I WROTE THIS IN 1998, BUT NOTHING MUCH HAS CHANGED EXCEPT THE NAMES OF THE IDIOTS IN CHARGE OF THE WORLD.

She’s right there, sitting next to you, and she’s got all the answers. In borrowed pajamas, reading your magazines on your couch while your new Reckless Red polish dries on her nails. Slumped on a naugahyde banquette in a funky lunch place whining about her haircut. In the next cubicle cursing like a stevedore. In the window seat on a flight to Chicago. Trying to cry unobtrusively in the bathroom during a cocktail party at the home of people you barely know. From this woman, all these women, you will learn almost everything important there is to know.

How to change jobs. How to become financially responsible. How to turn your hobby into a career. How to deal with your mother. Where to find your dream home. How to raise your kids. What to do about a horrible relationship. How to get your tomatoes to grow. What really happens when a deal is made. How to get the perfect arch to your eyebrow. What happens when we die.

You learn all these things from your women friends. Long-time, through thick-and-thin friends. And sometimes, 20-minute friends. The more you grow to value these friends, the more they have to give you. Yet as much as we shower affection and thoughts and gossip on our female friends, we rarely acknowledge their value as resources, and the value of our unique ability as women to exchange information.

It happens so naturally and constantly and without guile that we really don’t think of it as something happening. And yet it may be the most important thing going on.

In 1967, when Deidre showed up at the “look-see,” I looked, and saw a pal. She was 19, fresh from Florida, and had the kind of beauty people used to call wholesome. Brown eyes, light brown hair. Sweet, but with thinly disguised wickedness behind farmgirl eyes. More to the point, she had great hair, and that was what I needed.

I was 21, and way over my head trying to fake it as Advertising Manager for Redken Laboratories, a small (at that time) but promising hair products company.

Neither of us was smart enough at the time to be afraid of much of anything. What happened between us is what happens between women every day. We took one look at one another and decided in that moment we would connect. Without explanation or reason or rationale, we trusted. We recognized whatever signals we were exuding — dilated pupils or skin variations or scent or feature patterns or whatever the heck it is that someone is doubtless spending zillions on research right now trying to find out — and in seconds, it was decided. Yah! I like her! She’s funny! She’s smart! Her nails are a mess!

Within minutes, at the first photo session we did together, she had played the record just cut by her new boyfriend, which was on its way to becoming a top 40 hit. He later became her husband, then her pal, then the husband of our best mutual pal and after that the employee of my husband, but that’s another book. We shared life histories, as much as we had at that point. We commiserated about hair color. And we made plans to do more of the same.

Which brings up something anthropological that must be discussed here, because it is a key element in chick culture.

The cosmetological theory of human civilization.

Chimpanzees know this. Two-year-old kids know this. Every hairdresser and makeup artist in the world knows this, and may be really cranked that we’re revealing the secret here. Huge careers have been built on this simple principle, and very little more. (Maybe we should have called this the Jon Peters principle.)

When you groom someone, or allow yourself to be groomed by someone, your relationship changes instantly and fundamentally. The groomee is exposed and vulnerable. The groomer is in a position of trust and power. The result, aside from the groomee handing over $150 or so for the pleasure, is that an intimacy is established the minute hands hit scalp which allows the exchange of information with virtually no boundaries.

We joke about it and make bad movies about it, overlooking the fact that this is the cornerstone of human existence.

Women consider this ritual grooming a part of everyday life so normal, so expected, it’s entirely unnoteworthy. We riffle each other’s new perms. We pick mascara bits off each others’ faces. We brush imaginary lint off each others’ coats. We are, in fact, in league, in the most profound sense. Yet we are just starting to recognize and understand it.

Imagine, if you will, how the course of human events would be different if this power were to be recognized as a global force. Saddam Hussein, say, in a room with Bill Clinton and Tony Blair and Yasser Arafat and Benjamin Netanyahu. Everybody hugs. Not guy hugs, but chest-squeezing, cheek-smashing, squishy hugs. Benjamin, to Yasser: “My God, you look fantastic! You’ve lost weight, haven’t you? (They pat each other affectionately; Netanyahu straightens Arafat’s headpiece, and brushes his cheeks.) “And what are you doing with your skin, you adorable little weasel?” Bill Clinton chimes in, his arm around Saddam’s waist: “Guys, meet my new pal. Saddam. We’ve been talking for hours, and I can’t believe how much he knows about impotence! This guy is a walking encyclopedia! Not to mention that his tailor is a major genius. Do you love these epaulets, or what? God, I wish I could get away with this!”

