Sunday, June 5, 2011

I need some new friends

I have just watched the season premier of “Basketball Wives” and I’ve come to one conclusion: I need some new friends.

If you aren’t part of the cult-following, this cable reality show documents the lives of a group of women who are, were, were supposed to be, or are engaged to be married to a professional basketball player and/or the mother of a child or children of a player, corralled by Shaunie O-Neal, ex-wife of Shaquille O’Neal. The producers would have you believe that the showcased women, in addition to those on another cross-country reality series “Real Housewives” (I’m particular to those who live in Atlanta), exemplify grown-up, female relationships. Some of the women are put together by circumstance (they were all selected for the show), but many claim to be real-life friends. And, if these, are in fact, what mature females and their friendships look like, none of my friends match up to any of the basketball women or housewives.

I have a friend who lives in Atlanta, but when I went to visit her, she did not have a flamboyant, high-heeled gay friend coming over to do her hair and make-up, instead, her husband was there, cooking us a Caribbean dinner, with her kids and mine running around the house.

A friend who travels internationally on a regular basis, hasn’t yet bothered to take our group of friends on an all-expense paid trip abroad. This friend is also a wine connoisseur who probably has a secret wine cellar, but she has never invited us over to stomp on store-bought grapes.

Last week, I went to breakfast with a couple friends and they were dressed in yoga pants and a t-shirt, shorts and blouse, or something simple like that. Neither wore a $1000 low-cut dress and 4” platform heels. (Years ago, there was a woman in our playgroup who wore heels and dress pants for the hayride at the pumpkin patch, I’m not sure what happened to her. Maybe she went to find some better dressed friends.)

One of my friends had a reality show a few years ago. She wasn’t part of an ensemble cast of housewives – she was the housewife; the show was about her and her husband building their 50,000 square foot home in a ritzy part of the county. And not once, all season, did she invite us over for a wig party so we could get into a huge argument, talk about how unimpressed we were by the lighted pool that turned into fountain, or find out that her husband had sold his business, unbeknownst to her, and they were now broke.

Another friend lives in a beautiful house on a couple acres of land, but I think her husband pays the mortgage and car notes, so they aren’t getting foreclosed.

Some of my friends aren’t really “housewives” because they decided to use their college degrees and went and got jobs. Not useful jobs like fashion designer, shoe store owner, or wanna-be-recording artist. They have careers such as lawyers, nurses, writers, private bankers, and professors, employed at places like the State Attorney’s office, World Bank and NEA. One is the head-mistress of her own private school. Not useful at all.  (One of those working friends even has a live-in nanny, but she still bothers to talk to her children and have dinner with them.)

A group of my friends have been together for years, we met through a mothers’ group so our kids would have someone other than us to play with. We semi-regularly go out for dinner and drinks, and over the course of about 10 years, I don’t recall a time when anyone threw a drink at another or revealed that she slept with another’s husband. And certainly, no-one has cursed out another and then printed up t-shirts to tell the world about it.

So that’s my bunch of friends. Their husbands (who also happen to be the father of their children) cook dinner and pay the mortgage. They wear cute, affordable clothes and talk to their children. They don’t fight each other and have professional jobs. They cheer on their kids at soccer games and swim meets, they help them sell enough Girl Scout cookies to earn a cruise. They call me and talk to me about things other than each other. We get together for celebrations - or for no reason at all. They are nothing like the “real” women on TV.

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