Awhile back, I posted about having been tipped off to a website called meetup.com, a face-to-face social networking kind of site. Scanning through the many pages of groups in Pittsburgh, I was a little skeptical about this being a viable way of making genuine friends (for example, the “Hit the Town with Other Silver Foxes” group? Seriously?). However, I quickly found a book club organized around a common love for “Chic Lit” and a group that alerts me of weekly “free and almost free” things to do around Pittsburgh. This past weekend, I had my first meetups with BOTH groups, back to back. A success? I suppose so. Have I met any potential new friends? I’m not so sure…
Friday night was the book club meeting at Crazy Mocha Coffee Co. We were discussing the book How to Eat a Cupcake by Meg Donohue, which I grasped tightly in my hand as I entered the coffee shop. I realized that toting the book would be the easiest way to be recognized by the other book club girls. I definitely didn’t want to resort to going from table to table saying, “Excuse me…I’m here for the book club?” Thankfully, my plan worked, and they saw me carrying the book and called me over shortly after I walked through the door.
After sitting down and taking everything in, I was a little bit surprised (on two counts). For one thing, about five or six girls RSVPed to the meeting that night, but only three of us (including myself) showed up. Five or six are great book club numbers; if you have too many girls, not everyone gets a chance to weigh in and feel like part of the conversation. If you have too few (like we did), you may not have quite enough to say, and no one to cover for you when you feel less-than-opinionated, which creates frequent awkward silences (like we had). The second thing that surprised me was the age of the women in the group. There was a Chic Lit book club meeting much closer to where I live, in a more familiar part of town, but I chose to brave the bridges and drive to a new, farther area of Pittsburgh because I wanted to join a club with other girls in my general age group. The book club meeting in my area was older ladies, but I’m afraid the club I chose was a bit mismatched as well. They really looked much younger in their profile pictures! Of the two members, one lady was a mother of two children (not that she was SO terribly old, just in a completely different life stage than I am). The other lady was in her forties, single with no children, and had a strong affinity for 50 Shades of Gray that I really could have done without knowing about.
Our meeting lasted for about two hours, which was longer than any other book club meeting I’ve ever been to. And we honestly only discussed the actual book for about five minutes. The rest of the time, the ladies talked about their favorite television shows, and me and mom-of-two swapped stories about crazy living conditions overseas. (I talked about China, and she told me about taking a family trip to visit the in-laws who live in India. Gray lady shared nothing about her life or background, but merely asserted how much she enjoys the American Horror Story TV series and all things dark, for that matter. Gray lady is really freaking me out at this point.) Mom-of-two checked her watch constantly, as if willing the minute-hand to move a little faster. She even made a comment once after checking it, along the lines of, “I can’t believe it’s only 8:15! It feels like we’ve been here so much longer than that.” Once the clock hit 9 on the dot, she jumped out of her chair as if it was a springboard, and announced, “Well, I’ve got to get back to tuck the kids in to bed…”
So, it definitely could have been better. My goal going in was to exchange contact information with some of the girls and suggest hanging out at some point in between book club meetings. Ten minutes into the actual meeting, I aborted that mission. Will I go back? You may think I’m crazy, but I’m going to give it ONE more try. My first impressions of people are usually wrong. And at next month’s meeting, I will hopefully get to meet some of the my-age girls who didn’t show up this time. If it’s still a nightmare, then I will try another book club…probably in Squirrel Hill (where all the college kids live).
The second meetup had much less awkwardness-potential and much more fun-potential. (Plus, I got to take Justin along with me to this one.) We met up with a group of 50-70 people to do a scavenger hunt in Regent Square. I don’t think I’ve done a scavenger hunt since my middle school youth group days, so I was pretty excited about this! Plus, there were prizes–like big gift basket kind of prizes–from local vendors. I was SO ready.
Justin and I arrived just as the people from the Urban Hike organization (the hosts of the scavenger hunt) were handing out maps and clues and last minute instructions. We paired up with a couple of girls who lived just down the street and promised us they knew this side of town like the back of their hands. And we spent the next two-and-a-half hours hiking all over Regent Square taking pictures and solving riddles. It was a lot of walking, but a LOT of fun! Here’s a sampling of our scavenge:
We didn’t end up winning any prizes (though our score wasn’t too far off from the winning teams score!), and we didn’t end up exchanging contact information with the girls on our team. They were fun to scavenge with, but they didn’t really seem like my “type” if that makes any sense. But I was proud of myself for going out and meeting new people this weekend! I’ll definitely keep trying other meetups in the future. 🙂