Talk about new world order.


56 Comments

  1. Melsy says:

    MMM very Interesting Lynne!!!

  2. Destiny says:

    Totally love this!!! AND, it is a recap of my daily life in many ways lol. The world would be a very different way if men interacted in such a way, hey? Defiinitely a point that makes ya go “hmm..”. Love the pics of you and D, both so totally gorgeous, then and now.

  3. I love this, Lynne. I really admire the friendship the two of you share. I have to be honest, the her pal/husband married our pal and then worked for my husband part really peaked my curiosity. I would love to know how that all played out lol. Great little story, thanks for sharing! Xoxo

  4. kimberleo says:

    It’s at times like these I feel like such a dude. lol

  5. I love your blogs. That goes without saying. I have to admit, though, that I am going to have my woman card revoked any day now. hahaha

  6. stephl says:

    Isn’t is funny what an impact people can have on your life from the moment you meet them?! Reading about your relationship with Deidre, and getting involved with the Bowman Hall Facebook page makes me wish I had kept in touch with some girlfriends I used to have, I guess it’s never too late to reconnect, huh?!

  7. ellie says:

    I love this!! You’re such a good writer, Lynne. Love the choice of words you use – like Naugahyde. That’s great. I also love this because we can see your friendship with D today, and it’s so sweet to hear how it began. But most of all I love this blog entry because it made me think of a few of my friends with whom I had that instant connection. In fact, I had lunch about a month ago with a friend whom I believe I met on the playground in 2nd grade. Same thing – we looked at each other and we just knew this would work. Thanks for continuing to put into words the life experiences that so many of us have.

  8. Kelley Marie says:

    Love this! So true about the grooming. My mother was a hairdresser and it always amazed me how open and trusting people were of her (well, I am sure the fact that she is a wonderful person helped too). In fact, I loved the feel of being in the salon with her, which was in our home. When I had friends over my mother would let us wash eachothers hair in the salon. It was soooo much fun. I actually wanted to be a Hairdresser for that reason, but my mother said NO. You have to go to school and get an education. I guess her way of wanted something more for her kids. So I chose to go into counseling. I guess the next best thing. I also treasure my relationships with my girlfriends. I have some friends that I have had for 25 to 30 years and I am only 35. My best friend and I went to elementary school together, graduate school together and even shared an office at one time (what fun that was). Totally love this, thanks for sharing Lynne! Gorgeous photos.

  9. Noelle C says:

    Again, a beautiful, thought-provoking post. Your relationship with Deidre is an inspiration to me. I don’t think I’ve ever had the type of friendship you have had with her, but I’m still hoping to find it. I certainly count myself lucky to have found BH which is sort of like the proverbial beauty shop where we can sit around and discuss all that life throws at us. Too bad we can’t get some of those world leaders to “like” the BH page, too! 😉

  10. Ms. Jenny says:

    Lynne, can’t say it enough how much I love reading your blogs. Love hearing the story how you and D met all those years ago, makes me think of my childhood friend. Two small town girls from Missouri who started a friendship at the age of 4. Sadly into our high school years we fell apart. But two years ago we reconnected and love the fact we both live in Texas now. What were the odds! x

  11. Lynne says:

    Oh, yay. I just came back in from grooming Gloria and Miss Lace, and here you all were! Kelley Marie, do you ever wish you’d become a hairdresser anyway? I love that it’s becoming both a chic and a profitable way to make a living and do counseling at the same time. Plus, your patients leave looking way better. Thanks so much for all your thoughts, girls.

    • Kelley Marie says:

      Sometimes I do. They are really similiar in many ways, I know sounds crazy but true. I always leave my hairdresser feeling pretty on the outside which makes me feel good all around. My clients may not leave my office feeling pretty on the outside but I think most of the time leave feeling a little better on the inside, which will eventually shine on the outside.

