What is it about old friends? I have lots of friends, some close, some acquaintances, some “uppity”, some downright hillbilly. I enjoy all of them. I can pull myself together when the need arises to be as uppity as I need to be and, heaven knows, I can sink to some depths best not remembered. There’s something about OLD friends, though, the ones we make when we’re young, that cause all of us to let down our guard and regress right back to our youth.
I have a friend from fifth grade that I see maybe once a year, the Hollywood Glamour Girl. When we get together, we spend about an half an hour discussing what’s going on and telling each other how great we look and then one of us throws out a name from fifth grade, we both lean in and we’re off. We are still verbally dissecting that big bully, Brett, to smithereens and we still laugh about the time she stuck out her foot and tripped a boy named Fitz into the fireplace. Once, I looked down and she was wearing knee highs under her jeans, which made her ankles look tan, pink pom pom socks and new Adidas tennis shoes and I almost swooned with fashion jealousy. We still have to talk about that. Every time. When she reads this, she will contact me and we’ll talk about it again. You’re laughing because everyone does this. It just feels comfortable, like often washed jammies.
(In a total aside, spell check told me to check the spelling of Adidas and I had to go back to school in my mind in order to spell it. Remember when people said it stood for “all day I dream about sex?” I once wore a t-shirt with Adidas on it and a boy pointed and yelled that and I almost called my mother to bring me another. Now, of course, I’d just smack him but my fifth grade self was not as confident, what with the headgear and such!)
Last night, the Empress came to stay with me. I met the Empress when we ended up in the same beach house with a bunch of mutual college friends. Our old college group calls each other “our decent friends” said with a sneer and an accent. I despised the Empress on sight. I mean, I loathed her, that bitch. By the end of the first night, we were hanging all over each other and singing. I believe there was some table dancing in spandex skirts. She showered me with abuse about my clothes and I told her how she could improve upon her hairstyle. There are photos of our 80s glamour, our giant earrings, enormous hair, shoulder pads, swim suit tops that could stand alone on our frail 100lb. bodies and these should remain hidden. In typical 80s fashion, there was a LOT of time spent in hot tubs with this group. Those pictures have hopefully been burned (right Empress?).
When the Empress arrives, we circle each other for a minute or two and immediately start in on a conversation that does not take a breath for the entire time she’s here. The Goose loves the Empress and especially likes to hug her, often, needlessly, and a little too long, with a little too much caress, but even he has to make a retreat from us after a while.
We made our hair as large as possible and squeezed into our glitzy pants, put on heels and and went to a bar to watch our friend’s brother’s band last night. This friend was there when I met the Empress. Our diminutive best Lesbianese friend (she is not gay, but there is someone from Lebanon way back in her history and somehow, this whole thing got twisted) was in our group as well and I will not take the opportunity here to say that I once saw her and the Empress so altered that they were eating chips with ants on them off the sand at the beach. I would never do that.
ANYWAY, what is it about old friends that causes us to regress? The dancing we did last night has left us sore and achy (but not achy brakey). I know we did NOT look as good on the dance floor as we did in our minds, but who cares? The Goose sat and laughed at us all night, shaking his head like the old man that he is. My decent friends are my only group of friends who know that when someone yells out “boom boom” you immediately shout out loudly, and with gusto “out go the lights” and think it’s poetry. I’m sure I saw a glint of a tear when the band pulled out AC/DC. This was our music and our time. We say the same old things, talk as little about our kids and jobs as possible, revert to the same college behavior and crude humor and still see each other as wildly attractive, even though we are 50ish. It’s possible this is because of our diminished eyesight, but I’m choosing to believe otherwise. There are a lot of suggestive comments bandied about and it causes me, for one, to toss my hair around and bat my eyelashes.
You know fantasy football? I have a fantasy retirement compound that I’m constructing in my head. I am slowly filling it with those I love and would like to circle the wagons with when we get to retire. Pretty houses and gardens, lots of animals and, as the Goose likes to tease me, opossums and martinis hanging from trees. I am definitely filling it with my old friends, and only hope we can survive it and that those others around us that weren’t there back in the day will either join in or choose to be tolerant. Disclaimer: Were not as young as we used to be and there DEFINITELY won’t be any hot tubs!