“We like to chat about the dresses we will wear tonight, about our tresses and the neighbour’s fight…inconsequential things that men don’t really care to know…become essential things that girls all find so apropos…it’s all been planned, just take my hand, please understand the sweetest girl talk…”
Girl Talk, composed by Neal Hefti in 1965, was the first jazz standard that the quartet tackled, and it is still one of my favourites. Although trying to choose a favourite song is like trying to choose a favourite child – it changes depending on which one you most identify with on a particular day. But I love it because girl talk with my favourite ladies is one of the great joys in my life. Six of us celebrated my birthday the other night as we regularly do with each other – dinner and a movie – and as I looked around the table it occurred to me that I was deriving as much enjoyment from watching them enjoy each other, maybe more even, then being part of the conversation myself. And I reflected that 8 years ago this would not at all have been the case.
Close friendships in my early thirties, though satisfying in many ways, were marked by a jealous guardedness – I was afraid to share. I suppose that four babies in five and a half years could account for a little bit of hormonal choas, anxiety and general emotional instability, but I think that the insecurities I kept so carefully at bay before the babies were heightened, and grew insidiously, the frenzy and pace of that season providing a fertile soil. In so many ways I’ve grown along with the babies. Now the baby of the babies is in kindergarten and my paradigm has shifted from home and playdates and coffee and more discretionary time to schedules and practicing and making time for conversations about life with these cogent little thinkers, investing more time in my own soul…and friendships are all about intentionality now. Intentionally choosing those people who challenge and encourage me, who bring out the best in me. But also intentionally delighting in sharing my friends’ friendships.
C.S. Lewis captured this in an essay on friendship in The Four Loves. He is reflecting on the sudden passing of his friend Charles Williams, who was one in a close circle which included J.R.R Tolkien.
“In each of my friends there is something that only some other friend can fully bring out. By myself I am not large enough to call the whole man into activity; I want other lights than my own to show all his facets. Now that Charles is dead, I shall never again see Ronald’s [Tolkien’s] reaction to a specifically Charles joke. Far from having more of Ronald, having him “to myself” now that Charles is away, I have less of Ronald…In this, Friendship exhibits a glorious “nearness by resemblance” to heaven itself where the very multitude of the blessed (which no man can number) increases the fruition which each of us has of God. For every soul, seeing Him in her own way, doubtless communicates that unique vision to all the rest. That, says an old author, is why the Seraphim in Isaiah’s vision are crying “Holy, Holy, Holy” to one another (Isaiah 6:3). The more we thus share the Heavenly Bread between us, the more we shall have.”
And our girl talk, shallow or deep, silly or serious, is all the sweeter.