What cannot be found, sitting in the comforting embrace of our couch, laptop propped on our knees? Holiday gifts, love, spare parts, medical advice, obscure ingredients….you name it. What once required at least a trip to the store or some effort on our part, now can be had just by clicking a few buttons. Including girlfriends.
Moving to a new city and don’t know anyone? Living in the same city but in a rut in the girlfriends’ department? If you happen to live in the US, Canada, Australia or the UK you can just try your luck with girlfriendsocial.com, a website founded by Amanda Blaine, a 29-year-old, who noticed that when women married, became mothers or moved were also forced to change their social circles.
While I hate the idea that a marriage would isolate me from, say, single girlfriends, it’s true that new mothers tend to bond with other new mothers, better equipped to listen to children’s related stories. But, from experience, moving to a new place inevitably comes with a loss of friendships. And making friends as we get older becomes more difficult – but why is it? Probably the older we get, the more guarded we become: of our feelings and our lives and it is simply harder to open up the way we used to at 14 or 25.
But there are fewer more meaningful relationships in a woman’s life than those with her closest girlfriends. At times more important than significant others because, generally, more dependable and devoid of fraught issues such as sex and money. I am blessed with the best girlfriends under the sun: a couple in my life since childhood, a couple of somewhat recent LA “acquisitions” and then sofagirl, my partner in crime. They live on three different continents and time and distance have not dampened our closeness, even when Skype and international phone plans were still to be invented.
But, if I were to suddenly move to Denver and didn’t know a soul and maybe wanted to find a trusted local who would listen to my love woes at 2 am, what would I be looking for? What kind of profile would I enter in a search engine?
- Needs to be able to stand outside dressing room in any department store and tell me with a straight face I am getting a bit too old for the camouflage jumpsuit that, in a moment of age forgetting, I find so flattering;
- Must help with cleaning out closet once or twice a year, by sitting on bed and help me part with pink taffeta dress, worn exactly once 20 years ago at a wedding but kept “just in case”. Short of a 80’s themed wedding in my foreseeable future, she will convince me it has to go;
- Should refrain from criticizing current love interest in too harsh a tone. Must strike that delicate balance of telling me that charming and loving being I am shacking up with is an asshole all in the same, comforting breath;
- Must be able to recall all boyfriends/flings/one night stands’ and husbands’ names when memory fails me, refraining from adding “what were you thinking”?;
- Never, and I repeat never ,sleep with my man, current or former (will consider former with suitable application). Better still, should be attracted to different type altogether;
- Must love books and dogs;
- Able to travel light and not be hung up on plans. Ability to leave a museum after about one to two-hour maximum;
- Take phone calls at inconvenient times if my world is coming to an end;
- Must calmly counsel on possible beauty enhancing procedures so I don’t end up looking like Madonna, something I would then blame her forever more;
- No gift is required but must remember my birthday.
Jokes aside, at the base of an enduring friendship are acceptance and lack of judgement. My girlfriends are the ones who can hold the most embarrassing details, my worst faux pas, my mean streaks, my crazy dreams in the certainty I will not be criticized, made to feel awful or guilty. It’s just love for the sake of it – with no quid pro quos or jealousies involved. We don’t want anything of each other if not to just be who we are, which is what makes accepting criticism and counsel easier – because if I know that no ulterior motives stand in the way, then maybe my girlfriend has my best interests at heart when she demands I return the camouflage jumpsuit to the racks. The pink taffeta dress I am still debating on but, with the right prodding, I might just get there.