On Sunday, in restaurants all across this great nation, women will gather to drink mimosas, eat pancakes because “they’re whole wheat,” and talk some of the most relentlessly degrading, devious shit on people they consider to be some of their best friends. They will begin most sentences with, “I love her,” or “She’s my best friend,” then follow it up with the simple, three letter word that directly contradicts the exact thing they just said: “but…” Then, they will proceed to tear into these poor bitches with the fire of a thousand suns, made all the more terrifying by the casual nature in which it’s all done, like a sociopath snapping a baby bird’s neck just to hear the soft crack. They will take the darkest secrets their friends have ever told them and lay them bare to a table of shaking heads while they dip their sausage in syrup; use their most vulnerable times and their most disappointing failures as clear examples of how they’ll “never get their shit together,” or “get a boyfriend” (as if that’s the final reckoning of success). Then they’ll suggest she’s put on some weight. Then another round of mimosas, which will have to make do, since the restaurant doesn’t have a license to serve human blood.
I’ve been privy to these conversations — overheard them, been told second hand, or, in some cases, been directly involved. I think all of us have at some point, which really drives home the level of vitriol. These aren’t backroom whispers. These are midday pronouncements, the currency openly traded between women from 13 to 83. No one is safe. Sisters, best friends, and maids of honor will be laid to waste. And so the same questions get raised every time: Do these girls even like each other? Are they actually even friends? And what the hell is wrong with these bitches?
What got me thinking about this is an article I was sent about some bridezilla who uses emails to suggest that her bridesmaids can’t cut their hair or put on weight. It’s all done with the kind of “ha ha, I’m joking but I’m not” tone that’s so goddamn offensive that I’m surprised these women didn’t all shave their heads and drink creatine out of spite. Sure, the article was posted just to show how crazy women can get with weddings — send to your friends, move on with your day — but I couldn’t shake how infuriating it was. I’m a single dude who has openly farted on a first date, so weddings aren’t even on my radar. So why was I so annoyed at this? Ultimately, I think it comes down to this: no one called this asshole out (seven of her emails are reprinted). She just got away with it. No one even suggested what a complete dick she was being to her closest friends. And therein lies the rub.
It’s a little cliché to cite the typical bro-versation, which involves sports and maybe a punch on the shoulder and then swapping porn sites, but these are truly the things that fill our day. The one thing that often gets overlooked about the “BroMance” is the shit giving. Guys don’t let their friends get away with anything. I was on a bachelor party where a guy wore a vest. I never realized how many ways someone could be called “Aladdin.” A better example: my buddy called me a month ago (with his fiancée on the phone) to tell me he was having a destination wedding in Napa (most of their attendees will be coming from the east coast). He asked for my honest opinion, and these were my exact words:
“I will be at the wedding and I will have a great time. But I will complain about the cost, make jokes at your expense, and inappropriately chug wine while yelling, ‘This is my fucking vacation. Deal with it!’”
Honesty, shit giving, friendship — it’s all there. If a girl gets this call, she screams and yells about how fantastic the wedding will be and then, click, the phone hangs up, and she begins to text the world her true thoughts.
Women are bizarrely close. Closer than men for sure. I’ve seen women cry when they see an old friend. They touch and hug and talk so intimately about their lives that it’s almost uncomfortable (and I assume it always devolves into hot lesbian sex whenever I’m not around). They do EVERYTHING together, even to the extent of bleeding out of their vaginas at the SAME TIME, because, hey, why not. It’s insane the level of intimacy women can have with each other, sometimes an intimacy that husbands can’t share with their own wives. Women seem to exist in this whole other sub-world of feelings and misunderstandings and talking about how they need to work out more. It’s as if men fly kind of flatly above the clouds while women trek exhaustively through all the peaks and valleys below. I’d call it endearing but the world it creates for them is one of fear. Operate that closely to one another and every small burn feels like a scald, every need for space feels like a rejection, and every awkward phone call feels like the end of a friendship. In response, I think some women rely on the one outlet of truth they have left: passive aggression. They’ll complain about each other at brunch, send emails about how their roommates don’t take out the trash (instead of just asking them to), and hold on to friendships long after they’re dead, because, well, we can’t offend anyone, can we? Then, a complete nutjob bride is allowed to treat all of her bridesmaids like shit, and the only response they’ll give is to anonymously forward her emails on to Gawker — publicly shaming her because they didn’t have the courage to tell her to just relax, because, you know, that would be cruel. So, I have to ask: who’s the crazy one in that scenario?
The great irony is that the intimacy women share is the very thing that drives them apart. And we, as men, are left to nod our heads, hear them out, and then grab a beer. But just don’t tell them to address the issue directly. That would be ridiculous. And brunch would never be as fun. Another round of mimosas, please.