It’s not often that a made-up TV holiday catches on. Festivus might be the last example. [ed. note: Be prepared, this is going to be my pop-culture-y-est post ever.]
But Galentine’s Day? That has staying power.
I’m not a huge Parks and Rec fan, but it is definitely growing on me as I Netflix a couple of hours of it each Sunday night while JC is out doing manly things (aka playing Dungeons and Dragons with his guys). One thing it has in common with other sitcoms I adore, like 30 Rock: the romantic stuff in the show takes a back seat to other kinds of relationships, especially platonic friendships. The relationship between Leslie and Ann is especially well-written and well-played.
When I was younger, in middle and high school and into college, I didn’t have a ton of close girl friends. Or close friends generally. As I moved through my 20s, this was one of the tremendous improvements in my life. I have a number of very close friends, men and women, but especially women. The idea that “best friend is a tier” suddenly makes sense to me, after a long time of wondering if I had even one “best friend.” Or rather, I certainly had a best friend at various points in my life, in the sense of that person being someone who would give me the time of day when most other people would ignore me, but for that person, was I theirs? Often no.
Because this development in my life, of having not just one best friend, but a tier of relationships that I would describe that way—many of them mutual, even—as well as other very warm friendships, friend crushes, and positive acquaintances, watching the discussion of friendship that seems to be a focal point of recent sit coms (The Mindy Project, Master of None, The Office) is satisfying and interesting.
One night, JC and I were out with some people. We had just had dinner with one of my best friends and we were all about to see someone I’ve had a friendcrush on for over a decade (I suppose we’re technically friends now, but it still feels pretty crush-y), and I was just giddy with glee over having these two people and myself in the same place at the same time. I asked JC, “Does it bother you that I’m so in love with the women in my life?” And he, like the total prince he is, said, “No, not at all. It takes some of the pressure off of me.”
Having these close relationships with women friends does feel healthy and life-giving. They don’t detract or distract from my romantic relationship with my husband; they sustain me through my complicated relationships with my children. My mom always has had a number of close women friends, and she has prioritized those relationships in her life. I remember, when I was a kid, she would declare that she was having a Ladies’ Night, and Dad, Alex, and I had better make ourselves scarce. I remember falling asleep listening to them all laughing and talking downstairs (I couldn’t make out the words and wasn’t trying, just the vibe), and wondering if I would ever have friends who were so smart and funny and creative and supportive. Well, I do now, and I’m so incredibly thrilled about it.
Because I’m terrible at planning things and thinking ahead (and I don’t “do holidays” in the way that my incredible mother does), I don’t have any special plans for Galentine’s Day. Maybe next year, I’ll put something together. A fun dinner or something. But for this year, I just wanted to take a moment and say to all my ladies: