I’m pinning blame on the Baby-Sitters Club, although I’m not sure the Golden Girls are completely innocent. Whoever’s to blame, the ideal of the female foursome is firmly entrenched in my consciousness. I’ve always longed to create that ideal, and at 36, I’m still yearning for it.
To try to figure out where I went wrong, I prepared this data table (below):
My Early Attempts at Female Group Bonding
|My Approximate Age||Name of Foursome||Description||Reason for Dissolution|
|10||Fantastic Four||Social club||Changing friend dynamics|
|11||The Gemstones||Social club (Motto: “We sparkle when we’re together.”)||Changing friend dynamics, but also lack of parentally-funded clubhouse|
|12||Intrigue!||Band||Changing friend dynamics, but also lack of musical ability|
|13||The Future Generation||A cappella singing group||Changing friend dynamics and shifting priorities, but also shortage of Wilson Phillips tunes|
There have been other attempts at creating foursomes—high school friends, college roommates and such—but I think I’ve collected enough data to prove that unlike on television, the vicissitudes of real life prevent women from forming long-lasting friendships. What other reason (besides the fact that I’m antisocial and hate shopping) could there be for my floundering here without my Miranda, Samantha, and Charlotte? (I’m Carrie, of course. Everyone wants to be Carrie.)
If 80s sitcoms like The Golden Girls, Living Single, and Designing Women introduced the female foursome to women my age, Sex and the City perfected it. The Golden Girls, while charming in their own right, were two generations removed from me, but the women on Sex and the City were characters I could relate to. I didn’t just want to be like those beautiful, glamorous New Yorkers; I wanted to be them. They represented my best possible self—adventurous, successful, glamorous, cosmopolitan, connected. Whatever character flaws they had receded into the distance as they flounced down the streets of Manhattan in their chic peacoats and stunning Manolo Blahniks. I need that, I would think to myself while watching the show. Three gorgeous soul mates. We will have raucous, alcohol-infused brunches and borrow each other’s bras and love each other unconditionally, forever.
There is one foursome to which I still belong. We clicked as a group when we sat at the same table serendipitously on the first day of high school physics, and we’ve been friends twenty years hence. But we are not in any way like the women on Sex and the City. One isn’t even a woman (although he does perform in drag and pulls off heels way better than I do). None of us is glamorous (unless you count Mistress Ginger, one of the drag characters, whom I would say exudes her fair share of glamour). We don’t conform to the archetypes on TV: according to a Boston Globe piece, The Voice of Reason (Sophia, Carrie), The Bruised Idealist (Dorothy, Miranda), The Passionate Diva (Blanche, Samantha), and The Perpetual Innocent (Rose, Charlotte). We don’t have brunch every week; living in different cities, we see each other barely once a year. We don’t borrow each other’s bras, and we don’t share a magical pair of pants. The four of us have different beliefs and have taken divergent paths since high school.
And yet I feel, as I did back in high school, that somehow I belong with them, that all four of us are integral parts of a whole.
Maybe this is how it works: maybe, whether by your own efforts or by accident, you get who you need, when you need them, for as long as you need them. I don’t know if, in our golden years, the Physics Four will meet in the kitchen at 3 a.m. to solve each other’s problems over cheesecake. I just have to trust that whoever is sitting at that table is who I need. And who needs me.
Addendum in Which My Husband Shits All Over My Beautiful Ending
G: What’s your latest post about?
Me: It’s about how I want desperately to be part of a female foursome like the Golden Girls.
G: Do you really?
G: But…you don’t like anyone.