Posted by: Lori Schmidt Lutze | August 24, 2009

The DC

In Joyceland we love to receive as many invitations to go out as possible.  We’re crazy about dining in other people’s homes, especially when we’re not required to bring anything except a hostess gift, a bottle of wine, and our showered and prettied up selves.  No Spanx allowed!  What could be more fabulous?  What could be more Joyce?  Here is how the DC invitation works:

  • The host:  “It’s our turn to have the DC (Dinner Club).”   (The host is really thinking, “Damn.  Shit.  Shit.  Damn.  I don’t want to cook all that damn food.”) 
  • Us:  “We’re counting the minutes.” 
  • The host:  “Our place.  Saturday at 7.” 
  • Us:  “Is there anything we can bring?”  (We don’t really want to ask, but we do because Miss Manners makes us.) 
  • The host:  “No.” 
  • Us:  “Really?  Are you sure?”  (We say this just to relieve Catholic guilt.) 
  • The host:  “No.  Absolutely not.”  (The host really wants to say, “Bring the whole damn meal.”) 
  • Us:  Well, okay, but we’d really love to bring something.  (We’re lying through our teeth and secretly thinking:  (a) there IS a God, (b) life doesn’t get any better than this, and (c) Joyceland, here we come!     

And so it goes with Dinner Club which has been going on now for at least 17 years.  Three times a year (when it’s not your turn) you get treated like a Royal Joyce in a five star restaurant.  Once a year you host and feel like Cinderella before she met the prince and had to wait on the ugly step-sisters . . .

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And when you get to be the guest, you are living large and exceptionally Joyce.  We love to be the GUEST.  This is what a DC evening has in store for its guests behind Door #1:

  • a signature cocktail (last Saturday’s was called the Chihuahua and it made everyone bark just a little)
  • three delicious appetizers (we grab at the appetizers like hungry dogs)
  • a gorgeously set table (which makes us feel really pretty)
  • a soup or salad course
  • a meat or fish, vegetable, and potato
  • dessert (don’t forget that none of the above was made by us–the host prepared it all–we repeat–we haven’t lifted a finger)

You’d think there is no way eight people could eat all that food and drink all that drink, but every time we get together we surprise ourselves yet again.  We almost always discuss Merideth Vieira and Matt Lauer.  We talk a little politics.  We’ve started to share Vita-Mix recipes.  We tell each other how cute we all look.  Two of the men hug each other a lot.   

Despite the many, many wonderful Joyceland times we’ve shared through the years, the group has experienced its share of challenge, too.  We’ve seen infertility, cancer, and divorce to name a few.  Even in Joyceland, life happens.  One year we tried going out to restaurants because, “It’s hell to host.”  But in the end we realized that it’s not about the food or whether the guest bathroom is clean, it’s about the friendship and the history that we’ve shared.  The ups and downs of life are more easily digested with a little help from our friends.  And it’s those Joyceland friends who help you have big, big laughs; they share your joys and help to divide your sorrows.



  1. Queen of Joyceland, I have an Emily Post type question that is a little, well, let’s say….sensitive. Hypothetically, let’s say you are having a dinner party and one of your dearest friends asks, ‘what can I bring?’ Being a dear friend, you feel you can impose a bit since it is more of a pot luck kinda thing (not a gourmet dinner club) and you say, ‘oh, great, could you bring some fruit or a fruit salad?’ and the dear friend decides, I don’t want no stinkin’ fruit salad, I’m bringin’ a pie cuz I like pie!! What should the hostess do? 1-Say, I don’t want no stinkin’ pie! 2-Smile falsely and say oh, fruit pie…lovely. or 3-Excellent! Who wants a drink??? Please advise.

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