Women's Night Out
By Donna Beumler
It happens only one night each year, but it’s always a summer night—one night is better than nothing.
From 5:00 o’clock in the evening until 5:00 o’clock the next morning, women all over the country dance in the streets.
Some women take solitary walks around local parks, until they find comfortable
benches overlooking duck ponds. Here they sit and read, immersed in books of poetry or politics. When the sun sinks low in the sky and a breeze stirs, they lay down on their
benches and sigh into peaceful evening naps.
Other women gather in crowded bars. They twirl to the music on barstools in
their shortest skirts. They couldn’t care less who’s looking because all the bartenders are women. So is everyone else in the bar.
You see, on this one night—this one glorious mid-summer night in America—women are safe, and every single man is locked inside. I know what you’re thinking: How is this possible? As the saying goes: where there’s a will, there’s a way. Men are not allowed outside under any circumstances. I won’t say it’s like a shock-collar type thing; that would be unthinkable. But use your imagination.
And imagine this: women in big cities all over the country meet in noisy restaurants, or sip Chardonnay at sidewalk cafés and enjoy a balmy summer evening. They stay until late into the night. They are fearless. They know when to go home. No worries. The cab drivers are all women. Even the subway is safe.
On this evening, women in rural communities play softball in vacant lots under the orange glow of a setting sun. In the suburbs, they gather on street corners and front porches to share cups of coffee and conversation. Some take their daughters and head out of town to hike their favorite trails in the dusky hours…all without the slightest fear that men will slink out of the shadows towards them.
Now don’t get me wrong: most men are good people. Those men celebrate our night out by staying home. They have the decency to be ashamed; in fact, some of them even helped us design the shoc— uhm, the restraining devices used one very special night a year.
On that special night, quite a few women drive old trucks with dim headlights over deeply rutted roads to visit great aunts and grandmothers, and to learn. They learn how to fold corn husks to make tamales, fry up green tomatoes, bake baklava. Some learn how to quilt. Others, how to fix a flat tire on an old truck with dim headlights.
Some women head out to a lake or an ocean and slip naked into water glistening in moonlight. Other women walk deep into woods fragrant with pine, and camp in clearings, warmed by fires they build.
Women who are not as mobile are assisted by teenage girls from the neighborhood in a stroll around the block, or up to the rooftops of their buildings, where they tilt their heads back and wait for shooting stars to wish upon.
And the women twirling to the music in short skirts on those barstools? Well, they could stumble in their highest heels over to a girlfriend’s house to sleep on the couch, with nothing more to menace them than a hangover in the morning. Or, they could catch a ride home just before dawn with a police officer who is both professional and compassionate— because of course she, too, is a woman.
It’s our night out: grab your books, your daughters, your glasses of wine and come dance with us in the streets.