Saturday, June 5, 2010

Gal Pals

I just saw the movie "Sex in the City II", or whatever it's called. I have never been a fan of the series, having seen maybe 1.3 episodes over its entire run, but I have read enough about the characters to know a bit about the show. And I'm just not a huge Sarah Jessica Parker fan - I don't get all the hype. And I dig her character, "Carrie Bradshaw" even less. So I didn't have a whole lot of expectations for the film, nor any real vested interest either (I went because my daughter wanted to see it.)

At any rate, I did think there were some really funny momemts in the movie (the gay wedding with Liza as minister was indeed hilarious.) I read a review of the movie before going to see it, which I usually don't do as most movie reviews are so wrapped up with the reviewers' points of view, politics and biases that I just skip over reading them mainly and go a see what appeals to me and make my own judgements. I have to say though, this particular review was accurate - this movie tried WAY too hard to be clever and ended up being its own cliche. I don't know any one person who would use the term, "inter-friend-tion" when referring to giving advice to their gal pals. It was too contrived. And the characters have become caricatures, really. I don't think I'd ever be friends with any of them - maybe just Charlotte the stressed out Mom. I don't believe New Yorkers are so cosmopolitan in general either. It just didn't seem plausible. So I didn't really get the vibe of this flick because it just seemed so over-the-top fake. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know - it's just a movie, and belief is supposed to be suspended - yet I just don't think women talk to each other or act with each other the way these women do. And I know lots of women.

What the movie did is get me thinking about friendships in general, and in particular, women as buddies. I have never been a person with a gaggle of female friends that meet regularly for chic lunches with all of us decked out in four-inch heels and the latest haircuts and bags. I have few really close friends, and only one best friend that knows me more than anyone. My closest female friends tend to be family members, which can be complicating. Still, as the movie portrayed these four women who'd been through thick and thin together, I can see where that would be both reassuring and maybe a bit cloying too. Do people stay in one place long enough any more to hang onto a "crew" of friends? There is some comfort in shared secrets, camaraderie and histories. Do we as women need that? I got me wondering if I need it.

Maybe I am an oddball in this. Or a loner? I never used to be. I did have a bunch of girlfiends growing up and through high school and college. I still talk to two of those gals from gradeschool to this day, from time to time. I've even remet some of those college sorority friends via Facebook lately, which is kinda fun. Still, at this moment in time, I don't have a pile of girlfriends to go out to the theater with, or to the city for cocktails and chic dinners. I don't really even have anyone nearby to just go to a movie with - usually it's my daughter with whom I do these things, which frankly has to be a drag for her, even if it comforts me. It's really not until I see a chick-pack movie like this one that I think to either miss having a scad of female buddies or want to have them at all.

Tonight I could be out seeing a friend's husband's band play, but I'd have to go alone, which I just hate doing. My son was going to come out with me, but we both ended up opting to have a quiet night. I have lots of them. Lots. Maybe I would have met some friends there - but more than likely it would have been awkward for me, and I just would rather closet myself at home on the computer than be uncomfortable. I'm wondering what this says about me and where I am in my life. Because I think I really could use a gaggle of girlfriends to shop with, have lunch with, etc. every now and again, as Carrie and company in this movie. Nothing like a girlfriend to dissect your troubles. Chasing my puppy around all day just ain't cuttin' it. Waiting for the phone to ring with my husband calling is getting old too. Conversation is what is missing in my life.

So I am beginning to "get" this girlfriend deal. My mother has been friends with the same eight gals from the time they were in high school together. They are now in their 80's. How cool is that? They all settled in the same general hometown (or close by) and have remained close, having regular golf games, bridge games, dinner parties, etc. I always kind of envied her that group of "girls". I guess it's a rare thing to stay close to your high school friends your whole life. People move away, grow up, have familes - there are a million ways to grow apart. Yet this group of eight never has. It's astonishing, really. And a great comfort to my mother. Still, can't imagine that group having an "inter-friend-tion". Ewww.

So I guess once again I'll pine away for somthing I don't have and probably never will. However, my high school best friend is STILL my best friend though - so I'm fortunate to share a 30 plus year history with her. We have dramatically different lives, yet respect and love one another. A male friend of ours having dinner with us a few years back claimed we "speak in code" - the shorthand of a long friendship - finishing a sentence with a knowing look or a raised eyebrow and a laugh. It's that sort of thing that made the "Sex in the city" flick watchable and the only part that seemed really believable for me. Because anyone who's had a friend or two for a long period of time can appreciate the compexities as well as subtleties of that level of relationship. At any rate, the concept of four friends hanging together through the years is nice. I've had a real life example of that to look to all my life, watching Mom and her pals.

So maybe it's time for a margarita night with a few gal pals after all? Gee, we can get all gussied up and give each other advise and speak our minds without fear of judgement or recrimination. Yeah right. I am far more likely to share a simple meal at Panera Bread Co. wearing jeans and tennis shoes than four-inch Louboutins and Chanel. And amen to that. Just keepin' it real. My best friend and I will meet in the shoe department of Macy's halfway between where she and I live - do some cursory shopping and then settle in for a good chat over pasta someplace in the mall. I think women are more likely to be forthcoming one-to-one, and not in a group anyway. A glass of blush wine, some gnocchi and a little gossip. That's interacting. THAT is what a real long-time friendship looks like. Not four gals dolled up in harem pants and hideous hats jetting off to Abu Dahbi together, as cartoonish as that was on film. I'll take my one long-term buddy over four fake pals any day.

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