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The Plain Jane Society

May 9, 2009 | by Riva Pomerantz

Perfection eludes us all, but acceptance does not have to.

You're at the park bench or bar mitzvah dinner, and you smile with friendly ease.

"Hi," you introduce yourself, "I'm so-and-so, what's your name?"

The look on the other end makes your smile freeze. Her eyes go up and down, taking careful inventory of every detail. It lasts just a millisecond, but it feels like forever.

In the space of that look, a zillion calculations are instantly performed, ranging from the cost of the ring on your finger to the make-up you wear, multiplied by your dress size and divided by the number of chocolate smears on your kid's stroller.

And then, after a heart-stopping moment, the eyes go down again, the nose goes up, and the world stops as your self-esteem takes a dive.

"I'm so-and-so," comes the polite reply, but it is clear that your offer of companionship has been rejected.

Cliques and social torment do not only happen in our daughters' first grade. Apparently there is no universal law which dictates that these immature and hurtful social practices are shed during puberty and completely disappear by adulthood.

Well, I would like to propose a radical new social construct. Meet "The Plain Jane Society," where everyone can play and everyone's good enough to join. The initiation ceremony is pretty simple: it consists of a small wave, a smile, or even a quiet "hello." According to the Society Handbook, people of all financial standing, dress sizes, levels of cleanliness and professions may join as they wish, and membership is always free.

In our society, we value people because they are...people; created by God, in His divine image. Our mission is to foster brotherhood or sisterhood, and to have a great time just getting to know new members or schmoozing with long-standing ones. On a deeper, more esoteric level, we hope to bring about world peace just by virtue of our happy demeanors and the way we all get along with each other.

If you're a human, you're in like Flynn, and make no mistake about it -- the Plain Jane Society wants YOU!

You do not need to bring last year's tax forms when you sign up for the PJS. In fact, we've decided to forego a membership application since there's not much in the way of joining criteria. Instead you can just kind of walk up, introduce yourself, and expect to be registered immediately on the spot. If you're a human, you're in like Flynn, and make no mistake about it -- the Plain Jane Society wants YOU!

We figure it's time to grow up and grow out of those painful social situations which make you feel like you've walked the gauntlet and that you just don't measure up for beans. The social barbs, the chilly receptions, the nose-in-the-air evaluations and the snobby rejections, we think, are best relegated to the school yard where five-year-olds can do their worst until they finally realize these foibles won't get them very far in life.

We're a pretty heterogeneous mix, perhaps due to the largesse of our admissions policy, but surprisingly that seems to make our society much more interesting. I'd hardly prefer a club where everyone who joined was more or less a clone of the next member.

Our society even has a slogan -- "Come as you are!" It just seems to sum us up best. We're accumulating members in droves, and so far we haven't heard a single complaint.

I love that I can be accepted just the way I am. I don't need to put on a show in order to be respected and accepted. I don't need to be wearing Chanel and driving a Mercedes. I don't need to be fake. Other members will just come over to me and say hi -- it's great! I've made loads of new friends this way. - A happy PJS member

Snobbery is a thing of the past with the Plain Jane Society. It just wasn't working for me. I used to be one of those snobs, who looked you up and down and gave you the sense that you just weren't cool enough for me to exchange more than two words with. But one day someone else did that to me, and boy did it hurt! Then I heard about the Plain Jane Society, where everyone is a member, and I liked the concept. Today I go over to everyone I see, introduce myself, and start to chat. That's the way it works, and it's very freeing."- A former snob turned PJS member

Recruitment is always open for the Plain Jane Society, and we've stopped mailing membership cards; it was becoming cumbersome. So the next time you're approached by a friendly, smiling face, you can assume it's one of our members, reaching out to say hello and offering you the gift of free membership. We hope you'll sign up -- there's really not very much to lose, and there's everything to gain.

In fact, why not start a branch in your neighborhood?


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