Happy Anniversary to my best friend!
Today, I’m marrying my best friend!
My best friend said yes!
Ewww. Stop. Just stop. Please. Scrolling through these sentiments always brings up a little bile.
I’ve been with my husband for 100 years and sure, he’s a keeper, but there’s no way he’ll ever be my top seed on my friend list. Father of the Year? Yes, no question. Great Guy 4eva? Absolutely, without a doubt. Party Starter Jazzy James & the Jazz Hands? 100 percent, can confirm. But sorry babe, there’s only so much a fella can do.
Girlfriends are the OG of pure, supportive, true love and if there’s anything more important in a woman’s life than her girlfriends, I’m ready to debate. I mean, spouses are great and kids, yay, but are they ever going to really be interested in how much I saved on those shoes? They ever ask about the coupon? Nope. Have any of them ever immediately answered a 6am text? Do they share in the fury of my white whiskers or my fifteen year-fifteen pound ‘baby’ weight or my frustrating inability to understand crypto? No, no and no. But that’s okay, really. I don’t need them in my corner for all that nonsense very important stuff because I’ve got my girls. I’ve been loving and leaning on my girlfriends my entire life and – can’t lie – I side-eye the gals who don’t.
Before the internet, and before cell phones, and before overscheduling ruined every weekend girlfriends hung around and did pretty much everything – and absolutely nothing –together all day long. Do they still? I often wonder, hopeful that technology, TikTok and the Vanderpumps haven’t annihilated one of life’s grandest treasures: genuine girlfriend love.
In elementary school my friends and I spent endless hours in each other’s basements writing Saturday Night Live skits (because Gilda).
We recklessly threw crooked roundoff back handsprings on our front lawns all weekend long (because Nadia).
We lounged next to oversized speakers on ugly shag carpets listening to Rumours on repeat and planned our (please oh please oh please mom, say yes) co-ed birthday parties for that year (because Stevie and well, hormones).
And we wiled away entire summers dreaming and scheming and lifting each other up. All the time. We created the World’s Perfect Girl, made up of all the best parts of us: Joan’s eyes, Nancy’s legs, Kristi’s teeth, Barbara’s nails, my hair. I may be muddy on the details of everyone else’s attributes but I absolutely remember mine because the absurd irony isn’t lost on me, as I now scoop handfuls of my thinning mop out of my sink every morning. Sad today but my Farrah feathers back then? (chef’s kiss) Epic.
We went on to be junior high friends, whose older brothers bought our beer and got us high and made sure we appreciated the whole album – not just the radio tracks – of the coolest bands.
Then we were high school friends and survived the shared, conflicting and competing distractions that always befall teenage girls that age. Even without the tether of social media to keep us connected, we hung tightly until distant states summoned after graduation. We still check in from time to time.
I struck girlfriend gold again in college, where the random luck of a dorm decision had a serendipitous effect on the caliber of friends willing to join me diving headfirst into sex, cigarettes and other poor choices. Our make-believe adult lifestyle was bound by good times: Friday happy hours that lasted until Saturday, all-nighter cramming sessions on Speed and one memorable season of intramural softball (unfathomable champions, given the aforementioned Parliaments and $2 pitchers but true story indeed).
After four fun filled years we Working Girl’d ourselves into real life and assumed the rowdy tables at each other’s weddings. We all learned how to text while nursing babies and made it into the 21st century intact. There are godmothers amongst us.
In the course of adulting I’ve continued to add to my female flock throughout the years thanks to a myriad of jobs and neighborhoods and pee wee football and a well-traveled life. Many have settled into enjoyable social connections, but some – those who unexpectedly walked through the door of my mother’s funeral five hours away — cemented into forever status.
Being a grown woman with amazing, authentic friends is one of my greatest triumphs and the most appreciated treasure of my life – it’s also a damn good thing for my daughter to see. My closest friends keep me real and (fine) don’t shy away from calling me the B word every now and then (in my defense, just because my husband thinks I’m a bully doesn’t mean they should chime in but I allow it). Being real works for me.
Keeping real friendships isn’t always easy. Some friendships, while solid at first, do sour after time. Turns out, women have very different expectations of what friendship looks like. Finding girlfriends that share yours is a beautiful and tremendous thing.
From a Barry Manilow concert this summer I texted my girlfriend Kristi to let her know I was crying. She guessed as much. We met in fifth grade, almost 50 years ago.
Last year my Gage Hall girlfriends met for a weekend in the Catskills. Despite the years of divorces and career course-corrections and cancers our affection proved solid nearly 40 years later.
Today, my core group keeps a daily group chat going for dumb things and I love yous and the occasional I hate my husband-kid-co-worker-oven rant. It is the highlight of my day.
My friends know I will never be caught dead at a Paint Night. They know I will sometimes be persuaded to pop a gummy. And they know I will always, always be there to reply to a 6am text, praise the sale price and agree that their husband, kid, co-worker or oven is an idiot.
So I keep them close. Really, really close.
But to all the girls I’ve loved before, I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t an itty bitty piece of me that still does. That’s the best part about the time passing textbook – you can choose to bookmark and highlight the good and leave the not-so-good – the betrayals, the fallouts, even the crazy – right there on the page for the ink to fade away with the years.
“I found out what the secret to life is: friends. Best friends.” – Ninny Threadgoode, Fried Green Tomatoes.
Agreed, Ninny, agreed.
Tina Drakakis blogs at Eyerollingmom and has been featured in Huff Post. S he appeared in the Boston production of “Listen to Your Mother: Giving Motherhood a Microphone” presenting her popular essay The Thinking Girl’s Thong and her work has been featured in NPR’s “This I Believe” radio series. That said, she still places “Most Popular 1984” on top of her list of achievements (next would be as the $100,000 winner on that home improvement reality TV show of 2003 but her kids won’t let her talk about that anymore). A witty mother of four, she takes on cyberspace as @Eyerollingmom on Twitter and Eyerollingmom on Facebook & @Eyerollingmom on Instagram. Her collection of essays, A Momoir, can be found here