Emily Post’s Guide to Female Dress Codes

A while back, I did a couple of articles going over the care of dress clothes for men. While doing the same for women is nigh impossible with all of the different fabrics out there (read those laundry labels ladies!), I did want to be able to give women a general guideline as to what to wear at certain events. Far too often T tells me of an event we need to attend, and when I ask what the dress code is, his reply is typically, “I dunno”. I can’t imagine that he is the only one that does this. Please remember that these are not hard and fast rules, just general ideas. If you are lucky enough to get a flyer or handout for an event, they will usually have the dress code on it somewhere.

If the event does have a stated dress code, these are the generally accepted options for women:

  • Casual- sundress, long or short skirt, khakis or nice jeans, shorts (depending on occasion), plain t shirt, polo short, turtleneck, casual button down blouse
  • Dressy casual- dress, skirt and dressy top, dressy pants outfit, nice jeans and dressy top
  • Buisness casual- skirt,khakis or pants, open collar shirt, knit shirt or sweater, dress
  • Business formal- suit, business style dress, stockings, heels
  • Festive attire (holidays)- cocktail dress, long dressy skirt and top, dressy pants outfit or seperates, little black dress
  • Semiformal- short afternoon or cocktail dress, little black dress, long dressy skirt and top, dressy seperates
  • Black  tie optional- floor length evening gown, dressy cocktail dress, little black dress, dressy seperates
  • Creative black tie- floor length evening gown, dressy cocktail dress, dressiest little black dress, fun or unique accessories

Masonic events give us a lot of excuses to go shopping for nice clothes. The best thing you can purchase for yourself is a little black dress. Here are some common Masonic events, and the general dress code for them.

Drinks at the Shrine- Some Shrines do not serve alcohol, but ours does. Because of that, it tends to be a popular after Lodge choice to hang out, and because of the prices, often more than that. This definetly tends to be a come as you are kind of place. Jeans and a tshirt are more than acceptable. I wouldn’t recommend less than that (pajamas and the like) simply because it can damage respect from the older generation. However, if you want to dress up more than that, no one would think any different. The Shrine bar is a popular choice for many members of various Masonic organizations, so you may be in jeans while the next table over just got done with an installation in tuxes.

Picnics and Fun Nights-  Jeans and a nice shirt is usually a safe bet. Some people will wear t shirts, while others will be in kahkis. Try to dress best for the activity. You don’t want to wear high heels to go bowling, but you might want to if there is a group pub crawl going on.

Lodge Meeting or Lodge Dinner- This is the one that will have the largest variation Some Lodges feel that blue jeans are acceptable for a business meeting, others wear full tuxedoes for everyone. If you are there for social hour or Lodge dinner before a business meeting, you will want to dress close to the level of dress that your Mason does, perhaps slightly less as you probably will not be spending too much in the Lodge room. If you aren’t sure, dress nicer than you think you should, and then decide for next time based on what other women are wearing. (See below)

Chapter  (OES) or Temple (Daughters of the Nile)-  This one can be a bit tricky. Many Grand Chapters have a rule stating that members cannot wear pants, although this is beginning (finally) to be removed. This rule tends to hold true in Daughters, however. If you hold an office, your Worthy Matron or Queen will probably have some kind of uniform for you; this ranges from a black skirt and white top to a full sequined outfit. If you ever aren’t sure, wear a dress. The more conservative, the better.

Specialty Lodge Dinner- Sometimes Lodges will have special event meals instead of, or in addition to a meeting that week. Examples include Ladies at the Table, Table Lodge, special dinners for Holidays, and fundraisers. Usually for these events you will want to at least wear khakis or other dress pants and a blouse. If it’s a BBQ and pig roast however, jeans and a nice shirt would be fine.

Installations & Initiations- Both for installations and iniations you will want to wear a dress. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, your favorite dress will suffice. If you are the one being iniated, you will want to wear comfortable shoes, preferably flats and not heels, espically for an installation into the Order of the Eastern Star. There can be a lot of walking.

Weekday Event- Assuming it is an evening event, you will proabably want to wear a skirt and blouse or your favorite dress. You don’t need to get really fancy about it, but feel free if you want to. Expect to see a lot of sequins from the older crowd.

Weekend Event- This is the time to dress up. You should wear at least a dress, preferably something longer, floor length if you are in the mood and have it available. Heels are a must if you can manage it. If not, look for wedges or platforms. Target is a great place for last minute shoe buying.

Dances- Always wanted to look like a princess? This is the time. Many women will get their hair and makeup done professionally, and get a special gown just for the occasion. Yes, you read that right, gown. If you aren’t sure where to look for clothes, many department stores will have what you need. Think less poofy prom dress, and more sleek Vanna White gown. You will wear it more than once, I promise.

Grand Lodge-Take all of these suggestions, cram them into a suitcase, and that is what you need to bring to Grand Lodge. Everything from jeans to ball gowns will be worn in a single weekend. Be sure to try and get some comfortable shoes, because there are numerous cocktail hours, and they are usually standing room only. Moleskin will be your friend.

Again, this is a general guideline. Sometimes you will have no idea what the dress code may be. What you can do instead is dress in a similar way to your Mason. Unless it is a women’s event (OES, Daughters of the Nile, etc.), the women tend to dress less nice than the guys. If it is a women’s event, the reverse is true.

If he wears:

  • Jeans- you wear jeans and a nice shirt.
  • Dress pants/khakis and a dress shirt, without tie- you wear khakis or other dress pants, and a nice blouse, or khakis and a collared shirt, or, a blouse and a skirt
  • Dress pants/ khakis and a dress shirt, with tie- you wear a blouse and skirt, or a short dress (knee length or similar)
  • Suit with jacket- you wear a blouse and skirt, or a short dress (knee length or similar), or a long dress
  • Tuxedo- you wear a long dress or a women’s suit (usually you will see the older generation wearing this)

 The bottom line of all Masonic events is dress nicer than you think you need to, and dress more conservatively than you think you need to. Following this has never steered me wrong. Sexy dress is not the place for Masonic events. Just don’t do it. Please remember that these are just general guide lines that follow what I have found to be true for Masonic events. Your Lodge or jurisdiction may always wear jeans, or always wear tuxedos. I’ve found, however, that most places fall somewhere inbetween.

