Thursday, December 01, 2005

The Dilettante Club

Dilettante –Main Entry: dil·et·tante Pronunciation: 'di-l&-"tänt, -"tant; "di-l&-'Function: nounInflected Form(s): plural -tantes or dil·et·tan·ti /-'tän-tE, -'tan-tE/Etymology: Italian, from present participle of dilettare to delight, from Latin dilectare -- more at DELIGHT1 : an admirer or lover of the arts2 : a person having a superficial interest in an art or a branch of knowledge : DABBLER synonym see AMATEUR

Dilettante Club History
While discussing hobbies (or a lack thereof) over cocktails one evening, members of the yet-to-be-formed dilettante club noted that they had no hobbies because they could not maintain an interest in any one thing long enough for it to become a hobby. Sure, we're all fascinating, accomplished women who can talk to anyone about a variety of interests for about 10 minutes. But once we move into the 11-12 minute range, our depth of subject matter becomes noticeably limited.

Rather than lamenting this, the founders decided to embrace it and form a club. (And, in true dilettante fashion, had to re-schedule the organizational meeting and ultimately, postpone it indefinitely).

Each month, one of the founding three members: Amanda, Amy and Kathleen, suggests and plans an activity for the group, which is then documented on this blog. The activity is analyzed based on a set of criteria we developed.

Selection criteria for activities:

-All activities are one-time events that run for a period of no more than five hours
-All activities have a registration fee of $100 or less
-All activities take place in the Washington, DC metro area
-All activities must be active so that participants learn something new.
-All activities must end with a de-brief and recap over drinks and food.

Dilettante Creed:

-I will try anything once
-I will remain open-minded when trying a new activity
-I will be respectful of the activity, the activity leader and other participants
-I will approach every activity as the learning opportunity that it is
-I will not shy away from any activity no matter how potentially humiliating or painful.
-(Recently added) I will not touch anyone I don't know during an activity.

By the way, research suggests that exposing yourself to a variety of interests and activities keeps your mind young and can stave off diseases like Alzheimer's. And bring on diseases like Attention Deficit Disorder.

Your Dilettantes:

Amanda: Amanda is a veteran dilettante whose dabblings include sports (gymnastics, soccer, volleyball, skiing, and one season on a Mormon basketball team that she doesn’t like to talk about), music (violin, bass, cello, piano, and voice), academics (international relations, business, urban planning, and economics), and vocations (pizza girl, receptionist, development worker, and financial analyst). She speaks several languages (German, Vietnamese, Indonesian, and French) at a novice to amateur level.

Her proudest dilettante moment was receiving a certificate for successfully riding atop an elephant on a beach in Vietnam. That, or appearing in a video with Shadow Stevens her senior year in high school.

Amanda lives in Washington, DC.

Kathleen: Kathleen’s dilettante past includes tennis, cello, marathons, calligraphy, guitar, fencing, stand-up comedy, clarinet, tap dancing, juggling, painting, bowling, yo-yo tricks, movie extra work, and holding 10 jobs in 15 years in a variety of industries including network security, guns, concrete and advertising.
Her proudest dilettante moments include making the Guinness Book of World Records for tap dancing, placing third in the Les Halles Bastille Day race, and winning the "Wittiest" superlative at her seventh grade end-of-year dance. (She was wearing a terry cloth dress at the time.)
Kathleen lives in Oakton, Virginia with her husband Tim, daughter Avery, and cats Electra and Seamus. She loves to host theme parties and has a love/hate relationship with all things celebrity.

Amy: From an early age, Amy's dilettante ventures developed for practical reasons; playing flute in the band (to avoid gym class), joining the yearbook staff (to ensure lots of pictures of herself and her friends) and learning sign language (necessary to enhance her talent for the Kentucky Junior Miss pageant). These tendencies continued through college -- changing majors multiple times and finally settling on one major (Accounting) and two minors.
Prior to founding the club, other activities included dog agility, one marathon, baton twirling, tennis, needlepoint, flag football, spelunking, organ, jazz, tap and en pointe ballet dancing, gymnastics and a wet t-shirt contest.
Amy lives in Arlington, Virginia, with her husband, Pete (who also harbors dilettante tendencies), son, Charles, and their two dogs and two cats.