Browsing Tag

friendship

Best o’ the Bitch, My Bitches

Why Women Need Best Friends Forever

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I’m always fully aware of how much I appreciate my friends, but there’s something about summer that really sends that sentiment home.

My theory is that it’s the automatic pull to slow down and hang out; as a kid, whether you went to camp or stayed home, friendships were cemented poolside, lakeside, in bunks, plopped down in front of the TV, at the ice cream stand, in backyards, and on beaches — all of the places we went when the school year receded and time to bond was left in its wake.

Now that I’m a grown-up, the urgency to connect with my BBFs (Best Bitches Forever) comes from a slightly different place: stress. Making time to catch up with friends — which definitely is more possible in the summer months — is just what the doctor ordered to take life down a notch.

And by “just what the doctor ordered,” I am being literal: there is a ton of clinical research supporting the idea that gals need pals. A landmark study by Laura Klein and Shelley Taylor revealed that women are “hard-wired for friendship” as a hormonal response to stress: when the anxiety-causing cocktail of cortisol and epinephrine kicks in, our lady hormones (particularly oxytocin, but also reproductive ones, too) rush to the rescue…. and create the common female stress response of “tending and befriending.” Men, on the other hand, with their dinky doses of oxytocin, have the opposite response: they tend to escape stressful situations by fighting back or shutting down.

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all girls camp
Best o’ the Bitch, Bitch’in Life

The Art of Color War – 10 Ways Camp Teaches Us to Be Winners

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Just the other day my old camp buddy, Waldo, sent me a link to something called, “Adult Color Wars.”

And before you could say “Apache Relay,” I was all over that website, trying to figure out how to enlist. Because anyone who has ever spent even one week at camp knows that Color War isn’t just a child’s competition; it’s a metaphor for life and a training ground for survival skills that last a lifetime.

So as your Summertime Sun Tzu — thanks to nearly a decade as a camper and counselor at sleepover camp — I bring you, The Art of Color War — 10 Ways Camp Teaches Us to Be Winners:

1) Know a Break from a Fake: In the days leading up to a Color War break, everyone is on high alert, which makes it particularly difficult to catch anyone by surprise. So the cleverest Color War captains will send out a variety of false alarms — bugles going off at the wrong time of day, two blasts from the cannon (not the required three), and misleading flyers and “clues” planted around campus that only serve as distractions.

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Bitch’in Life

Let’s Get Physical

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Last weekend, I unwittingly attended an orgy.

How else do you describe an over-the-top experience, where all around you, bodies are slick with sweat from pulsing, pushing, thronging, muscles firing in every direction, vibrating off of the pulsing, pushing, thronging bodies to the left and to the right of you? After a brain crunching burst of endorphins, the action slows, but only briefly. Just long enough to get the juices flowing again for another round.

My mother reads this blog, so of course the orgy in question was all athletic in nature. Literally, athletic in nature — our group hiked, mountain biked, swam, tubed, power walked, and generally worked our asses off. It was as if someone spiked the cocktails with Red Bull and Mountain Dew, the breakfast drink of champions. (Just ask Lance Armstrong — oh, if it were only that simple, Lance!)

Of course I had to snap a pic of myself at the top of Castle Rock, surrounded by a crest of mountains and a bright blue bead of lake far below me, and throw it up on Facebook for the ultimate bragging rights. Almost immediately, one of my BBFs from high school daze commented, “who the hell knew you had the outdoors in you?! I love it!”

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Bitch’in Life

Labor Day – Work It! Edition

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Labor Day started not as the day that the country breathes a collective sigh of relief as white jeans (aka, the bane of all launderers) and white shoes (aka, the hallmark of the ultra cheesy and/or the ultra chic) get stashed away for another year, but as a celebration of the labor movement in America. That the economic and social significance of the day has been lost in the sauce — ketchup, mustard, and mayo — isn’t surprising. With unemployment hovering a touch over 8%, it’s hard to imagine an esprit de corps, never mind how cute we all looked way back when, wearing our Esprit shorts on that last day of summer.

Times have changed, but the opportunities borne of hard work that America has always afforded actually haven’t — and I know that not from trite political ads, but from real life.