  12. Rose says:

    I’ve heard of love at first sight. I’ve never heard of friendship at first sight, until now. When I talk about my sisters, so many people are in awe, and wonder what is it like to have so many sisters. I wonder what is it like to have a friend that’s not related to you. I don’t mean a pal, or an associate, but a real true friend. You and D have something special and rare. Cherish it, as I’m sure you do. That’s a beautiful picture of you, Lynne. I enjoy reading your blogs. (:

  13. anitra811 says:

    I really don’t even know where to start when it comes to my women friends. I guess the best thing to say is I am thankful to God for placing these magnificent creations in my life 🙂 I think of my very dearest friend, all the dark times I had in my life, and she never left my side. I really can’t say enough good about her. Then I have the friends who recently came in my life and I truly feel so blessed for these women who are there for me and in turn allow me to be a part of their lives.

    Now, I am getting mushy 🙂 See what you started, Ms. Bowman?? lol

  14. Blakley Huntley via Facebook says:

    This is the best! I am also with Kimberloo or whatever her name is over at the blog (having login issues on my ipad), it makes me feel like such a dude too. Not that I don’t love girlie stuff. I do. What I lack is patience…and gosh, a stylist would be great so I don’t ever have to think about any of it again either – not just when I am surrounded by my girlfriends. Did anyone read “Friends of a Certain Age” in the Sunday times?

  15. I don’t get the “I am such a Dude” thing, or “girl card revoked.” What am I missing?

  16. Hahahah…I’m Kimberleo (nickname and sign). I have many close friends, but don’t think I’ve bonded in the way described in the blog. I can dress it up with the best of ’em if I have to, but it’s not something I do on a frequent basis. It’s just not called for in my neck of the woods, I guess. I’ll still slap on some eyeliner, shadow, and mascara, but am most often seen in jeans, t-shirt, and ball cap. I can honestly say I’ve never had a pedi and haven’t had a mani in over 10 years. And typing all that out makes me feel a lot more Toby Keith than Reba. lol

  17. Larissa says:

    Right before I read this wonderful story, I had been visiting with one of my dearest girlfriends. I was telling her how much I enjoy your blogs! She and I have a friendship a lot similar to yours and Deidre’s. She and I knew from the first meeting that we would be instant and long lost friends. I honestly can say that I trust her with my life — and the funny thing is we have been friends under 2 years–we just have an amazing bond. I need to share your blog with her.
    Love the pics of you and Deidre, stunning. 🙂

  18. Larissa McDavid Bass via Facebook says:

    Really enjoyed this blog!

  19. Blakley Huntley via Facebook says:

    And I don’t really know how to explain why that is how I feel when I read that but it probably has more to do with being the only daughter of a man who spent a ton of time with me and a mother who tried too hard to make me girlie. I eventually rejected one for the other because that was what was most comfortable while the other was smothering. I grew up in a different parlour. It is not a bad thing to me and I am obviously attracted to what I missed out on or I wouldn’t hang around here. I have lots of great women friends but let’s just say I am not someone you would pick to be the maid of honor (or matron) at your wedding. As many of my closest friends will attest, my talents lie elsewhere. Like when your husband dies and you have three children under the age of 10 and you don’t know the passwords to your online banking and you can’t find your important papers and you are not employed I will come and stay a week and fix all of that for you and find the life insurance policies and call the whole world so you don’t have to think about it or worry for a second. I definitely need someone else to tell me if I can get away with an outfit and I don’t own a single bottle of nail polish. That doesn’t mean my girl card is revoked does it? Cause that is not how I see it.

  20. Sarah F says:

    I love your blog Lynne. I have a great freindship with my cousin who is 9 years older then me. We were never friends growing up she lived in the cities I was a country girl. When I got older I moved to the cities and started working. One Christmas she asked me to hang out and we have been best friends since. I have helped her go through cancer and I know she would do anything for me too. We have been roomates for about 10 years and it has been so much fun. Thanks for making me think how great it is to have a girlfriend like her in my life just like you and D!

