Last night I went to Ladies Night at the Movies. Seriously. I did. I had no idea what to expect but it was so different and so cool that I had to rush home and write about it.
First some background, my Belgian-American friends, Nico and his lovely wife Allison, are probably a huge reason why Karl and I moved here. Nico went to school at KU Leuven, and so we spent a few weeks last September emailing back and forth with them about their experiences and how we'd fit in (they were right about almost everything). Allison has visited Belgium several times in the past and has come out recently to continue her Dutch/Flemish language course. She is lovely, kind, beautiful, smart, and much better at Dutch than I. She has introduced me to Nico's family in Leuven, Brussels, and Mechelen. She is essentially a tornado of social outings. Naturally, Ladies Night, was because of Allison. I met several of her friends this past weekend, and they invited me to Ladies Night at the Movies.
Ladies Night at the Movies is held monthly at the Kinepolis movie theatre in Leuven. Apparently, it sells out weeks in advance, and is filled with women of nearly every age. You check in with your tickets and proceed up to the top floor, except as you arrive you are handed a gift bag and promptly given a Cola Light (it's even opened for you). I'm still in shock as I'm processing everything (I had denied the Cola Light, once I realized that a free glass of wine was included in the ticket price).
Ladies Night is essentially set up like a health fair. There are tables and booths of all things for ladies. There are student hairdressers doing quick hair updo's and make-up, there are jewelers, and make-up tables, it's obvious product placement, but no one really gives a hoot. One vendor is selling lingerie and sex-toys, another is giving out health info and selling you gym memberships. In the middle of all the vendors are cocktail tables with women gathered around them eating capers and olives and sipping their free Cola Lights and wines. It was AMAZING. A little bit ridiculous, but totally fun, and unlike anything I could imagine would happen in the US. A theatre in the US sells you junk food and ads, and you are bombarded with the ads, but never part of the ads. You could never imagine a theatre that gives you cocktail olives and capers, and has young staff serving you alcohol. Here, you are part of the ads, you are cool, you are Cola Light, you are fashionable, hip, young, cool. Oh yes, and before you enter the theatre, you fill out your ticket with your name and contact info, and they draw for prizes (things like gift certificates and products of the many vendors that donated stuff).
My gift bag was filled with perfume, lotion, and shampoo samples, meusli and granola bar samples, an entire bottle of Fiero martini mix (at 14.9% Et-OH), product coupons. It was ridiculous, self-indulgent, and totally worth 12.95.
The movie was....wait for it....Eat Pray Love. I can't imagine a better movie for Ladies Night. While I prefer to never admit to watching chick flicks, I at least only admit to watching them in the privacy of my own home (and yes SATC 2 is on that list). I can't put myself in the Gilbert fan camp - so I'll refrain from commenting. I did, however, have a great time attending Ladies Night at the Movies and had to admit it was a very nice way to meet some fellow ladies.