Female bonding has morphed over time from quilting circles and tea parties to bunco and book clubs, but one thing remains the same: Girls just wanna have fun, and nothing spells it quite like G-N-O.
Turns out, girls' night out isn't all gossip and lemontinis. The ladies-only excursions may actually be good for you. Dr. Elizabeth Cordes, a psychiatrist in Edmond, said having an accepting group to belong to can be very therapeutic.
"Benefits might include having an opportunity to confide in others, while providing and receiving support, participating in group problem-solving, receiving reassurance that the individual is not the only one experiencing the trials of 'everyday life,'" Cordes said, "as well as experiencing the occasion to 'let loose' and relax in the absence of day-to-day responsibilities."
Stephanie Allsbury, a wife, mother of one and engineering tech at Chesapeake Energy, completely agreed.
"I think it's imperative for women, especially mothers, to get out with other women " kid-free, guilt-free " and have some grown-up time together," Allsbury said. "Some of those nights together have been the best free therapy sessions! It just assures you that maybe your crazy life and thoughts are actually" gasp " normal!"
But it's not always easy getting friends together, due to hectic schedules and guilt over having a fun night out. Allsbury used to belong to a bunco group which met monthly, but had to disband.
"Why is it that my husband's monthly poker group has too many players, but we couldn't keep 12 young moms committed to a monthly bunco night?" she said. "Ah "¦ the responsibilities that women have "¦ and refuse to give up."
Now, she and a smaller group of friends get together for one night monthly, although they don't play the dice game. Instead, they go out to dinner and a movie, or meet at one of their homes.
Whitney Fleming, a wife, mom of two young boys and a marketing coordinator for Metro Family magazine, said she is one of those moms who ends up having to cancel evenings out, although she thinks it's important to stay connected to friends.
"It is hard at the moment with my kids, work and my spouse's work, and everyone's finances to have anything planned out on a regular basis," Fleming said. "It never fails: I have to back out or reschedule. Probably a very lame excuse, and it would be nice to get something going on a regular basis."
Beverages and benefitsThe best part of a girls' night out?
According to Christi Woodworth, the director of external communications at Sonic Drive-In, it's laughter.
"Laughing out loud," Woodworth said. "You know, the belly laugh. It always happens at least once. Also, I always learn something new about someone, and I love learning."
Cordes said women naturally communicate for the purpose of socialization to achieve closeness and intimacy.
"Having a girls' night out utilizes our natural tendencies to connect with and support others through female friendships by providing a dedicated forum in which to do so," she said.
Local restaurants have gotten in on the act, turning the trend into a packed house. The Melting Pot in Bricktown hosts a Ladies' Night Out once a month, which includes a full-course fondue meal and desserts with entertainment and special prizes for attendees. The cost for the evening is $35, and reservations are required.
Twitter has helped Oklahoma City women who "follow" each other plan and promote girls' night outs they call "wine group therapy."
In January, one such group met for happy hour at the Martini Lounge in Edmond for complimentary appetizers and face-to-face girl talk, where they could expound beyond the 140-character limitations of Twitter. Most of the women had never met in person before.
One of the attendees was Amy Urbach, a wife, mother and purchasing coordinator at LifeChurch.tv.
"You feel like you already know the women because you've been communicating online, so it jumpstarts the friendship," Urbach said. "For me, girls' night out gives you a chance to encourage others in what they are going through and get encouragement back."
The group plans on changing locations every month to support local venues and enjoy great drinks and conversation.
Lori Ford, a single mom and Twitter enthusiast who wasn't able to attend the January event, recently tweeted, "When is the next wine therapy session? I need the support. :-)"
Mental well-being and martinis?
Sign us up. "Malena Lott