First there was “Golden Girls.” Then came the original “Charlie’s Angels.” Years later, “Sex and the City” and “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” further defined and solidified the “ideal” female friendship. Sure, there was always talk of shopping, shoes, and boyfriends, but these movies and television shows depicted something more. They depicted the value of a true friendship, and I’ve come to realize that I really can depend on my girls for everything, and I am not ashamed to say: I believe in girlfriends, shameless gossip and all.
I met my oldest best friend when I was five. We can trace our official “BFF” status back to the third grade, when, despite a tragic switch of elementary schools which separated us until middle school, we spent most of our waking hours together. I can chronicle our friendship in dance recitals, bat mitzvahs, crushes, and horrible, embarrassing moments (mostly on my part.) I remember the first time I went to the beach with her family in the summer going into sixth grade; it was there that we played that fatal game of Truth or Dare, and I said goodbye to my cheetah-print bikini bottoms forever, swallowed by the unexpected swell of a wave behind me.
I met my second-oldest best friend in third grade, but it wasn’t until fifth grade that we too adopted the sacred “BFF” label. She was a bit shy and very quirky, but we both shared a passion for dance and riding our Razor scooters. We stuck together through braces, boys, and an unfortunate white eyeliner phase, and established our continuing tradition of decorating the Christmas tree whilst singing along to corny holiday music. Now brace-less and no longer in possession of any serious make-up faux pas, we are still best friends, and have an inimitable handshake to show for it.
I picked up my other best friends somewhere between middle school and high school, although I don’t remember exactly when. My girlfriends are there for me: to talk, to console, or to simply listen. They know they can always come to me with anything – a dilemma, advice, or even a funny story — and I can do the same with them. They can cheer me up whenever I’m in a grouchy mood, and we share this uncanny ability to make each other laugh the way no other person can.
True, our friendship may not be as eventful or comical as it is in the movies, and we do not sit around discussing our latest boy-related scandals while casually sipping Appletinis. But we do not need extravagance or luxurious surroundings to have fun; we just like being ourselves. We love our sleepy Sunday mornings at my house, eating breakfast and watching reruns of cheesy television shows, just as much as we love going wild for our favorite band in concert. We love reading the latest issue of Cosmopolitan at night, buried under the covers, a flashlight poised in our hands. And we love our frequent Confession Sessions, where we turn off all lights and instead use candles, and feel free to talk about whatever might be on our minds at the time, no matter how “trivial” it may seem. But the really great thing about girlfriends is this: they never go out of style.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.