Women of Freemasonry: Adah

So, I didn’t realize until today, that only two of the five star points have been discussed! I’ve obviously been slacking a bit. If you’ve missed out on the others, you can find their stories here:

  • Adah- the daughter (this one)
  • Ruth – the widow
  • Esther – the wife
  • Martha – the sister
  • Electa – the mother

The story of Adah is a little bit like that of Electa; there was an unnamed woman in the Bible, whom Rob Morris, the creator of the Order of the Eastern Star, simply gave a name to, and made a star point. Adah has a bit more story behind her than that of Electa however. Adah is the name given to the daughter of a man called Jephthah, who is talked about in the Old Testament book of Judges (more specifically, Judges chapters 11 & 12, you can read the original here). Jephthah had a bit of a shaded past, his mother was a prostitute, and his father could have been any number of men. Because of this, he was driven out of his hometown, and basically became an outlaw, all because of his heritage.

The lady Adah. Or, at the very least, Jephthah’s daughter.

He became known as a bit of a fighter in the area. There were a number of skirmishes and wars going about at this time, and soon enough, Jephthah and his people found themselves being attacked by a people known as the Ammonities. Everyone in the area asked Jephthah to lead them into battle, and he agreed. He also agreed, that if he was victorious in this fight, he was willing to lead the people from there on out. Just before battle our friend Jephthah made a bit of a boo-boo. He made a bargain with G-d, that if he was victorious in the battle, he would sacrifice whatever was the first thing to come out of his house when he returned.

You see where this is going, right?

Jephthah is victorious, and everyone is quite happy with the result. The celebration is short lived however, because the first thing that comes out of his house upon his return, is his daughter, called Adah (in OES). Jephthah really doesn’t want to go through with this sacrifice anymore, but after explaining the situation to his daughter, she agrees that the vow must not be broken. It is said that she asked for it to be delayed by two months, so that she could spend some time with the other women of the village, and “mourn her virginity”. After that time, Jephthah did as he vowed.

Part of me really wonders if anyone read the stories of the women that were picked to be the star points. As you can imagine, this story carries a lot of controversy with it. The story is incredibly similar to that of Isaac, except in Adah’s case, her father actually goes through with her murder. Some versions say that she simply was banished to the mountains, or that she was to remain a virgin forever, but the majority of the versions agree that the sacrifice was made.

So, what does that mean for people in OES? What does this story of sacrifice teach us?

As far as the story given during an initiation, Adah teaches us fidelity, loyalty, and intelligence. The first two I can heartily agree with. I am not so certain that if my father told me he had vowed something similar, that I would have gone through with it. Another big thing Adah focuses on is innocence. Adah was a virgin, yes, but she was also probably a fairly young girl as well, since she was not yet wed. Both Adah and Jephthah were willing to fulfill their obligations, even if doing so meant death for one, and a great loss for the other. I think that this is the biggest lesson in this story.

So often we say we are going to do something, and don’t. Its so easy to sign up to help out at an event, and instead of going, stay home and watch TV. I think that those of us in the Masonic communities are at risk for this kind of behavior, not because we are bad people, but because there tends to be so many things to sign up for, so many events that need help, committees that need chairs, and parts that need to be done. It can be easy to get bogged down. Never forget that its okay to say no. No one will fault you for it, many older Masons are aware that burnout can happen very quickly. Simply do what you can, and when it is time to fill your obligation, don’t drag your feet, go willingly, like Adah and Jephthah, even if it does feel like its going to end in your death.

I will leave you with this short poem I found about Adah. There are a number of them out there about each star point. Perhaps at one point I will collect them all together.

ADAH
“Obedience”
Our Star life’s not always easy,
We do need rare courage now,
Like that of young, heroic Adah,
Keeping her father’s awful vow.

We obey, as she has taught us,
Sometimes cry o’er life’s ills;
But steadfast we turn our faces
Far from Adah’s lonely hills.

This world has obedient daughters,
Carrying out a hard command;
We must seek them — weary, troubled,
Their quiet trust and true obedience
Are examples naught can mar.
Bring a candle of rare courage
To the first point of our Star.

As always, have a wonderful week.

An Introduction to Non-Masculine Masonry, Part II

As mentioned last week, the topic of non-masculine Freemasonry tends to illicit a strong response from most people involved in Masonry, no matter which side of the fence they may fall on as far as the actual subject is concerned. This week I wanted to look some of the terms used when talking about non-masculine Lodges, some of the arguments against the organizations, and some history behind the separation between masculine and non-masculine Masonry . If you missed out on the introduction last week, you can check it out here.

Regular versus Irregular versus Clandestine

Perhaps one of the most confusing parts of the argument either for or against non-masculine Masonry, are the terms used to describe it. Often you will hear masculine Masons refer to non-masculine Masonry as irregular, clandestine, or unrecognized.  However, contrary to popular belief, these words do not all mean the same thing. Wording is everything with Masons (thanks Taozen!), no matter which flavor of Masonry they may ascribe to. In the definitions below, please keep in mind that these are from the masculine Mason point of view, a member of a non-masculine Masonic Lodge may have  different definitions.

  • Regular – Ironically, this is probably the most difficult definition. That’s because what qualifies a Lodge as regular can differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Regular simply means that the Lodge meets the standards that have been established by the Grand Lodge that it wants to be a part of. This works on the Grand Lodge level as well, where a Grand Lodge is considered regular if it meets the standards established by the second Grand Lodge that is inquiring the regularity. This doesn’t mean that they have to meet the standards exactly, more that any differences between the two would be trivial. The standards usually include things like ceremonies, hierarchy, and general philosophy.
  • Recognized – After two Lodges or Grand Lodges have deemed each other to be regular, a formal agreement is made, usually with a lot of paperwork, that states that the two Lodges or Grand Lodges agree that the other is regular. We now say that they recognize each other, and members of both Lodges or Grand Lodges may recognize each other as brothers, this usually includes visitation rights.
  • Irregular– A Lodge or Grand Lodge is considered irregular by the inquiring Lodge or Grand Lodge if they do not meet the standards, or if the differences between the standards would be too great. So let’s say  Lodge #826 wants to put on a panel at the statewide Masonic conference, but #826 isn’t a member of the Grand Lodge of Alabama, where the Lodges resides. So, the Grand Lodge of Alabama looks into the standards of what makes up Lodge #826, the core of the Lodge. If the Grand Lodge of Alabama feels that the heart of Lodge #826 is too different from the standards set up by the Grand Lodge of Alabama, then Lodge #826 is considered irregular by the Grand Lodge of Alabama, and therefore not allowed to take part in the statewide conference as a Lodge. (Same scenario works with regular, with Lodge #826 being able to attend.)
  • Unrecognized – Much like you might guess, if two Lodges or Grand Lodges feel that the difference between their standards is too great, and that the other is irregular, they now consider the other Lodge unrecognized as well. Again, even though it sounds negative, it really is not, it simply means that their standards of Masonry, what they consider to be the most important things to uphold, did not match up.
  • Clandestine– Clandestine is usually the term used to describe Lodges that allow women and atheists. However, if someone uses this word to describe these Lodges they are (usually) incorrect. A Lodge is considered clandestine if it was established with ill or dishonorable intent. These are known as the “scam” lodges, and usually involve you paying a large sum of money for little to no degree work, and a certificate with a fancy title on it. Regardless of how you may feel about non-masculine Masonry, I think we can all agree that this is not Masonry, and is often little more than a pyramid scheme.

