Last weekend, Girls Club went into its second year, with the first event – The Girls Club Social. It was on a scorchingly hot Saturday afternoon at the fun Madame Brussels. Besides the organisers (Shannon Steinfort and me), ten brave souls faced the heat and came together for jugs of punch and chit-chat. New faces, old faces. We were all trying to stay still (with our parasols and paper fans) and hydrated, and I wanted to talk to everyone, but I think I almost had heatstroke. When I came home, I fell asleep and then I was super ill. Poor body!
It’s hard to write up a social event, because you are talking and listening to people, but there are three things I’ll comment on:
- By gosh, I am meeting – and have met – some wonderful, very cool girls through Girls Club. I’d like to write all about them. (More on this below.)
- A couple of the newcomers said they were drawn to the word “social,” and that it’s hard to meet new people. (Interesting. Should we do some more social events each year?)
- Some newcomers asked us how Girls Club came about. (Well. Let’s start with that.)
Why did you start Girls Club?
I don’t know about you, but I’ve always found it easier to be friends with guys than girls. When I meet new girls, I might really like them and want to be better friends with them, then I rummage around in my brain for the manual on how to do that, and get a “file not found” error. So I look to them for clues, thinking… Maybe I can find a common interest! Maybe we can go on a girl date to see a band, or have coffee. Then I try to read their cues and I’m completely lost. Most of the time, I come away thinking that they don’t even know I exist. I’m not factoring into their data. They have enough friends. It’s tricky.
And then you come across girls, over and over and over again, who are criticising other girls… and you get scared off. She seems really nice, but she just said that other really nice girl looks pretentious with that hat. I like wearing hats sometimes… Aah! I guess she would say the same thing about me. I won’t ever know if she is being nice to me to my face, but secretly criticising me. That’s awkward. (Yes, I have an overactive imagination, but I am just being super honest here!)
I remember talking about this with Shannon, and we thought, wouldn’t it be great to have a group of girls who explicitly agree that they’re supportive and positive towards each other? Cut out the doubt, cut out the need-a-reason-to-hang-out. Meet up monthly and have a discussion topic so that people aren’t just coming along and having to make spontaneous chit-chat about… the weather, or So, what do you do? or… etc.
Girls Club was born, and we ran it from March–November 2013 with a monthly topic. Each month, about 10 people came; sometimes more, sometimes less. Each time, we had a mixture of brand new girls, and longtime members. We did everything that we wanted to achieve in that first year. We kept it low-key and easy, with a 3-month holiday break, so it didn’t became a chore for us. We covered some really interesting topics, like gender bias and assertiveness. We found some sore points, like our girls’ difficulty in promoting themselves or owning up to all their achievements or being assertive, and we made notes on how to nurture these areas in year 2. We found new friendships, and lots of warmth and support. I think Shannon and I have improved our relationships with our girlfriends, and with each other. And, most superbly and fascinatingly – we watched our girls change their lives in that year.
I want to tell you about them all. THE GIRLS. I’ll do a series of posts on them, if they let me.
But, for now… Year 2 has just begun. The Social was sweaty and fun. Our monthly events start up again in March, and the first topic is My Style* – something a bit fun to kick off the new year!
Deep, sweet, girl, love,
*See the Girls Club Events page for a full list of topics.