There they were, the magic words. “You and a guest are invited …” Not only had I just scored a ticket to the world premiere of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, I could bring whomever I wanted. I was giddy with excitement. I’m not dating anyone seriously, a bummer for me and a boon to one of my lucky girlfriends. For one Saturday night in Los Angeles, we’d walk the red carpet with the droids, journey to a galaxy far, far away, then vino it up at the after-party.
Little did I know this coveted plus-one would turn into a twisted game of friendship whack-a-mole. Only I was the one who constantly got whacked. Lynn backed out right away. She felt guilty about missing her daughter’s fifth birthday. Andie said yes in a hurry. To cement the deal, I gave her my frequent-flier miles so she could jet in from New York. Less than a day before departure, she called me in a panic. “I got a travel advisory!” she exclaimed, pointing out the dangers of the California wildfires in the mountains. “I don’t want to be an irresponsible mother.” I pleaded; she doubled down on her decision to back out. As an eleventh-hour gesture, I asked Emily, a local friend. She was in — until her daughter fell at a birthday party a few hours before go-time. She needed stitches. The doctor was taking forever. So sorry!
There was only one empty velvet seat in that theater, and it was the one next to me. Luke Skywalker and Chewbacca could have been dancing in the Millennium Falcon, for all I can recall. I was too busy stewing to pay attention. I’m talking Stage 5 ball of rage.
It’s not just the premiere. It’s interrupted phone calls and abbreviated dinners to catch the early train home. The problem with being a child-free woman surrounded by mom friends is that you draw the short stick. The need to tend to a child will always take top priority. And it’s a futile effort to push back. Only a selfish monster would dare snap to a friend, “Blow off little Dylan and spend time with me!” Still, that’s exactly what I long to say to the Momzillas.
Just because I’ve never folded up a stroller or kissed a boo-boo doesn’t mean I’m emotionally expendable. Maybe I lack 24/7 maternal instincts, but I do grasp loyalty and dependability. I don’t like being taken for granted because I’m more flexible. Though, yikes, stitches.
I’m convinced we can reach a compromise in this tug of war. I like the idea of committing to a set girls weekend, where the big life-decision of the day is how much SPF to apply. My mom friends and I don’t see each other often, so time together should be valued. More important, I want them to remember that now that our lives are in different places, our relationship’s survival depends on how much we consider each other.
Look, there are zero villains in this situation. I don’t want to go to the dark side. But I fear I’m already there.
Everyone needs a girlfriend!
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