I know I’ve already dismissed it, but I have to tell you that I found one of the most relatable observations in that “How to Be Single” book–excuse me, novel–to be about female friendship:
“I always wanted a gaggle of girlfriends, always longed for a posse, my little family of friends, but it just didn’t work out that way. It would have been nice if at one job I was able to grab a whole bunch of them, like lobsters in a trap. But meeting a group of women who end up living in the same city, remaining friends and sharing the most intimate moments of their lives is rare and wonderful and definitely something to pine for, or at least watch on television.”
That passage really struck me when I read it (the first time, and yes, the second). Because I think a lot of women would agree that what is most enviable about those “Sex and the City” ladies is exactly that: not their clothes or Cosmopolitans or even their seemingly infinite leisure time–it’s the mere fact of a cohesive group with a common history (not to mention lunch schedule) who all live in the same place.
I mean, I feel incredibly fortunate to know and love an abundance of amazing women. And I’ve got more than the requisite handful of girls who I know I can call on at any moment to tell me I’m beautiful and he’s not worth it and it’s just a bad day. Or month. Or lifelong pattern. But in most cases, they are there to say these things over the phone.
It takes time to cultivate strong friendships. And to have several shape up together takes a good amount of luck. For those groups to remain together is downright miraculous. Or, fictive.
When I think about where I want to settle down, I usually think in terms of family: both my parents (who will babysit my future children?) and a partner (who will father them?). I think of career and lifestyle and experience the same set of rabidly conflicting emotions that always accompany contemplation of moving back to New York.
I also think about the fact that New York is where my two closest and oldest girlfriends live.
I’ve basically given up on my group from college ending up in the same place: the downside of going to a nationally diverse school, it turns out, is winding up with a nationally diverse group of friends. We’re pretty good at getting together at least once a year and spending the rest of the year getting excited about it, and I’m thankful for that.
But one good thing about growing up in New York is that a lot of New Yorkers tend to stay there. For now, that includes my “gaggle” of best friends from high school: the two women who I traded notes with and dressed for prom with and whose parents’ phone numbers are among the few I still have memorized.
The three of us regularly bemoan being apart from one another–or rather, me living between two hundred and two thousand miles away, as I have since we were eighteen. But as much as I wish that we lived in the same place, it doesn’t usually occur to me to consider them a reason to wind up in New York. After all: what if they end up leaving, too?
But then, I remind myself that nothing is certain: that every decision involves some amount of risk. And maybe that one–the one I’d take to be close to the most valuable support system I’ve got–is just about as worthwhile as it gets.