I'm finally here in Portland with The Girls. If you're a woman, and you don't have a group of women that you call some variation of The Girls (ie; My Homegirls, The Ladies, Those Bitches, or--if you're Claire Booth Luce--'The Women'), then reading this post is low on your list of priorities; go out and find some vaginas immediately, and don't come back until you've accomplished four out of these five things together:
Shots are generally bad for your liver and your memory, but they can be useful in solidifying your friendship. Many years ago, My Girls and I did a slew of shots together, all with more ominous names than the last. The Kamikaze, The Irish Car Bomb, The Alabama Slammer, The Screaming Nazi, Liquid Cocaine, Mind Erasers, The Red Death, and, finally--The Blow Job. I always thought a little cocaine and a mind eraser would make a blow job easier, but I was red dead wrong. We danced, screamed, laughed, flirted with all the wrong men, and wobbled home on three-inch heels, sharing secrets we would never remember in the morning. The next day, when I opened one crusty, dehydrated, bloodshot eye, and saw My Girls looking like blurry, electrocuted clowns, I knew I was a part of something special.
There are two levels of shit-talking: the kind you do about Other Whores, and the kind you do about Your Whores. Your Whores are probably talking shit about you, too--it's an Elton John, Circle of Life-type thing that everyone should just accept. Usually, it's better if you stick to being catty about Other Women--vastly inferior, easy women--and bond over that. Pick a group of vacuous young ladies in their early twenties, girls with severely flat-ironed hair who've been attacked by a vomiting glitter fairy; take a few moments to input their glaring character defects into the Collective Conscious before you make meaningful eye contact. After a while, glower in their general direction, tossing your hair and perfecting your lip gloss while drinking something sophisticated; NOT a Cosmopolitan, because that is what those skanky wannabes will be imbibing. Something a wealthy grown-up might drink, like a French 75 or a disgusting glass of port. Say something disparaging at their leader, because there's always an ugly heffer leading the cowherd, and that's where you want to strike: at their sleazy, weakened epicenter. THAT'S HOW YOU WIN. Later, you'll tell the story about how you almost got in a bar fight together and died, but lived to tell the tale.
In this case, there are two paths to take, and one is only a slightly higher road: good chick flicks, and horribly good chick flicks. Good chick flicks are thoughtful, nostalgic, funny, sob-inspiring, and "real". Horribly good chick flicks are filled with bad acting, soap opera plots, awful dialogue, and a lot of teenagers. I have watched them all, and always with My Homegirls. The classics include Beaches, Fried Green Tomatoes, Terms of Endearment, Steel Magnolias, When Harry Met Sally, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Say Anything, Dirty Dancing, The English Patient, Sleepless in Seattle, and everybody's favorite glorified suicide flick, Thelma & Louise. The truly awful movies that I personally loved include dignified titles like Save the Last Dance, My Best Friend's Wedding, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, While You Were Sleeping, Never Been Kissed, Bring It On, Waiting to Exhale, The Notebook, and The Holiday. Schindler's List, they're not. But every time I hang with my girlfriends and watch a crappy chick flick, my life feels complete.
So your power was turned off and your children are working in sweatshops to make the rent; none of that matters when there's shopping to be done. I don't know why shopping has the powerful pull that it does, but I'm betting it has something to do with me loving things I can't afford, like 600-thread count sheets and double-sided toilet paper. Need to put some zing back into your friendship? An eight-hour excursion to your nearest shopping center will enliven any relationship. Make sure you know where the Starbucks is located, and wear sensible shoes. The Ladies don't appreciate the whiny girl wearing pointy shoes and getting worn out around Hour Five (me); stamina, attitude, and caffeine are the key elements to a successful shopping trip. And if you don't splurge on something unnecessarily 'fabulous', you've missed the point of the trip entirely.
It's not for everyone, and this does not mean you will be marrying any of Your Girls (although by this time, they'll hopefully be Your Women--if you let one of your girls get married too young, you'll have to deal with those consequences, too). But someone in your crew will at some point Mr. Only-Guy-Left, and when they do, that's where you'll earn your true friendship stripes. If you're a bridesmaid, I like to think of a wedding as The Last Girl Scout Badge you will ever be awarded, and just like in Girl Scouts, that badge means nothing. If you succeed in your task, you will enjoy the praise of your bridezilla friend, and her elder female relatives that smell like potpourri and soup, for hours and years to come; if you fail, it will be remembered for the rest of
My Girls and I have all convened--from Bellevue, Ravenna, Los Angeles and Portland--so that we can de-stress, re-group, and nerd out at the X-Files movie. There isn't anything I'd rather be doing, or anyone I'd rather be doing it with--although if Johnny Depp showed up, we'd need to have a meeting. Good friends don't let you drink and drive; great friends won't let you pass up the perfect opportunity to sleep with a celebrity.