I’ve often been called a “guy’s gal.” This is usually – I think – meant as a compliment. There are some stereotypically masculine pursuits that I do enjoy and which often lead me to rattling around in the boys’ club house. For example, I LOVE football. I’ve followed the Dolphins since 1972 and as many of you know, I am a somewhat crazed FSU fan – GO NOLES! I can fish, tell jokes (yes, especially dirty ones), and have been known to go shot for shot with the gentlemen at the bar. I have yet to reach “broad” status; but I’m working on it. Call me a broad-in-waiting.
However, as I’ve gotten older, and a wee bit wiser [read: subject for debate], it’s my gal pals that I dearly appreciate and cherish. Please don’t get me wrong: I do like the boys, I truly do. Nevertheless, it’s my gal pals that I have come to love with all my heart and soul. Up here in the middle-aged cheap seats, most of my best friends are girlfriends.
What I think is a travesty is the way that female relationships are often portrayed on reality TV. I personally boycott any show where a woman stabs another woman in the back … or throws a punch! My fear is that a whole generation of younger women who watch this trash believe that this is an acceptable way for women to treat each other – WRONG!
There are so many things about gal pals that I appreciate; it’s difficult to narrow my rationale down to just a few highlights. But, in no particular order, here are some of the reasons why I love and need my gal pals every day:
You can have not seen each other for months or even years and pick up right where you left off. I will be seeing a true gal pal this coming weekend and even though we’ve lived many miles from each other since 2005, I know it will be like we were commuting together just yesterday. **Can’t wait to see you Barbara! Did you cut your hair??**
You can give an honest opinion. If I ask a gal pal “does this skirt make me look fat?” she’s going to tell me the truth; but in the nicest way possible.
You can show your behind and it doesn’t matter – it’s even expected. I’ve gotten into some fabulous trouble with my gal pals (see for example, my essay “Naked In a Hot Tub In Vegas”).
You can talk too much, laugh too loud, and be too emotional. Gal pals don’t judge, they just hang in there with you and think it’s funny that you laugh at all the wrong parts of a movie.
You can be vulnerable when it comes to talking about relationships. I’ve divulged some of my deepest fears about family and men to my gal pals. Often, I’m not looking for an opinion. Sometimes, I just need someone to listen and hold my hand – a gal pal knows this.
In addition to my actual gal pals, I’ve also been building a list of my “virtual” gal pals: women I would love to meet and spend some time with over drinks and/or chocolate cake. Here’s a sampling of my ultimate cocktail party invitees (and yes, some of these are posthumous; I never said this party wouldn’t be happening in the next dimension):
- Mae West. Did you know she was a playwright? Yep, her first play produced on Broadway was titled “Sex.” After one week the authorities shut it down and she spent a week in jail for moral indecency. She was WAY ahead of her time.
- Cleopatra. There is such a mystique around this woman. She was married twice – fought a civil war against the first and poisoned the second. She had children by Julius Caesar and Mark Antony. This gal certainly ruled her world.
- Katherine Hepburn. Ms Hepburn is one of my all-time favorite actresses. I’ve seen a few interviews where she talks about the love of her life – Spencer Tracy. I would like to ask her if she was ever conflicted about being the “other woman.”
- Janet Reno. I had the good fortune to work at the Justice Department when Ms. Reno was Attorney General. Oh, if I could get fifteen minutes worth of off-the-record conversation…
- Jennifer Lawrence. This young actress first earned my respect with her amazing performance in the movie “Winter’s Bone” (if you missed it; SO worth the rental). But, she truly won me over as I watched her fabulous reaction when Jack Nicholson crashed her Oscar night interview with George Stephanopoulos: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Upw1w2yXZs0
- Margaret Thatcher. I never agreed with her politics. However, she sure was confident in her convictions and shattered a big ‘ol British glass ceiling. And, wouldn’t it be a hoot to see a conversation between this former Prime Minister and Attorney General Reno?
- Cari Cucksey. Cari is the host of the HGTV show “Cash & Cari” which showcases her work as an estate sale coordinator. In addition to being an estate sale expert, she also owns the store “RePurpose”, a vintage shop where she sells her brilliant creations. Cari is definitely one of my women entrepreneur idols.
- Gertrude Stein. Ms. Stein may be one of the most famous American ex-pats who made Paris their home. If you’ve never read “The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas” add it to your summer reading list.
- Ann Joyce. Don’t know who Ann Joyce is? She was my Nana. I would love beyond words to be able to talk to her now as an adult and ask her questions such as: What was it like to be an immigrant to the U.S? What was my great-mother like? And, please, what’s the recipe for your amazing apple pie?