This past weekend I went to a party thrown by friends who embody the American dream. They came here a decade ago, leaving behind everything and everyone they knew and loved. While the husband worked his way up in business, the wife adapted to our totally foreign lifestyle, up to and including  our society’s ridiculous idea that moms should do everything by themselves. Where she’s from, the government subsidizes childcare — not just for working mothers, but for all moms because… (insert incredulous gasp here)… being at home is hard work, too!

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Best o’ the Bitch, Bitch’in Life, My Bitches

YOLO, or F*ck Cancer

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Drake’s got a Motto that he stole from the Strokes who nabbed it from the ancient Roman poet, Horace, who said it first in his language.

YOLO. Or as the older folks say, Carpe Diem.

You don’t have to be a dead poet or a rapper to fling the phrase around carelessly, like you really know what the hell it means. Because to really get there, you have to go right up to the edge and look down. Get all up in the Grim Reaper’s grill and know that you’ll never live the same.

I don’t have the kind of street cred you need to cry YOLO. My personal brush with cancer was fleeting. A grapefruit-sized ovarian cyst, which as described sounds pleasantly juicy, pinkish yellow, and lush but in reality was bulbous, deathly white, and potentially a squishy beard for a malignancy. Knowing that my doc picked the hospital with the best on-call oncologist (say that 10x fast) was scary enough. Grapefruit plucked, it concealed nothing but a shredded fallopian tube, and I’m done with those bitches anyways now. Snip, snip, and the coast was clear.

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Bitch’in Life, My Bitches

The Big Chill

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Do people realize when something they do is a game changer? Did Madonna know that performing “Like a Virgin” on the first MTV Video Music Awards would become an iconic pop culture moment? When Apple launched the Macintosh did they realize they would change the way the world works? How about when Bob Geldof and Midge Ure formed Band Aid to raise money for Africa by singing, “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” Could they have predicted celebrities using their power to heal the world would one day be de rigueur?

1984 was a big year for game changers. And on a personal note, with hair as big as my dreams, I left for college. Within the first week, I met my BBFs, and through knowing them, nothing in my life has ever been the same.

This might sound dramatic, but how I ended up in the same dorm with them had a fair share of 18-year old drama anyways. Ms. Smartypants (yours truly) thought the world was her oyster, and all schools would beg to have her pearls of incomparable wisdom. Several rejections later, I was lucky enough to get into just one place: the University of Michigan. That probably had more to do with their desire for out-of-state tuition than anything else, but I took it. I knew nothing of the Midwest, and I chose Michigan not for its stellar academics, Big Ten sports, or any other normal reasons. I picked it because I liked The Big Chill, a movie most memorable for its portrayal of the death of post-collegiate dreams, the heaviness of adult responsibilities, the destructive nature of discontent, and of course, the power of lifelong friendships. This may seem to be an odd motivator for a teen, but deep down I always knew that suburban life’s quagmire was my milieu, so that sort of future wasn’t just inevitable (as it is for pretty much all of us), it was appealing. Anyways, after a brief landing in an all-girls dorm (the “Virgin Vault”), I transferred into the epicenter of debauchery and home of my soon-to-be BBFs, West Quad.

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Best o’ the Bitch, My Bitches, Recipes

Friends Without Kids

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This past weekend was the annual spring ritual of mom’s gone wild, desert version. I’m pretty sure our husbands imagined pillow fights and erotic braiding of each other’s hair, but that’s just the guy’s view/hope/fantasy…  although there was a gigantic bottle of vodka and assorted other options to take a break from reality, plus bikinis and plenty of lady lube.

AWWW, get your mind out of the gutter, people!  By lady lube, I mean the thing that really gets us girl’s juices flowing — intimate, soul-baring conversation. Yup, it was an orgy of communication.

The friends I went away with were friends with kids who are my kids’ friends. (Got that?) In a totally decadent move, we saw a matinee movie with an R rating and barely a kid in sight (despite its title), Friends with Kids.

It’s about a group of college friends, some of whom settled down the conventional way and started a family, and one couple who wasn’t a couple at all, but rashly decided to have a kid together. At the heart of the story is an interesting premise: if you skip the bullshit that goes along with real intimacy and cut right to the chase, is life any easier? Better? Happier?

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