It’s an expression heard frequently these days..."doing life together". In presentations, among the chatter inside neighborhood coffee shops, and posted amid a myriad of blog posts. In the pre-Zuckerberg era, we might have just said that someone was our friend, but perhaps now we’re creating new expressions to distinguish digital acquaintances from our crews: the ones who have our backs, the ones who stick closer than brothers (and sisters), the ones you text 49 times in an afternoon.
Meet the Texting Yoga Pants, or maybe you’re one of the 800,000 plus that have already done so online. Their video parody of a pop song, “I Wanna Go to Chick-fil-A” – with its spot-on description of friendship, parenting, and doing life together – has exploded online since the posse’s front lady, Lauren Tenney, posted it August 10th. In it, these five mothers doo-wop their way through a typical lunch outing at Chick-fil-A: no makeup, hair in messy buns, children running off to the restroom, and yes, plenty of yoga pants.
Collectively, the ladies are: Lauren Tenney, Deidra Romero, Jenilee Vander Elst, Jess Smith, and Chelsea Cunningham. Their lives first overlapped in 2013 in their neighborhood of Franklin, Tennessee, a charming, historic community twenty miles south of Nashville.
Wanting to expand their friendships beyond the hundreds of weekly text messages and social media exchanges, the group began corralling their children for lunch several times a week at local franchise owner Jeanne Hammontree’s Chick-fil-A in South Franklin. It’s from those outings that the song was born.
Tenney, with a background in the entertainment industry, pulled the lyrics together quickly. With borrowed studio space from Tate Cunningham, drummer of Nashville-based band SafetySuit (also Chelsea’s husband), the group had a place to record. Spoofing the title of a popular novel, one of the husbands branded the group the Texting Yoga Pants, and it stuck.
When They go to Chick-fil-A
Joining the women and their children for lunch is akin to being an anthropologist who has been welcomed into the tribe. “Did he spit up?” one mother asks, as another deftly passes napkins down the table.
They leap to gather escaping toddlers like defenders anticipating snap counts, and return to finish sentences without missing a beat. The ladies have developed their own method of communicating with the Chick-fil-A staff: a combination of facial expressions, hand gestures, and lip reading across a restaurant in the midst of its lunch rush. The meal has militaristic order in spite of all the moving parts.
Cunningham’s son Smith and Romero’s son Ezra impersonate the Chick-fil-A cow, swapping genial moos over their juice boxes, when a young mother from an adjacent table recognizes the Texting Yoga Pants from the video and comes over to say hello. “I texted the video to my group of friends as soon as I saw it,” Joanie Patrick says. She admits her visits to this South Franklin location with her three daughters closely resemble the scenes in the video. A shared bond and camaraderie exists between these ladies, and for just a few minutes, the tribe grows.
“And the original tribe, despite diverse backgrounds in graphic design, real estate, entertainment and education, is united by one thing: their love for their families.”
And the original tribe, despite diverse backgrounds in graphic design, real estate, entertainment and education, is united by one thing: their love for their families. Motherhood is their obvious connection, along with their shared faith and combined 43 years of marriage. As the Texting Yoga Pants continue to grow in popularity – and they continue fielding offers from media companies to expand their online footprint – don’t expect too much to change just yet. Right now, motherhood calls.
In the meantime, if you’re ever passing through Franklin on the early side of lunch, stop in and look for the long table of young mothers with their hair in messy buns. They’ll probably be sporting yoga pants, but don’t worry; they’ll let you join them even if you’re not.