Whenever one roommate asks “does anyone want some tea?” in my house, that’s usually code for “come waste an hour in the kitchen talking about life.” I just spent over an hour around the table in our kitchen with my roommates talking about all the places we’d love to travel, why we love to travel and why we would go to the places we would, and then about penguins (obvi) and animals and pets and how we grew up with them. Every time we all sit down for tea we spent hours talking about something different, and I always learn something new about them.
I was thinking about this the other day, when I was watching Bridesmaids - which I hadn’t seen yet, and which many people told me I would like, but which I didn’t actually find particularly funny, although I love Kristen Wiig (the terribly fake Irish accent topped it off). The parts of that movie that I really enjoyed were the Girl Talks. At the beginning, when Annie and Wossface (the bride) are talking about sex and self esteem at brunch, teasing each other and being easy with each other, that was a really neat scene to me, because it says a lot about how the close friends I have interact with each other. Later in the movie, the small clip of Annie seeking out her mother for the express purpose of a small hug, no words needed, was sweet, beautiful, and very true to my life.
bookshop made a post once (I can’t find it now) about how powerful Girl Talk is, but how often it’s derided in movies and pop culture and turned into “girls get together to put on nail polish and talk about boys,” and how terrible that is when it’s such an amazing space for so many people, and I really believe that.
The space I’ve created with my roommates - and other friends - over the years has turned into a really incredible one for me: the longer I spend in it the more aware I become of how acutely different we all are, but more and more I value it as a space for Girl Talk. And Girl Talk is sometimes about ~boys, yes; for some people more than others. But it’s not superficial and it’s not full of squealing and it’s not all about sex and even if it was that wouldn’t make it less valuable, because Girl Talk, to me, when it focuses on that, is about how we choose to share ourselves with people, and all of the things that that entails. And having Girl Talk to hash out that sharing - the things we want and the things we have and how we create spaces for other people in our lives and change as people because of it - is incredibly important.
I just spent an hour talking about whether I prefer to see nature or civilization when I travel, and sharing other peoples’ desires to see different parts of the world, and I've spent countless hours talking about food sovereignty and problems with the education system and where we want our careers to go, and none of that had anything to do with ~boys, but sometimes Girl Talk does, and I wish that society and other people would stop treating the conversations that women have with each other as Justin Bieber fan club meetings, because they’re so much more. Those talks around our student housing tables using mugs to keep our hands warm (and the times when we congregate in the hallway to, yes, commiserate over how much chocolate we've recently consumed) have been so incredibly full of support and laughter for me in my experience as a young person, as someone deciding how to share her life, and, explicitly, as a woman. We need that. And we need people to stop making fun of it.
Note: the ~ is there because not all girls like boys or talk about boys, or like sex or talk about sex, not even in my house, but that’s what Girl Talk is generally seen as being all about.