The power of women’s friendships is constantly being undermined by pop culture’s obsession with cattiness. From mean girl Top Model contestants to Real Housewives reunion show drama, we are inundated with scenes of women attacking, humiliating, and betraying other women, more often that not supposedly their “friends,” for laughs and ratings. On the other hand, anyone who has experienced girlhood and womanhood knows that the authors behind Queen Bees and Wannabes and Odd Girl Out weren’t exaggerating; friendships between women can be challenging and sometimes traumatizing.
Reunion in the City
The DJ is glamorous as ever: perfect hair, perfect skin, Prada wraparound shades, designer jeans, crisp white shirt, bling(was that platinum or silver?) Growing more handsome with age(I know he’d kill me to make reference to his late 30s status), he is slender and chic, a now New Yorker in the City for a weekend of spinning and shopping. And we can do lunch in the Castro without wanting to kill each other.
The DJ and I were inseparable for the better part of a decade. But, like most good teams be it the Beatles or the Supremes, we got to be too much for one another. We are better like this, fond old friends who’ve both grown up into individuals. I’m 8 months pregnant, in my first live-in relationship, all belly and mellowness(at last!). He’s fashionable professional, living out his passion for music. We live on opposite coasts and very different lifestyles but we share a bond that can’t be ruined by time or drama.
So funny, the look on Beautiful’s face as he stupidly says I’m planning for the distant future, picking out baby girl names, before he looks down to where I’m pointing, where my little Mexican/Peruvian princess is slumbering in my womb and I tell him I’m having a daughter in September. He is busy being a toxic bachelor, squiring a hottie whose name he forgets to the Grand Canyon.
So ironic, the congratulatory hug I get from Elbow because I know he knows that this is all I’ve ever wanted, to grow my very own true love.
But the best part is knowing that my daughter will be the first of a trio of autumn arrivals, babies that will wear blue and gold, sleep through football games and watch as we big kids drink and laugh and gossip just like we’ve always done.
True friends, old frenemies, and very little middle ground
“Have you ever been stabbed in the back by someone you thought was really cool?” Jody Watley with Eric B., “Friends”
“My friends are real I know, true self you have shown you’re alright with me” Janet Jackson, “Alright”
By the time I became thirtysomething, I thought I had friendship down to an art and/or science. But friendships are relationships which involve imperfect humans, patience, compassion, and that quality some people fear more than hair loss, erectile dysfunction, or spiders, commitment. Sooner or later, I have been known to strike up a friendship that is lacking in a strong foundation or one that may compromise my values. Even as I get closer to 40, disappointment with so-called friends still happens from time to time.
In 2007, my loyalty was tested to its limit. Some friends proved not so true: judgmental or absent or just plain cruel. I ultimately surrendered to my own weakness and proved unreliable, burdensome, and vindictive right back. But health promotes health. My longtime friendships have survived and strengthened. My relationship with my mother has deepened to the point where she can accept my part-time shacking up with only one retort. When I have offered kindness, acceptance, and selflessness, it has been returned tenfold. Now, as I undergo a major life shift, I know I will be surrounded by genuine friends.
And what of those who have deleted me from their cyber and cel phone address books? I hope they find what they seek in themselves and others. I wish them well.