What’s Galentine’s Day??
I’ll leave the explanation to its creator, Leslie Knope of Parks & Recreation:
“Oh, it’s only the best day of the year. Every February 13th, my lady friends and I leave our husbands and our boyfriends at home, and we just come and kick it, breakfast-style. Ladies celebrating ladies. It’s like Lilith Fair, minus the angst. Plus frittatas.”
While I personally think there is no level of blues that binge-watching Parks & Recreation cannot cure, it had never occurred to me to throw a Galentine’s Brunch. It took one of my beautiful college students to make the suggestion last year. And I’m so glad she did!
Leslie Knope, the central figure in NBC’s Parks and Recreation (2009-2015), is known for generously giving impeccable gifts, unique compliments, and lots of love to her lady-friends. Her best friend, Ann Perkins, is the recipient of most of these compliments: Ann, you beautiful rule-breaking moth. Ann, you beautiful, naive, sophisticated newborn baby. Ann, you cunning, pliable, chestnut-haired sunfish. I’d say “you get the idea…” but you really can’t without seeing it for yourself. During one Galentine’s episode, Leslie gifts her brunch attendees with mosaics of their faces made from the crushed glass of their favorite diet sodas. #goals.
So, how and why should you begin a Galentine’s tradition of your own? (Sorry, fellas, this post isn’t for you… but you will get to participate in point #3. You can skip ahead, I will not be offended.)
HOW & WHY TO THROW YOUR BRUNCH:
(1) Ladies celebrating Ladies.
It is a confusing time to be a woman… I will spare us from getting into any moral or political debate about who should be marching for whom (or womb, as the case may be). I will simply say this: any form of “feminism” that results in one group of women excluding another group of women ceases to be pro-woman. When the Mean Girls say, “You can’t sit with us” we have already lost. Galentine’s is the perfect antidote. Gathering your lady-friends! All of them. This year I will be having women of all ages & life experiences... married, unmarried, both those with kids and those still feeling like kids. Because there is one thing we can all agree on…
Food is the great equalizing force. Worried about mixing your social groups at one gathering? What if my work friends hate my rosary group? You know what they don’t hate? Waffles. Why do all parties end up in the kitchen… it has little to do with the lighting and lots to do with Nutella. Plan a breakfast menu for any time of the day. This year my “brunch” will actually be “brinner.” Breakfast is also easy to divide up among your guests… someone bring biscuits, someone bring orange juice, and I promise that I will always bring the champagne. Now all you need are some decorations…
(3) Crafternoons are good for the soul.
Men, here is where you can come in. (a) Do the Grocery Shopping. Please. Your hostess will be too busy coming up with creative Leslie-Knope-like compliments for her friends. (b) Drive her to Hobby Lobby. You can do it. It is not as scary as it looks. You can hangout in the model plane section while she loads her basket with pink glitter and unnecessary sequins. (c) Help her with any decorations she wants to make. Glue guns are actually super fun to use! But ladies, even if you don’t have a man to help you…
(4) Guaranteed fun in Mid-February.
Galentine’s is the perfect event to take the pressure off of having the perfect Valentine’s date. It’s not only guaranteed fun for your single girlfriends but those spoken for as well. Women in relationships new and old often get caught up in the “necessity” of having a perfect Valentine’s date. Valentine’s Day combines the social pressure of New Year’s Eve with the sentimentality of Mother’s day… a recipe for unrealistic expectations and disappointment.
A few years ago I was giving a retreat on February 14. The night before I stopped in the RiteAid to pick up some retreat supplies and I witnessed this (see the photo below). Do these men look excited to share a day with their significant other or is that fear in their eyes? If only their ladies had a Galentine’s Brunch to help take the pressure off! Speaking of ladies, what about Our Lady?
(5) The Blessed Mother.
In Scripture we can find countless stories about women loving and hating other women. But one of my favorite stories is of the Visitation. Upon hearing the news that she would be Mother to her own Savior, Mary hits the road to visit her cousin and BFF, Elizabeth. Mary sets an example of sisterly love and devotion as she goes out immediately to share Christ with others. Add a moment of prayer to your Galentine’s gathering. Start with a simple grace, or ask your lady friends to write down any prayer intentions they may have. We all need a lot of love and support in this life. How better to ask for it then over waffles? We don’t have to be perfect women to be perfect images of Our Lady, bringing Christ to our sisters through simple acts. And don’t forget to get enough wine, your son is not God.
Break bread, drink wine, and love your sisters this Galentine’s Day!
We love you. Help us to be kind and hospitable to all of the women in our lives. Help us not to fear mixing our social circles or awkwardness. Help us to get over our insecurities and our anxieties. Help us to forget the allusive ideal of perfection and just be ourselves around other women, around our families, and around our friends. Show us our worth, show us our beauty, show us our joy… all found in your Son! Bless our gatherings, oh Blessed among women. Bless our hearts. Amen.