When I was a little girl, my mother had her monthly Persian Ladies Night. The mysterious evening usually involved my mother getting dressed up in her choicest designer attire, cooking some delectable Persian dish, and heading to one of her equally stylish, smart and sophisticated Persian lady friends’ houses.
My father was, quite happily, relegated to another one of the husbands’ houses with all the kids, who ran amok while their fathers (some Persian, but mostly English, like my dad, or Scottish or Irish) talked history, music, politics, science and other nerdy subjects.
It wasn’t until well after college that I got to experience one of these famed Persian Ladies Nights myself. It lived up to the hype: stylish outfits, copious amount of glorious Persian food, a fair smattering of red wine, lots of dancing, and, as the cardamom tea was served in gold-painted glasses, one of my mother’s friends told me, “Now we all sit down to rest and tell dirty jokes.”
Just after my daughter was born here in Macon, a friend of mine invited me to be a part of a new “Around the World” supper club. The idea was to have a group of Macon ladies, some of whom didn’t know each other very well, each take turns hosting a monthly dinner party featuring a different world cuisine.
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At first I had fears and visions of well-to-do and well-heeled ladies making polite small talk. I put together my best business casual outfit — pencil skirt, heels and all — ready to behave myself among this new group of ladies.
Thankfully, a few dinners in, these fears were put to rest by the intelligent, fearless, hilarious conversations from these brilliant ladies, who were all so different from each other.
We range in ages, backgrounds, jobs and families. Some of us have kids or babies; our jobs range from teachers and full-time mothers to decorators and editors.
Despite our differences, over the two-plus years of dinners, we have all enjoyed the hospitality, food, conversation, and, again, a fair smattering of wine.
Learning each other’s stories, lives and lessons and growing closer as a group really has opened my eyes to the importance of female friendship, and to not be automatically suspicious of or intimidated by other strong women — as I sadly have been in the past. They make me laugh, make me think, make me push myself to be a better person, make me be kinder to myself and make me believe in exactly who I am. And the food is always amazing.
I encourage all of you smart, driven, fun ladies in Middle Georgia to create your own supper club, and make it your own.
Leila Regan-Porter is administrative assistant at the Otis Redding Foundation, marketing co-chair for Bragg Jam and president of the Main Street Macon board. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.