June 8 is Best Friends Day, and I’d like to tell you about my best friend, Lou. She and I have known each other for almost thirty years, and we’ve seen each other through the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. About ten years into our friendship, I fell in love with Lou’s brother and in 2005 we became sisters. Lou coined a portmanteau for our unique relationship – frister (friend/sister).
I always laugh when people say things like “my new best friend” or “my other best friend”, because for me, there is only one. Sure, I have lots of other friends, but only Lou could ever qualify as my best friend. She is my person. The person who knows me better than I know myself. The person who would help me bury the bodies.
Beyond the usual qualities you look for in a friend – shared values, loyalty, intelligence, sense of humor, etc – Lou and I share a particular love of pop culture. We live, sleep, eat and breathe pop culture. We can talk about it for hours on end (quite literally), dissecting the amazing movie we just saw, discussing which Beatle is our favorite (hers is John, mine is George), recommending books to each other or creating playlists of mutually loved songs. We speak in movie quotes. We are always in the process of making lists – “favorite non-fiction books”, “best albums of the 80s”, “favorite character actors”, etc. The point is, we are both pop culture obsessives and it is one of the foundations of our friendship. I mean, we met while working at a retail record store, so it’s right there in our friendship’s DNA.
One of our main loves is music. In 1994, Lou and I moved together to the metro-Detroit area, and with that move came countless opportunities to see live music. From tiny venues like St. Andrews Hall to arenas like Pine Knob and The Palace of Auburn Hills, Lou and I had a plethora of choices, and we made the most of it, like two kids in a candy store. We love a lot of the same artists, so the only issue was how many tickets we could afford to buy that month (spoiler alert: the amount we spent was ALWAYS more than we could afford).
Back in the late 90s, when we started spending a significant amount of time on the world wide web, Lou and I could spend HOURS on IMDb, going down rabbit hole after rabbit hole. “Who was that guy in that one movie we loved?” “Oh yeah, THAT guy! Wasn’t he also in that other movie we loved?” We’d spend entire nights doing this. Up to that point, we had to rely primarily on our memories for this information, and having it all at our fingertips was astounding.
When Fight Club came out, Lou was working a lot on the weekends, and I went to see it with another friend. I told her how great it was, but she never saw it while it was in the theater. When I asked her why, she said “You think everything is great”, and I realized I hadn’t been effusive enough with my praise of the movie. From that point on (even to this day), Fight Club became shorthand for the highest recommendation possible, as in “This is a Fight Club-level endorsement”.
One of our favorite things to do is watch awards shows. We used to host Academy Awards parties, creating cocktails to go with the food we were preparing, watching the red carpet footage for hours. We used to drag our asses into work the next day, until finally we got smart and started taking the day off. We’d spend the day lounging, talking about our favorite gowns of the evening or how happy we were that so-and-so won in their category.
Back in 2007, our friendship was altered dramatically when Lou decided it was time to move where she’d always wanted to be, where the sun shines every single day – almost 2000 miles away. So, we have a lot of our pop culture conversations via text (“Are you watching Mare of Easttown?” or “I just watched Tenet and my brain hurts” or “I’m watching The Muppet Show on Disney+ and I still remember every word of the theme song”). We “watch” the Oscars together while we talk on the phone. We continue to make lists together, the most recent being “all-time perfect albums”. She gives me suggestions for my blog. We share trivia tidbits (“Did you know that Angelica Huston was supposed to play Iona in Pretty in Pink?”). We cast the imaginary movie adaptations of our favorite books (The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a relatively recent example). And we will always have the memories of the pop culture we’ve shared – wiping each other’s eyes in the bathroom after seeing Titanic, laughing together at Henry Rollins spoken-word shows, watching Dazed and Confused together for the millionth time, staying up all night playing Trivial Pursuit and listening to our favorite tunes (I was usually the DJ). I treasure every one of these memories, and I treasure the times with her that I can’t remember, too. She is the Lucy to my Ethel, the Romy to my Michelle, the Patsy to my Edina. She is my frister, my person, my very best friend. I love you, Lou.