Saturday, March 27, 2010

Girl Crush

As much as I love men - and I do - there are fabulous women who hold a special place in my heart. This isn't, like, an ode to my mother or anything like that...she's wonderful, but applying the term "girl crush" to my mom raises my eyebrows, at the very least. The girl crush is a special category, reserved for fabulous strangers and acquaintances who make your heart soar with the possibility of one day being as awesome as they are.

I'm not talking about women who scare you into striving for awesome. As much as I admire her chutzpah and ferocious bob, Vogue editrix Anna Wintour's reputation is that she is a mean, scary woman. A bitch, if you will. (AND YOU WILL.) Women who produce results by intimidation can be inspiring, but there's also something less accessible about them. If I'm afraid to knock on a woman's office door to say hello, then she's not inspiring me...she's making me uncomfortable.

So the women I get girl crushes on are amazing, but in a fun way. For example: even though she's sort of a fictional character, I loved Meryl Streep's portrayal of Julia Child in Julie & Julia. Hilariously histronic emotions, deeply felt care, and an I-don't-give-a-fuck re: being liked attitude that is utterly charming. I can't tell if I have a girl crush on Meryl - although she's undeniably awesome - or on Child, but the intersection of the two is just so much fun to watch.

That's the thing about girl crushes. They're so much fun to watch. I've palled around with some of my girl crushes; there's a feisty writer/photographer who shares my irrational hatred of pants and can wrestle most of her skinny hipster dude friends to the ground, and just watching her in action at a bar or a party is such a pleasure. She'll say the most outrageous things, wear the cutest outfits, goad the bouncer into letting her and her fourteen closest friends in for free, and shark someone at pool once she's in. It's just so exciting!

Girl crushes are, by their nature, a fickle mistress. If I was tighter with this girl, I would see more of her vulnerabilities. Maybe she gets homesick, or rampantly PMS-y, or is an unrepentant dishes-leaver. But because I only see her when she's at her most incandescently fun, she's like a beacon of awesomeness. Girl crushes give the illusion of being dependably good at being great: your intellectual flames are never sleepy-eyed over the cornflakes, your party girls are never wearing sweatpants for a Saturday night Twilight marathon, and your career inspirations never accidentally pour Diet Coke all over the photocopier's command center. I mean, they do, but because they only present the appealing side of things, you never have to see them being klutzy and sweaty. You just see the shiny side of things. The fun, smart, strangely-bespectacled side of things.

It's not just "girls" who fit the bill - women of all ages are entitled to the mantle, and it's good to have a roster of girl crushes. On of my former girl-flames was a sassy professor who dressed in jewel tones and told her class, "I'll take you from Moses to Mel Brooks, if you let me," which is just an awesome thing to say when you think about it. Or a Nia instructor in Stratford, who is appealingly human when she dances, and therefor seems to transcend the whole glossy-dance-instructor stereotype to become gorgeously relatable. It can be anyone: a waitress who understands your gluten sensitivity without being a diva about it; an author who wrote a book about your very favourite city and who has a great haircut; an acquaintance who has mastered the who-cares school of dressing to a degree that you find yourself envying her snowpants.

I think the real appeal of the girl crush is the perceived confidence. As someone who often feels unsettled in her own skin (like, you know, most human beings), the illusion of boundless competency and confidence is intoxicating. The fact that it's a mirage is sort of beside the point, since girl crushes are more about fun and inspiration than following a particular path to a particular destination. It's about seeing your world through fun, funny, smart, competent lenses.

No comments:

Post a Comment