In honor of Women’s History Month I’m dedicating various posts to the 10 different women who I’ve called my “best friend” at different times in my life, as well as the dozens of other women who are my close friends. Who’ve been there for me. Who have even saved my life. This one goes out to the half of you my guy friends won’t date because they’re convinced you’ll terrorize them for imaginary slights when you only attack when provoked by cheaters, liars, abusers and other horrible people you may date:
“I don’t think you should do that,” I tell her … or should I say, I tell the 1,001st version of her I’ve known. She’s a friend. She’s a very good friend. She’s a best friend. I love her, and she loves me more. She’s funny and loyal and caring and always there.
She’s also the one all my guy friends call “crazy.”
“But she’s not,” I say. Because I know her. She’s complex. And crazy is such a loaded term. What does that even mean? I’ve heard all the stories. That she “pops off” when a guy hurts her. But there are “rules” for when your bestie does something borderline illegal to enact revenge. She just doesn’t scream “UNLEASH THE HELL” on any innocent dude.
“But she has a reputation,” he says. And I’m just like, ugh. In this day and age of Google, who doesn’t? She was completely justified that one time she forwarded his booty-call emails to his wife. What’s the big deal? He was a complete douche.
He deserved it.
These same male friends point out that I don’t do that. I don’t retaliate when wronged. I typically walk away. I point out that I’m also the same person they constantly accuse of “punk-a-tude.” People hurt me, and I keep my hurt to myself until I get over it. Sure, that may be the most gentle way to deal with assholes, but it’s hardly the most effective (or fun). I have no bizarre stories of the time I said “I was pregnant and it’s your baby” just to screw with someone’s head who cheated on me. Other people push, and they push back. People push me, and I lie back and think of England.
I only become vicious in my defense of her, my friend, whom someone who barely knows her has just labeled a nutter butter. But she’s not. She makes perfect sense. Just don’t have a secret wife or be screwing half of Boston when you swear you’re only seeing her and she’s fine. She’s sweet as cake. She’s lovely.
The reason why I don’t push back — including the fact that I am quite possibly a wuss, though I prefer to imagine myself as some kind of pragmatic — is because my conscience won’t allow it, and women who push back get a “reputation.” It’s an unfair double-standard reputation of being “trouble.” Of being “difficult.” Of being “crazy,” when they’re only hitting back after being hit. It amazes me that the mark of sanity in a woman is found in her ability to take a punch, stay silent, then remove herself from the situation, rather than stand her ground and demand satisfaction.
If that is sanity then why do I keep getting sick? From stress. From depression. We all need to find healthy outlets for our pain and anger, but some of us don’t even know how to properly get angry without feeling bad about it. And by some of us, I mean me.
Which I guess is why I always admired her and her daring against judgment to get that satisfaction. Reputation, be damned.
Perhaps my friend who busted the windows out of your car after taking a Louisville slugger to both headlights is the sane one. When you’re hit you’re supposed to holler. I’d rather stand up for my “crazy” friend, than condone in silence the actions of the horrid ex-boyfriends and ex-husbands of America.
Or maybe we’re BOTH crazy. It’s probably why we’re such good friends.
For “In celebration of …” I’m writing about friendship in honor of every woman I’ve ever been friends with, especially my “besties.” Whether we are friends forever, grew up and apart or fell out tragically:Yolanda, Erica, Marla, Tiffany, Brandy, Christina, Michelle, Dorothy, Toya and Yesha — this one is for you.