Went Bowling For Kids Sake last night, in support of Big Brothers Big Sisters Toronto, and had even more fun than I could have possibly imagined! Beyond the two teams I was there with, there were some familiar faces – more than I’d been expecting to see, actually – and everyone seemed to have a great time together. SO much fun!
Of course, I am much more hungover today than I’d been planning, as well, so there’s that. Still worth it, though.
On the way into work yesterday morning, I was talking with a coworker friend about the fact that I’d be bowling that evening (I think that was my first time with the big balls, too, actually), and she started telling me about how she used to bowl in an Italian Women’s League years ago, and how much fun THAT was! Apparently the women had all known one another for years, and they’d get to telling stories and laughing a lot, then go out for drinks after and tell even more stories, and make each other laugh all the harder.
It got me thinking about how women should do things like that much more often in our general lives. Spend time together in a group and just be silly together. My team last night was all girls, and even though everyone didn’t know everyone else at the start of the evening, we all still had an amazing time playing together. We also talked about how cool it would be to make a semi-regular thing out of it. Maybe bowling, maybe something else, maybe incorporate a few different things. Just to go out and be goofy and not subconsciously be trying to impress anyone else the way we do when there are other kinds of relationships around. Family, work, romantic relationships – they all have different dynamics than just straight up friendship, and even the dynamics between men and women in platonic friendships are usually much different from what men have with other men, or women have with other women.
There are of COURSE exceptions to all of that, but what really got me thinking was about the kind of friendships that can develop between women specifically, and how I don’t think I’ve ever really experienced it first-hand. I have seen it with others, and have caught shades of it in my own life, but not nearly to the degree that I was thinking about yesterday and last night.
Not like an Italian Women’s Bowling League.
I’ve been trying (and largely failing) to nurture stronger one-on-one friendships with other people recently, but this group dynamic was suddenly just as fascinating to me. It’s different somehow, in a way I can’t quite put my finger on. It’s a kind of release, when there’s less of a need to keep one’s guard up. It’s so habitual I wouldn’t even say I notice it until I’ve let it down without even thinking about it or trying. Suddenly I’m just a little bit more myself, and it still feels safe. For the majority of the evening last night, I’d completely forgotten there was another entire set of lanes on the other side of the room! All of those people just ceased to exist all together. As did the others bowling on our side, save for the 3 other teams I was there with.
With whom I was there. Haha
And while we all went back and forth to visit and chat with people on those 3 other teams, it was still my particular group that made me feel the most like myself, including the ringer I had to deal off to one of the other teams because mine had too many. But she spent enough time with us that she still felt like part of my team, anyway. She was part of that same dynamic in a way that none of the others were.
I’m curious to see what prolonged exposure to feeling more like myself would do for my public presence overall. To my sense of self. Would I start being more me all the time? Would I ever let my guard down completely in a group like that, and just not give a flying crap about trying to impress anyone else (thus making me all the more impressive)? Would that feeling extend back to closer one-on-one relationships and let forge stronger connections that way, too?
There’s something there, for sure. Something different. Something fun.
Something that makes me want to be an old lady giggling with my old lady friends and making everyone who sees us together jealous of our unique friendship, and wonder what the hell we’re laughing at.
That thought alone makes it worth taking a shot, don’t you think?