

Bradford said...

So do you own this cookbook? Flashbacks - I was not only a member but past President of a Kiwanis chapter. Another life's lesson in what NOT to do.

ShutUpandRun said...

OMG you in Jr. League is like me wearing white tights on race day.

Moooooog35 said...

Asking what a husband does that's romantic should have been your first indication that THIS WAS A TRAP.

You narrowly escaped with your life.

Be thankful.

Brutalism said...

VA - I'm just thankful for Urban Dictionary. Until I found it, I never realized there were NAMES for all the things I'd been doing for years...

Bradford - I rebelled and never bought the damn cookbook. Really? Kiwanis are similar? (Good fun fact.)

SU&R - That is the most perfect analogy, ever!

Moooooog - Agreed. I was one step away from being Stepfordized.

Ali said...

Glad you escaped. The big question is: Is Amy still trapped? Did you leave her behind and save yourself?

I'm not judging. Just askin'...

Brutalism said...

Ali - Amy was gone immediately after the "secret password" incident. I lasted another month or so.

Ri, the Music Savvy Mom said...

Your depiction is chillingly accurate, at least as I recall the two meetings I survived as a member of the Junior League of San Diego.

Frankly, I'm surprised either of us was invited. Clearly these folks need better screening!

Brutalism said...

Ri - So happy to know that you are a fellow proud defector. We should start a club. We'll need pledges and points and small groups...

kiki said...

did you ever start singing "hold me closer Tony Danza?"

Dilettard07 said...

Junior League is like the Nazis! They even have gruppenfueher and bizarre underwear rituals.

Although, after the Rocky Horror post, I am not sure what you feared about being in public in your underoos.

Love from Sarajevo, where I am told I will be taken to a brewery pub on Saturday! Sarajevska Pivo is not so bad.

Brutalism said...

Kiki - Yes. Wow. I now feel like we've crossed a line here.

Tard - Dude. Thanks for checking in from Sarajevo. I cannot wait til someone finds Brutalism by googling "Junior League is like the Nazis."

Kath said...

I find it interesting that I never knew about this until now. It is beyond "incident" and closer to "prolonged period of insanity." But then I reflect on the number of such periods over the years and think "prolonged insanity?" I think you WANT to be a joiner, but really, what group is COOL ENOUGH for you?

My first job out of college involved working on a project with some Junior League financial backing. Each time we met they were not so secretly horrified at my lack of an "outfit." One of the women started an affair with another funder supporting the project, which I learned about from the person who cut my hair. Very Desperate Wannabe Housewives. Upon successful completion of the project they presented me with a purse.

Brutalism said...

Kath - Your Junior League story is fantastic. I, too, am horrified by your lack of outfits. But that is a great purse!

dilettante07 said...

I expect you'll be receiving a cease and desist order from the JLs soon, now that you've given out their password. What next, revealing the handshake? The secret knock? The creepy initiation outfits?

I am appalled.

Signed,
Girl who revealed all the so-whore-ity secrets to anyone who would listen the minute initiation was over

Brutalism said...

Tante - Tim was actually worried there might be some JL backlash. (Perhaps that they'd pelt me with canapes and Lily Pulitzer clothing?) I hardly think they care what I write about on my poop joke blog.

Me, too, on the so-whore-ity crap. My roommate and I used to blurt out the full name of our secret song (in public, we were supposed to refer to it only by initials) in earshot of our president, who would then go into cardiac arrest. Good times.

Trooper Thorn said...

Is it ironic that in "Who's the Boss?", Angela was the president of her local chapter of The Junior League?

Brutalism said...

Trooper Thorn - I had no idea. It is fantastic that a) Angela was involved in Junior League and b) that you knew that.

Life comes full circle.

Cyndy said...

I haven't thought about the Junior League in years. I went to school with a bunch of Southern Belles who all planned to join the Junior League. It seems like that was one of the rites of passage, along with being a debutante for many of them. As a "Yankee" I never had to worry about whether or not I'd fit in enough to be in the Junior League, because I just wouldn't. I guess it's not for everyone ;)

Brutalism said...

Cyndy - I never knew much about it before I joined. This was quite an education. And by "education", I mean "nightmare."

Miss Spoken said...

I was once a high ranking official of a similar terrorist group ... Team Mom of the Cal Ripken T-Ball League.

Ugh.

Now I'm just a fan of the Lesbian Terrorist Social Club. No, I'm not a lesbian, nor a terrorist and truth be told, I'm not even that social (not including times when I'm naked holding a bottle of vodka). But the name is catchy, right?

Brutalism said...

Miss Spoken -- Well, the LTSC is obviously pretty inclusive if a non-lesbian, non-terrorist, not-so-social person can join. Therefore, I approve. I'm also confident that there is no secret password phrase for entry into your meetings. Unless, of course, it is "I have more vodka."

JenBC said...

Wow. I had way too many Brutalisms to catch up on. So glad I did. How do you even focus during the week with so many snortingly funny posts spinning in your head? And what the fritatta is up with the JL?! Love your sign offs.

Brutalism said...

JenBC - Yay! I've missed you. No idea about the JL...the whole experience was so strange.

lucy said...

You are very talent.A good blog.There are many kinds of Discount Fashion Shoesin our online store, all of them are made of excellent materials, and have Classic style.In addition we have Victorias Secret pinkand NFL jerseys.

Brutalism said...

Lucy - You are very kindheart.
And I was just looking for discount fashion shoes AND an NFL jersey. Serendipity, indeed.