Reunions can be a frightful thing. I remember the nerves I had before mine in anticipation of all that judgment.
The final report card. This would almost determine whether I’d made something of my life. Are the hot people still hot? Are any of the nerds frightfully successful? Are the sweethearts still besotted? I felt like getting a t-shirt made up to save the record-jarring spiel:
“Catherine. Work in PR, have my own agency, a baby son, still with (the ex), we live near the city, don’t really keep in touch with anyone.”
But instead I wore a knock off Chloe dress from eBay and decided to travel with a lovely acquaintance who lives nearby and works in the city. We rode in the car, the wind billowing all that conversation in the hour it took us to get out west. Upon arrival we were welcomed as “the city girls”. Great.
And the night ended up being quite something. Our school captain was found vomiting in a dark corner of the bar. There were indecent proposals. Two couples from our year ended up marrying and the wives were both heavily pregnant. On the surface this seems cute, except the two men ended up in a fight because one called the other a c-bomb in year eight. The argument erupted in a blow that quite accurately re-enacted the frequent “wog” and “aussie” brawls from our yesteryear.
I still remember the wives, grasping their big girths and ordering their husbands to stop. But the fight continued and expanded into the hotel car park. Cars were damaged and my city companion and I escaped to the bright lights when re-enforcements and “the cousins” were called in.
And with that escape, a friendship that I cannot possibly describe, began.
Rene is the bomb. Everyone needs a friend like her. She was there for me during my heartbreaking separation, the subsequent court cases. I’ve been a wingman to help her get over a man I’d like to find in a dark alleyway. Wolf and I crash most of her awesome Greek family gatherings. And something magical happens when we’re out together. We create extravagant mischief. I can see us old and laughing about things like the time we rebelliously danced in the rain at a pretentiously dull party when A Tribe Called Quest randomly blasted through the airwaves, singing along, drenched, curls becoming wild and crazy as the tandoori skinned blondes ran for cover.
I am forever grateful she’s in my life.
So, you can only imagine the mortification I felt upon reading this article about how school officials in America are discouraging best friends and looking to sever these bonds to try and get rid of bullying and exclusive cliches. I hate the sound of camp “friendship coaches”. Why does a kid have to become friends with every other kid? And the thought of parents engineering friendships for their children sounds unfair and utterly boring. What happened to letting kids be kids and figuring out what makes a good and bad friend?
Not only that, I’d hate to rob any child of the radness that comes from a BFF – and the stories that can come about to explain how you became friends.
Great post Catherine. I read the NY Times article and I think this quote is spot on: “Do we want to encourage kids to have all sorts of superficial relationships? Is that how we really want to rear our children?” asked Brett Laursen, a psychology professor at Florida Atlantic University whose specialty is peer relationships. “Imagine the implication for romantic relationships. We want children to get good at leading close relationships, not superficial ones.” Personally I think too much intervention and engineering won’t lead to any good for both children and parents/carers. Interesting and thought provoking topic – thanks for sharing.
Hey Catho – I have not read the article, I did read your blog though. I would not want to swap my besties for anything or have others forced upon me. Thats what makes them my besties, that the relationship is unique and has been cultivated organically between us. To me it is as silly as arranged weddings, again why would you want to be forced to be with someone. We have to engage with enough people in our lives that we would not choose – some or our world needs to have choices that are ours exclusively. LOVE BEST FRIENDS xx
If anyone tried to tell me you couldn’t be my bestie I’d bitch slap them!!! xxxx