For me, there is nothing quite like the happiness to be found in laughing hysterically with a close girlfriend and having that laughter feed off itself, becoming magnified by being passed back and forth till you've got tears running down your face and snot erupting out of your nose. Not pretty, I know, but that is the beauty of female friendships--it's OK to look hideous while crying with mirth. In fact, the mucous adds to the merriment. Disgusting but true.
I experienced this very phenomenon with a very close girlfriend just yesterday. I think we scared my son, in fact, who walked in on us howling, doubled over in laughter with the aforementioned facial moisture and who then ran panic-stricken from the room to tell his father that he thought we had lost our minds. Or possibly control of our bladders.
But my friend and I had lost nothing in fact (I'm not commenting on the bladder control issue!). We had, instead, gained a priceless gift--the gift of giggles among girlfriends, or, in our case, serious guffaws. It was fun, and abandoned, cathartic and joyful. That is the best definition of a gift I've ever heard. And I was grateful in the moment and again now as I reflect on the blessings of friendship and the intimacy that allows for such uncensored glee.
In the book I'm reading, Molly Harper describes a scene among three women who are sharing a similar moment. The description of what sparked the giggling fit did not really evoke the same reaction in me, but I think that is a case of you really had to be there. But what did resonate was the portrayal of how this type of female bonding (no, not bondage, so get your mind out of the gutter here, people, not all smut is sexy - it also inspires, thus the point of this blog) can support and validate and enliven and even heal, as it does for the main female character, Nina.
Female friendships, when they work well, are the glue that can hold us together when then chips are down, and the mirror that can reflect our best selves back to us when our self perception is a little skewed, as it can sometimes get. Girlfriends can carry some of the water that is weighing us down and can share some of the burdens that might not be appropriate or desirable to share with a romantic partner.
It's important that we don't ask any one person to be both the alpha and omega for us (unless that person is Patricia Briggs, in which case it might be acceptable). When we rely just on our snuggle bunny to be all things, it puts what can become an unbearable strain on the relationship. This is where friends come in. Friends can share the wealth and the tears and ease the burden on our primary love relationships. This is why my wonderful husband is fully encouraging of my girls' nights out and the occasional weekend getaway with my buds. It preserves my sanity and takes him off the hook for having to listen (again) to my tales of woe or the latest gossip in which he has absolutely zero interest. It's a win-win all around. And I usually come home feeling highly appreciative of my husband, which is an added bonus for him as I demonstrate said appreciation in a manner he enjoys (okay people, you can send your minds back to the gutter here).
Girlfriends rock. And girlfriend giggles are in a class by themselves. Probably because they annoy the hell out of everyone else, so we girlfriends tend to be banished to the far-away classroom. And Molly Harper, who I really want to meet, clearly understands the joy of friendships and I, for one, am grateful for the opportunity to reflect on such an important aspect of my life. Thanks, Truth in Fantasy!