is it porch drunk if it’s not from a mason jar?

Winecube Tappin’ the box.  Sounds like lyrics to a rap song.  That or the title to some Internet porn. But really it’s our code for "I want more boxed wine, honey."  Oh, yeah.  I’m living like it’s cool to be "porch drunk."  This means I went to Target (not Tar-jey), and said, "what the hell.  I want to try it!"  Two bottles in a box for ten beans.  Woo hoo.  They call it "the wine cube."  Total hick thing to do, perhaps.  People scoff at the idea, but really, some pretty remarkable wines come in boxes these days.  It’s the stigma people have a problem with.  But the Target Shiraz-cab blend is actually decent.  Especially come the second glass, when all of life seems to taste better.

My friend Lacey is the one who suggested we all get "porch drunk" while the kids are with her parents.  Which reminds me I need to call her.  I’ve been so out of touch with all of my girlfriends, girls I really like, always have fun with.  Girls I speak about as if we haven’t stopped speaking.  And we haven’t technically stopped, any of us.  But life gets in the way.  Colds.  Deadlines.  Scrapbooking.  Feeling too fat.  Or lame.  Or tired.  It happens.  But I do miss my dinner parties, being social, and generally my girl time, where we totally get the silly insecurities, the lies we tell, to ourselves, to others. 

In high school I was one of those girls who said, "I have more guy friends because girls are impossible."  Translation: I’m cute.  Boys like me.  It’s just easier.  Then I grew up and realized a woman without female friends is not just missing out on so much, she’s afraid.  Of rejection.  Sure, she can get guys to like her.  But really, the true test of who you are, your qualities, the ones people adore despite the frizz, the idiotic "my brain fell out" comments, and the roll hanging over your pants, comes down to who your girlfriends are.  If you’re one of those, "girls don’t get me" girls, it’s time to tell yourself anything else.  "I want more female friends," is a good start. 

I have received, not one, but many solicitations titled, "I’m not a lesbian, but I think we should go out," via dating sites, back in the day. Now, I didn’t end up meeting up with any of them, mostly because I thought it was kind of strange hearing, "we should go out to meet guys together."  But, I applaud the spirit.  I think more women need female friends, the kind they love as much as their lover.  The kind they can say anything to, anything, no matter how hideous it sounds.  A friend you can admit things to, who perhaps one day you’ll grow old with.  Women outlive men, right?  Imagine for a moment, the idea, as morbid as it seems, that you, as a woman, happen to outlive your spouse (even if you’re not married yet).  Who then would you like to grow old with?  Or, um, who would you like to ask to pass the box o’ wine?



  1. As the mom of a ten year old girl, I find myself on the topic of friendship quite often. Wait til Abigail gets her feelings hurt by the kind of snotty and nasty behavior that WE didn't see until late Jr. High or High School. It all starts so early now. So, I say, for some of us, it is better to have more guy friends until college, when hopefully, the girls have matured somewhat. I couldn't live without my girlfriends NOW, but I would gladly trade many of the memories those girls in school made by calling themselves "friends".

  2. I think it's often hard depending on age with other females. At around 20, the female friends I have are all still sort of competetive with eachother (myself included), and not only in obvious on-the-surface ways. If you're changing and "growing up" at different rates and in different ways it can be hard to be sympathetic, or helpful, or relate. My (hopeful) impression is that it gets easier with age, that females especially have to develop more of a sense of themselves before they can really relate and have productive, functional relationships with other females?

  3. Going out with a "potential" new friend has "first date" written all over it. I get giddy, and destroy my closet in search of the perfect outfit. Men may overlook fashion disasters, but I am always afraid of being judged when out with a new girly friend.
    My husband finds it silly. Doesn't understand how awkward I feel to call up an old girlfriend, who I have accidentally pushed out of the way. It astounds me how he can pick up the phone, and call a friend who he hasn't talked to in ages. Me? I am always afraid that the delay in calls/emails/girl nights might be interpreted as a dismissal of their friendship. Bah, does that make sense at all?

