The reflection from the Interbay Golf Course slid past the windshield of his car as we passed. It was early afternoon and I was still wearing yesterday’s ensemble.
“For some, I guess. Others try to work on their swing; their form.”
“Nah. Not me. I would just go in and hit it as hard as I possibly could.” I spoke like a defiant 10-year old boy. My fist, lazy but resolute had tucked itself under my chin supporting bleary eyes and bed head as I leaned against the passenger door.
“You certainly are a delicate little flower, aren’t you?” He half smiled, keeping his eyes on the road and maintaining an air of benevolent sarcasm that suited him well.
This particular gentleman was also alluding; no doubt, to the evening prior when I had insisted on being “rubbed, not tenderly pet.” I despise being touched lightly; it turns my stomach. If I wanted to be kissed by fairies and gently caressed, I would find a butterfly princess to take me to her kingdom of clouds and tip toe through rainbows. But while in the arms of a man, I like to feel like I’m in the arms of a man.
I snickered. He was right. I am not a delicate flower. If anything, I’m of the succulent variety, pooling resources and storing them away for future use; boasting a thick fibrous exterior armed to withstand and ward off any predator. Strong, sturdy, adaptable and unmercifully independent; I’m a goddamn cactus.
It may be for these reasons that I don’t entertain many girlfriends. I have my sister who I consider my best and closest confidante (also boasting certain cactus characteristics), but aside from that, there are few women in my life with whom I can really connect. There have been times recently when this has concerned me. Why don’t I identify with the delicate flowers? I like Sex and The City just as much as the next girl, where are my Samanthas and Charlottes and Mirandas? When did my life take such a sharp turn into Entourage territory? What’s the deal, T?
When I arrived in Chicago to see my oldest and most revered girlfriend Emily, I was eager to try and find answers to my foible. I had visited her for the first time in 10 years about a month earlier and had a fantastic trip. We acted as if no time had ever passed since I moved from Michigan at 14 while talking at her kitchen table for hours. At night we laid giggling in the dark together just as we did during 3rd grade sleepovers. It was a comforting, habitual rhythm that had been completely overshadowed by my grandiose dreams of making it big on the West Coast. I was sorry to have let to go by the wayside for so long.
It was Sunday morning. We were hung over. My first night back she had taken me out on a Midwestern evening adventure complete with drinking games, gay bars, show tunes, and feather boas. Utterly delightful nights never make for pleasant feeling mornings, and this one was no exception. We could do nothing more than lie in her bed eating Sun Chips and watch episodes of Grey’s Anatomy on her computer. She thought nothing of it as we shared blankets and she filled me in on the two years I’ve missed of Grey’s events, but I laid there thinking how nice it was to just girl out again. We discussed who was hotter, McDreamy vs. McSteamy. (I pulled the wildcard with Denny, because I always like ‘em dark and tragic) and I reveled in the comfort of the entire situation. I didn’t feel like I had to dumb it down and talk in a perky high voice to level with her. We were on the same ground. It was wonderful.
Soon after, Emily’s roommate Beth came home from work. Beth was from Michigan too. The three of us had taken English together in 8th grade. Prior to the night before, middle school was about the last time we had all hung out together.
“Hiiiii Beth!” we yelled in unison from the bed upstairs. “Come up and hang out with usssss!”
She popped some popcorn and ascended the stairs while we made a spot for her on the bed. Beth was hungover too, but much more productive than the two of us that day. We teased her as we told her about our afternoon spent watching primetime drama and leaving crumbs in Emily’s sheets.
Away We Go was On Demand and I screamed “Dave Eggers! Yes! I want to SEE this! Let’s watch! Let’s watch! Let’s watch!” We all started in an uproar of excitement. Each of us relieved that other wanted to see the movie just as much as we had. I sat in bed completely elated. These were my people! These were my girls!
Let me take a minute to tell you that to anyone else, this probably sounds like a terribly mundane series of events. Great Tayler, so you and a bunch of girls ate popcorn and watch a movie together, congratulations. But you have to understand this entire situation is SO novel to me. For the past 5 years I have spent days like these in 1 of 3 different scenarios.
a.) I am in this same situation but with guy friends. Fun, yes, but no matter how platonic your relationship is, sharing a bed with male friends will always have a weird vibe. At some point, one of you is thinking (in my case worrying) about some form of sex.
b.) I am hanging out with girls but I am extremely bored, drained and uncomfortable. I can’t get super girly, I can’t get excited about shopping and Lady Gaga and Gossip Girl. It’s just not in my DNA. I’ve tried and after every attempt I just come out feeling dumb and dirty.
c.) I am straight up alone. Nuff said.
Emily gets me. I get Emily. We have a mutual respect and trust with each other that I have had a hard time finding with anyone else. And Beth is the same way. We laid there admiring Mya Rudolph’s eccentric beauty and John Krasinski’s quirky charm together and I wondered what made this situation different from all the failed attempts with other girls in the past.
The only conclusion I can gather is that we are simply cut from the same cloth, the three of us are strong, independent, and forward thinking. We dismiss any catty feelings of spite, jealously, or competition. We enjoy each other’s company on a human level. It’s wonderful, its refreshing, and the elitist in me finds it evolved. I am certainly a quality over quantity type of girl and a big part of me is glad to have not settled for any old group of girlfriends.
So I may just have look harder to find the other girls that want to “hit the golf ball has hard as they can” at the driving range.
We’re just a bunch of stylish, young, ball-busting cacti.
Take that, Carrie Bradshaw.