My brother and father have had colds for the past few days; running fever and looking generally miserable. In the interest of my health, I have tried to escape the infirmary ward that has become my family's home.
I met up for dinner on Christmas Eve's Eve with three friends I've known most of my life; we grew up living within a few doorbells of each other. We met at MK's parents house, while the rest of her family was gone, where I found MK and RW in the front room already drinking red wine and waiting for ND to get there with a pizza.
I love the rare occasions, e.g. holidays, that enable us all to be in the same room at the same time. All four of us are the oldest children in our families, so despite our personality differences we have always held that common thread. Not having older siblings to glean valuable life lessons from, much of what we have learned from dating has come from each other's experiences.
Another friend of ours called MK while we were assembling a salad to go with the pizza, needing advice on what to write in a book she bought her boyfriend for Christmas. The four of us huddled around the iPhone on the bar and we put her on speakerphone so that everyone could give her thoughts on the matter. The ideas we threw out were equal parts light-hearted, corny, poignant and provocative. The dating advice I have gotten from those three over the years has been all over the place, but one thing I know for sure: what they do, works.
I've mentioned my friend ND before. She is the best example of a girl I know who does not obsess over one guy- she diversifies.
I emailed her the other day before she returned from Hawaii, where she lives, to make plans for her time "on the mainland" as she calls it, over her Christmas break from teaching. She mentioned that she would be leaving to go to D.C. for a few days after Christmas, to the city where she once lived to see her ex-bf, and was considering going on to Charleston afterward to visit her summer fling. She juggles boys better than Patrick Dempsey does china plates. Having shampoo commercial-worthy hair and year-round tan helps her cause.
After spending hours in a room that held much of our childhood the other night, she hopped up and said, "okay, Merry Christmas, I'm gonna go make out with ______." After receiving dumbfounded looks, she replied, "What? He's hot!"
My friend RW was the girl who lived next door to me growing up- no wait- actually I was the girl next door and she was the girl who happened to look a lot like Angelina Jolie. She lives and works in Nashville now, but it doesn't take long to be out with her and recall the effect she has on men. She always has the upper hand- I've never seen her lose her cool over anyone or worry about what any guy is thinking. It's like she could care less, which makes her all the more desirable.
MK can do anything and go anywhere she pleases because she does everything with authority. She is 5'10, blond, and can walk backstage at any concert or into a sports club where she is not a member and no one will lift an eyebrow. She owns you.
I think it's good to watch your friends who are successful in dealing with the male population, and take a few feathers from their hats. RW, for example, would never approach a guy. If a guy wants to talk to her, he has to initiate.
ND has that Bill Clinton quality of making you feel like you're the only person in the room. She is a great conversationalist because she speaks with a passion that is contagious. She doesn't hold anything back, which is the biggest thing I admire about her. If she likes you, you know it. No holds-barred.
MK makes everything look effortless. She can roll out of bed and be showered; ready for work in 20 minutes. It's mind-boggling. She does not embarrass easily, and the level of confidence she exudes is attractive.
Of the many things we have learned from each other, I think we would all agree that what works for one might not work for another. We can't even agree on what kind of pizza to order. Those three seem to have found what "works" for them when it comes to men, and while all have winning play-books, I seem to keep returning to the drawing board for mine.
For someone who learned from the best, I've still got a long way to go.
Merry Christmas, all!
"Those who've seen us, know that not a thing could come between us..."
- Rosemary Clooney and Vera Ellen, "Sisters" song, White Christmas