The argument against non-masculine Masonry

So, what does this mean for non-masculine Masons? Well, the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE), acknowledges that they are Masons, but does not consider them regular nor recognize them. Kind of a “I see you over there, but I’m pretending you don’t exist” kind of thing. While there are a number of Grand Lodges in the EU that do recognize them, the issue in the States is a bit more complicated. The Grand Lodges in the United States that are masculine, are (most) all recognized by UGLE. That means that the differences between a non-masculine Lodge in the US and a masculine one would be too great for the two Lodges to recognize each other. As a result, non-masculine Masonry tends to not be very popular in the States, since most of the overseeing organizations are based overseas. In fact, many Masons in the United States are unaware of the existence of non-masculine Masonry, or are ill-informed on the topic.

Of course, tends to lead to some very heated arguments. Without going into too much detail, some of these arguments against non-masculine Masonry include that the authenticity of Freemasonry is lost when we ignore the rules and allow women, that it goes against the obligation taken during the degree work, and of course, that’s the way that it’s always been.Funny thing is, they are often talking about two (or more) different organizations with the same, or similar names, and varying history, in some cases dating back before the foundation of masculine Masonry.  I have found that many Masons tend to be very defensive about “their” craft. However, contrary to conspiracy theorists beliefs, Masonry was not passed down from the gods (or demons for that matter), no one person or organization owns Freemasonry, in fact, the square and compass emblem is not even trademarked, and never will be.

I think of it a bit like the difference between the Girl Scouts and the Girl Guides. Both have very similar names, and very similar goals. In fact, some of their ceremonial work is even the same, which makes sense, since they both really came from the same place. The two don’t interact on a group level, and really both just kind of do their own thing. Eventually, one became more popular than another in one country, while the opposite happened in other countries. It doesn’t make either organization less real, or one more right than the other, they are simply two different groups working toward a very similar end result.

Why did all of this happen?

There are many different reasons as to why the rift between masculine and non-masculine Masonry occurred, and why it is still perpetuated today. Most interestingly I think however, is that we know when it started. In the beginning, everyone recognized each other, and everything was all hunky-dory. However, shortly after the American Civil War,  the first case of derecognition (that is, no longer recognizing a group you once recognized) occurred. In 1869, the Grand Orient de France (GODF) recognized a Lodge in Louisiana that the Grand Lodge of Louisiana did not. The Grand Lodge of Louisiana felt that this was an invasion of their jurisdiction, and decided to remove their recognition of GODF. The Grand Lodge of Louisiana convinced many other US Grand Lodges to remove their recognition as well.

This schism grew soon after when the GODF decided to remove the belief in a higher power as a requirement for joining in 1877.  Once UGLE got wind that GODF was allowing atheists to become members, they decided to formally remove their recognition, and declared GODF irregular.  Since the majority of jurisdictions follow the lead of either GODF or UGLE, the number of Lodges deemed irregular by UGLE grew. GODF  decided to officially allow the initiation of women in 2010, causing further discord among the two major bodies of Freemasonry.

Who knows what the future of Freemasonry may hold. I would like to see the two warring groups come together as opposed to drift further apart; unfortunetly, I am not sure that this is the course that we are currently on. I think that perhaps one of the most important things to remember when it comes to this topic, is simply to respect one another. Just because you do not agree with something that someone does means that it is wrong, or not real. No matter which route you may choose, remember to keep your chin up, there’s a lot of hate out there.

I think that’s all on this topic for a bit. I hope this causes much discussion in your Lodges and households. As always, have a great week!

An Introduction to Non-Masculine Masonry

So, we know at this point that women cannot become Freemasons, right? Well…not exactly. There are a number of different organizations that allow women to become Masons. This does, unfortunately, come with numerous stipulations, and tends to be a very hot button issue for many members.

Three types of Masonry

By this point, you should be fairly familiar with masculine, or “regular” Masonry (If not, learn more here). These Lodges are easily identified because they only allow men, who believe in a higher power to become members. There are, however, two other types of Masonry out there. Feminine Masonry, as you might have guessed, allows only women to become members of their Lodge; they may or may not have a belief in a higher power as a requirement of membership. The third type is commonly called Co-Masonry, or “mixed” Masonry. These Lodges admit both men and women to join their ranks; they may or may not have a belief in a higher power as a requirement for membership.

UGLE, the Great, and Powerful

The how and why about all of this can be a bit confusing, so we will kind of start at the top, and work our way down. Usually, when you think of Masonry, you think of masculine Masonry, the kind that only admits men. These Lodges are sometimes referred to as “Anglo-American” due to the locations where they are most prevalent, and fall under the jurisdiction of the United Grand Lodge of England (aka UGLE) This is who all of the state Grand Lodges, such as the Grand Lodge of Nebraska, or the Grand Lodge of Maine, answer to. UGLE claims to be the oldest Grand Lodge in existence, stemming from the first Grand Lodge in 1717. They work side by side with the Grand Lodge of Ireland, and the Grand Lodge of Scotland, to bring us the type of Freemasonry that many of us know and love.

Members of the Athena Lodge

However, the beginnings of Freemasonry could never be so cut and dry. The issue was that many different people in many different countries wanted to do the same general thing, but had vastly differing opinions about how it should be done. In addition to this, communication across countries was not exactly as fast in the 18th century as it is today. Around the same time that UGLE was established, came the Grand Orient de France, or GODF. It arose from the ashes of the Grand Lodge of France, which can trace itself back to 1728 or so. The Lodges that fall under the GODF have many different names to distinguish themselves from the UGLE Lodges, and are most commonly referred to as “continental” Lodges. The UGLE Lodges have some not so great and often confusing names for the GODF lodges, usually “irregular” or “clandestine”. These Lodges tend to be much more common in Europe. Instead of Grand Lodges, the jurisdictions for GODF Lodges are called Grand Orients, which, despite the name, has nothing to do with the Shriners. GODF. along with the Grand Lodge of Belgium, the Grand Orient of Belgium, Le Droit Humain, and the Grand Loge de France, all share one thing that separates them from UGLE- none of them require belief in a higher power.

