Single-Minded: Why Girlfriends Don't Need a Holiday

While the sentiment is nice, the last people who need a special appreciation day are your girlfriends.

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Essence magazine dubbed April 13 Girlfriend Appreciation Day in recognition of previously unappreciated BFFs everywhere (and the magazine's first-ever "girlfriends" issue). But something tells me Hallmark won't be cranking out more Mahogany cards anytime soon.

Cynicism is an almost involuntary reaction to made-up holidays, for me at least. Barring Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day, which is basically nationally sponsored truancy, most secular-saints days are created to promote a cause that would otherwise go unnoticed. From the serious (Jan. 11 is Global Human Trafficking Awareness Day) to the somewhat illegal (National Pot Day is April 20), put a cause in quotes in front of a day and you've got yourself a movement. Maybe.

On Wednesday, Essence encouraged its readers to do something extra special for their besty -- whether it's a spa treat, a trip to the mall or dinner at her favorite restaurant. Funny thing is, before I even realized that I was supposed to do something special, I'd already fired off a text to one of my closest chicas.

Busy with a deadline and more than a few dates, I've been werewolfing myself the past few weeks, and she's on her way out of town. Without even thinking about it, I proposed cheap drinks at our favorite margarita hole in a text message with way more exclamation points than are grammatically correct. Her response? "We haven't been there in forever because you've been getting so much good stuff lately that you forgot about me :p." Either Essence editors are psychic, I've been subliminally prebrainwashed -- or maybe BFs really are forever.

But with all the hours (especially the happy ones from 5 to 7) you and your girls already clock, do you really need a special day to commemorate your friendship? Unlike mothers and fathers, whom too many of us need a date to appreciate, besties are usually entrenched in our daily routines. Whether it's a two-line email, a quick text or an all-day G-chat session, BFFs usually take up the better part of any given day. At least for us single ladies. I'm sure a husband or a baby would eat into anyone's girl-on-girl time.

The point is, the bond between BFFs is something I've never been able to wrap my brain around, let alone spend a day commemorating. My girls and I are more than chocolate-dipped Carrie Bradshaw clichés. On its website, Essence magazine extolled the 40 reasons homegirls are must-haves. From having your back and letting you borrow clothes to cursing out anybody for calling you out of your name, the list was almost hysterically in opposition to one I'd make.

Sure, your female friends can be great cheerleaders, sounding boards and comedic geniuses, but life is not an episode of Girlfriends. One of my closest friends has crazy, bag-lady taste in clothes (No. 3 on the Essence list). Yet she refers to any thrift shop find as a Helena dress because I drag her to vintage stores as often as she drags me to Anthropologie, which I swear dresses rich, homeless women.

This same woman tried to tame my natural hair with a bottle of body lotion when we were 13, so No. 17 ("They're the best hairstylists") is a no-go. I also hate traveling with my other besty (No. 7) because she has to eat every two hours and everyone has to stop whatever they're doing to find this chick some french fries because you won't like her when she's hungry. Another one of the girls I'm totally and platonically in love with is not only a horrendous wing woman (No. 18), but she has also co-signed on some of the crappiest relationships I've ever had (No. 8).

The women I consider my girlfriends (not my work friends or my head-nod-at-the-spot friends) are just there. At some point three, 10 or 20 years ago, these smart women decided to invest in the running stock ticker of my life, and I've been grateful ever since. I absolutely refuse to purchase a card with two silhouettes drinking cosmos on the cover. Instead, we'll down one in real life and try to take over the world like we do every Wednesday.

Helena Andrews is a regular contributor to The Root and author of Bitch Is the New Black, a memoir in essays. Follow her on Twitter.

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