  4. I was just talking to a friend about this. My really good girlfriends moved away, and while I have a few girlfriends, they're not the same. I'm working at developing the relationship, but it's easy to "fall back" on my guy friends. The problem is that I don't want to be one of the guys; not 24/7 anyway. Thus the need for good girlfriends. Discovering them is the hard part.

  5. Great post. I love my girls–both groups from college and law school. We use to have "porch parties" all the time. In college, we talked about growing old together next door and sending our children to visit one another. It is so universal that life gets in the way in terms of staying in touch with the girls. Also, going back to women who don't have girlfriends–it is because a woman can see through another woman's b*llshit far more easily than most men can.

  6. "Target (not Tar-jey)"

    Thank you for this… I detest when people call it Tar-jey – then chuckle like they're being clever.

    Had coffee with a girlfriend yesterday. Ninety minutes flew by – don't do it often enough… Feeling to fat, too lame, too tired.

  7. I'm totally a "girl's girl" so I get the need/want for female bonding. I met a girl from the way you describe- and she turned out to be one of my closest friends for years and the best to go out with….until I met the guy who was to become my husband….then, she wasn't so supportive. But for the time we were close- it was an extremely important relationship.

    But- if not for a craigslist ad in 2004 that I answered, the charity group made up of some awesome women in NYC would not exist. It started out as a social thing for single women looking for other fun single women to hang out with and turned into so much more. Now it's singles, coupled, and marrieds, but just women coming together to raise money for other women (and children) in need.

    So maybe it's time to get it together for some female bonding time- don't let laziness or being too busy get in your way of reconnecting. You'll feel better for it.

  8. Where do you stand on the screw cap vs. cork brouhaha? It's my understanding that the tree which corks come from is under some sort of enviro. stress & is no longer very available, so even high end vintners are going to screw caps. I rarely buy wine, but the bottles I've bought lately (all local NYS vineyard products) have been corked.

    FROM STEPHANIE: I'm a big Sauvignon Blanc drinker, particularly from New Zealand, and these days, all the good bottles are screw caps. My grandmother in Florida, Yiya, started collecting real cork stoppers a while ago, insisting soon there'd be no more, like NYC subway tokens. Strange family I've got. They're going to throw a fit when they read Moose. I'm getting nervous.

  9. Here's a good question: How would you recommend/suggest to women on how to make friends with other women?

    This is a HUGE issue for me. I'm in my late 30s(married with a career) and all my female peers have kids. It's really hard to make friends when I can't relate to them on that level. It's one thing when you were friends before the kids came along, but harder if you're trying to connect as strangers.

    I have quite a few older women as friends, but I'd like to know how to meet/make women friends my own age. Where do you go or what do you do for such a thing? I know, I know, do what you like to do and meet people along the way, but it's a lot easier said than done.

    FROM STEPHANIE: Where do you live? And, I will say, as strange as it sounds, I've met some of my closest friends in Austin, in one way or another, through the blog. So having a blog actually does work. Other than that, I think it can be a mindset. I will post about this tomorrow.

  10. nh wrote:"Also, going back to women who don't have girlfriends–it is because a woman can see through another woman's b*llshit far more easily than most men can."

    Exactly. Well put.
    However I don't think women one should generalize "I don't get along with women" because they can condition themselves to close off to potential friendships. We create a mindset and a role for ourselves and limit something that could be beneficial to us.

  11. My friend and I did this often. Boxed wine. Sitting on the porch. We called it "porch night". Gossiping, crying or laughing until our faces hurt.
    She moved away and I miss her more than words can describe. I can't see a box o' wine without smiling and thinking of her. Thank you for making me smile today!

  12. Target has their own wine line? Who knew… Clearly I've missed this fact. I've been prejudiced against the box wine, perhaps falsely assuming it's just an upgrade from MD 20/20. So now I am intrigued. What is the "shelf life" once opened? Are the reds and whites equally good?

