An Overdue Thank you

By Iraz Akkus 

Dear Jamon, Three Musks, Motorhomies, Arm Bands, Crownside girls and my trusted confidants, this is for you <3.

For some time, I have been finding it incredibly hard to put into words what my female friends mean to me. I’ve spent hours interviewing my gal pals, showering them millions of questions, reading books like Dolly Alderton’s ‘Everything I Know About Love’, articles on ‘sisterhood’ and how having a stable girl group is literally scientifically proven to elongate your life-span. All creating some sort of mish-mash, Frankenstinian description to represent the phenomena that exists for those lucky enough to experience the love of girlfriends. 

Alas in my eyes it was still wholly incomplete and my hunt continued.

This phenomenon has been in the limelight for decades. Well-known books like ‘Women are from Venus, Men are from Mars’, have successfully led the way in setting out the difference of female companionship as figuratively, and arguably literally, being worlds apart from that of mens’ (no hate boys, I’m sure you got it good too…). More discussions have also been sparked from our favourite shows and series, like Maeve and Amy (even thinking about their bus scene makes me tear up…oh and also ‘IT’S MY VAGINA’). 

There has been increased focus on what many have dubbed, ‘platonic love’ or ‘platonic soulmates’, which untill recently I didn’t know was derived from (Plato)nic origins meaning “love between people could be so strong as to transcend physical attachments”. Though I agree there is no sexual characteristic behind my female friendships (sorry Grace), this labelling seems like a weak representation of what it feels like to be in a tightnight female friendship group. Doing so would feel like pouring an entire ocean into a shot glass.

Over-time what started to set out my friendships with my women was their almost-psychic ability to anticipate. Anticipating my moods, what I might need, how I might be doing or react felt like we all had a built-in anticipation-radar. There is a heart-throbbing intent to want to understand, to listen and relate. That’s why you almost always see women facing each other when they talk, with a slight lean in and the constant head nod in agreement; it has been ingrained in us since our primary school sleepovers, when sharing our secret crushes playing “kiss, marry, kill” was the absolute centre of our universe. Our ‘emotional toolbox’ for instance, learning to be open and intimate, became the tricks of the trade of being a decent gal pal. Where boys would usually sit side-by-side doing some sort of activity driven event, like watching football or rugby, on the whole, meeting my girlfriends rarely ever included having, or importantly needing, a background activity.  

You just meet and talk freely, or yap infinitely if your name is Natasha Arora, and I can hand on heart say that is a level of support that has not been replicated by anyone else for me. It is definitely profoundly different to my friendships with my guy mates. Maybe it’s down to biology, or our shared experiences?  

So, if X marks the spot then, X is wherever they are. X is the shoulder you cry on when you really thought it wouldn’t get any better, X is the phone calls late at night with the same exact issues I’ve had for the last decade, X is the bottle of much needed wine shared, the champagne to celebrate all the small milestones, the rock bottom cigarette, the ugly confessions. Perhaps it’s a cliche and cringey trope but being surrounded by my female friends has taught me much more about life. It just has. It has taught me gratitude, safety, companionship and love that is immeasurable when put into competition with that of my boy (space) friends.  

Though this still seems like an open cold case, with infinite new leads, it does lead to one plausible conclusion. There is something rather ineffable and irreplaceable about the place female friendships hold. For me, they sit right in the centre of what makes my life utterly worth living. Being able to feel, truly and deeply without fear of never being able to drag myself out of it, be it crushing heartbreak or simply seriously wrong hair colours, there is no one else I could or want to do it with. 

So my two pence is to go and thank your gal pals, go irritate them with clingy acts of love because as much as I tell my flatmate Sheena to get off me, I secretly love her dwarfish hugs.

P.S I love you.

P.P.S I can’t believe I have written something for a boy before all of you.

P.P.P.S Flo I knew this would make you cry.


Iraz reflects on her heartwarming female friendships and the companionship they have brought her.


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