I know I’ve blogged about it in the past (here about my college friends and here about my grad school girls and here about Jess and Les and here about my sister’s friends), but sometimes I still wonder if I publicly ponder enough on the importance of female friendship in my life. Sometimes it seems like at this stage in our lives all the talk of our personal lives becomes about relationships with our partner or spouse and our relationships with our kids or the complicated dynamic of a relationship with our parents as they age. But what we forget is the way, when we’re lucky enough and smart enough and crafty enough to forge a sisterhood around ourselves, is that the thing that gets us through all the bumps and humps in those other relationships is our relationships with other women.
When I was in college, I took things up a notch from my voluntary isolationist stance on high school and found my party pants. And while my days of partying look more like some people’s ‘most boring year ever’, I did what I could. I never loved the crowded, loud nature of bars where I was supposed to be searching out cute guys but was really pondering my chances of making it to an exit in the event of a fire. I struggled with letting people at parties within a certain bubble of my personal space because I could see their druken tendency towards spittling. I am fun I promise…but also, do you want to go hang out on my couch in pajama pants and chat? SO FUN!
The night I met Anna was a rare one for me. The one and only time I went to this really popular bar in Ann Arbor (Anna, what bar was it?) where cool people went. One of the only times I wore high heels that year. The normal annoying things at bars were times 10 at this place so I did what anyone who likes to avoid akward situations does: I hit the dance floor.
Some people avoid dancing in social situations because they think they look silly or are bad at dancing or something. I have no idea what that is about. Am I the only one who sees dancing as the BEST place ever for awkward people? As long as you are loving your moves, people seem to respect that you are terrible at it! Or at least so far have been way too polite to tell me otherwise. I’d rather dance awkwardly then do almost ANYTHING else. Even in the ‘coolest’ bar where only people wearing Greek letters on their t-shirt under their Abercombie sweaters are allowed to exist. Viva la 2001!
And on the dance floor, I met another dancer. A better dancer, I’ll admit. And we kind of danced parallel and did the friendly nod of co-dancers until we realized we were both so awesome that we had to dance together. And we danced and danced and talked and I took her home with me. The first and last woman I ever picked in a bar. Great decision.
Anna and I became fast friends and exchanged feminist ramblings and I copied her trendy-before-her-time dark nail polish. I brought her to the UP and bragged about her to my old friends and felt really lucky to be once again confirming that you don’t have to be stuck with childhood friends if it turns out those friends aren’t really that friendly oh and also you have nothing in common. But, in a tale as old as time, we graduated and moved apart and farther apart. We got advanced degrees and changed our hairstyles and married men from commonwealth nations. And eventually we got, at least geographically, farther than would seem possible for a friendship to span because she was in Afghanistan and I was like ‘wait, where? Japan is roughing it for me.’ Miles and miles and years and years.
Say what you will about social media, but for me things like Facebook save relationships like this from falling into the abyss of ‘remember-her-she-was-nice?’ and keeping them in the realm of ‘you-are-very-relevant-in-my-life.’ We use it to stay connected. We talk about egalitarianism in marriage and try to figure out the best order in which to focus on career/family/travel (not resolved as of yet but I’ll keep you posted). We talk about and the politics of colonialism and the wisdom of income properties. We talk A LOT about gender in general and the role of women specifically and how if we have sons how they will be raised as feminists (or as Anna put it “like Ryan Gosling but better.”). We’ve covered the failings of Downton Abby which leads to the social portrayal of rape victims which leads to blogging which leads to baby names which leads to whether or not sea salt has any place being involved with high quality dark chocolate. I kid you not that kind of train of thought happens between us and it is beautiful.
My point, if I’m forced to pin one down I suppose, is that you don’t know where you’ll find the next link in the sisterhood. The next dancing partner chocolate lover patriarchy challenger. Keep your eyes open, your heart wide and your pride at a minimum so you can shimmy up next to her on the dance floor to start things off right.