BFFs: Why are women so bad at friendship?
Recently, Victoria Beckham caused a froth among tabloids and gossip blogs when she celebrated her 34th birthday over dinner with Eva Longoria Parker and Kate Beckinsale. Why didn't she invite Katie Holmes, a nation wondered. The absence of Holmes -- Posh's BFF with matching bob and gargantuan sunglasses for the last year or so -- was widely reported and analyzed and over-analyzed. It was the snub heard around the world. Forever just isn't forever anymore.
"In society, women's friendships are always thought to be steadfast and impervious," says Liz Pryor, author of "What Did I Do Wrong: When Women Don't Tell Each Other the Friendship is Over." "We have these images of great girlfriends like Lucy and Ethel and Thelma and Louise."
Nowadays, the notion of link-armed Laverne and Shirley has been replaced by Paris glaring at Nicole. Or Heidi Montag refusing to be photographed within spitting distance of ex-BFF Lauren Conrad. Lindsay Lohan reportedly snapped at Ashley Olsen with the ferocity of a lioness last week in New York, when the starlet approached Lohan's new BFF, Samantha Ronson. But perhaps it's all for the better. Maybe these feuding and fiercely protective friends make more accurate role models than those musty, bygone tokens of sisterhood.
Haven't you ever bickered with a bestie? Or felt the sting of a friendship ulcer when you introduce two pals and later find out that they're planning a road trip to Baja and forgot to include you? ¿Qué?
Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned -- for another woman. Why else would there be dozens of soothing, pastel pink and purse-sized books geared to keeping BFFs from becoming BEEs (bitter eternal enemies)? Last year saw the publication of "The Friend Who Got Away: Twenty Women's True-Life Tales of Friendships that Blew Up, Burned Out, or Faded Away." Add that to the arsenal of self-help manuals like "Secrets and Confidences: The Complicated Truth About Women's Friendships" and "Between Women: Love, Envy, and Competition in Women's Friendships." There's even a "The Friendships of Women" workbook. What's next: "Gal Pals for Dummies"?
Oh, and apparently, men don't need to read up on making nice with their friends. They get angry at each other, throw a kidney punch and call it a day. Compared with the plethora of literature for women, only one somewhat recent book -- "The Company You Keep: The Transforming Power of Male Friendship" -- explores why dudes need dudes. (Interestingly enough, a 2005 study by the Pew Internet Project found that men tend to use the Internet mostly for news and jobs, while women are more apt to rely on it to maintain friendships and form new ones.)
"Women go into relationships too fast and too furiously with other women," says Pryor. "They need to slow down."
But slowing down could have its consequences. A study from Harvard Medical School found that the more friends a women has, the less likely are her chances of developing physical impairments as she ages.
Oh, dear. That means Paris Hilton could live forever. Right now on parisbff.com, thousands of people are vying to befriend the socialite and land a role on her upcoming reality series, "Paris Hilton's My New BFF." Got great listening skills or a knack for bolstering a pal with the blues? Forget it. Casting directors at MTV are seeking "hot" babes and "Fabulously Fierce Guys" who are "at least the age of 21 and appear under 30" for the show. Well, so much for friendship.
That's OK. We'll always have the upcoming "Sex and the City" movie. Watch Carrie and Miranda coo over wedding dresses. See Samantha make Charlotte choke on her frittata with her dirty talk. Girlfriends! Who's ready for another round of Cosmos? Wait. Could it be true that these actresses squabble like hungry chinchillas behind the scenes?
She who is without fault can cast the first Choo.
photos: Holmes and Beckham, Wire Image; Book cover, Free Press.