Good Girl Friends Are Like Cutlery: An Analogy

People love to talk about friendship. They write articles about male-female friendship — let’s call it the When Harry Met Sally effect. They write movies about male friendship: think The Sandlot, or Stand By Me, or Remember the Titans, or a million others. They write books about frenemies. And, somehow, in all that discourse, the beauties of real, close female friendship often get lost. It’s just not sexy, I guess, so no one wants to go there.

But girl friends deserve a shout-out. So here’s my analogy: Girl friends are like cutlery. Some are knives: great in the right situations, can cut deep with their honesty, not the warmest and fuzziest kind of people. Some are forks: can handle a lot of different things, dependable, but not always the life of the party. Some are spoons: nurturing and nice, but can’t dish out the (sometimes) brutal truth that we all need from time to time.

And then there are the friends who are those all-purpose camping sporks with a fork on one end, a spoon on the other, and a serrated knife-edge on one side. These are the friends you laugh with, cry with, drink with, dance with, go to the gym with, and take with you as your date to work functions. They are the keepers.

I was lucky enough to have a whole mob of sporks in college. I was the girl who was always close with guys, and it surprised me as much as anyone when I found myself a part of a massive, close-knit pack of brilliant, talented, and interesting women. These are friendships I intend to hang onto for a lifetime. These are friendships that are about so much more than what magazines and movies want us to think female friendships are about. Yes, we talk about boys — a lot. But we also talk about politics, public health, affirmative action, books, school, jobs, our families, and the future. These are the first people I call when something happens, good or bad.

The sporks in your life aren't the kind if people you only see after dinner and before breakfast. They're the jacks-of-all-trades, the ones you can use as a buffer at a family event, and also as a wing-woman at the trendiest bar in your city of choice.

I’m talking about the friends who tell you what they really think about the guy or girl you’re dating, knowing full well that you may hate them for it now — but you'll thank them for it three months later. I’m talking about the friends who serve as human crutches when you sprain your ankle wandering the streets drunkenly in heels, and the ones who will sit with you while you scream for your mom because it hurts so much.

I’m talking about the ones who will just physically be there, sitting on your bed, when something awful and above your maturity level happens. The ones who will wear face-paint with you. The ones who will go out of their way to buy you something ridiculous. The ones who are always down for an adventure. The ones who will drive miles out of their way to pick you up at the airport. The ones who will stand up for you when you’re not there, and the ones who talk about you like you’re a mixture of a rock star and a demigod, even though, to quote Fight Club, “you are not special, you are not a beautiful or unique snowflake, you are the same decaying organic matter as everything else.”

As college becomes further from me, I have to take time, stop, and think about these women in my life — and be grateful. Because friends who are sporks think you walk on water, and you think the same of them.