Sunday, July 26, 2009

Slumber party with the MOFia

Published July 26, 2009
St. George Spectrum & Daily News

As I write this column, I'm sitting at a computer in Provo, UT, surrounded by women I met for the first time last night but who have been some of my closest friends for about seven years. Confused? I'm here at a gathering of online message board friends, lovingly known to us as the MOFia (for My Online Friends).

The phenomenon of online friendships may seem strange to those who choose to meet people the traditional way, but to us, it's completely normal. Lest you worry about 56 year old male ax murderers (yes mom, I'm talking to you), I will say that our MOFia message board is 100% private, and new recruits join by invitation only, and even then, only if they already know one of the members in real life.

Opportunities to meet happen at frequent, local Girls' Nights Out (GNOs) and annual Girls' Weekends Out (GWOs), where MOFiosas descend upon the designated city, take up residence in a large rented house, and act like teenage girls for the duration. This weekend was the third GWO in the board's history and the first I've been able to attend.

Here's what I've learned.
People you know online do not always look like their pictures. I learned this when I entered the festivities and was immediately goosed by an excited stranger who seemed to be very happy I was there. I did what any girl who's just had her rear end squeezed by a complete stranger would do...I matched her excitement with a happy, "HI!" then sidled over to someone I did recognize to find out the name of my offender. I was relieved to know she was my good friend, Lara, with a new haircut that rendered her unrecognizable (and frisky!)

The later the hour, the more likely you are to post incoherent messages on the message board for the enjoyment of those who did not attend. I think it was about 2 am when I posted a message titled, "There's a monkey in my closet," with updates on all the mommies still awake, including our plans to toilet paper Emily's car, my efforts to spoon with my friend, Sara, and the status of Dawnyel's bra.

Even fashion conscious moms will wear a muumuu on a dare. It was colorful. It was loud. It was frightening. I'm buying a muumuu as soon as possible.

No one is too old for a pillow fight. And if you dare to have a serious discussion when you should be giggling uncontrollably, the girls in the crazy room will get you.

7 hours of sustained laughter will make you wonder if you’re about to learn what having an aneurism feels like. Do people actually die laughing? I might have been close. I may need an MRI.

You don’t need alcohol to have a good time. You just need a good supply of Diet Cokes, the euphoria of being free from responsibilities for a weekend, and a group of friends who know you better than anyone and have no need to be impressed.

Having someone goose when you arrive is just a bonus.