DAME’s Friendkeeper tells a woman how to respect her relationship with a celeb pal when everyone else wants a piece too, and helps another shut down a critic.
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One of my close friends is someone who is, well, sorta famous. Like, you’d probably know her name if I mentioned it. We’ve been friends for years, since before she began getting recognized on the street, so sometimes I forget that she’s kind of a big deal. But the problem is, nobody else does. My other friends and acquaintances are always asking about her. “Are you bringing so-and-so to dinner?” “Has so-and-so told you what happens on the next episode of her show?” “Is so-and-so really dating [insert celeb name here]? I read it in US.” And it seems like someone always has something they want me to ask her. “Do you think so-and-so would want to come to the benefit I’m hosting?” “Could you ask so-and-so to wear this piece of jewelry I designed?” It never ends! I’m not going to stop being friends with my friend, but I can’t deal with being the middlewoman to everyone’s starfucking behavior. It seriously bugs. What can I do?
I remember one time I was in a bookstore and I was moving a pile of my books from a back remainder shelf to a front table and one of the employees came up and said (sounding really annoyed to try and cover her excitement of seeing a major celebrity), “Let me guess, you’re Julie Klam.” So I suppose what I’m saying is that I know from whence you speak. Okay, maybe I’m not Madonna but I do have a lot of friends in that world and I think this aspect of celebrity sucks for them and for their kids and their friends. I talked to someone I know who is married to a pretty big star and her advice was really smart: “Being a celebrity is your friend’s job and like everybody else, they like to not think about work when they socialize. And asking an actor on a TV show to reveal plot lines is like asking a shrink to talk about their patients. They could get in a lot of trouble for doing it and it’s also nice to leave your job and not have to think or talk about it all the time. As far as the favor asking, would she ask her friend the lawyer to write up a divorce agreement for another friend? How about asking her friend, the dentist, to fill the teeth of somebody who she’s never met, because she’s a friend of yours?” True dat. So what do you do? I’ve been in the position where someone has had a great script to pass on to someone I’ve met on a few occasions. My response was, “If I had a great script for him, I wouldn’t ask to give it to him.” As far as the jewelry designer, two words: PUFFY SHIRT. And the other thing you can say when they ask for favors? “No.”
Last week I was shopping with a friend of mine and when I picked up a cute, albeit slightly short dress to try on, she rolled her eyes and said, “Oh, we’re too old to wear that.” It wasn’t long after that she looked at a pair of slim-fitting cigarette pants and said wistfully, “I really love these. Too bad we’re too fat for them!” To which my immediate response was, “Speak for yourself!” Except I said it only in my head because I was so off-put that she was lumping me in with her weird parameters and self-judgments. This was the first time it had truly bothered me, but I realize it’s a pattern with her. Like if we’re out to dinner at a burger place and someone suggests ordering a delicious side of onion rings, she’ll say, “We really shouldn’t.” Same if we’re out drinking…another beer? “Oh, we should be good with one.” Sure, maybe she is, but I however, would like another beer, and those onion rings, and I’ll wear whatever I damn well please. I’m not even sure she realizes she’s doing it, but this “we” business is making me bonkers! How can I reclaim my autonomy without hurting her feelings?
Me, Myself, and I
You’re a good person because you see that these are her “weird parameters and self-judgments” and don’t take them on. When that happens to me, all I think is “Oh my god, my ass is as fat as hers?” Because, you know, I’m a bad person. I really believe your friend wants to feel less alone with her self-worth issues, but she’s seriously raining on your parade. I remember a friend telling me that I shouldn’t part my hair in the middle because that’s for “young women with flawless faces.” Imagine that echoing over and over and over…. She actually told me, “That ship [the one with the hair parted in the middle] had sailed.” And I remember thinking, “Actually, the only ship that sailed is the one with my self-esteem on it.” Also the ship that had me not choking her. That ship sailed also. Anywho! I always go back to the lovely and talented Helen Mirren and her red bikini. She fucking wore that and looked amazing and I am fairly certain that what made her do it was someone around her saying, “My god, you are breathtaking.” Because what enables us to strut our stuff is feeling good inside. And I believe except for a very slim portion of the population, that most of us are our severest critics and I sure as hell don’t need anyone helping me feel fat and old. That is why it’s important to shut down the voices that say “No you can’t.” And it’s your friend’s issue. I would simply say, “We are not the same person, and I don’t feel that way, and I really shouldn’t have to defend to a friend that I look and feel okay in what I choose to wear.”
Got a platonic problem of your own that could use the Friendkeeper’s advice? Fire away: [email protected]. No situation is too uncomfortable or too small and all details are kept confidential.
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