I’ve received an invitation. At first, I thought I was being asked to participate in a scholarly gathering of public speakers, as I was invited to “substitute” at what I mistakenly heard was a “keynote meeting.”
I seem to recall reading somewhere that most people would rather die than speak in public; so theoretically, I should have been alarmed from the outset.
In reality, my palms didn’t begin to sweat until I discovered that the event (kee-no??) involves cards, dice, gifts and a dozen women.
Last time I got involved in something like this, I ended up with a one-winged angel and a low tolerance for excessive estrogen exposure.
The Women’s Ornament Exchange of ’97 played out like a Seinfeld episode. This was not a gathering of refined ladies exchanging adornments for the yuletide. The events that transpired more closely resembled lost footage from the “Festivus” episode. As you may or may not recall, "Festivus" was a late December holiday consisting of the “Airing of Grievances” and “Feats of Strength.”
You may find it difficult to see the parallels if you haven’t had a series of reindeer, moose and snowmen forcibly removed from your person by a pack of rabid women.
I believe I’d been promised “an evening of food and fellowship and a keepsake reminder for my family tree.” However, the event coordinator had to sift through the rubble in the evening’s aftermath to unearth the naked, fractured cherub that was ultimately presented to me.
I’d like to tell you that I found the token to be endearing and tended to its wounds and salvaged it as an inspiring symbol of triumph over rejection, but that simply wouldn’t be true.
The plastic dollar store bauble was disposed of at the scene.
Young and impressionable, I subsequently steered clear from grown-up events that were gender-specific.
But unlike the kitschy cherub, I get another chance to embrace this whole female-bonding thing. If it doesn't work out, at least I'll get some great material I can use if I'm ever asked to give a keynote address.