Girl Code for Grown-Ups

Hey all my bitches of a certain age — do you know what the Girl Code is?

Aside from being a very popular MTV series where funny ass X-chromosomal beings share their views of the “rules” of sisterhood, it’s also generally the female morays we all know in our heart of hearts but maybe don’t speak of all the time.

To give you some examples from the Urban Dictionary (a less raunchy, more garden variety kinda deal) Girl Code includes things like:

– If you change boyfriends so fast they rarely achieve name status, a man must be around for at least six weeks before you make your friends bother to learn his first name. Until such time, he should be referred to as “The boy” or “That guy.”

– You are to never diss a friend’s boyfriend except to agree lightly or nod when she says he’s being an asshole. In most cases it is easier to nod. Exception: If a guy cheated or dumped your friend it is exceptional for you to claim he isn’t good enough, and that she deserves better as well as reminding her that he was an asshole anyway.

–  No girl shall wear the same outfit or perfume as a friend is they will knowingly be in the same place.

– The penalty for exposing a secret to an unauthorized party shall be exile from Girlville.

– A girl who can substantially claim that she was not aware that a piece of information was a secret at the time she exposed it shall not be subject to punishment.

– Inside jokes are not to be explained to outsiders.

And of course:

– Chicks before dicks.

In many cases, we age out of much of the stuff once we’ve settled down, perhaps popped out a few puppies, and generally relegated our hang time with BBFs (best bitches forever) to occasional GNO’s, usually at some suburban wine bar with too much cheap Chardonnay and not enough time to dig into any major dish save sticking a few forks into a shared chocolate orgasm.

This doesn’t, however, minimize the importance of your BBFs  — in fact, I’d argue as we age, we need our ladies more than ever before. It’s a jungle out there, and without our sisters in arms, we end up naked and afraid. And not in the good, fun way…

This past weekend I went away with a gaggle of BBFs to celebrate a milestone birthday. There were many fabulous parts to it, but my very favorite of all was when we went out for brunch on Saturday morning at a hip urban joint, Nickel Diner. It was happenstance that we ended up at a place that’s self-described as “very chick on chick,” with kick ass, juicy, yummy, outrageously fabulous ‘n fresh grub. (The opposite of course would be “cock food” — what co-owners Monica May and Kristen Trattner call the kind of meal that you pay $60 a dish for and “two bites in, you’re done.”)

Because a bunch of broads of a certain age are never really quiet, we quickly caught the attention of Trattner, who zoned in on our jam (and I use that word specifically cuz their jam is so damn good), and kicked the festivities into high gear with an on-the-house red velvet donut stuffed with out-of-this-world cream cheese custardy filling and a candle lit with a blow torch.

We sang, loudly, and clapped and cheered as the birthday girl stood up and victoriously screamed, “This is 50, Mother….!”

(That she left off the last bit — fuckers — was only because she caught sight of a 10-year-old kid dining opposite her, and it’s in some mommy code somewhere that some of us ascribe to of not cussing in front of someone else’s kids if you don’t know the family rule on that. For the record, this is one of those codes I suck at.)

It was there that I started thinking about how the Girl Code evolves as you grow up. Just like the ever-changing female form, it expands in new places, contracts in others, but still holds the same crucial space deep inside as it always did back in the day.

So here are a few thoughts I have about Girl Code for Grown-ups:

– There are many things we women can and should call each other: fierce, hot, strong, kick ass, bitch’in — but we should never, ever call each other cute. Note to the younger babes in the house: This goes double for you. Don’t fucking call us cute. Stop looking at us like we’ve lost our minds. You are staring at your future, and from my vantage point, it’s pretty goddamn vital, sexy, and alive, so open wide and say ahhhhhhh. Also, consider keeping your pubes — by all means ladyscape, but also just know that you’re entitled to not look like a baby your whole entire life. (That last bit was unsolicited and not a part of the girl code per se… just a side note =)

– Also refrain from calling one and other (or ourselves) cougars when we’re out on the town. It’s just sad.

– Women work. Period. Whether they do it at home and for our families, or at a job, or both (yes/yes/YES), we do the deed daily. Respect all forms of work.

– Breeders and non-breeders unite. Our creative energy is equally potent, our instincts are in sync, and our womanhood is not reliant on whether or not our babies are humans or other equally as fabulous creations.

– If your BBF asks you if she looks good in something that she really doesn’t, be sweet but be real. And then give her the shirt off your damn back if works for her.

– Any question that begins “Do I….” and ends with something that’s not easily shifted (“… look fat?” “…. look old?”) should be answered with a firm NO! Plus some nice observations about what DOES work well for your BBF. If the shift is a snap (“…. have spinach in my teeth?”), then YES is all good. And it wouldn’t hurt you to cut to the chase, and  jam your finger into her mouth to take it out for her. Let’s be honest here — your digits have been in plenty of nastier places before.

– We’ve been around  long enough at this point to see the value of time and poignantly — maybe even painfully — watch it fly by. We treasure every minute we get with our besties and remember to tell them that, too.

– And we’ve also been around the block enough times to know what’s cheap and what’s not. Talk is NEVER cheap. It’s currency best spent laughing, crying, confiding, relating, fighting even — the most intimate moments are when we can disagree, then hash it out, apologize, forgive, and go on, stronger than ever before.

– What’s shared under the estrogen influence stays under the estrogen influence. It’s not for discussion with your husband, kids, dogs, or other third-party peeps (girl friends included that were NOT at the scene of the sharing), unless you know for a fact your BBF is cool with you spilling her double secret stuff.

– We have each other’s backs… and never talk behind them. Whatever we say under our breath can and will be said out loud and to our BBF’s face.

– We love a chocolate orgasm, but also understand that chocolate is not a substitute for an orgasm — nor are a hot pair of shoes, perfect-fit jeans, or a night out watching any version of Magic Mike. Most of the time, anyways.

– When the heat is on, we take our BBFs out to chill. This becomes increasingly frequent and more and more literal as time goes on.

– Give all vagina totin’ humans the benefit of the doubt, and in particular, your BBFs.

And of course:

– Chicks before (during, in place of, and/or after) dicks.


So if you see a gaggle of girls of a certain age tittering together, just know that there is an unwritten code that grows with us from babehood to being full-blown broads. We don’t outgrow the Girl Code as grown-ups; in fact, the older we get, the easier it is to see how we write it, crack it, and if we’re very smart or very lucky (or both), live it.

Photo credit: Thanks to Nickel Diner – I used their “bringing home the bacon, frying it up in the pan” lady from their menu cover for this week’s blog image. Take your BBF there and go have yourself a grand old time AND a red velvet donut! (We ate it so fast I don’t have a picture of it — but if you’re one of my bitches, I’d be happy to take you there =)

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