In 2002, a UCLA study proved that that women are calmed by the very act of hanging with friends. Girlfriends, to be exact. Didn’t we already know that talking and sharing intimacies with another woman keeps the good feelings going long after the giggling is over?
Men may joke about “hen parties” or “chickfests” or whatever, but maybe that’s why women tend to live longer. Just this week, the U.S. Census Bureau released data showing that for every 100 women who live to see their 100th birthday, only 20.7 men have done the same. For NotMoms and Moms alike, friendship nourishes our spirit, and now it seems, helps our bodies, too.
Walking through a coffeehouse or restaurant, I notice when women are leaning into each other, maybe laughing a little too loudly or deeply concentrating on what’s being said. No sweeping generalizations here, honest. But…the body language of men sitting together is different. I doubt the sharing is as intense.
Is it women whispering “They must be lesbians” when BFFs seem inseparable? Are we the ones keeping the ‘Oprah and Gayle‘ jokes alive? I don’t think so. Of course, there’s love between really good girlfriends who understand and appreciate each other. Is it illogical that they’d spend as much time together as possible? Shopping, eating out, concerts.
Singer/actress and NotMom Dolly Parton has been married for 46 years. Recently, she agreed that recurring questions about her sexuality happen just because of her lifelong friendship with a woman.
“Like Gayle [King], [Oprah’s] friend, Judy, my friend…they just think that you just can’t be that close to somebody,” Parton said. “Judy and I have been best friends since we were like in the third and fourth grade. We still just have a great friendship and relationship and I love her as much as I love anybody in the whole world, but we’re not romantically involved,” Dolly said.
No one questions that Oprah and Dolly live their lives with spirit, flair and authenticity. No doubt; it’s Gayle and Judy fuel the stars’ fire, and vice versa. Notice that differences in location and lifestyle are no matter. Let’s hear it for email, Facebook, Skype and all the Net has to offer.
Right now I have 2 friends who are chasing, and living, their dreams, and that, to me, is the essence of living with spirit. We’re connected across the miles, and reunions are as if we’d never been separated.
When Marcia was laid off at age 54, no kids, never married, she moved from her hometown (for the first time) to get a Masters in architecture and design, her passions. That was 5 years ago. Now, she’s happily working in her new field in Chicago, and a newlywed.
Bette abandoned med school to marry and help Him become a lawyer. When the marriage began to fail years later, she stayed “for the kids” as long as she could. One day, she told me she wanted to help kids with ADD as someone had helped her son. Within a year, she’d passed the college entrance exams and moved to San Diego. She graduated last May.
Heading into the New Year, their stories inspire and make me smile. Friendship keeps my spirit high.