    FROM STEPHANIE: I have only tried the red. Though they have several varieties of both red and white. Keeping a water and wine jug in the fridge is so… I don't even know what to say about it. But I like it just the same. And it's not the Archer Farms Target brand. I will post image and link within this post. But IT LASTS FOR UP TO 4 WEEKS. That is, if you don't finish it first. It might very well only be 11:45 am here in Texas, but I just might go have a glass.

  13. Best girlfriends has been a hard road for me. I love the idea of having close friends and all the stuff that comes with it. It's just that I have an annoying knack of choosing the wrong friends. So in the end I am either hurt or disappointed in them and the relationships don't last. PLEASE WOMEN OF THIS BLOG what is the secret to a lasting close friendship among women?

  14. It is so true that you need to have those close female bonds for the what if of you outliving your husband. This has already happened to my Mom (not to scare you all, but she's 53) and Thank God she works in a world of women who have become her new social circle- she found many many hours that needed filling after my Dad died and the women she'd developed bonds with over the years have been the greatest gift.

  15. my best friend and i refer to it as "balcony talk." we sit out on our balcony overlooking downtown (austin) and like Elizabeth, we gossip, cry, and laugh until our faces hurt. gotta love those girlfriends. :)

  16. Wine at Target? I've never heard of such a thing…Living in the Commonwealth of Pennsyvlania isn't the best when you want to buy alcohol.
    I'll try anything…box-o, twist-off or cork.

  17. I met my best friend on the first day of kindergarten – 37 years ago. She had golden ringlets, and I couldn't resist and "boinged" one. That started a beautiful friendship that has lasted through sleep away camp, girl sprout cookie sales, 5 babies, 2 marriages, 1 miscarriage, and a lifetime of shared memories between us.

    There is absolutely nothing like being able to pick up the phone and say 'you know – she's just like __________, from 5th grade', and have my best friend immediately go to that space and time, and not need one more descriptor.

  18. last year on november the 14th my best friend died. we had been friends since we were in our teens; i am now in my mid 40's. my best friend was a guy.

    and i think you may be on to something, as i was/am one of those girls with mostly male friends.

  19. Any friend who can pass a box o' a friend of mine.. for sure.
    I love passing the time with a few great girlfriends and feel like you can be yourself. Nothing better.
    In school, I tended to hang with the guys more.They were interesting because you could get the male view on relationships and you could have a bit of that fun, flirty thing, too. The girls, I found, were harder to get to know if you weren't already in their group.
    The last few years,though, I've been fortunate to find some really great girlfriends from a variety of backgrounds and age groups. They all have unique perspectives and experiences and are just lovely to know.
    I'm moving to the US in the new year,to a place where I'll know no one and am a little worried about that (it's exciting, too, but I'm just saying…). Hopefully, I can find a few new great girlfriends that are just real and fun and can enjoy a glass of wine without guilt.

    Stephanie, I was reading the blog (I think it's now defunct) Veiled Conceit. Do you know if Zach's still writing? He was just hilarious and I'd like to read more of his writing if there is a way.
    You had posted a comment, so that's why I'm asking you. Thanks!

  20. God I miss having a really close group of girlfriends. I moved away from my college girls for grad school, then all my grad school friends scattered about the country. I'm also a commuter, so the girlfriends I make at work live 45 minutes away from me. I've been really trying to make new girlfriends in the city where I live, but it's actually really hard to meet women. Funny how at a certain point in your life it becomes, "how do I meet women with whom to be friends?" instead of "how do I meet men?"

  21. Just wanted to add that I have met many friends online. I've been the one to send that "i'm not a lesbian, but…" email on a dating website. Everyone i sent it to was pretty receptive to it and was in the same situation as i was. I also met women through a book club on craigslist. I would say that taking classes and workshops about topics and hobbies that you love is a good way to meet people also. Hope that helps someone out.

