The ‘Girls’ Goodbye Tour Mourns The Loss Of Intense Female Friendships In Adulthood

Mark Schafer / HBO, GIRLS

Twenty years from now this will be remembered as the day I sat on the couch in my boyfriend’s sweater and a weird pair of pyjamas, staring at a slice of toast with avocado spread on top of it and having the sweet&sour realisation life is not multi directional.

Your life may not be what you want it to be, but who the hell knows what it should be like?

Maybe some friendships are not meant to last forever. Maybe the stepping stone into actual adulthood comes with the realisation that you will loosen ties with some people you once ate, slept, had drunken sex and confessed all your hopes and fears, and that seems fair even when it comes with a sense of alteration and a bitter aftertaste in your mouth.

Would life be now different had I never hopped on a plane and left my home town two years ago? Had I been able to travel and work my dream job and then travel some more and come back home and be depressed for one year because my biggest insecurity is money, and maybe also love?

Maybe.

Other people’s courage makes us nervous. It paints life in all the colours cinema does – with an absolute sense of detachment and glory we all muse, telling our friends life is someplace else.

But is it, truly?

I don’t know.

We’re all just doing our best.

Maybe Girls did not completely succeed in depicting the afterlife of its characters in a realistic shade. After all, seeing the Hannah and Adam loop finally close and watching her land a great teacher job with insurance and housing upstate just one hour away from New York when she’s not even 30 and also a single mother-to-be can be debatable and surreal.

But hours after watching it, I keep telling myself it’s not.

Maybe Girls did not push the entirety of scenarios its characters could’ve experienced. But it has managed to always place its heroes in different scripts than the public ordered. Maybe a pregnant Hannah, divorced Marnies and Jessas and a soon to be bride Shoshanna could have stayed in a close and undeniably beautiful friendship for the rest of their lives – or at least for the rest of the show, but real life is seldom as pictured on TV.

Instead, Girls has taught us a big lesson about the natural, unstoppable frailty of human relationships, particularly friendships.

Seeing the characters in Girls age, grow apart and finally release their bonds to one another is something that walks in our day to day lives with the honesty and certainty that few things will survive the test of time.

The bathroom scene in episode 9 of season finale makes a full speed throwback to the beginnings of the series, putting all its main characters together in suspension. There is hope – aired by forever peace-maker Marnie – that things will come through, and then there is the general staleness of the inevitable breakup, making all happy endings in film making look like a joke. They are crammed, literally and figuratively, in a small 2 square meters lavatory, and the only thing that erupts into thin air is the demise of their friendship.

Later on, watching two emotional Hannah and Jessa tearfully admit to mutual dispatch while a glaring Shoshanna celebrates her engagement and all their estranged friends party in excitement, is a rare Polaroid depicting the exact leap between tempest youth and thoughtful adulthood.

It’s not saying I love you and I will always be with you – it’s saying sorry instead and walking different paths in life from that doorstep.

It’s not dancing together and loudly recounting the good and the bad times over pizzas and cheap beers the next day for breakfast, it’s setting the farewell free and letting their separate, emerging lives to take action.

For those of us who had grown up with the Sex And The City fairy tale, the definition of strong female friendships in adulthood has been pampered with a lot of togetherness and a reassurance that no matter the hardship, those who play together, stay together. Remembering Carrie vent that “Some people will come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime” takes a more realistic turn while Girls decide to take their reasons a little less personally, part their ways in the last season and leave the way they will spend their lifetime to our imagination.

The fairy tale grows sour when life takes its toll instead. Thinking back to all of my female friends I’ve parted ways with feels both complacent and brutal. There are entire chunks of your life out there that will only continue to exist in imagination. I won’t be there the day they marry, or watch them grow old with their kids. We won’t have lengthy phone conversations at 3 am, confess our intimacies to each other or bounce to cool music from our teen years together for New Years Eve in the same clubs, in the same city. Instead, I will have unrestricted access into their lives via social media, and every single person I’ve been somewhat familiar with will die one day, and I will also learn that from an online interface.

Will my life be different if I don’t hop on a plane again and move to another city this summer? And most of all, will all my frail relationships survive another turn?

All of those different life scenarios we make in our heads cannot coexist. We always have to choose, and the choice will define or deny the rest of possible scenarios.

Looking back, I know I’ve always wanted a friendship that lasts forever. As an only child, I always felt great envy and lust towards those deep female friendships I’ve witnessed on TV or around me. At 30 I still sometimes feel like a teenager. My goals may be a lot about money and a successful career and a fulfilling life lived in a different state once every two years. But deep down – I don’t feel like I’ve found that kind of attachment to somebody that I’d know for sure will be a lifelong friendship.

The melancholia of the parallel lives we could’ve lived is something that never truly goes away.

Perhaps common interests are more relevant as you age. Once you get more comfortable with yourself, you grow less tolerant of other people’s quirks and ambitions. Typically, it’d be the other way around, but for someone who’s never held a solid friendship with someone who shared their interests, this becomes a life goal on its own.

Maybe the poets are right – we’re all just looking for love, unconditional and infinite, at the end of the day.

Maybe my mother was right – and most adult friendships do have a short shelf life, leaving us to sort out our deepest fears, most hopeful plans and desires in the company of our own solitude or – if we’re lucky, by the side of a significant other who becomes not just our life companion, but our only rearview mirror.

And then again, maybe Lena Dunham is right, and there is a more crude, legitimate and sustainable kind of love in this fierce triumph of loneliness. We’ll just have to grow old to find out. TC mark

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