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"Usually, when you first meet people, you put filters up," Janet told me later. "You don't want to say something for fear it might offend someone or sound stupid. But that night, I felt like I didn't need any filters. I could just say what was on my mind. When I went home, I told Andrew, 'Either I'm funnier than I think I am or these people get me.'"

I knew what she meant. Something had felt easy about the evening. When I got home that night, I recounted my adventure to David as excitedly as my niece would describe meeting Ariel the mermaid in the flesh. "There was nothing negative. I mean, I can appreciate a good rant, but it was really nice to have an evening of discussion without anyone stinking up the air with their dirty laundry or foul sentiments."

"I told the woman who was cutting my hair about how cool it was to be around a bunch of women where no one's trying to get the most attention," Jen later told me. "Conversation came naturally without anybody pushing it. So often, women get together and bitch about stuff; but everyone there was so happy, stoked about what they do for a living, and in healthy relationships." When I asked Jen what she thought of another woman we had met at the event, she indicated that she didn't think the woman was quite ready for the rest of us. Responding sagely, she said, "I don't think she's found a comfortable her yet."

Basking in the post-conjoinal bliss of our night out, I wondered if this schoolgirl crush we all seemed to have on each other would fade, and then I dismissed the notion as I began rooting through my DVDs and thinking about which wines to pull. This Friday, I've got a hot date to watch The Color Purple .

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