“A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.” – Irina Dunn
My friend Karen made reference to that quote the other day, and I smiled when I read it. I immediately had a flashback to my sophomore year of college when my dorm mates and I adopted it as our unofficial slogan, since all four of us had hopeless crushes on guys who either barely knew we existed or were masters at mind games. We were even going to make tee shirts emblazoned with the phrase, complete with a drawing I had made of a fish riding a bicycle, toting the four of us along in a side car. We never actually made the tee shirts which, in the long run, probably helped my future dating life, lest I be branded a man-hater.
And I have to admit now I sure need my husband a whole lot more than a fish needs a bicycle. In my case, maybe I could change the analogy to “A woman needs a man like a fish needs that little snail who eats all the crud off the walls of the tank and makes the place a little less lonely.” But the spirit of sisterhood the original statement implies is still something I believe in…probably now more than ever. A woman needs her friends. Period.
I have amazing girlfriends. Funny, intelligent, big-hearted, supportive, do-anything-for-you amazing girlfriends. And I am lucky to not just have a few of them…I have a lot of them. For some reason, I must have been at the right place at the right time on several different occasions to acquire all these groups of women who at any given point in my life fill my bucket when too many things have been dipping into it. And they can each do it in a way that is special and unique to the certain bond that we have, be it our nostalgic high school or college experience, having kids in class together, our family ties, our shared love of music, all being married to fraternity brothers, or having worked side by side as colleagues. But they can also do it in a way that can not be matched because they are women, and we all share bits and pieces of a larger conscious, like Ralph Waldo Emerson’s over-soul: a conscious that allows certain things to go unconditionally understood.
Yet that does not keep us from sitting around a table of margaritas and Mexican food, talking about anything and everything for hours on end. My average girls’ night out dinner runs about three hours, and probably would go longer if we did not get such dirty looks from the wait staff who are trying to close up and go home on a Tuesday night. My husband has said on more than one occasion, “What do you talk about for that long? How do you sit in one place? I’d shoot myself in the eye.” Well, that’s how I feel about football, which is equally as long, not nearly as funny, and no one is wearing anything that I care to know where it came from so I can go get one for myself.
So yeah, girlfriends rock. To all my girlfriends, consider this my love letter to you. I thank each and every one of you for being in my life, for making me laugh way too hard, for talking me through things, for listening me through things, for having my back, for making me feel normal, for making me feel special, for inspiring me, for giving me role models to look to, for loving me for who I am, and for letting me know who you are. Because you are all beautiful. I feel honored to swim in your schools.
And to my husband, lest he feel slighted by this post: This fish may not need a bicycle, but I have never been a strong swimmer, and I much prefer the ride offered by your wheels.