Mixed and Co-Masonic Organizations

After GODF  was created, they began a system of Lodges of Adoption, which I have discussed previously. Basically, the idea was that a male only lodge had a parallel lodge that was attached to them, specially for the wives and sister of the male Masons. These Lodges had a four degree system: Female Apprentice, Journeywoman, Mistress, and Perfect Msasoness. Sounds pretty similar to the three degrees in Blue Lodge, right? The idea spread like wildfire across 18th century Europe, and soon the degrees had stretched to 10, and eventually adopted all of the Scottish Rite degrees to their liking. GODF decided that these lodges were unconstitutional in 1808, and were re-instated in 1901. Finally, they broke off in 1935, and became Grande Loge feminine de France. Their lodges spread to Belgium in 1974, and the Grande Loge feminine de Belgique was formed in 1981.

Old school cool

In 1882, a woman names Maria Deraismes convinced a  French Lodge to temporarily succeed from its Grand Lodge to initiate her. After she took her third degree, she demitted, allowing the Lodge to re-join the Grand Lodge. She was a well known woman’s rights activist, and by 1893, had found 16 other women who wanted to become speculative Masons. That same year, she established her own Lodge, that allowed both men and women to join. This Lodge has now become one of the largest mixed Masonic organizations in the world, Le Droit Humain.

In 1902, many English Masons were alarmed by the changes that were being made to Masonry by those in Paris. Many chose to abandon ship, and retired from their Lodges in order to create a new Grand Lodge, the Honourable Fraternity of Antient Masonry. When the current Grand Master chose to leave to start anew, a female Grand Master was elected in his place. Throughout the years, more and more male members left for other pursuits, while more and more female members joined. In 1935, the last male left the organization, and since then, it has been exclusively female. They changed their name to fit this in 1958, to the Order of Women Freemasons.

Grand Lodge Officers of the Order of Women Freemasons

There are many Masonic organizations out there that allow women that I have not mentioned here. The number one piece of advice that I can give about being a woman, and wanting to become a Mason is this – do your research. Find out as much as you can about where your prospective Lodge comes from, and what organizations it belongs to. There are a number of lodges out there that exist only as scams to take your money, and bestow fancy titles upon you. This is not Masonry, this is just a scam. Like masculine Masonry, many mixed or feminine Lodges will have nights where prospective members can come and check it out, and I would encourage you to do so.

What happens at a mixed or feminine Lodge that makes it so different?

They allow women to become members, and usually do not require a belief in a higher power. Other than that, they tend to operate exactly the same as masculine Lodges. No, seriously, that’s it.

What’s the big deal then?

This I will be saving for next week, since it tends to be such a heated issue, and this is getting legnthy as is. Tune in next week for the conclusion of An introduction to Non-Masculine Masonry. As always, have a great week!

The Masonic Post

I’m feeling a little under the weather today (boo!), so this article will be short and sweet. I came across these Masonic post cards not too long ago, and was really surprised, not only by how much they pertain to the topic of this blog, but also how prevalent they seem to be. There are many different styles out there, I will try to give you a taste of each.  The two themes that are common, are the phrase “on the square”, usually refers to someone being honest, and may also refer to the keeping of secrets; the other is the funky trapezoid thing with the letters “HTWSSTKS”, this is the emblem of Mark Master Masons, now a part of York Rite. Most of these are from around the early 1900’s. While the true meaning may be lost as far as many are concerned, they tend to paint a very different picture of Masonry than what most people think of when they hear the word today. Perhaps not so much has changed in the last 114 years…

“I always liked a Mason, For a Mason will not tell–The secrets you confide to him, No price can make him sell. No matter what or where or how, He’s always on “the square”. I certainly do like a Mason, for he’s fine as he is fair.”

I kind of can’t help myself but love these.

A more traditional romantic one. Would make for an awesome valentine’s day card!

Plays to the inside joke of “riding the goat”.

Another traditional romantic one.

I like this one in particular, because I think it speaks volumes, without really saying much at all.

Apparently women in the 1900’s were really worried about their beau giving away all their secrets.

Not often seen, a Shriner postcard.

Seriously, what are these women hiding?

This one is a bit rare, because the art style is so different and complex, especially for that time. (This one is from 1911)

I’m kind of starting to wonder what the big secrets were for women in the 20th century. Either it was completely mundane, or absolutely off the wall.

Of course, it wouldn’t be complete without us poking fun at ourselves.

I know that wasn’t what you usually see here, but thanks for checking it out all the same!

If anyone reading is a Co-Mason, and is willing to be interviewed, please contact me here, or shoot me an email at themasonslady@gmail.com

On that note- Have a great week!

The Master’s Ball

I hope that everyone’s weekend was as awesome as my own! On Saturday, T and I hosted a Master Mason’s Ball downtown at our Scottish Rite Center. From what I can gather, many balls and other formal dances have fallen out of favor, not only within the Masonic community, but also general society. I would encourage you to talk to your Worshipful Master about your Lodge having one, or encourage your Mason to host one during his time in the East.

From what I can find, there is no history of the Master’s Ball; I am not even sure that they happen in other jurisdictions. That being said, I can tell you a bit about it. The concept is very simple: everyone in the Lodge gets dressed up, and gets together to have a good time, and to honor the current and past Worshipful Masters of the Lodge, as well as any other dignitaries that may show up. It is a public event, so non-Masons are welcome as well. It’s more or less an excuse to get really dressed up, and have a great time. So, while I cannot tell you the universal way that Masons do the Master’s Ball (if Masons did anything universally I would be surprised), but I can tell you what we did for ours, and hope to inspire you to have your own.

Some brothers dancing the night away.

Some brothers dancing the night away.

Attire and Venue

Masons love to get dressed up, and I can see why. How many opportunities do you really get to do it in a year? I mean floor length dress or tuxedo, getting your hair done, etc. Maybe one or two for most people, and those are usually weddings. T decided early on that he wanted the attire to be semi-formal to formal. He wanted his attending officers to be in tuxes, and at least a jacket and tie for everyone else. I believe jacket and tie was the attire put on the flyer, and his officers were told privately to wear their tuxes. What we got was people wearing everything from jeans (a DeMolay who came last minute) to floor length ball gowns (myself) and everything in between. It would have made for a very awkward looking group photo. If you’re going to an event, and not sure if your attire is appropriate, ask someone who is putting on the event, or err on the side of overdressing.

