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.