  22. "If you're one of those, "girls don't get me" girls, it's time to tell yourself anything else. "I want more female friends," is a good start."

    Thank you. I needed to hear that.

  23. Know what is so funny – I tried that box you pictured about a month ago and was surprised. I too thought – two bottles worth – wow. I tried the white, not normally a white wine drinker and it was pretty good. I'm surprised I havent' seen you at Target! :) Funneee

    FROM STEPHANIE: I live, practically, at the one on 2222 and 620. When editing my manuscript, I'm always at the starbucks inside target. They all know me there because of all the hours I spent writing the last half of the book in there. I'll be back now that the editorial process is starting. And I feel so great about it now that I've walked away from it for a month! I swear we'll do group bingo soon… to make new friends and all that.

  24. I spend way too much time there too but don't go into Starbucks – that must be why I don't see you. So funny. I wish I could find a place to write near the lake so I could look out but be inside so I can see my laptop screen! You know there's another Starbucks just up the road in the HEB shopping ctr – for a change of pace! :)

    FROM STEPHANIE: I know, but I ate too much at that one. And there were too many crickets on the floor. Gross. Thankfully that season is over. I guess there's always Mozart's. But, eh. It's too much of a pain.

  25. I tried boxed wine after reading about a few good ones. They last forever, if you can keep from drinking them. Here's a great screw top I just discovered. It's great super cold. I guess this isn't the season for super cold, but I'm still drinking it. I've only tried the pinot gris, but I'm sure the others are pretty good.

  26. Not to be negative, and I know this is 100% off topic, BUT –

    Am I the only one that dislikes the new Amazon link feature? I used to love links because it would take me somewhere in the archives, possibly to something I hadn't read.

    Now it takes me to Amazon to see if I'd be interested in a Harlequin romance novel.

    For the record, I'm not :)

    FROM STEPHANIE: Ugh, I know. As a general rule, I always BOLD my own links, so that separates them. I will try to work on this amazon linking thing when I have a free moment. Sorry about that. I do need to figure out how to monetize this site without littering it with ads. I appreciate the feedback, though. Thanks.

  27. I'd love to know how many fellow blog readers live in the LA area because I can't think of a better place to pull friends from (obvi we all have great taste:)
    We could start a book club/I heart SUAD club…
    I'm in West Hollywood and will hold the first meeting if any LALA-Ladies are interested, email me.

  28. I knew I had good girlfriends, but after my last breakup I found out just how good. They stepped up to support me when I was in a dark place – in a way that still makes my heart twinge a little bit in amazement. Women – well, not all women, but the good ones – are amazing. Never will I take my girlfriends for granted again. And on a related topic – I knew a woman who moved to New York and told me she was going to a lot of speed dating events to meet men. She was bummed she wasn't meeting any good ones, but was charmed that she'd bascially met what became her new group of girlfriends. I'm truly not a man hater, but with science, sometimes i wonder if men will eventually become unnecessary.

  29. I'm just wondering if you are, really, striking in solidarity with the writers. I know you're writing for a pilot.


    FROM STEPHANIE: The pilot outline was accepted by NBC. Which means they gave me the thumbs up to write the pilot. But I haven't started to write it yet, as I was hoping to first finish Moose. I am a WGA member, so I am on strike… but technically, I was "on strike" for a while. Though once the terms are met, or some type of solution is achieved, I do plan on getting back to, or starting, the pilot script. Just want to finish Moose first. Tonight the editorial process begins!

  30. Know how in SITC Carrie got broken up on a post-it? Well I asked my boss to meet but he never replied, so I just resigned in an e-mail….NOW he wants to meet. We'll see! I'd love to finish my book, decorate and cook all day!

  31. I just took a look at Mozart's, in this virutal world, and it looks just lovely. Nothing like that in the blinking Midlands (UK) & I am always looking out for more girlfriends in Leicestershire should anyone from thereabouts ever drop by, a book group would be good!