The DeMolay who wore jeans...and then made me promise to post this picture.

The DeMolay who wore jeans…and then made me promise to post this picture.

Luckily for us, we live in a large metropolitan area, and have a beautiful Scottish Rite center down town. The entire venue is gorgeous- marble staircases, hardwood floors, they were even repainting a ceiling in a small sitting room with gold leaf! The ballroom we held the event in was no exception. The small amount of information gathering I was able to do lead me to the conclusion that Master’s Balls simply are not done anymore; which in my mind, is more reason to have one. This really gives you a lot of leeway as far as things like venue are concerned, because no one has any preconceived notion of what the ball has to be. While I would not recommend using your lodge, as it might not feel quite “special” enough, and may also not be big enough; your local Shrine center may have the perfect spot for your dance.

The Setup

Although our Master’s Ball was only two days ago, we had begun preparing for it as soon as T became Worshipful Master. He knew it was something that he wanted to do, especially because his Lodge had not hosted one for six or seven years. Our Grand Lodge is very early; most are in the summer, while ours is in early February. We knew that we wanted to have tickets printed to sell by that time, and they were just barely done. As we all know, a good deal of drinking tends to go on at Grand Lodge after the business is all taken care of, and we used this to our advantage to sell more tickets. In addition to this, our large Masonic family in Omaha has a universal calendar sent out every month, and we were sure to add the ball as soon as we had a date set.

Action shot of our beautiful venue.

Action shot of our beautiful venue.

Although we booked the venue well in advance, and let them in on the plan, there was not much to do up until about two months before the event. Around June, T started reminding brothers that the Ball was coming up, how much tickets were, who to talk to, that kind of stuff. I created a poster that hung at the Shrine and other Masonic centers in the area. Some of the other lodge members and their wives took care of contacting the caterer (who was also a brother), those that would be setting up the tables and bar (a brother), taking care of appetizers, and other related items; while T got ahold of the DJ (you guessed it, a brother). When we got there the day of, all we really had to do was place the centerpieces, help the DJ get situated, set up the appetizers, and get ready ourselves.

Itinerary

The evening started, as many Masonic evenings do, at the bar. We opened the doors for cocktail hour (and a half) at 6pm.  T and I had decided to invite many of our non-Masonic friends, and my family had come in from out of town as well. It was wonderful to see everyone socializing and getting along so well. As I said previously, we had a large range of attire, but really, the point of the evening was to be with our friends and family, and have a good time, so we were not about to turn anyone away (save for the confused man who showed up without his pants).

Folk enjoying the food!

Folks enjoying the food!

We had a nice dinner, catered by a brother, as I said previously. T had decided early on that it was simply better to just not give anyone a choice as far as the protein was concerned, and so, everyone had chicken and salmon. This did lead to some confusion, since it’s not normally done that way, so many people who called to buy their tickets still told us which one they wanted. Oh well.

After dinner, T took the time to thank everyone for coming, thank the families from the lodge who had put work into setting up the ball, and  recognizing those who were Past Masters, not only of his Lodge, but also those who had come in from other area Lodges. We were lucky enough to have a few Grand Lodge officers there, including the Deputy Grand Master for our state (aka, the guy who is going to be Grand Master next year).

When that was all said and done, T did something I was not really expecting. He proposed. It was perfect really; I was in a floor length ball gown with his grandmother’s pearls, I had spent the money to get my hair and makeup done, every detail had been meticulously planned;  all of our friends and both of our families were there. Not only did I look like  a princess, but he made me feel like one too (and you always have!). So, guys, take note. 🙂

Our special visitor, to help us celebrate.

The rest of the evening, the whole evening, was very relaxed. Although all of us were in our formal attire, most everyone there knew each other, and so really it was just a fancy party with all of our friends. The ball continued late into the night, with about as much drinking and dancing as you might expect; a lot and, not quite as much.

If anyone’s Lodge hosts a Master’s Ball or something similar, I would love to hear about it. If yours does not, encourage your Mason or Worshipful Master to bring it up at a business meeting. While it is not profitable, and indeed, we operated ours at a loss, sometimes you just need to put on your fanciest outfit and have a nice dinner with your friends; it’s all about having fun!

Green-Eyed Lady

I don’t know about you guys, but last week was kind of a crazy one. It went something like this:

Tuesday:DeMolay

Wednesday: Lodge

Thursday: OES

Friday-Sunday: DeMolay Conclave

Monday: T meets with a candidate.

Then the whole cycle repeats again with DeMolay on Tuesday! Since I had to work Wednesday, as well as the weekend, I did not get to see T much, not to mention that relaxing time alone with him was non-existent.  While I do appreciate knowing that he is men of high moral values, sometimes it can feel like Masonry can eat at your social, as well as personal life. This can tend to lead to feelings of jealousy, resentment, and all kinds of other icky stuff.

Why do I feel this way?

Let me start off by saying that any feelings you may have toward Masonry, either overall or just your Mason’s involvement, are perfectly valid. However, you’ve got to own those feelings, and if you don’t like the way that you feel, then you need to figure out what you can do to change the situation. A common reaction for women to have when they first learn about Masonry, is not true jealousy, but envy. Envy simply says, “I want what you have. Gimmie.” This is usually from the feeling of exclusion that many women experience when they realize that they cannot join regular Masonry, I know that I certainly did. Envy does not have to lead to jealousy however, and can in fact lead to very motivating thinking, such as being involved with auxiliary groups as much as possible.

Jealousy, on the other hand, says “I want what you have, and until I get it, you shouldn’t have it either.” This step beyond envy not only attempts to push you forward, but also aims to hold the other person back. Most often, when it comes to jealousy and Masonry, the feeling stems from two sources- fear and insecurity.  Many types of fear can cause us to feel jealous when our Mason is away at Lodge. Usually, however, this jealousy comes from fear of loss, and fear of the unknown. Staring with the latter, fear of the unknown si obvious when it comes to Masonry and it’s auxiliary groups. If you and your Mason just started dating, or if he is a new member, this is incredibly common. Often, new members are not sure what it is that they can tell their spouses, and therefore tend to not say anything at all. If you do not do your research (please do!), your imagination can dream up all sorts of awful things going on at the meetings. It is always important to educate yourself. Ask your Mason what you would like to know about what goes on. If he is unsure, I recommend you talk to senior members of his lodge, or pick up this book.

