Female Friendship Is a Feminist Act
You don’t have to march at a rally to show your feminism (though it certainly doesn’t hurt): Lady-power starts with empowering fellow women in their time of need. Here, our writers share some of their favorite female-friendship moments …
“Really? I told you to download ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want’?” asks Anna, laying her set of Cynthia Rowley china on the counter in our new kitchen. “Was I drunk?”
“I don’t think so. You told me to download that and ‘Engine Driver.’ These cups are great, by the way.” The porcelain is illustrated with cartoonish naked ladies, dirty dishes printed on the bottom. “I thought it was really deep,” I tell her. “I wanted Sam, but I didn’t need him. You get what you need.”
“That’s hilarious. Sam.”
“Why did I like him?” I make room for the dishes in the cupboard.
“Oh, he was cute.”
“Yeah, he was.”
Anna and I met in the spring of my sophomore year, her junior year, of college. We were fast friends, commiserating over her heartbreak for her on-again-off-again guy and mine over a boy I wanted to date who thought of me as just a good friend. But it wasn’t until the following year—around the time I was dating Sam—that I realized Anna was the one who was sticking around. Despite different graduation dates, apartments at opposite ends of New York, my semester abroad, and the season I spent working at a regional theatre in Cincinnati, the years have only brought us closer. This August we finally moved in together.
Since high school, my dating choices have ranged from not-quite-right to airport-romance-novel ridiculous, and I think they’re slowly getting better. But my taste in friends has always been excellent. The guys, even when they’re pretty great, tend to disappear if things don’t work out. Anna and I aren’t planning to live together forever, but I’m pretty confident that whenever we do leave this apartment, the main thing I’ll loose will be those dishes—not her friendship.
– Lily Blau
Just this week a friend mentioned off-handedly that a woman had approached her on the subway, pointing out that her purse was naughtily pulling up her dress in the back. This made me consider all the times I’ve been stopped, always by a fellow lady, and informed of a slight wardrobe malfunction (of which there are apparently a lot). One woman in Philly literally chased me down the sidewalk to alert me that my shirt’s tag was sticking up. Though always a bit awkward, there’s something warm and motherly about these exchanges—female strangers grooming and fixing each other, making sure we’re walking around looking as non-ridiculous as possible.
– Julia Bartz
A Man’s Work
A Chicago event, the launch party for Bound to Struggle, a zine devoted to kink and radical politics. Hudson Cole doesn’t feel he’s out of place, but everyone else seems to think so. The others in the circle are watching him. A few are perplexed, more are suspicious, and some have outright resentment in their eyes. Cole looks around. He is the only guy in the discussion group. No, wait, there are a few other men, but they’re all transgender. As for straight white guys, he’s definitely in a camp by himself. Book by it’s cover, he doesn’t belong. Though not tall, Cole is broad-shouldered and handsome.With a shock of dark brown hair and an engaging smile, he looks like the all-American poster boy.
“I was really scared to talk,” Cole admits, thinking back on the event. But Bound to Struggle is right up his alley, its subject is one he knows a good deal about. Still, when he finally saw an opening to speak, Cole knew he needed to prove he wasn’t the typical straight white male.
“I needed to show some sort of awareness before I could even be allowed to have a voice in the group,” explains Cole. “It’s the same with sex writing.” And he would know. When he’s using the pen name Hudson Cole, it’s what he does.
Hudson Cole is an advice columnist, one of three regular columnists writing for the website Early 2 Rise (early2rise.net). His views certainly aren’t something he’s trying to hide. But they’re not what you’d expect to look at him.
Lingerie: Who’s It For, Anyway?
When things were not going well between my mother and father, she says, his best friend took him out to help him buy her a gift. An academic type, my father could have a very robust and seductive conversation on anything from Imperial China and the State Cult of Confucius to the connection between Marxism and the science fiction of H.G. Wells. But the art of romancing a woman with presents that would tickle her fancy eluded him.
Previous gifts to my mother included an Indian arrowhead he had excavated himself on a dig in the Southwest, a piece of turquoise from the same dig, and a silver necklace that wouldn’t lie flat. He desperately needed an upgrade in the luxury gift department. But his friend thought what my parents needed was to get their libidos buzzing.
My father picked out some intimate apparel. Or, rather, his friend did. Black, cheap, sleazy stuff, according to Mom. My mother is a chic woman, and being raised by nuns does not necessarily make you naughty or kinky. (How to explain the Kama Sutra I found in her drawer after she married the Italian trumpet player?) The black sleazy stuff did not improve their relationship, and, in fact, my parents soon—as soon as I was born — separated. (“Why, why that when he knew I’d rather have opera tickets?” she lamented.)
Underwear is very, very tricky.