female friendships

Nights out have, by this point, become a perfectly choreographed routine where we imitate the girls we were back in 2013. Some shitty half arsed attempt at dinner (fajitas possibly, oven pizzas probably) and then bottle after bottle of whatever we’ve scrounged from our alcohol cabinet; someone on the cheap Russian vodka, someone on the cheap cabernet. Starting, always, as we mean to go on and screaming the lyrics to some noughties pop song. Then it’s three in the morning and someone is holding someone else’s hair, after they downed a glass (or two) of tequila on a poorly thought out dare. Older and wiser, maybe not – but we don’t really care. Between heaving, they apologise profusely, but we all know that these nights are rare now so the stories best at least be juicy.

It is golden and electric, and we’re the best of the breast. The strangest, the loudest, the kindest and the wildest. A gentleness smothered with laughter, and obviously some tears. Always reliably there, year after year after year. So many, in fact, that when asked it takes us minutes to recall, ‘jesus we’re old!’ we bawl.

Addresses change, and hearts may be on lend; but dicks come and go and boobs are forever. It’s this fact we hold close, and vow to never forget. Not ever.

Sometimes it’s the big things; hours in a coach to meet for coffee, surprise parties and gifts. Listening repeatedly to their lovers rifts. Pretending to like their new love interest, unwilling to spoil a hopeful mirage or divide their attention – that is until we all give in, and hold an intervention. But usually it’s every little thing in between; keeping them safe over the phone as they walk alone, until 1am when they finally get home; threatening the men who dare creep within ten feet of your friends. When all they really want to do is dance, you’ll defend their right not to have to give anyone a chance. As boys call them names for declining a dance and ask them why they won’t let them buy them a drink, we form a defensive barrier and sing ‘why do you think?’

It’s putting up with their shit, because you know you give as good as you get. It’s letting them know you’re always there, and never letting them forget.

It’s understanding who you are, and replying to every text, no matter how banal. It’s hours spent bitching about your, or their, ex. It’s an invisible support system better than your most expensive bra, and being ready to catch them when they’re dancing on the bar. It’s opening your door in the middle of the night, and being the first to call after a fight.

We’ll plan to have our children at the same time, and fight for our friends who don’t want them – defending their right to be their own woman. We’ll over analyse every date, and turn our detective skills on to find the very best picture of their face for their dating profiles. We’ll do this all, even if it takes a while between all of the club photos and awful selfies of them you uploaded as a joke. We’ll buy them another drink when they admit they’re broke.

Raise a glass to making memories together, no matter how irresponsible or insane – but also to the everyday mundane. Catch ups, tea and toast – the occasional Sunday roast (Iceland’s finest finger food because in reality, we’re all broke). Take a drink for every mistake we stopped in its tracks, and every one we let slip through the cracks. Although we might not see each other as much as we’d like, when we do everything feels perfectly right.

Words by Camilla Ackley

Illustration: Audrey Raphael