Fear of loss is also an extremely common root of jealousy for those involved with Masons. You see it all the time on the anti-Masonic wives “forums” (none of which seem to have been updated since 2003). Usually it sounds something like this:

I’ve two boys 21 and 17. Everyone who has responded has hit it right on the money. I thought I was the only one who was feeling this way. My husband sits on the couch and reads this little blue book after work til its time to go to bed. Not to mention he is gone every Saturday all day long for ceremonies out in the woods. Yes he calls all of them brothers now and yes I agree this is a CULT!! All he does now is spends several hours a week with them. Hours that he could be spending with his own family, working on the lawn, keeping up the pool. Nope that is on the back burner as well as me and our youngest son. Everything is so private that I don’t know where he goes or what he is doing. They have secret handshakes and secret codes. I am found home alone most of the time now. I can see that they are more important than me. Divorce is on my mind more than ever. Its a CULT and they have brainwashed him. (Gizzy) 

Ignoring for a moment all of the cult and brainwashed business, it is very clear that this woman is not only jealous of the time her husband spends involved in Masonry, but also feels that she is losing him, and therefore her marriage and everything that goes along with it, to Masonry. Very closely related to the fear of loss, another cause of jealousy is simple insecurity. The insecurity may come from anything, although most often when talking about Masonry and jealousy, the insecurity is insecurity of the relationship, or yourself. This is where the feelings of “Well, what if he meets a younger, more involved woman at Grand Lodge?” “How can I compete with a bunch of guys he is so involved with and have so much in common with?” come from.

Taming that beast

So, how can you get rid of all these nasty feelings? There are lots of suggestions out there, but I will just go over the main ones.

Recognize your jealousy, and keep it in check. Often, just recognizing that the jealousy is there can help alleviate some of the hold it has on you. In addition to this, it is important to be mindful of your own emotions, and a big part of this is knowing yourself. Try taking several deep breaths, and attempt to detach yourself from the intensity of the emotion you are feeling. This can help give you a better idea as to where its coming from, and why. Be sure and spend time alone, dancing, listening to music, going for a walk, or even just meditating, to help process your emotions.

Educate yourself. As I said above, jealousy can often come from fear of the unknown. There can be a lot of unknowns when it comes to Masonry, so it can help a great deal to turn as many of those unknowns into knowns as possible. As I linked above, I strongly recommend FreeMasonry for Dummies, as a very nice introduction, that provides resources for more in-depth information if you feel you are still lacking. Ask your Mason questions. If he doesn’t know, ask the senior members of his Lodge. If his Lodge has a library, ask if you can borrow books (they won’t be hiding any secrets there though!) You may be surprised as to how much of Masonry isn’t a secret.

Communicate with your Mason. Perhaps one of the most important, and simplest answers. If you do not tell your Mason that you are jealous that he is spending three nights a week at Lodge, he may think that everything is fine and dandy. You’re not a mind reader, and neither is he. If you feel that he is spending too much time at Lodge, and not enough at home, let him know, and try to work out a compromise. You two may decide that two nights a week is a maximum, or, perhaps that Masonry is just not good for your relationship at this time in your lives. If you don’t speak up, nothing will change, and you will find yourself just getting more and more frustrated.

Get involved. While I know that this is not the answer for everyone, many women find attending Lodge dinners and other Masonic functions quite enjoyable. You may find solace with the Sisters in the Order of the Eastern Star, or just with the ladies who play cards during the business meetings. Attending Masonic events will not only help you expand your social circle, but you may find that once you realize just how boring waiting for a three-hour Master Mason degree to be done can be, that you are more okay with your Mason attending more Masonic functions. Getting involved goes hand in hand with educating yourself, and helps eradicate the fear of the unknown.

Perhaps the most important thing to say about it all is simply: Own your feelings. Don’t let them own you.

I hope that everyone has a wonderful week, and as always, feel free to contact me with any questions!

I Will Be a Man for My Brethren

French Masonry is a little bit different from what we have here in the states, and even what there is in the UK. This was especially true in the middle of the 18th century. During this time, Freemasonry was beginning to spread throughout the country, from England. While France did follow all of the rules placed by the Grand Lodge of All England, the precursor to UGLE, there was one that they did feel needed a bit of bending. In England, women were not allowed to become Masons, nor were they allowed to attend the banquets or religious services put on by them. France felt that this was a little unnecessary, and they allowed women to attend these events.

As the number of women attending the events grew, so did their want for an organization of their own. There was a separate lodge created, called the Lodge of Adoption. The idea was quite simple, the women would have their own sets of degrees, and were held to similar standards as the regular Masons. However, a Lodge of Adoption could not exist without a supporting, and perhaps governing, regular, masculine Lodge of Masons. Soon after their inception, the Lodges of Adoption came under the jurisdiction of the Grand Orient de France (France’s version of UGLE), who decided that they were consitutional, then unconstitutional, then consitutional, then eventually, they made up their minds and decided that they were unconstitutional. The Lodges of Adoption eventually formed their own jurisdiction, Grand Loge feminine de France. The creation of the Lodges of Adoption were the beginning of what we call co-Masonry today.

A Lodge of Adoption ceremony

Shortly after the Lodge of Adoption had been established, although, the exact date is not known, a Lodge in Paris known as The Lodge of Freres-Artistes, or The Lodge of Artist Brothers, was preparing to open to give a Fete of Adoption, the ritual that opened the Lodge of Adoption, and initiated new women into the Lodge of Adoption that was associated with their Lodge. Before they had opened to receive the women, however, they opened a regular Lodge in the first degree to take care of some other business. As you may or may not know, during the opening of a Lodge, a call is put out for any visitors. Indeed, this Lodge did have a visitor, a young man in a Calgary captain’s uniform. The asked for his certificate, his way of them knowing that he was who he said he was, and he handed it over with little hesitation. It was folded when he handed it to the Senior Deacon, and remained folded until it was passed to the Orator of the Lodge. When the Orator opened it, and read it aloud to the  Lodge, they became very excited, and declared that the Captain should be conferred the first degree at once. More on why in a moment.

Remember, that this was the end of the 18th century in France. The French Revolution was still going on, or may have just been winding down. A young General, named Charles Antoine Dominique Xaintrailles commanded a body of the Army of the Rhone and Moselle, one of the Armies of the Republic, who fought against the revolutionaries. This was a tough time for the people of France, and often women would  often masquerade as men so as to avoid being the victims of sexual violence. General Xaintrailles had a mistress whom he wanted to protect from this, and so, he made her his aide-de-camp. Kind of like a second in command, and aide-de-camp is an officer, whose job is to monitor a senior officer and help enforce his orders. apparently Madame de Xaintrailles was no dainty flower, as she rose to the rank of captain “at the point of the sword.”*

The French Revolution. Not a happy time for anyone.

You see where this is going right? That young captain waiting in the anteroom of the lodge was Madame de Xaintrailles, and the certificate she had handed to the Senior Deacon was the one showing her commission as an aide-de-camp. Apparently, once the certificate was read aloud, the members of the lodge were astonished, and quickly grew very excited. They decided, both unanimously and spontaneously, that she should receive the First degree. Not the first degree of the Lodge of Adoption that they were about to open mind you, but the First degree of speculative, regular, Masonry to Madame de Xaintrailles. They felt that she had “so many times…displayed all the virtues of a man and had deserved to be charged with important missions which required as much courage as discretion and prudence.”*

After being told the decision of the Lodge, she was asked if she would accept. She simply replied,

“I am a man for my country, I will be a man for my Brethren.”

And so, the initiation took place, and Madame de Xaintrailles became a very active member of her Lodge.

How, you may ask, did they ever let this happen? The Reverend, Past Grand Chaplain of England, commented that he failed “to see how the French Brethren were to blame, or how they could have done otherwise under the circumstances. We who know the heroism of English womanhood—not to speak of other peoples—in the adjourned war of the world cannot help speculating humourously what might have been done by himself under similar circumstances, had his gracious presence filled the Chair in the East during any of these recent years.”

Just so you know what’s going on down here, I’ve been asked a few times where I get this information from. I am going to do my best to cite work where I can, so that if you would like to read more on the topic, you can. Let me know if there are any questions.

*The Builder Magazine, February 1921, Vol 7, No. 2

Woman and Freemasonry Dudley Wright

A New Encyclopedia of Freemasonry A.E. Waite

Ladies at the Table

Ever have one of those days where everything falls perfectly into place, where nothing deviates from the plan, and everything works out just wonderfully? Saturday was not that day. T and I were set to host Ladies at the Table at the lodge, and numerous things went wrong, including my truck breaking down, the smoker not cooking the brisket not once, but twice, and I think I caught the stove on fire at one point. Luckily, T’s quick thinking resulted in us only being 30 minutes behind schedule, and we were able to have a wonderful dinner and table lodge with our friends and family.

Ladies where?

Ladies at the Table is a very different kind of Masonic event. It is not a degree, a ritual, or ceremony, but it does fall under the jurisdiction of your Grand Lodge, and is usually held at Grand Lodge Communications. The idea is that this is the time for a lodge to show their respect and honor toward a Mason’s lady, widow, mother, daughter, sweetheart, sister…I think you get the picture.  Since, more often than not, the Mason will leave his lady home while he eats at the lodge, this is an opportunity for her to come and feel not only welcomed, but supported and honored in her role as a Mason’s lady. It also gives the ladies of the lodge a chance to not only meet the men that her Mason has been hanging out with, but also the other ladies at the lodge, and perhaps spark her interest in joining the Masonic community.

I will get to how the whole business runs, and it really is quite fun, in a moment. First, I want to go over where the idea came from in the first place. During the 18th century, another type of Masonry was being practiced in France, called French Rite, which was established to parallel Masonry. These “Adoptive Lodges”, were women only, and were called such because a regular Masonic lodge “adopted” them. These lodges had four degrees, Apprentice (or Female Apprentice); Compagnone (or Craftswoman); Maitresse (or Mistress); and Parfaite Maconne (or Perfect Mason.) The fourth degree ended with a Table Lodge, or ceremonial banquet. There is a large possibility that young Englishmen, that were en route to be trained as British military officers attended the final degree, or at least the dinner that followed, and brought it back to regular Masonry .The table lodge is still practiced today in many regular jurisdictions, you may have attended one on Saint John’s Day, or around the winter holidays. Please note- Ladies at the Table is not Adoptive Masonry. It is simply a  borrowed ceremony that is used by a regular Lodge of Masons to show respect and honor to the Ladies of their Lodge.

The “U” shape. Not ours, I did not think that far ahead!

How is this different from a regular Lodge or Chapter meeting?

If you’ve never been to a table lodge, or Ladies at the Table before, you will find that it is quite unlike anything else you have experienced within Masonry before. As I said above, it is not a Masonic ritual, in fact, T and I decided to make ours a very casual, relaxed event. This does not mean, however, that it is not without it’s own set of governing rules. While these vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, as well as Lodge to Lodge, I will give you a general idea:

  • Traditionally there are 5 courses and 7 toasts to the meal. Our Lodge decided to be much more informal, and relaxed, and therefore had 3 courses, and probably 10 toasts. Some will say that this does not make it a true “table lodge”, but I think that a lot of things like this you need to adapt to fit your own needs and desires.
  • The tables are set in a U shape, with the altar, holding the Bible or other holy book, in the center. T had been in charge of choosing the ritual and letting me know what we needed, and after all of the stress of the day, we realized we had missed this part. Life goes on.
  • Wine is the only alcohol served. You may see a lot of rules about how much wine everyone should be poured, or even what alcohol percentage the wine should be. Unless your Grand Lodge has specific rules for this, do what suits your needs.
  • The ladies should not be the ones cooking, or serving this meal. The idea is to show how much you appreciate them by doing what they normally might on any other lodge night.
T demonstrating the meaning of the word

T demonstrating the meaning of the word “Fire.”

How does the whole thing work, though?

The table lodge is opened similarly as regular lodge might, albeit a much abridged version, with only a few speaking parts, all suitable for the public of course. Usually the opening ceremonies include a short history of the table lodge, or of  Ladies at the Table itself, as well as a history of the lodge that it is taking place in.The Chaplin gives a prayer to open. All of the work is conducted by the Worshipful Master, of course, who sits in the middle table of the “U” with his lady. After opening the Ladies at the Table, dinner is served. When everyone has had their fill, the real fun begins.

In addition to their water cups, everyone has a large shot glass at their seat. This is a special type of shot glass that is a bit thicker on the bottom, and with good reason. It is referred to as a “cannon”, and looks like this. After dinner is over, but before the toasts begin, someone, either the Worshipful Master or the Steward, instructs those attending how the toasts will be done. It goes something like this:

WM: “Brother Senior Steward, charge and align the Cannons of the column of the North. Brother Junior Steward, charge and align the Cannons of the column of the South.” The Stewards fill everyone’s cannons with wine.

