Days before Christmas I was home and shopping for gifts when a girl I used to know finally recognised and then approached me. Condensing 5 years into five minutes she left assuring me we'd catch up with the rest of the old gang in that nice pub in town later that night. I knew I wouldn't be there. It was a poignant thought but no sudden realisation that I no longer have any contact with any of the girls I went to school with, in fact it's an active measure on my part.
In acres of South Wales countryside I grew up outside on fresh air and plenty of love. Afternoons were spent picking fruit, stomping through fields with the boys on yet another expedition that nobody was quite clear on but that felt like the most important amble nonetheless. Dens were built, forgotten and then rediscovered all over again during the endless school holidays, wellies and a warm coat were all that were required -- the thick smear of mud across our faces and our jeans was optional -- it mattered that I had a functioning bike, not a vagina. It was idyllic and I was happy, ignorant yes and graceless and a nightmare in a laundry basket for my poor mum, but happy nonetheless. Later I arrived at secondary school with grazed knees and complete and utter bewilderment and awe at this entire new breed of 10 year olds with mobile phones and poorly applied mascara and boyfriends.They were so sophisticated and I was quickly relegated to the bottom league for 7 of the most difficult years of my life. As I grew up and moved out I surrounded myself with males, my fingers had been burnt too many times to risk another queen bee stinging this mortal wannabe after all, but I envied groups of girls and those "I've know her since the start of time" girl friendships. Sadly like a physical barrier had been put in my way; I watched from afar and put this jealousy to the back of my mind. The Xbox was calling anyway.
And then last year I really discovered girls. I knew we still existed as a species, of course I did, I knew we called each other bitches and whores, we targeted and belittled and excluded because of the wrong clothes, music, the wrong opinion. We stole boyfriends, tearing away self esteem and worth bit by bit, we made up lies and rumours and lived off a strict diet of the right foundation and being top of the pack. So I thought anyway, but now I started to realise that out of girl world in what most functioning adults call the Real World, I could build proper relationships with girls. And hardly any of them refused to let me sit with them on account of my bad skin these days.
Tentative at first, glasses of wine turned into weekends exploring the questionable cocktail bar near my flat, endless tea fuelling life instalments, sharing with these strange glossy creatures suddenly felt like the most natural thing in the world. Beautiful, truly gut wrenching beautiful girls I'd followed on blogs forever started conversations, with me! I still feel like a fraud, my seat with these babes about to be snatched away at any minute, I adore them. Natalie, Mealie, Katie, Laura, Jennie, to name a few, I adore you. Online and back in this Real World I had found a whole new support network and while the low maintenance of male company was great it was just as brilliant to have someone to browse the beauty hall with. I could mull over work problems, or dates or weekend plans with a whole new perspective. After years of keeping the female species at arm length I suddenly had girl friends, I have real girl friendships. Sad little case that I am.
I could go on, spewing pink and cuddly glitter fuelled feelings. Instead, five favourites of these funny female friendships.
1. Sharing shoes, clothes, stick on bras. One girl friend equals two new seasons of outfits.
2. We tell each other just how good we look. Every day. Even if we haven't gone near a mascara wand since the beginning of the week.
3. We go to the loo together and someone always leaves the hand dryer on slightly longer than necessary to save any blushes from those in the cubicles. It's a really nice touch. Really thoughtful.
4. Boys won't approach the girl sat between 4 rugby boys. Four other girls however...
5. Nobody understands PMS and the physical need to eat an entire box of Celebrations more. And nobody questions it.
You know, I really don't know why I didn't do it sooner.