Divine Secrets of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants





"Ya-Ya!"

Female friendships. I am no good at them. I do not really know why. It is a mystery. Don’t misunderstand me. I do have female friends, but I am not a member of a group of three or four women who know absolutely everything about one another and would brave the fires of hell for each other. I can’t help but wonder if I might actually be missing something.

“We know now that no matter how far we traveled on our own separate paths... somehow we would always find our way back to each other. And with that, we could get through anything. To us. Who we were, and who we are … and who we will be.” ~Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Film (2005)

Traditionally, my closest friends have always been guys. I was a tomboy and most of the other girls wanted to be indoors playing with their Barbie dolls while I preferred to be up a tree or exploring the Kenyan forest surrounding my home. Even in adulthood I tend to get along better with men than I do women. I find female friendships to be so bloody tedious because most of them are so high maintenance. Women have a tendency to create their own melodrama and I simply have no patience for that type of behavior. Combine that unavoidable fact with my penchant for being a little too blunt at times and someone’s feelings are bound to get hurt.

My closest female friend throughout childhood was B.C. Our parents had been friends since college and then seminary and eventually ended up on the mission field in Kenya together. For a number of years you could literally throw a rock from my house to hers. She was much more girlie but we had some unspoken understanding with one another. We spent a portion of each day playing house in the small cabin she had in her yard forcing her brother to eat mud pies or some other such girl-like behavior. The rest of the day was spent in the great outdoors plundering through the woods, playing hide-and-seek in the tea fields or climbing trees. We had our disagreements, but they never lasted long. This was probably the most successful friendship I ever had. Eventually we ended up at rival high schools, but our friendship remained until we sort of lost touch with each other during our college years. We email from time to time now, but we do not live near one another and are both absorbed in our own lives.

Junior high and high school brought more friends into my life, but my closest friend from those years was truly ultra-high-maintenance. She realizes that about herself now. After years of an astoundingly strained relationship we are now attempting to heal those wounds. Difficult, actually, for both of us.

In college there was B., B., D. and myself. But, we had a bad habit of getting each other into trouble. After our freshman year we were drawn apart in different directions … different schools. But, for one brief year I had what many women carry from childhood into adulthood. I doubt I will have a group of friends like that again. My sophomore year of college brought C. into my life. I love her dearly although she lives in England and we haven’t seen each other since 1994.

Cell phones, email and sites like Facebook make keeping in touch easier … though not always personal.

So, here I am … wandering through adulthood … acquaintances coming and going. Strangely enough, I still find my closest friends are guys. There are two or three from high school with whom I feel comfortable sharing pretty much any part of my life. Men tend to not judge and they do not mind me being blunt. There are times I wish I had a close knit group of female friends. Life, as it stands, can get a wee bit on the lonely side. Sometimes.

"Friendship with oneself is all-important because without it one cannot be friends with anyone else in the world." ~Eleanor Roosevelt

5 comments:

  1. Amen sister.

    Actually, I am beginning to wonder if that image of a group of close female friends isn't a rarity rather than the norm. An artifice of fiction and media. I've never had it, and I don't know anyone who does.

    Friendships get harder, out of school. Harder to meet, harder to form. We don't live in stable little communities anymore.

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  2. I have pondered that possibility myself. I believe you may be right. There is a group of girls from my high school that, despite the distance and years, manages to stay SO UNBELIEVABLY close knit. It is weird to me. I also live in Small Town, USA where everyone has lived here their entire lives so I witness more of it simply because of that fact. Still, I no longer think it is the norm.

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  3. What planet are those norms from? And those absolute perfect ones, where to they hail from?

    Planets in the midst of THE Planet, lol, such is the universe of humans. Ah, and even so, we are all very real indeed, but what variety!

    You are a terrific writer Beth, the subject just goes by itself, that is Art with the Artist at the helm, steering the course thru the various waters and currents, all the while listening to the inherient needs of the moment and judging the selection to bring about the best results.

    I think with men you lead the way, they recognize a leader when they are near one, that would be you, and they are probably, rightfully, so thankful you're there. I know I am!

    Women, women seek to lead in a different way then that, when they are around other women I think, and that is not always with the wisdom that women relative to men do have.

    Oh well, just some ramblings on the subject from a student of the sexes and humans in general, knowing that generalizations don't normally carry the day, better be existential and let the chips fall where they may. I am getting your posts by email, reading them and savouring them, it is a pleasure to be unhurried, and then to speak, forgive me if I take advantage of you Beth, lol, no offense intended! Thanks for a great time!

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  4. Hei Beth, greetings from Finland. I tend to agree with Zhoen above - I doubt that the sort of close-knit forever-lasting female friendships which the entertainment industry seems to be bursting with are actually all that common. And really, I wouldn't like a whole bunch of people knowing all about me (and consequently feeling like they can tell me how I should live and feel, and what I should be doing?) - I am quite a private person in many ways. Like you, though, I often feel men can be easier company in friendship, but at the end of the day it is probably more a question of the individual rather than gender.

    Not exactly a future quotable, I'm afraid - but you do ask for a comment to know I've been. So here's the comment - I have been.

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  5. @jim - You know I love your rambling comments!

    @anna mr - Lovely to have your visit. Finland is on my extremely long travel to-do list. I haven't made it any farther up than Denmark as of yet.

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"Stranger, if you passing meet me and desire to speak to me, why should you not speak to me? And why should I not speak to you?" ~Walt Whitman

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