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While I thought it would be the book I closed out 2018 with, Text Me When You Get Home: The Evolution and Triumph of Modern Female Friendships by Kayleen Schaefer ended up being the first book I finished of 2019. The book’s primary message that our romantic relationships do not make up the only love story of our lives isn’t one I mind carrying into 2019. Tending to my friendships is often an intention I set and re-set for myself.
When I first started reading it, I made a list of all the women I wanted to send copies to for Christmas. Ultimately, though I am glad I didn’t follow through with that plan. At the end of this book I started with such enthusiasm, I was underwhelmed. My enthusiasm for the book stemmed from the way it seemed written for me.
Circumstances being what they are, I am a straight, single, professional, white woman whose primary form of emotional support comes from her friends, which is exactly what Shaefer describes in this book. Ouiser is my emergency contact in all things. Dr. Lawyer was my person during my most recent medical adventure. I rely on Amié Volée for help with Les Animaux and her family always makes sure I have a place to go for the holidays. I could go on and on about how Dr. Revolution, Dr. Phoenix, The Banshee, and others have been just as integral in my life and form my collection of people. At the beginning of the book it felt great to read someone recognizing the importance of these friendships. I wanted to send everyone copies to show them a reflection of our relationships.
The recognition of the importance womens’ friendships can play in our lives was refreshing, but I wish Shaefer had spend more time examining the ramifications. In this extended passage she quotes and summarized Briallen Hopper, who says she is:
“not ashamed to admit that my friends are my world. They are responsible for most of my everyday joy, fun, and will to live.” [Hopper] goes on to explain that, despite, this, it can be terrifying to make friendship your main support system. The relationship is “chronically underrated and legally nonexistent.”
I wanted more of discussion about how the women who value and create these friendships work to change these ideas. To be fair Schaefer does provide examples of women listing friends as emergency contacts or beneficiaries on insurance policies. As I read though, I was longing for a more sociological discussion of the consequences of this behavior.
As I mentioned above, Schaefer’s book primarily describes and discusses the friendships of straight, single, professional, white women, which is part of what made me enjoy this book. It is nice to feel seen and represented. While Schaefer attempts to address women of color and other differences by describing positive media portrayals of these friendships, her discussion of them remains shallow. This is a comment an early Amazon reviewer made and I do think she attempted to address it in the final work. However, because it is her own story and friendships serve to illustrate many of her points, the work never feels as inclusive as it attempts to be.
Overall, I enjoyed this book. It provided me with an important mirror at just the right time in my life by reminding me that, while it may not look like a Hallmark movie or the relationship in a paranormal romance book, I do have an incredible love story in my life. My friendships are deep, abiding, and essential to my joy. In the end though, I also wanted a little more analysis and discussion.
Look, too often the days that are often supposed to be significant end up being not. Yesterday though .. yesterday was the First of June. Maybe not a national holiday, maybe not even the official first day of summer, but it was the first of the month and, man, the rest of June will have some living up to do!
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This weekend I had the rare opportunity to play dress up and meet up with the girls. Several good friends are getting married this summer, so this was my first weekend of bachelor-ette activities. Yesterday, we all met in Greensboro for tea and a nice dinner. While I realize it is probably nothing like the real thing, I love having the “British”tea at the O’Henry. The scones with clotted cream and lemon curd were extra yummy. Everyone wore cute dresses and we sipped our tea like ladies. I don’t have a full length mirror so you can’t see the dress, but I like this picture because I feel like I’m finally showing my age a little more. Maybe no one else would notice how my smile lines have deepened or the crows feet around my eyes, but I like them. Later this year when I actually turn 40 I might change my mind about that, but for now I like looking a little older.
The best part of yesterday was just getting to hang out and chat with old friends and new. Dr. Poet-pixie was at tea, and I finally got to meet her husband afterwards. I even managed to squeeze in a quick visit with Dr. Ouiser. I think that is what I miss most about our new location is the ability to just go out with the girls.
It even made me feel a little better about academic life because I got to talk to other academics and realize it is pretty much the same everywhere. Yes, that is oddly comforting. Most importantly I learned about a new lipstick. I need to get some Clinique Black Honey; apparently it has the Real Raisin property of looking good on everyone.