So on Wednesday we discussed female animal friendships—they’re real and they’re deep.
To observe such relationships, anthropologists will travel into the wild to observe animals in their natural habitats.
As the wannabe Jane Goodall of friendship, I too have ventured out to study my subject. And I’ll tell you, there’s no better place to watch friends do their thing than at the nail salon.
I took a solo trip to get a manicure the other day, and, honestly, I could have stayed there forever. It’s a really fascinating place–pairs or groups of BFFs come in, settle into their comfy massage chairs, and talk about their biggest problems and innermost secrets at full volume, as if no one else can hear. Even when the chair next to them is holding someone (namely, me) who is pretty obviously listening in.
Mostly, women gossip. Nails salons are, as far as I can tell, the female version of the barber shop. Sitting quietly, you’ll learn of someone’s dating woes, marital woes, work woes, friend woes. You’ll likely hear her opinion on Kim Kardashian, what she’s doing this weekend, what she did last weekend, and who she did it and is doing it with. The other places where these conversations take place are probably the phone and a restaurant, and in both cases it’s hard for someone else to listen in. Not impossible, but it takes work.
At the nail salon, you have to work to not listen. Perhaps it’s that having someone massage your feet or hands relaxes you just enough. Or maybe it’s the relative quiet of the room. Whatever it is, something is making women open up and share what’s on their mind. All while someone applies Ballet Slippers to their pinky toe.
If you’re ever wondering what other BFFs dish about on their downtime: go get a mani-pedi. Do what I do, call it research. Then tell me: What about these salons makes women feel as if they’re the only two in the room? Don’t get me wrong – I love it. But I’m definitely curious why BFFs will say anything they want in when getting their nails did, but suddenly on a plane, or at a larger gathering, not so much.
I had a great time reading from MWF Seeking BFF at Miller-Coors today as part of their Building Relationships and Empowering Women Initiative! It’s so wonderful to talk with groups of women about the importantance of making time for friends.