Sunday, June 6, 2010

Gal Pals

I have a confession to make. I’ve never watched Sex And The City.

Yup, that’s right – not one single episode. Of course, I have seen clips of the show and heard about it enough over the last decade or so, to know the main players; Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda and Samantha. Frankly, you’d have to be living under a rock not to know at least a little bit about the show. It has been a huge hit among women around the world. Even men have followed the show – if only in hopes of getting a clue about how a woman’s mind works!

I understand the concept of the show – four female friends sharing their life experiences and fantasies . The bonding and the camaraderie. The men, the drinks, the fashion and so on. I get that this is a huge draw for many.

I just don’t want to watch it. I have no interest in fashion. I don’t own any high heels or designer handbags or even a dress for that matter. I’ve never bought or read a fashion mag. I’ve never been interested in the bars or club scene. I have no idea what is in a Cosmo. I almost never drink and when I do it is vodka – which is about the only alcohol I can tolerate without getting sick! Some would see all of this as blasphemy and I could be considered a traitor to my gender.

Sex And The City, certainly wasn’t the first to promote the gal pal relationship. They just did it in a more provocative way. Being a cable show allowed them a lot more freedom to say and do things that weren’t allowed on network TV.

That being said, the ladies of Wisteria Lane on ABC’s Desperate Housewives could give them a run for their money in my book. Bree, Susan, Lynette and Gabby have unique bonds. They are not only neighbours, but have experienced a lot of drama together over the years - all while looking rather stylish and hoisting a few cocktails. They play poker together, shoot the breeze, offer advice, a shoulder to lean on and an alibi when necessary. Now that is a gal pal!
But, if I were going to go for the best gal pal ensemble of all time – well, there is no question in my mind that it was “The Golden Girls”! Blanche Devereaux (Rue McClanahan), Dorothy Zbornak (Bea Arthur), Rose Nylund (Betty White), and Sophia Petrillo (Estelle Getty) were four spirited women of a certain age who shared a home in Miami, Florida. These four women, bonded over cheesecake – usually late at night. They talked about their lives (past and present), their families and growing old. They shared their hopes, their dreams, their fears, their sorrows and their triumphs.

They also talked a lot about men and sex! These women all grew up during a time when s-e-x was more of a dirty word, but as they aged, they discovered more freedoms and liberations in their sex lives. Even though they were all considered seniors, they were dating and enjoying the company of men in and out of the bedroom. The conversations that these ladies had were enlightened, entertaining, frank and often thought provoking. They were also rather spicy at times. They said what they felt and took risks to find love again.

The Golden Girls gave us hope and encouragement to be ourselves and take chances with our love as we age. They gave us something to aspire to in our golden years or at any age for that matter.

Sadly, real life isn’t as simple.

Gal Pals on TV always manage to work out their differences – eventually. Real life often tells a different story. We change as we age. Our priorities change. Spouses/Partners, children, careers and interests change how we feel and react over time.

Then there is the whole clique like thing that often happens in gal pal relationships. Some feel closer than others or get their nose out of joint when they think they aren’t’ fully in the loop. Some get territorial or too gossipy. Way too much drama and immature behaviour for my tolerance level.

Don’t get me wrong, I do have my own gal pals but I just can’t imagine sitting down with them and sharing the intimacies of my life with all of them as the ladies on TV have done. I’m better at the one on one conversations for the really personal stuff.

Let’s face it, some gal pals are closer than others. Some you can confide only a few things and some you can tell almost anything! There are a couple of my gal pals that I can tell anything to and others that I’d be much more cautious in how much I share.

Gal pals means different things to different people. I have no idea if any of mine watch Carrie and her pals but it really doesn’t matter. We will never be Sex And The City gals. Thankfully we don’t have the drama of the Wisteria Lane gals. I think we can relate more with The Golden Girls even though we aren’t quite that old - yet.

My gal pals aren’t anything like the gals on TV, but we are all intelligent, open minded, spirited, compassionate, insightful and funny women of a “certain age”. We know that when push comes to shove or we just need a shoulder to lean on – our gal pals are the ones we want at our side. I love my gal pals dearly and try not to take any of them for granted.

So, if not being interested in the latest designs in fashion or sipping trendy cocktails at a hot spot and dishing about the latest gossip or man to cross my path makes me a traitor to my gender – so be it. I can live with that!


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