  32. I was definitely one of "those" girls when I was younger. Felt more comfortable with guy friends, etc. Girls were too much effort. It changed when I went to college – co-ed classes, but technically a men's college and a women's college, so they really focus on the same-sex bonding. At first I thought "I'm doomed! Where are the guys? I'll never make friends." But I did and now I so value these relationships.

    I still can't do big groups of girlfriends, though. Too much drama. This is why I tend to "compartmentalize" my friends and not introduce my work friends to my college friends, etc. I have my shopping friend, my intellectual friend, my tv-related gossip friend, but as far as I'm concerned, they don't all need to be friends with eachother. I just feel more secure this way, I guess, but it does make it much harder to keep in touch since I have to hang out with each little group individually rather than just all get together for dinner or something. Is that weird or do other people relate?

    FROM STEPHANIE: I used to be that way. I too was insecure and feared rejection in a way. Feared the intro would lead the two friends to make plans without me! Not on purpose, but that was the idea. I have written about this on the blog… quite a while ago.

  33. Not to divert attention from Stephanie's blog and I get no kick-backs for recommending this (haha)…but the best way I've found to make new women friends is on my local message board on I've met some of the coolest, greatest women from there just because we're online a lot of our day- going through the same things, live in the same place, etc. We end up "talking" with each other more than we talk to friends IRL because many Nest from work.

  34. Thanks for the additional info on the "wine cube." I did some google-ing and found this snippet:

    "Target collaborated with Trinchero Family Estates of Napa to select just the right wines for the Wine Cubes, resulting in a uniquely packaged wine with superior taste and quality. Wine Cubes are exclusively available at more than 700 Target and SuperTarget stores across the country that sell wine."

    Trinchero invented white Zin under the Sutter Home label and is one of Napa Valley's oldest wineries. So I am even more intrigued now… For me this could be bad. Very, very bad…

  35. In the past year I really started to enjoy wine and enjoy the wino buzz. Its much more of a relaxed buzz however I tend to become an overthinking debatist for some reason. Anyone else suffer from this? Just wondering.

  36. Any readers of Steph in or near St. Louis? Aside from the ones I've forced her book upon, already?? :)

  37. My best friend totally got "picked up" on by a chick! They hung out and tried to fix each other up…until the other girl went a leetle nutso and got weird. Needless to say they no longer speak.

    FROM STEPHANIE: Awesome.

  38. Oh but beware…wine in a box can be dangerous. Like a never-ending bottle. I've learned the hard way. Wine in a box makes me oblivious to how much I've had to drink – until it's too late.

    The girls I could trust back in jr. high are now the women I can trust today. They're not all friends with each other, but they do get along. I have a hard time trusting women because I've had some pretty awful experiences with catty ones. I've experienced friendship betrayals throughout my life that have hurt equally – if not worse than a bad break-up.

    Over the past ten years I've learned to become my own best friend and have developed some loner-like tendencies. I even prefer to shop alone and hardly ever seek second opinions on anything. I'm definitely not a 'girls night out' kind of girl, but I do cherish the one on one time I spend with the friends who I love like family. And I AM getting better at letting new people in.

    Work, kids, husbands…they tend to get in the way of just about everything. I prefer to give my pivotal friendships (including my daughters and husband) my undivided attention vs. making new ones when I find free time. But I do love spending time alone sometimes just as much.

  39. I used to lean towards being friends with guys, because the girls were too judgemental, too competitive, and too catty. I really only have two girls that I consider my very best friends, and one of those friendships is still a fairly new bond.

    Well of course, the Targets in Oklahoma don't offer the Wine Cube. Just my luck! Luckily I visit Arlington fairly often, so I'll have to test it out my next trip. I know they have BlogHer conferences and such, there should be more things like that all over, to allow even more bloggers to meet up… or maybe they do have and I just don't know about it.

