December 5, 2012

If You Don’t Have Girl Friends, I Feel Sorry For You

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What is the issue?

For as long as I can remember, there’s been this sub-breed of girls and women who seem to think that not having female friends is a noteworthy, noble way to live. “Guys don’t cause drama,” they say. “Girls are catty/ jealous of me/ the devil,” they say. To those girls, I have a response: the problem is you, not every other woman in the universe.

We’re talking a very specific group of women, here. The ones who glorify their friendships with men — who are more than capable of exhibiting the same negative traits as any other human — while simultaneously demonizing women, as though we all took a pact at birth to be one unified, reprehensible force. I’m speaking of women with this attitude, specifically: not shy women, not introverted women, but the women who paint every other gal with the Petty Bitch Paintbrush and call it a day without getting to know them as individuals. (Hint: it turns people off to hear that you aren’t open to being friends with people “of their kind.” That isn’t the kind of sentiment that makes people feel all warm and tingly, and it’s probably the one thing preventing you from having female friends.)

So, ladies who think men are the antidote to ~dRaMa~ fueled vagina holders — the attitude that all women are evil, conniving, and not worth your time is just, statistically, silly. You can’t get along with roughly 50% of the population? That sounds like a You problem. Especially when that 50% of the population has myriad things in common with you like, I don’t know… periods; career challenges; family woes; traveling; contraceptives; cooking food or its inverse, burning food; reading; drinking until you can’t see straight; falling into or undoing all of the stereotypes hoisted upon young girls; leering eyes; dating; figuring out whether you want to be a mother or not; and my most favorite commonality, whatever it is you share with men. Like watching sports? There’s a woman for that!

For the record, most of my geographically convenient friends are men. I have two male roommates. I am surrounded by testosterone 24/7. While I mostly rely on dudes for emotional support, I have about five “best” girl friends scattered across the continental US for whom I am so very grateful. Not because they’re women, but because they’re people I adore, people who have not only gone through things my guy friends are incapable of experiencing, but have gone through the same exact things my guy friends are capable of experiencing. You know, not male things or female things, just people things. And these friends — just like my male friends — are people I would’ve missed out on getting to know if I were running some anti-vagine regime. I can’t imagine immediately discounting an entire group of people because I may have had negative experiences with a few of their kind in the past. Sound familiar? It’s because that’s what racist people do. That’s what you’re doing when you write women off as viable candidates for your friendship.

Making friends becomes increasingly harder as we get older — friendships of convenience vanish from our to-do list once we’re no longer car pooling or dorming. But that doesn’t mean it’s too late to befriend a woman, if you never have before. We invest all of this time into our careers, our romantic relationships, our whatever’s-important-to-us, and there’s no reason we shouldn’t extend those efforts toward a potentially life-long relationship with someone who also sees the world as a place where getting your period (or not getting your period) is cause for celebration; a world where people are constantly reminding us that we can or can’t have it all and where our breasts are either fighting gravity or the assholes who gawk at them on the street. We have commonalities that can’t be brushed aside, and it’s silly to let fear of rejection or preconceived ideas of friendship deter us from celebrating our similarities and differences together. Lots of people manage to do this. It’s not often that you hear men saying, “I just CAN’T be friends with other men. They’re just so… man-like.”

Coed friendships are great, I’m not knocking them. What I’m knocking is the idea that females are incapable of providing someone with the same support a male friend can provide. What I’m knocking is this notion that treating women like a bunch of catty chickenheads somehow makes you the one and only non-catty, non-chickenhead. Not every woman is dramatic. Not every woman is jealous. To say otherwise is to put yourself on a pedestal where you are the one true goddess, the one woman who “gets it,” the one woman who is unique and special and one of the guys and something no other woman can be. And I don’t know about you, but I can’t live up to that fucking standard. You couldn’t pay me to try.

Besides, were you aware that having girl friends basically triples your wardrobe? Duh. TC mark

Stephanie Georgopulos

Steph is a former editor at Thought Catalog and a current writer at Studio@Gawker. Her work has appeared on Glamour, …

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