I'm not a very girly girl, which is not to say I'm mannish. Most days I feel... gender neutral, I guess. I just think that on a moment to moment, day by day basis, I don't fit easy gender stereotypes. I'm equally as likely to be working on a new embroidery project as I am to be in the (mostly female-free) audience for a revival of The Wild Bunch on the big screen at the Egyptian.
Yesterday, though, I had a wonderfully girly day. Silly, pointless female things, like getting dressed up and wearing makeup, were not part of the equation, and instead my friend Lucy and I had a great, grownup girl day.
We started off by making jam. (Martha Stewart would be very proud.) Sean had cleaned, pitted, measured out, and frozen enough of our summer plum crop to make four last batches when the weather cooled off, and yesterday was the day. Lucy had never made jam before and was excited to learn. Her dad, who apparently loved the jars of jam I sent home with her over the summer, was even more excited than she at the prospect of getting his hands on a supply of homemade preserves, and he offered me what was basically a bribe: wild Alaska salmon, which he'd caught himself on a fishing trip last month, in exchange for jam. I'd have been a fool to turn him down, as Pacific salmon is one of my favorite things in the world. Lucy brought over a nice fat pack of it, along with some halibut. When I was done swooning, we put up 26 jars of jam and then went out to lunch.
Here's the difference between lunch with girls and lunch with women. Girls order boring, skinny salads with dressing on the side, or sandwiches they pick at; they leave the fries or chips and nibble on the garnish. They worry about their calorie consumption and judge you for yours. Women, on the other hand, couldn't give a rat's ass about any of that. Lucy and I went to Conrad's, a coffee shop I pass almost every day but haven't been to in years. It was a pleasant day trip back to the upscale 1970s. Lucy ate a burger and I had a hot meatloaf sandwich smothered in gravy, and we were both pleased with our selections. We decided to go elsewhere for dessert, and Lucy proved what a great friend she is by suggesting Violet's Cakes.
The best cupcakes around are still to be found at Yummy Cupcakes in Burbank. But Violet's runs a close second and, despite pitifully inadequate operating hours, is much closer to home than Yummy Cupcakes. There were several people ahead of us when we arrived, so Lucy and I had plenty of time to peruse the cases. It was hard to decide, and I sidled over to Lucy and muttered, "Um, I think I could eat two." "Me, too!" she whispered back, and I threw my arms around her in a joyful embrace. Lucy just gets it, you know? I finally settled on a South Pacific (mmmm, pineapple) and a red velvet with chocolate frosting. Lucy went for the Brownie Bomb and the blueberry with cream cheese frosting. She loved that blueberry one so much that when I discovered my red velvet was underbaked and needed to be exchanged, I got the blueberry with cream cheese frosting, too. Soooo good, and we got free parking to boot because our parking meter was broken.
Lucy's and my final grown up girl activity of the day was seeing The Jane Austen Book Club. From the previews I'd seen I could tell this is a chick flick, normally not the type of thing I rush out to see. But it's a movie about people who read and talk about books! And the cast is so dang appealing, I figured what the hell. All I'll say is, this may not be the best movie of the year, but it's the best chick flick I've seen in ages, and Hugh Dancy is real pretty. Unlike any adaptation of a Jane Austen novel, The Jane Austen Book Club made me want to pick up one of her books and finally give her a try. When I got home late yesterday afternoon, I checked my shelves and discovered that, yes, I do still have that dusty, neglected copy of Pride & Prejudice -- maybe now I'll finally read it.
Back to gender neutrality today: I spent a good portion of the morning in the big armchair watching The Odd Couple, dressed in one of Sean's old sweatshirts and drinking a big mug of extra-strong black coffee. But it's nice to know that, every once in a while, I enjoy being a girl. Especially a grown up one.