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Friday, June 20, 2014

WHY I WENT TO MY REUNION: Nevermind the Aftershame, Here's the Librarians!

So I just got back from my 25th college reunion.  YAY!!!!  We’re OLD!!!!  But seriously, folks, I had nothing but pleasant, stimulating and/or invigorating interactions the entire weekend.  NOTHING BUT, can you imagine?  For an entire weekend???  You are right, I was pretty sure I had actually died on my way there (I did drive through a monsoon-like storm) and was currently in heaven, because how is that a sustainable reality?  An entire weekend of nothing but positive, happy, supportive vibes?  Whew.  Looking back, it HAS taken on a dream-like quality…the familiar faces, the supportive rapport, the humor, the intelligence, the downright determination to have a FUCKING GOOD TIME.  ALL of these things came into play, and I was not sorry to see a single face, hug a single person and had a 100% lack of something I have termed “aftershame”.  You know, that sick pit in your stomach you get after a night out when you feel you may have tried too hard?  Or too little. Or drank too much. Or too little.  It is so hard to get it exactly right, right?  But I did.  Just this once.

Now surely you could find someone to disagree.  Someone who could say that I did drink too much, or mention the fact that I had mascara smeared under my eyes from laughing so hard I had to cover my face, or that I had to leave the bbq because I am neurotic about food, or wouldn’t dance at the campus pub because it was too damned hot, or wouldn’t march in the all-class parade because I DO NOT MARCH.  You could find those people.  But they are not MY PEOPLE.  My people would say the same thing as I:  a good (wonderful, fabulous) time was had by one and all.  We were happy to be together and it all felt so RIGHT, so IN SYNC (N’Sync?) that we can’t wait for 5 years to go by to do it again.  HA!  Of course we don’t really need to wait 5 years, but life is busy and time passes so quickly, and schedules are hard to coordinate and also, we are most likely saving it for the librarians.
Obviously, it will be difficult for me to justify this last excuse.  Save it for whom? What?  But actually, as a moment of perfection in an absolutely sublime weekend, “save it for the librarians” was my takeaway.  The quote that resonated most deeply with me.  Because a hilarious, gorgeous, vivacious woman shared with me the fact that her husband doesn’t, in fact, find her to be all that funny.  And when she whips out her rapier wit on his behalf, he tells her to “save it for the librarians”.  Yes, she is getting her PhD in library science.  So she’s smart, too.  “Save it for the librarians,” he says.  Ironically, this is a pretty good line.  But it is also reflective of a trend I noticed throughout the weekend.  We were quite terribly overjoyed to be with each other because we GET each other.  Even after 25 years.  And some of us (a lot of us?) are living with, married to or in love with people who not get us in that same way, even after much more extensive contact.  Proving to me at least, that you can’t fake or force that “CLICK”.

So what gives?  I am the first to admit, my husband doesn’t find me all that funny, although anyone who reads my blog knows I AM EMPIRICALLY A LAUGH RIOT.  Ha.  Another friend of mine, who can literally make me laugh without ever changing his expression, who simply by hesitating a moment can prompt me to guffaw, claims his S.O. “doesn’t laugh”.  Not only at him, but at funny movies, professional comedians, etc.  She just doesn’t like to laugh at all, he says.  So how does THAT work???  A high school friend of mine who recently started a successful women’s social club, shared an interesting encounter on HER blog:  she reconnected with an old acquaintance recently who rejected membership in said club with this excuse:  “I don’t like to have fun”.  YOU DON’T LIKE TO HAVE FUN????  WTF???  And what do you want to bet she is married to a PARTY ANIMAL?
So here is my theory:  the hilarious, gorgeous, vivacious woman whose husband told her to “save it for the librarians”?  She married someone who lets her rest.  Who gives her a break.  Who doesn’t need her to be hilarious, gorgeous and vivacious 24/7.  My friend with the S.O. who doesn’t laugh?  Needs a moment when he doesn’t feel obligated to make anyone laugh.  And perhaps the fact that my own husband doesn’t crack a smile while reading my blog is a relief to me as well.  It is hard to live with a bright light shining in your eyes all the time, and our partners do admirably well, when you consider their circumstances in that manner.  Hilarious, gorgeous and vivacious might actually be a little tough to take around the clock.  Hence, the request to “save it for the librarians”.  The ironically funny request.  But it also makes me wonder…while it is perfectly healthy to give it a rest at home, how many of us are forgetting to take it back out and let it shine in the rest of our lives?

When you are young and searching for your place, you pull out all of the stops.  No stone is left unturned in the hunt for the “CLICK”, that sense of belonging, that sense of self.  You put yourself out there again and again because it is the only way to experience who you are in the world.  But as we get older and life settles in, we become more self-protective.  Life (and aftershame) teach us to withhold more, hide our light when it makes others uncomfortable and believe the feedback of strangers more than our own hearts.  We start saving it for the librarians, because…well, pearls before swine and all that.  But here is the dilemma:  how will you know if the CLICK is there if you don’t pull out all of the stops?  There is no quicker litmus test as to whether or not you are in the best situation for you if you act completely and totally like yourself and get nothing but a slack-jawed stare.  I’m glad I went to my reunion because it reminded me that my people and my place exist.  But it also reminded me that the only way to find them is to stop hiding…and stop saving it for the librarians.


  1. I agree that you should stop saving it for the librarians.

    That said, I also want to remind you that you have a full bar, private guest room, and the bright lights of Broadway awaiting you here on the Blessed Isle.



  2. Amazing post! Thanks for the gift to all!
    Love, Deirdre


  4. Oh, I just loved every word of that!