Friday, August 10, 2012

Memoir: MWR seeking BFF, Author: Rachel Bertsche, Memoir: How To Be A Woman, Author: Caitlan Moran

Unforeseen Destination

Most of you are probably familiar with the Debutante Ball website. If you aren’t, it’s a site where 5 ladies who are going to have a book debut, blog together for a year.

One of the ladies this go round is Rachel Bertsche. Her book, a memoir, came out in December of 2011 and is titled: MWF seeking BFF

(If you don’t know what that means – MWF = married white female and BFF = best friend forever.)

The blurb about it on the db website says: meeting people everywhere from improv class to friend rental websites, she’ll go on fifty-two friend-dates, one per week for a year, in hopes of meeting her new Best Friend Forever.

I haven’t read it yet but I plan to. In part because I like memoir; in part because I enjoy Rachel’s posts on the db website; and pertaining to this blogpost, in part because finding friends is challenging for me.

Friends outside of cyber space, I mean.

Over on Reinventing Fabulous, Krissie’s last 2 posts have been about friendship. At the end of the first one she asks this question about friends: “How do you find new in a town where you already know everyone and most of them find you a little odd?”

The, everyone-finds-you-a-little-odd, always rings true for me.

I love things that affirm that I am not alone in this. I am reading a book right now that does that.

The book is: How To Be a Woman by Caitlan Moran and it is so good. I found it because it’s recommended by Jenny Lawson, The Bloggess, who wrote the fabulous book; Let’s Pretend This Never Happened.

Caitlan says of herself at fifteen: “I still don’t have any friends, either. Not one—unless you count family, which obviously you don’t, because they just come free with your life, wanted or not…”

She goes on to say that she isn’t alone because she has books, tv and music. She’s 35yo in 2011, so, in the 20 years since she was 15yo, we have also developed the whole spectrum of social media on which to make friends.

“All art is someone trying to tell you something, I realize. There’re thousands of people who want to talk to me, so long as I open their book or turn on their show…It may be bad information or a misconstrued tip—but at least you are getting some data on what it’s like out there…You are getting input.” How To Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran

I am so grateful for the internet. I can’t imagine how isolated and alone I would feel without it.

I’d be okay, though. Because I would still have BOOKS.

“Books seem the most potent source: each one is the sum total of a life that can be inhaled in a single day.”
“And every book, you find, has its own social group—friends of its own it wants to introduce you to, like a party in the library that need never, ever end.” How To Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran

So anywho – as a result of reading this book, for a time anyway, I don't feel like the only friendless weirdo in the world.

I feel I have to disclaimer here. I’ve picked out some bits of this book because friendship was on my mind.

This book is a memoir by a very, very funny feminist. It discusses such subjects as Caitlin’s ongoing search for the right words to call her vagina and her breasts.

For the record – she landed on ‘cunt’, a much maligned word which I happen to like better than most of the current slang words for my ‘lady garden’ – 'lady garden' being Jenny Lawson’s choice of words.

Do you have friends? Do you and your friends discuss the proper name to call your lady parts?

Wow, when I started this blogpost I never thought it would end up where it did.


  1. LOL! Actually, I'm more likely to discuss what to call lady parts with my critique partners. (We finally settled on whatever your character is comfortable with--the important thing being to stay in character.

    1. Yeah - that's always a question with me, too. In the novel I just shelved, she had fuck buddies. It was a significant thing. It bothered me whether I would offend people with that wording. But then I read a book where the term was used several times and it didn't bother me.
      Whacha gonna do?

  2. I have many, many acquaintances. I have people I smile at and say hello and oh, how is so-and-so doing? I don't have people I call on the weekends and say do you want to go to a movie or get a drink? But it's my fault, not theirs. Because I think some of my acquaintances would, in fact, go see a movie with me. I just always feel as if I'm somehow stepping out of line and intruding in their lives if I ask. Prison of my own making, really.

    1. I'm that way, too but it's partly because I've been burned so many times. I make the effort and then 2 months in I realize, this person likes alcohol way too much for my comfort level or some such thing.

    2. Having a BFF takes forever - as the word implies and it is about taking the time to notice and support another person in many ways. This relationship may wax and wane and that's OK. I have found new friends and kept old friends, as long as their need level isn't real high. My friends have changed with my job and child raising, I don't consider anybody out unless that needs to happen. The internet does help me keep in touch. And I have to continue to put myself out there, initiate contact and invite.

    3. Valid points, Jane. And sometimes one crosses the cyber line into phone call territory. I have really appreciated the conversations we have had!

  3. I also enjoyed the truth in those discussions over at Reinventing Fabulous. Most of us are in the same boat: many acquaintances, few real friends.
    While I do believe in the saying that to have friends you have to be a friend, it seems I never have enough time to be a friend. A REAL friend. Maybe this is a sign of our times? Instead of chatting over the neighbor's fence we chat online. The only problem is for the most part our online friends remain unknown (except for their thoughts and maybe an avatar that is from years gone by) and so we go backward in time to being strange young kids with imaginary friends. But those friendships also have their place. I recieved great comfort from my imaginary friends, and now from my internet friends. Which reminds me, I'm getting updated photos next week. : )

    1. Looking forward to your new picture, Robena! Judging by what you posted from RWA, it will be beautiful, as you are beautiful.

  4. I couldn't have stumbled across this post at a better time, I too have been thinking about friends and my lack of them lately.
    I was set off when my bf had a phone call and I just assumed the person wanted something, I was actually surprised to find out that they had called just to say hello. It's kind of depressing that I find that so surprising lol
    I feel better knowing that others are in the same boat though :-)
    Delia- I do the exact same thing

  5. Kris - You know I think it's somehow easier for men. I don't know why. I see my son-in-law always chatting with friends with nicknames like Slim or Boomer, though.

  6. I've definitely been blessed in the friends department. About 8 good quality people in Montreal (one I would call a BFF), and then one BFF in Toronto, and my 4 family members out here on the coast. And now there's a budding friendship with "Harvey." When I went back to school I avoided making new ones... though I did make one anyone.

    But the majority of these were made at a large format bookstore--it attracted intelligent and interesting people. Ridiculously easy to make friends.

    And none of these people have had children yet (except Harvey, but her daughter is now 12.) Having children must make a difference.

    And now I have so many great frogs, I don't feel lacking in friendship here in Nanaimo.

    I wish my friends were called Slim or Boomer, though. However my male friends are definitely more prone to use nicknames, including for me.

    1. I know, right. I have a sort of a nickname. No one knows why but when my gdaughter was around 2 yo she started calling me 'Washers'. We have tried in vain to figure out why and if she remembers, which she says she doesn't, she was too young to vocalize it well.
      Anywho it spread to my gson so I am frequently called Washers. I like it. They made up their own name for me.

    2. LOL!! I like JJJ, but Washers is excellent too. Makes you sound like a 1930s Chicago mobster. Like something from Damon Runyon.