  40. Two things: 1)I was also wondering about those Amazon links. Stephanie, I thought you were doing the linking, but I couldn't understand why. Now, I'll stop clicking. Very annoying.
    2)I have found that there are some women who have been BFF and you simply cannot break into their "club". Oh, sure, they'll be nice and invite you places, etc, but it's like being in high school again – they have their private jokes, stories, etc. I thought I broke into one of these groups when I moved into my neighborhood (I'm here almost 12 yrs now). I went to dinner w/ them, family events, etc, but even after all these yrs, they still talk about "remember when…" It got boring. Now, from that group of women, I only see a couple of them alone that are really my friends. I got tired of feeling like the 5th wheel. In my experience, men don't do that. Women do.

  41. yo. wine cubes are not slumming it. they aren't even ironically funny. it's called MD 20/20 ho.

  42. I met two of my closest friends in Arizona; blogging. They are the friends I have the most fun with. Through our blogs we knew we had a lot in common. By the time we actually met face-to-face it was like we'd been friends for years! Well actually we've now hung out and gone to lunches, housewarmings, Birthdays together for over two years.

    Although I did meet my husband on a dating site, I can't say as any women ever approached me to meet as platonic friends. Actually this is the first I've heard of meeting friends that way.

    Great topic Stepanie! If you're ever in the Phoenix Az area, let me know. I'd love to take you out to lunch!

  43. Hey don't forget the firepit backyard drinking and dock/parked boat drinking. Good times!! I am presently at this moment enjoying a water glass of box wine. (it's been that kind of day)I really have not been seeking out new girl-friends as I am over the breed of woman that Dallas puts out. Ick…. So I tend to relish and cherish my male friends. I am not insecure, just fed up with the claws and the drama of the Chick Tribe. I do seriously love a gossip with pals though. Wine to loosen the tongue, apps to soothe the munchies and banter to exercise the brain.
    Hey so why is everyone so against calling Target, Tar-Jey, while it's domestic-pedestrian, it's light years in style from WALMART. Just curious. Now back to my box.

  44. I would like to recommend some wines I think you would really enjoy. Sequoia Grove Cabernet Sauvignon and Honig Sauvignon Blanc. I first tried the Sequoia Grove about a year ago at Flemings and loved it! I went to Napa a couple of weeks ago and visted both of the vineyards and shipped some bottles back to Austin. You can find Honig at Spec's and I believe that Grapevine and Spec's both will special order Sequoia Grove. I think when I run out of the bottles I brought home I might have to join the wine club.

    Boxed wines scare me but I will give the Target wine a try since you say it's good.

    Oh, and we really enjoyed Cakebread wine as well. I bought a bottle of their Chardonnay and I usually don't like Chardonnay but it was lovely!

    FROM STEPHANIE: The target wine is fine, decent. I didn't say "good." It's fun, and fine. Though to be fair, I've only tried the shiraz/cab blend. More tastings in my future. And thanks for the recommendations.

  45. @Barbara E. : I've seen a documentary on Portuguese corkfarmers, saying that it's the other way around: due to high demand of screwcaps the winehouses order less cork, so corkfarmers go out of business, so the trees are being chopped to be replaced by more profitable crop.

    In any case, boxed wines are the best choice for family BBQs.

    In high school, I've had some sour experiences with "best" girl friends: from growing up in a different pace to stealing boyfriends to scary-clingyness (never got that sh*t from a guy). I tend to have more guy friends, probably also since I work amongst them (in IT). I find it hard to become friends with a girl, I always get the feeling that they don't like me (and one reportedly said that I was "scary"…).
    I do have a good girl friend, who gets me. I don't feel the need to apologize to her for the lack of phonecalls and dinners after a busy month, and that's the kind of friendship I need. Oh, and my mom and her sisters are also great shopping partners, but that's on a whole different level.

  46. Jack-in-the-box next? Crank up baby registry, locate Jack, gently place alongside heart(h)warming wine gifts.

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