Thanks so much for inviting me to join your book club. I am really excited to get out there a bit more and meet some new people. And you have made a great choice in picking me since I’m definitely super fun and easy-going, and I of course love to read. But I do have a few non-negotiable conditions the group must agree to before I join the club:

  1. Members of the book club must keep to a minimum the assignment of books featuring genocide or child abuse, especially if I’m expected to talk about them while enjoying a charcuterie board or canapé. Themed cuisine of any type is also a deal-breaker. The only exception will be Kool-Aid with a book about cults, which I will read if the cults aren’t too rapey.
  2. When it’s my turn to choose the book and I inevitably pick a trashy romance novel, no members can audibly sigh or give off any sense of smug superiority. The correct response is: “Awesome. You and your pick are a breath of fresh air given the group’s goal of socialization and fun reading, which is at odds with the strangely dire typical book club fare. Also, the Viscount in that series is delicious.”
  3. The Bible is only tolerated as a member pick for purposes of cultural study or humor. If I discover later that the group is in fact a Bible study group, I will turn water into me leaving.
  4. If any member treats the book club as a job, with mandatory deadlines or prepared questions, I will make it my job to behave like an obnoxious graduate student, with long off-topic ruminations on Foucault and prominent use of the words “discourse” and “narrative.” When I get bored of that, I will ghost the group, leaving everyone to wonder whether or not I stole the host’s “Have a Gouda Day” cheese plate. Spoiler alert: I did.
  5. Members must recognize cream cheese covered with jelly as a fancy appetizer. Otherwise, I will not be expected to participate in any food planning or organization for the duration of my time in book club. My eating of the food will of course still be required.
  6. If a member wears a shirt with any version of “it’s wine o’clock,” they must announce immediately that the shirt was a gift and it is also laundry day.
  7. Members cannot talk about how smart their babies are unless they want me to offer up long-winded responses somehow involving Steely Dan, the music, and the many hilarious related memes.
  8. Members are not permitted to ask me to sell beauty or skin products. If I hear the phrase “girl boss” or “boss babe,” I will loudly sing the theme song from '80s sitcom Who’s the Boss? until stunned silence awkwardly brings the conversation back to the Viscount.
  9. When it’s my turn to host the book club meeting, members must not say anything remotely passive-aggressive, like “I wish I could be as relaxed as you are when it comes to décor and cleanliness” or “It’s really great that you don’t seem to care about what other people think of you or your home.”
  10. If any of these conditions are violated, I will be entitled to some form of compensation, preferably that cheese plate.

Thanks again for inviting me to join your book club. If you can have this signed by the group and notarized in the next few days, I’ll see you all at the next meeting!