  21. I think we bond over all kinds of things; dogs, horses, kids, mutual funds, REITs. And I dunno, Blakley; one of the things I used to say to brides was that Maids of Honor actually have duties and responsibilities and can be a huge help, so it’s good to pick one who can pick a lock or start a car or call the cops when needed. Not just some twit who will spend the whole time whining about her hemline. I don’t wear polish on my nails, either.

  22. On my toes, yes. Fingers, no.

  23. Blakley Huntley via Facebook says:

    ^^ same Lynne, my nails are a hot mess but the toes get done by professionals. I am trying

  24. Diana says:

    I love this!! I have a close circle of girl friends that I can not imagine my world with out and whom I have learned life lessons from! We bonded over hair cuts….trips to the mall…first boyfriends…careers..marriages and babies! I feel so fort

  25. Lynne says:

    Would love it if you would “share” this with your special pals. The subject of girl pals is fascinating to me, and it’s interesting to see a lot more women write about it. Tell me more about what you think!

  26. Diana says:

    Cont….feel so fortunate to call them friends!! And making new friends on BH has been awesome! Thank you Lynne for sharing this!!! I’m calling (actually texting) my BFF’s now!!!

  27. My sister didn’t get along with my Mom at all, and was a huge “tomboy,” as we called not-too-girl-girls in those days. She suited up when she needed to, though! Didn’t make her a bad egg. We bonded over food, kids, houses, husbands — all the usual stuff. And technology. And we started businesses together. We were still girls.

    • Aslan says:

      Wagner disse:E quem é vc para dizer quem se importa e quem não se importa ??Virou editor do blog ??Pq vc não gosta de ler a verdade sobre seus queridinhos norme-atericanos ??Não estamos avaliando quem matou mais. Não estou defendendo um fato do passado que tambem considero um erro.O FATO DA MATERIA É: OS AMERICANOS FORAM RESPONSAVEIS POR 200.000 MORTES ( além dos insurgentes). Cara, eu escrevo o que eu quero e quando eu quero e isso é problema entre eu e os editores. Minha ótica é problema meu.Cuide de sua vida.

  28. And she had gorgeous nails.

  29. michelle says:

    I love this post, Lynne! Well I love them all but this one, geez almost made me start crying(good tears) about my besties. I have known my best friend since kindergardten…we were in the same class and that was it…we were pals! 23 years later, shes always been more of another sister to me than anything. My kids consider her their aunt. We are so excited to have a year together when I move back to MI…same with my other girlfriend…we met in 3rd grade…she actually lives down the road from my parents so I get to see her and her little girl (and the twins she is pregnant with) all the time! We get to go on little girl weekends together and LOVE it!! And then there are all the ladies of BH…I cant thank you and Dee enough for bringing them into my life…such a great support system and man, can we gab about the best stuff ever!!!

  30. Jaz says:

    That was a lovely story Lynne and it’s nice to hear how you and Deidre met. Y’alls friendship has lasted a lifetime and I hope one day I have friendships who have equally lasted as long. I also would like to say that a lot of the friends that I hope are lifetime long, I met through the BH page and Deidre’s fanpage. I don’t know what I would do without my girlfriends.

  31. ClaudiaM says:

    How much do I love this!! So much. Thank you for sharing that Lynne. It reminds me of becoming friends with L in grade 1 and why we are still friends today. And becoming friends with Tina. It’s funny how that happens…sometimes you just turn a corner or walk into a room and there they are and as Anne of Green Gables would say you have found a ‘kindred spirit’. And also the other bonds, the shorter ones, when someone asks you for an opinion in a store, or at work, or just someone to talk to, and for a few minutes you are sharing. I love how you talk about all the little things along the way that are shared and become part of the unspoken bond. I think I’ve shared most…the window seat (I need it, lol) the pyjamas, the nail polish, the grooming, the ups the downs. It’s a gift to have friends that understand without words being spoken, or you open your mouth and you both say the same thing at the same time. How does that happen? You and Deidre are so lucky and so am I. (love the pics too, you are both beautiful).

