Thursday, June 05, 2008

The Dreaded B Word

If you invite me to your Mary Kay or Pampered Chef or Stampin' Up! or even Creative Memories party - I will come. Once. I get that there are a lot of good women out there trying to carve a living for themselves while managing a home and doing something they love. Get it with a capital G. Go women. Rah.

When I was a young mom I actually loved Creative Memories. I bought stickers and funky scissors and die cut thingeys and over-priced acid-free scrapbooks because my God what if the paper wasn't acid free? What if it was all acidic? WHAT THEN?

But then something happened. And one day I woke up and I was no longer aroused by my shiny folder bursting with Stickopatmus stickers. The scissors just lay there with a dullness I hadn't noticed before. I saw the stacks of thousands of sheets of colorful, patterned paper and thought, Maybe Bob should take over the historian role in our house. Or maybe I can just get some plain photo corners and store my photos in an album without stickers and borders and artfully penned journaling under every single stinking memory. One day I just stopped.

My girls grew older and I gave them my stamps. I bought them their own albums and said "Have at it" - and you know what? They did. They are able to record their own memories, and I don't feel like it's a little lame that I am collecting stickers at my age.

But there remains something I thought I had also put behind me. Something I thought was long dead and buried. And it keeps rearing its ugly head and snarling my name - Bunko.

Tonight I am illustrating how dear my lovely friend Kristi is and how much she means to me by acting as her Bunko sub. I have been totally up front with her and told her I am coming for the free drinks and food. I can't even remember how to play the game, and when I try to conjure up the memory of the last time I shook the dice with a bunch of women, I just hear chopper blades in my head and everything goes dark. Bunko.

Years ago my best friend Sarah and I bonded over our mutual disdain for the game. We were probably rebelling against everything else in our life that was structured, social, and involved gaggles of women. We both endured the Officer's Wives Club, the Key Spouse responsibilities, and all the other "have-to's" of officer's wife life. So we drew the line at Bunko.

But we got sucked in anyway. And then we were promptly kicked out. Is it just me? Or is it really hard to get kicked out of a Bunko League? Anyone?

Sarah and I were blatantly silly at the Bunko games we attended with the other medical and logistical wives. New to the game, we refused once to switch tables because we were both so enamoured with how the track lighting made our new jewelry sparkle. Why did we have to move? Why did we have to roll the dice so quickly? Why couldn't we just talk? Couldn't we convert the whole thing to a book club? And then we went on to win the entire pot and all the prizes anyway. People weren't thrilled. The last straw came when we had to bring a Christmas present for a gift exchange at the December Bunko. It was maybe 30 minutes before we had to leave and Sarah was on my porch drinking a cold glass of wine when she shot me a panic-stricken look. "Jen! The gifts! We have to show up tonight with a gift!"

"No problem," I slurred said. I'll just have Bob swing by the local Kroger and pick something up - they have candles, right?" Buoyed by our wine and our inventiveness , we agreed that it was a genius plan and Sarah ran home to grab some gift bags.

Just in time for our departure, Bob showed up with two very cheap jarred candles that were Kroger brand, and Sarah and I hastily threw them in two foiled Valentine's gift bags. "It was all I had," she said, "but it's red, so that's Christmas-ey, right?" Of course. Yes. It would all work. We arrived at the home of the Bunko hostess in our newest clicky shoes and let ourselves in.

*Cue Psycho horror music*

Lined up in the foyer, were piles of beautiful, artfully created gift baskets, decorated bags, and elaborately wrapped gifts. And there we were, looking fabulous, but bearing the equivalent of a porn mag at the birth of Christ. We hid our bags and went in to the game, more subdued than usual, won anyway, and then endured the shame of the gift reveal. The women didn't even try to hide their disdain - and it was finalized that another woman would take the candles home and regift them in a near-constructed teacher gift basket for the holidays.

We were never asked back.

27 comments:

Rima said...

I've never even heard of Bunko, but I think I would have loved to play with you and your friend!

Memarie Lane said...

Reminds me of an ornament exchange we had at work one year. All the employees picked out very nice ornaments, but the boss's wife brought a little rubber Santa on a surfboard. I was the lucky recipient, and I was sitting next to her husband. He looked at it with disdain and said, "who one earth picked out such a piece of crap?" And his wife shrunk back and said "I thought it was cute!" She probably got it free with a tube of gift wrap or something.

standing still said...

Ah. Organized socializing. Why in heaven's name must we women have a reason to get together and sit around a large bottle of tequila? Are we afraid that without a mission we'll forget what to do?

jakelliesmom said...