WM: “Brothers Senior and Junior Steward, are you cannons charged?” They answer affirmatively.

The WM recognizes the person giving the toast, all rise, and the toast is given.

WM: “With me…” Everyone repeats the last line of the toast, for instance, “to the United States of America,” raising their cannons normally.

WM: “Ready.” Everyone  brings their cannons closer to their body.

WM: “Aim.” Cannon is brought to the lips.

WM: “Fire!” The shot of wine is downed.

WM:”Order.” The cannon is brought to just above the table.

WM: “Arms.” Everyone slams their cannon down on the table, hopefully at the same time, resulting in a terrific noise. (Usually it tends to get better with time, and then worse again.)

Traditionally, there are seven toasts made, as I stated above. At a Ladies at the Table, they are as follows:

  • To the first lady of the United States
  • To the wife of the Grand Master
  • To 3 different women of the Lodge
  • To our mothers
  • To our ladies

We chose to do things a bit differently, and added many of our own toasts, including:

  • To our service men and women
  • To the United States of America
  • To our Grand Lodge
  • To the Craft
  • T also added a special poem he had found about the ladies for the final toast. You can see that here.
The cannons being charged.

The cannons being charged.

So, the point is….?

If you are thinking to yourself that there must be something more to this than having a nice dinner, shooting wine, and being with the ladies of the lodge, then you would be pondering what else there is for some time. The whole point is to relax, have a nice time, and be with friends and family.

If any of you are interested in hosting your own Ladies at the Table, let me know! I would love to hear stories of the way that other Lodges decide to put it on. Make it your own, and start your own tradition!

To your front door

Attention gentlemen! Mother’s day is next Sunday! Consider this your 1 week warning. 🙂 If you’re looking for something a bit different to get your lady (or even mom) for mother’s day, I would recommend checking out this post. There are also a few things here for the guys.

Ladies! I know what it can be like to be a Mason’s wife- you can easily have a formal dinner, a family outing, and a scotch tasting all in the same week. Not only does this add up as far as time and money, but in addition to this, we do not get the same luxury as the guys as far as being able to wear a suit, or a dress shirt and tie wherever we go. Instead we end up with a large variety  of clothes, and makeup, usually in incredulous amounts, not to mention the cost really does add up faster than you might think.

Enter beauty boxes, also known as subscription services. The idea is basically the same across the board- you pay a subscription fee, from as little as $10, all the way up to $160 a month, and the company sends you goodies each month directly to your house, that you get to keep, or in some cases, the service works a bit more like Netflix for clothes. There’s a ton of services out there, but I am going to cover the top contenders in each category.

True Beauty Boxes

Birchbox

Arguably the first “beauty box” that really gained popularity, Birchbox offers a very no-nonsense package. $10 a month, for 4-6 beauty and “lifestyle”  deluxe (read:larger) samples, delivered to your home each month. The beauty samples can range from makeup to skin care items, while the lifestyle items can be a Kind bar or tea. One of the nicer things about Birchbox is that they offer both a women’s box subscription, as well as a men’s. The men’s box contains items like manly shampoo, shaving cream, playing cards, cufflinks and lotion. The “lifestyle” items tend to be much more formal than the women’s boxes. Every box has a theme.Right now there is about a two week wait for a subscription, but in my experience, it tends to be a much shorter wait than that. Average value: $30-$50

Ipsy

Perhaps Birchbox’s biggest contender is Ipsy. Ipsy’s box plan is the same as Birchbox’s- you pay $10 a month, for 4-6 items, the first difference here is that Ipsy offers deluxe samples, as well as full size items. The second is Ipsy’s focus, which is much more on makeup, with some skin and hair care items. Ipsy’s bags are also themed like Birchbox, but every month, all of the makeup comes packaged in a themed cosmetic bag. There is also a waiting list for Ipsy, it does not say how long the wait is, but you can jump through some Facebook hoops or get a referral link (let me know if you want one!) to skip ahead to the front of the line. Average value: around $50

Clothing and Accessories

Wantable Accessories

This one is a little pricier, but with good reason- as the name suggests, this is a subscription box for jewelry and other accessories. The price tag is a big step from the likes of Ipsy and Birchbox at $36 a month, but if you are like myself, and have a seemingly endless calendar of Masonic dinners and social gatherings, this could easily be worth every penny. The box contents range from rings and bracelets, to sunglasses and watches. The company Wantable has two other subscription services, one for makeup, and one for intimates. Average value: $100+

Stitch Fix & Gweenie Bee

These two subscription services work a little differently, and both involve clothes. Stitch Fix is $20 a month, and 4-5 pieces of clothing and/or accessories are handpicked for you by a stylist.You keep what you like, and send back the rest. The $20 a month you spend is taken off of the final prices of the items you choose.

Gweenie Bee, targeted at women sizes 10+, works more like Netflix. You pay a flat fee to have a certain number of items out at a time, starting at 1 piece of clothing for $35 a month. When you’re done wearing it, or decide you don’t like it, you send it back, free shipping, just like Netflix. The difference between Gwennie Bee and Netflix is that you can buy the items you like while you have them at home!

The Weird

Plated

Kind of changing gears, Plated aims to ship….dinner to your door. The only catch is that you have to cook. The monthly fee is $10 again, but every “plate” added to the meal is an additional $12. So, a plated meal for 2 would cost $34. You can also not choose to subscribe and just buy meals, which bumps the plate cost up to $15, and you must buy four. Everything comes pre-portioned with everything you need, and gives you detailed step by step instructions on how to prepare the meal. Would be absolutely wonderful for a date night in! Average value: Varies on meat cost, usually $50-$75

Nerd Block

I’m pretty sure I need this (hint! hint!). Nerd Block is a monthly subscription box for toys, collectibles, t-shirts and other geeky things. They also send you a custom t-shirt every month that you cannot get anywhere else. They also have Nerd Block Jr, aimed at young nerdlings. The cost is a bit more here, $20 + shipping, but they are a much smaller company than all of the others. Average value: $50-$75

You can quickly see how convenient for someone who is active in the Masonic community- getting new items- makeup, jewelry, shoes, clothes, even food and toys, every month, usually at a fraction of the cost. This means you could always have something new to wear (if you’re like me, every bigger event I want to have at least one small “new” item), at every event that you attend. Sounds pretty awesome to me.

For the record- none of these companies are paying me in any way shape, or form to write this article. I just think that these subscription services really have a place in a Mason’s lady’s (or Mason’s) life, are very convenient, and seamlessly integrated. I can’t wait to try them all.