  32. amandahawking says:

    Love this so much Lynne!!! Thanks for sharing your stories with us as always. I love that you immediately knew you’d be friends… I am lucky enough to have the most amazng friends that have started out just like this.. A instant rapport is how I actually explain to my friends in Oz about my new DH and BH friends. ‘ you’ve never meet them and your spending 4 days with them” they’ll say… instant friendships come do naturally when you have a huge thing on common. Ive sure you’ve heard this many times before from me and others but Thank you Lynne and D for allowing me to meet such wonderful new people. I feel lucky every day. You truly have started a wonderful thing Lynne. Xxxxxxx

  33. amandahawking says:

    Ohhhh and I love the photos. I’ve seen those ones of D when she was younger…Stunning.. but you my dear are simply gorg xx

  34. jules144 says:

    I know women can have great friendships. But I think as women we also need to have a discussion as to why we sometimes tear each other down, especially in the workplace. I work in banking and I’ve seen it happen more than once. It’s so hard for women to advance as it is.

    • Lynne says:

      Great idea, Jules. I’ve heard lots of women talk about this, in nursing and other places where there are tons of women. Would love to hear from all of you about this.

    • Diana says:

      For 7 years I worked with 18 women. Ranging in age from early 20’s to mid 60’s. Did we gossip about each other? Yes. Did we argue? Yes. Did we fight over promotions? Yes. I don’t know if I felt that we were tearing each other down?? I always felt like we were challenging one another. In the end between periods..pregnancies..and menopauses..we were always there for one another when one of us was in need, 99% of the time we worked as a team….I learned many lessons from this group of women…Perhaps because we worked for a social services type program?? and not a money making industry??

    • Destiny says:

      I work with women all day too, and I see this as well. Oy, women can be vicious sometimes! I think it’s often driven by insecurity, no?

  35. Chanda says:

    Just got back a short while ago from a night out with one of my “best-est ever” friends. We don’t get to spend time together often but when we do, it feels like I saw her yesterday. I have met many women of different backgrounds, at various times in my life and theirs, and even if we shared this journey for only a season, I consider myself lucky. You and Deidre always talk about the sharing between women and I know that I have received so much wisdom, knowledge and lessons from my girlfriends to get me through, that I can only hope that I am giving as much as I am receiving. I especially loved the end. How different would our world be if there were more women in control?? Hmmm. Another great post and I love the pictures; you’re both so beautiful. I’m hoping you have more of these to share with us.

  36. Okay, so while reading it over on the blog, I noticed that some people leave comments there through Facebook. It’s says via Facebook. How does that work??

    • Leigh says:

      Heather, we’ve enabled it to where if you comment on the blog on Facebook, that it will show up here as well. We want everyone to be able to see the comments on Lynne’s fabulous blogs!

  37. Chrissie says:

    Love the photos. Love this post. Love the way you write x

  38. TinaFunez says:

    Love love this blog post. Thank you so much for sharing this, Lynne. Xo

  39. K-sha says:

    Love this! You have such a way with words Lynne, hmmm another book in the future? I love the photos and totally LOL’d imagining the world leaders holding that conversation ha! Thanks again for sharing with us!!!

  40. Leigh says:

    Love everything about this blog. I’m fortunate enough to have a best friend that has stood beside me through thick-and-thin since we were in kindergarten. There have been some minor bumps in the road, but I couldn’t imagine my life without her. Even if I don’t get to talk to her everyday, it’s like a never-ending conversation with her. We’re all lucky to have such wonderful friendships and the ability to form ones like we have through Bowman Hall!

  41. It’s genius, isn’t it? Leigh added a “plug-in” to make that possible. So everything you post here, on FB, under the blog post link, is reflected on the blog page, too.

  42. It is!! I need to figure that one out.

  43. Parse error encountered on this one. Too bad, I was interested in all those secrets!

  44. LaurieandDeeAnn says:

    Thank you, Lynne! I have a group of friends that I so love and treasure! We talk about everything – fashion, men, movies, etc! I have a very special friend I have known since kindergarten! Even though we are on separate coasts, we talk and visit as often as we can!

  45. Kitten says:

    Love this one, it is amazing how some connections seem right at the time and others come undone ,My best friend from school is still my best friend today. I have made some wonderful friends online and been lucky enough to find a diamond in the rough when I had fall out with her cousin.just she didn’t live so far away,

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