Now I know how to get out of Bunko night. Thank you, Jen. Thank you so much.

SuburbanCorrespondent said...

Bunko is supposed to be stupid! It's just an excuse to get together and eat and drink and chat. At least, that's how we do it...

And my skin hasn't become "taut, poreless, and youthful" yet. How many comments do I have to leave, anyway?

andi said...

What on earth is Bunko? I'm off to Google it right now...

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I have held out against Bunko until the ripe old age off 44; I am succumbing later this month. Now I'm worried.

Mamma said...

Well you're one up on me. I've NEVER been asked to join a Bunco group. Oh sure I've been asked if I'd like to be a sub, but that's like saying "if I don't have anyone else to hang out with I might call you."

And I'm really not that awful in real life. I think it's my preference for cold beers on the deck that keep me out.

carrie said...

So far, I have avoided the Bunko . . . can't say the same for the Creative Memories though - I have tape runners coming out of my EARS!

Beth said...

This post cracks me up!

I used to play Bunko in my old neighborhood and I usually enjoyed it. It was my one excuse a month to get out of the house and drink wine with the girls.

Although, it would have been more fun if we could have just had the wine and skipped the dice!

Joanie said...

The one and only time I played bunko, the women actually did talk and didn't roll fast and I remember thinking how much my husband would be chewing his arm and punching holes in the wall. But they were a nice, low key group of women who didn't care that it was the first time I got drunk after having the second baby and I fell down on the front lawn. Did I mention it was a theme bunko night and we all had to dress white trash?

Beck said...

One of my friends - who I LOVE - is ALWAYS throwing those lame stuff parties and then I'm the only person who shows up, which is why I have a house full of crap from parties.

Dana said...

I tried to scrapbook...I tried to like it. But I always felt like all the stickers and writing and rah rah rah became more important than the actual picture. So I gave it up.

And ah Bunko...such a military creation. Bunko is only good if everyone has made the unspoken agreement that it is supposed to be as drunken and disorderly as possible.

Magpie said...

What IS Bunko?

Erica said...

We have officially renamed it DRUNKO and sometimes we play, sometimes we don't.

Molly said...

See...the story does have a happy ending. "We were never asked back."

This post is hilarious. I have attended countless Pampered Chef, Tupperware, and Southern Living parties. When choosing my purchase, I try to ignore the presentation and buy the cheapest items.

Mary Beth said...

I got out of Bunkos by moving - slightly more expensive but permanent:)

DysFUNctional Mom said...

I think you're kind to even go once. Those cultish gatherings terrify me!

Jerseygirl89 said...

I've never played Bunko, but I remember when I was hip and single and one of my colleagues lived in the suburbs with her married, stay-at-home mom, sister. The sister LOVED Bunko so much that she didn't care that the other women there were so snotty to my colleague (also hip and single). My colleague started sleeping over at my house whenever her sister hosted Bunko night. I've been afraid of it ever since.

Fairly Odd Mother said...

I'm convinced that, should I be wrong and there is a hell, it will be playing Bunko with a bunch of women who don't laugh at my jokes, live in homes that have been scrubbed free of 'evidence of child' and hold the opposite view on everything from politics to shoes.

Oh wait, I've already been there.

Rony said...

I literally pissed myself! Yep, my neighborhood has a bunko group. I finally gave up on it because I didn't want to roll and just wanted to chat! Me and my girlfriend refused to move tables because we were chatting. We were called cheaters. lol. But, they were fun becuase for 2 hours we ate and drank and no husbands or kiddies.....

Rony said...

We fondly referred to it as "drunko bunko"! Many a night I've had trouble frinding my house and the parties are always on my street!! lol..

liv said...

enter why i do not partake of said game.

MamaNeena said...

My mother used to host Bunko when I was in high school. I just remember the jello shots, not the gifts. Hey, maybe she did that on purpose...

ablondeblogger said...

Oh my gosh! You're way better off without those kind of people...geez!

I was invited to a Bunko group in my neighborhood but one mom warned me that they're way serious and if you can't be there every time they meet, you will be crucified. So I opted out.

Reading this, I'm glad I did!

katydidnot said...

idk what bunko is, but i'm in.

Di said...

I could become your blog stalker...love this! We did not get kicked out of Bunco, but we did a mass resignation when there was some concern that the hostess that month might not serve drinks! I mean, come one, Bunco without drinks? Now I sub for a group that is ALL about the food and the gossip and not so much about the game. They never finish all 24 games...they just kind of finish when they finish. Much more fun.