Female Friendship, from Bartending to Babies
Photo Credit: Bewakoof.com Official/Unsplash
Some friendships are so meaningful, so special, they transcend the usual descriptions and attach themselves to your heart. And those friendships are so special, they stand out from the moment they begin.
I met Allison about 15 years ago during our college days in the quaint beach town of Santa Barbara, California. At the time, I was a bartender at a nightclub, of which I was also the daytime office manager, so I was privy to and often present for all of the staff management transitions that happened within the company.
Instead of getting ready for work at 9 pm, we’re brushing our teeth and getting ready for bed.
On one particular day, I distinctly remember a girl arriving for her interview, wearing a long-sleeved turtleneck sweater, pants, and boots with a sensible heel. For any other interview, this ensemble would be standard, but when you’re applying for a cocktail-waitress position, this fashion choice is curious and exceptional. As her outfit suggested, she arrived at the interview determined to be recognized for her intellect, skill, and character, even in her quest to be hired in an industry that traditionally hires solely based on appearance.
This was Allison. I had just met her and I loved her already.
Or, at least, deeply respected her.
As I got to know Allison, she did indeed prove to be a woman of intellect, skill, and character. She spent time living in Japan to study the language and culture, then decided that she wanted to learn Mandarin, so she moved to China for a time, but not before she left for Africa to volunteer at a children’s school.
Friendship — and Fiona
We bonded over our enthusiasm for travel and adventure, and daydreamed about volunteering in Vietnam together. Candid and honest, she became someone who I knew I could always go to for a straight answer, whether or not it was the one I wanted to hear. Most notable, though, is that she possessed the rarest of all qualities I could ever hope to find in a friend — a deep love for my favorite musician, Fiona Apple — and she knew Every. Single. Lyric. This fact alone tied my heart to hers indelibly.
In the decade and a half of knowing each other, much of the cadence of our lives has changed dramatically. Instead of getting ready for work at 9 pm, we’re brushing our teeth and getting ready for bed. We’ve shed our old skins and celebrate each other’s new and mature ones. Instead of outgrowing each other, we’ve grown into each other’s lives and details. Indeed, our friendship is marked by our transitions from young adulthood to marriage and now to motherhood together. Allison has given birth to two beautiful babies and has become a constant companion and confidant.
We video chat almost daily, and the knowledge and life experience I vicariously learn from her in these conversations are indispensable, as I am weeks away from becoming a first-time mother myself. As always, she is a friend who I can be completely candid with and ask all of the burning and sometimes embarrassing questions about what giving birth and being a mother is like.
This Galentine's Day, while she and I will be miles apart and safe in our social distanced bubbles, I plan on doing nothing particularly special, other than what we do already almost every day — send her a message and talk about the mundane minutiae of our lives. And that's what I cherish most of all.
This post is part of a month-long February CircleAround series, tied to Galentine's Day. What was once a celebratory day on a fictional TV sitcom has emerged, like Festivus before it, as a very real day, spawning a legion of loyal followers. That's because it celebrates the platonic friendships among women. We asked writers — and readers — to tell us how their gal pals are helping them navigate one of the most challenging periods in our history, as well as to share stories about their meaningful female friendships. To see all the posts in the series — including relevant news stories — visit here. And if you'd like to contribute to the series, send us your thoughts to email@example.com or post on our "2021 Inspiration Wall."