Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Bunco Babes

It’s Bunco night! The one night a month to hang out and cut loose with friends who are as in need of diversion as I am. My kids hate Bunco night. They say things like “Do you have to go? You just went last month.” Something tells me it wouldn’t fly very well if I said a similar thing to them. “Do you have to go hang out with your friends? Didn’t you just do that last month?” I can practically hear the howls of protest now. “Mommmmmm, that’s not fair,!” they’ll shout. “That’s different.” And in a way they’re right. It is different. It’s different precisely because it is only one night a month, and just knowing that Bunco is around the corner is enough to smooth any rough edges in the preceding days. Most of us would feel too guilty to play more than once a month, so the anticipation is heightened. Now that the kids are older it’s better, but when they were all pre-schoolers the day of Bunco was pretty much guaranteed to be a nightmare. It was as if they knew we were about to escape, if only for a few hours, and needed to take their shots while they could.

For anyone who is unfamiliar with Bunco, here is the low down. Bunco is an idiot dice game that (in my opinion anyway) was devised to get women out of the house for a few hours with no stress. There is no skill involved, nor any strategy. The only way you win is by sheer dumb luck. (Unless you count getting out of the house for a few hours as a victory). You play with twelve people, who sit four to a table. There are six rounds, one for 1’s, one for 2’s, and so on. You play in teams of two, and each round you either change tables or partners, so you’re constantly circulating and chatting. A Bunco is three dice that all show the number that you’re rolling that round. So in the 6’s round, three 6’s would be a Bunco. Everyone brings six dollars and a small gift that fits that month’s theme. The winners divvy up the money and the “loser” takes home the goody bag. There are a lot of months where people are trying to lose because the loser bag is so cool. Each member hosts at her house one time a year, so the eleven months you aren’t doing anything but showing up make it feel extra luxurious.

The group I’m in has been together since January 2000. Toward the end of our first fall here, I put an ad in our pre-school newsletter looking for people who wanted to play. I was still trying to create a social network in our new area, and I had great memories of my old California group. I hosted the first month and boy, was it awkward. Twelve women who knew each other but mostly not well, we all felt a little ill at ease at first. It is a testament to the force of personalities we have that we passed that gawky stage fast. We’ve never looked back. Over the years, people have moved away, but we still have seven of our original members, and the newer replacements were all handpicked to fit in. Sometimes the lobbying for a new member got pretty intense, but it almost always worked out for the best.

More than anything we’ve become a support net for each other. We’ve gone through parental deaths, divorces, affairs, surgeries, husbands being fired, hard financial times, kid’s illnesses and quite a lot of births. And at every turn, the person standing on your porch with a hot meal or volunteering to drive your kids to soccer practice has been a Bunco sister. My little Adventures in Real Estate saga is littered with Bunco Babes. And still they speak to me. I don’t know why, but I sure am glad they do.

1 comment:

ahna said...

That looks like a lot of fun. I googled it to get some more info - score cards, etc. I think that I am going to try to start a Bunco group where I am. I'll let you know how it goes.
I can't wait to have my own excuse to get out of the house. Heck, if my husband has fantasy football, I can have Bunco.