After weeks spent coping with the two big B’s that are neither Baadshah nor Baadusha (read burnout and breakup), I’m employing another B, to ‘bust’ everything we know about female friendships. Seriously, what would have become of me if they hadn’t patiently waited it out and then impatiently whipped me back to my feet? I can’t say. But I can say with experience, in depth personal research and acute observation (thank you for nothing, pop culture portrayal) that this is actually what female friendships are like:
1. They are firmer than the best foundation, thicker than black mascara, last longer than forever lipsticks, are more protective than SPF 60, and come in a million different shades. Female friendships dig deeper than tampons and aren’t always about makeup and men (or women). We really do need more ‘hoes before bros’ merchandise.
2. On different days, different heroines: It’s high time cinema took a leaf out of this book. There are no lead characters with exclusive storylines. In real life, they all have stories and in each of theirs they play the main role. When one woman has something to tell, everyone else listens. Are you listening, character artistes and screen writers?
3. Women aren’t all the closet schemers, nor are they warring chessboard queens. They’re not even the proverbial crabs that pull each other down. Rivalry doesn’t run free and jealousy isn’t available in abundance. Our friendships are healthy, non-competitive, non-opportunistic and non-toxic. Mean girls is not a thing. Girl boss isn’t either.
4. Want to sleep in when others are heading out? That’s okay. Lost a friend’s clothes? That’s okay too. A couple days without a shower? No problem. Met someone new? Great. Did it? Need the deets. Brazilian wax? I’ll hold your hand. Need to talk? Here I am. Ask me to shut up, yes I will. Unapologetic friendships are rare but they
5. Fights are common. Flare ups too. But that’s as normal as the rising sun. Surely men fight too? And even for men, it’s not always about beer and the ball! Female friends can be each other’s most brutal critiques or best cheerleaders, managing warmth and encouraging too.
6. If marriage, housework, childcare and relocation became burdens that are equally shared, women’s friendships will stand the tests of time and space, a big thanks to social media and other variants in technology!
7. Girl squads can transcend all boundaries. Bonds can be made across tables of different kinds. My girl gangs come from so many places — school, college, work, the parlour, and even the streets. I’m the ‘kid’ of one group and the oldest in another but I need them all.
8. Like love, friendship too can happen at first sight. Or first smile. One time friendships, be it a smile, ‘I know what you’re through’ nod, speaking up
for a stranger, an ‘are you okay?’ can change lives.
9. Sometimes, girl friends are more than friends — they’re family. They can be sisters and shadows, mothers and mirrors all mounded into one.
10. Every person deserves ears that will listen, hearts that will cross, and shoulders that are strong. Every woman deserves for her pain to be believed, for her silence to be understood, and her anger to be unleashed. Every woman needs a sacred space she can unwind and unload into with no guilt or shame.
It’s possible for women to make that space for others, and be another’s best friend because to run the world, women need themselves. Always and forever.
(The writer is a city-based activist, in-your-face feminist and a media glutton)