- Tina Fey. Ms. Fey is one of my comedic heroes. When she coined the phrase “Bitch is the New Black” she locked up her place on my cocktail party top ten.
Who would be on your gal pal dream team?
To all my gal pals out there – thanks for putting up with me.
Suzanne Michelle saysJuly 1, 2013 at 6:41 pm
I would definitely add Sandra Bullock to the list. She seems like a totally down to earth kind of gal pal. I love Tina Fey, too! Too much fun, Kimba!
Kim Dalferes saysJuly 3, 2013 at 6:51 pm
Sandra Bullock would be a great addition to the party!
Michele Lewis saysJune 29, 2013 at 11:07 am
Mmmmm I love my gal pals. There are so many things I can talk to with them. Usually if I start crying they join right in! I love your article and definitely gives me some more specific details to add to my desires for raising my girls and even my boys.
Kim Dalferes saysJuly 1, 2013 at 10:23 am
Girls and boys both need good true friends from both genders. I don't buy into the notion that guys and gals can't be friends. And, sometimes a good cry-fest is very much in order!
marquita herald saysJune 29, 2013 at 3:58 am
I would have to say I'm closer to the guys in my life, but I believe that's because I never had children and I've always been focused on my work, and well always a bit of a rebel. I do have a few great woment in my life, but they have different interests so it's not as easy to develop those close friendships as it has been with the guys.
Kim Dalferes saysJuly 1, 2013 at 9:30 am
Marty, I would love to be your gal pal. When can we meet at the beach? 😉
Katy saysJune 28, 2013 at 8:43 pm
I'm with you, it drives me bonkers to see how women are portrayed in television and movies. We're not all bitches or back stabbers. You totally nailed my best "gal pal" relationships when you said, "You can have not seen each other for months or even years and pick up right where you left off." I love getting back together with my closest friends after being apart for years…it's like we last spoke just yesterday. In fact, I have one of those get-togethers scheduled next month with an old friend…over wine! 😉
Kim Dalferes saysJuly 1, 2013 at 9:21 am
Have a lovely time at your gal pal wine party – a pticher of sangria this time of year is a sure hit!
Jenny saysJune 28, 2013 at 5:44 pm
Each year, especially during the summer for some reason, I become more and more connected to my need and desire to catchup with and spend quality time with my closest girlfriends. It's so important to me. I'd like one day to follow the example of the Golden Girls, that beautiful connection between sister-friends. 🙂
Kim Dalferes saysJuly 1, 2013 at 9:14 am
In the summer me too! Maybe it's because we mentally take a little bit of a time-out in the summer, focus on relaxing with friends and family.
Barbara kram saysJune 28, 2013 at 2:27 pm
No haircut but you look so skinny!! My heart is racing just thinking about our reunion. See you at the station!!
Liz Peterson saysJune 28, 2013 at 11:05 am
I truely cannot imagine life without my bestest girlfriends. What a gift. Loved your thoughts on the subject, Kim.
Kim D saysJune 28, 2013 at 1:11 pm
Every time I hear Amy Farrow Fowler refer to her "bestie" on the Big Bang Theory I think of you!!
Emma saysJune 28, 2013 at 9:37 am
I have a couple of good friends on the other side of the world but even if we don't talk for months when we do it's like no time has passed. I too have been one of the boys in the past but now (as I hit my 40s) I seem to be making good long lasting frienships with new people through choice, not association!
Kim D saysJune 28, 2013 at 1:13 pm
Good friends do indeed come in all shapes & sizes. My over-40 AHA moment was when I realized that I don't have to hang out with anyone who doesn't make me smile and feel good about myself – guy or gal! Thx for stopping by.
Lori Rinehart saysJune 28, 2013 at 8:56 am
Kim…thanks for being one of my gal pals through the years! And no I haven’t cut my hair. Miss you desperately. Aren’t you coming to Des Moines soon?
Kim D saysJune 28, 2013 at 1:10 pm
I wish I could get to Des Moines! Must figure out a way to get you to the east coast!!
Suzie Cheel saysJune 28, 2013 at 8:55 am
Awesome Kim, just today i spoke with a freind who i went to school with and haven't spoken with in over a year and yes we just picked up like it was yesterday. I would add Shirley MacLaine, Meryl Streep,
Kim D saysJune 28, 2013 at 1:09 pm
Shirley MacLaine and Meryl Streep would be great party additions! Shirley could talk about past lives and Meryl could talk to the Prime Minister about playing the Prime Minister!