Thursday, December 30, 2010

Book Club Exchange: Ann Wertz Garvin

Here's another great Book Club Exchange post! This time it's written by Ann Wertz Garvin, author of the new book ON MAGGIE'S WATCH. I haven't had a chance to read ON MAGGIE'S WATCH yet, but it's definitely on my short-list of must-reads in 2011. 

I just adored this guest post! I think women of all ages will relate to Ms. Garvin's essay. I, for one, couldn't agree with her more!

Book Clubs, The Masons and Other Reasons to Love Being a Woman

 I had a very enlightening conversation with a lovely man recently. 

He said, “As a heterosexual male-if you are single and want to do something other than watch sports, talk politics, or hang around in a bar (watching sports) your kind of screwed.” He went on to say, “If you’re interested in the theater or a concert at the arts center and you ask a male friend he’s likely to squint and say, ‘No and don’t ask me again.” 

I realized after he said it, He’s right. It may be different with the metro-sexual male in New York or Seattle but in Wisconsin, the Midwest, or I wager most other centrally located states—it’s all sports all the time. And as Sting might add, “Don’t stand so close to me.”

I’ve thought a lot about that conversation. Not only because of his blue eyes and my internal dialogue that included a very distracting: What do you need a man for, for god’s sake ask me! But because of how my book club began. In Pilates class I was lamenting that, while a life-long lover of books and an author myself, I wasn’t in a book club. Before I had the words out, I was invited to join one. No resume. No question of sexual orientation. No discussion of the Rose bowl. Not a single comment made about health care reform. 

Let me say here that I am aware that men have book clubs. I Googled it. I don’t know any personally, maybe they’re held in a basement somewhere with black-out blinds. Or, it’s possible, that is what those secret societies are about—The Mason’s. You think they’re talking concrete but really it’s all Anna Karenina and wasn’t Tolstoy a kick in the pants. 

I didn’t have to Google women’s book clubs; they’re everywhere complete with names; Ladies Who Read, The Circus Peanuts, Wine, Women, and Books. And, I already know what they’re talking about. They’re talking about their lives. Lost children, divorces, parenting. Sometimes there are tears and always there is laughter even a little snorting and wine through the nose.

Say what you want about the advantages of being a male. Better pay. Lives that don’t require making sure the Holiday cards go out and everyone has clean underwear (don’t get mad, men, I know some do this but you still get higher pay—I’m just say’n). I know I don’t really know what it’s like to be a man, and it’s not like I had a choice, but I really like the being a woman. I like hugging women I just met, inviting them to read a book with me without wondering about my motives. I like knowing I can call a woman acquaintance and go to the theater, no questions asked. I like that I don’t have start conversations with “How ‘bout those Packers.” Best of all, if I need “help” I really like that I don’t have to call it “concrete”.

Ann Wertz Garvin has a bachelor's degree in nursing and a doctorate in exercise psychology from the University of Wisconsin- Madison. She is a full professor at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, where she teaches courses on nutrition, stress management, and other health topics. ON MAGGIE'S WATCH is her first novel. She has lived all over the county but currently lives in a small town in Wisconsin that provided the inspiration for this novel.

I am so grateful to Ms. Garvin for writing this wonderful guest post. If you are interested in participating in a future Book Club Exchange, please contact me at bookingmama(at)gmail(dot)com.


Karlie said...

I really enjoyed this post. Thanks!

Rebecca Rasmussen said...

Go Ann and Wisconsin!!! Great post!