He. Makes. Me. Feel. Fabulous.
And he’s gay, so not in the way you might think.
I’m talking about my old grad school buddy, Andrew. Everybody needs an Andrew.
I’ve previously written about Patrick, my fairy godmother when I first moved to Chicago as a twenty-something. Patrick took me from Ohio college grad to sophisticated Chicago maven in a matter of months. He was my hair stylist but really so much more.
In similar fashion, Andrew is a fairy godmother of sorts; he’s the mojo master.
Mojo is a necessary component in today’s world. Lose your mojo and you lose your forward impetus, that spark that draws people to your inner flame.
I’ve had it in droves some days and looked at an empty well on others. No matter—Andrew always sees me as my best possible self. So much so, that on the days the well runs dry, he can have me pumped up in no time.
I’m sure you must have a friend like this. Surely. If not, it’s a crying shame. Really.
In my seven-workouts-per-week days, Andrew shopped with me. As I tried on the size fours that were always in plentiful supply on the sale rack, he helped me choose the most flattering cuts, the most luxurious fabrics. In my “now”—my I’m-lucky-to-squeeze-in-four-workout days—Andrew still shops with me. I’m no longer a size four (child bearing tends to somehow broaden the hips in my family—curse the genes) but he still thinks I can rock just about anything. As he shows me a skirt I think is a few inches too short, he assures me I’m up to it. I’m not so certain, but I love knowing someone thinks I can sport it. He is the antidote to my feeling that sometimes they’ve secretly installed funhouse mirrors in the dressing rooms.
At a recent lunch together, he said to me, “Beautiful, you’re going to do just fine. In grad school, I always thought you were the next Madeleine Albright. Still do. You just took a detour for marriage and kids.”
How do you feel bad about yourself when someone who knows all your foibles tells you that?
Andrew noshes with me, shops with me, laughs with me, mourns with me. We talk family, friends, struggles, joys. In the same way that I held him steady with my gaze when he came out to our grad school class as a gay man, he holds me steady at a time in midlife when I can feel a bit uncertain at times. My body changes. My kids grow. The sands shift, as they always do. Through it all, Andrew holds a steady vision of me in his mind. Which helps to anchor me when my vision blurs.
As I pondered our friendship the other night, I was thinking that all of us should really be an Andrew for our besties. When is the last time you told your most loved what it is that makes you love them? None of us hear it enough. Everybody should feel like a rock star at least one day a week, right?
On our last shopping trip, as we trotted down Michigan Avenue, I bemoaned to Andrew the fact that I was not working out with the regularity I wanted—and felt like it showed. As I saw his attention wandering, I asked him to come back down to earth and tune in.
“What? Huh, babe? Sorry, but that guy over there checking you out is just delicious.”
Bless you, my friend. Bless you.