The new HBO series, Girls, has taken a beating from the media since its opening episode a few weeks ago. I watched the first show (HBO released it to YouTube if you’re inclined) and while I won’t likely watch it again, something about it caught my interest.
The topic doesn’t have to do with wild young adults - it has to do with what I think of as normal behavior in girls. That is, girls engaging in intimate, non-sexual behavior together. Critics were all over the show about the unrealistic nature of a few of its scenes.
For example - Two of the characters, roommates and friends, are shown cuddling in bed together. In another scene, the main character is taking a bath while her friend sits on the edge of the tub shaving her legs. Later, two girlfriends have a conversation in a bathroom while one is peeing.
I don’t know about anyone else, but all three scenes remind me of my girlhood. I used to think it had to do with being in the arts, but maybe I’m wrong. During rehearsals for the high school musical, my girlfriends and I exchanged long, elaborate back massages. We snuggled in the auditorium, lounging on each other while we waited for our turn on stage. I’d play with a friend’s hair while someone else scratched my back. It was sweet, innocent, non-sexual, and carried on into our young adult years.
In between dance classes we must have been channeling our future old-lady-in-the-locker-room behavior, changing in front of each other, chatting without wearing clothes and using the bathroom together. We were close, not just emotionally but physically as well.
I’m curious if this kind of behavior stemmed from the openness often associated with the arts. More than that, I’m curious if women in general can relate. I can’t imagine I am alone in this. In childhood, girls embrace each other with ease, share secrets under the covers of their beds, and tickle each other until breathless from laughter. When does this behavior stop? Maybe it goes on longer than the critics of Girls might think.
I can’t personally comment on other aspects of the show that continue to draw criticism from viewers. Do people drink opium? Not sure. Are many girls these days financially supported by their parents after college? I don’t know the statistics. What about eating cupcakes in the bathtub? Not me, but who knows.
I do know that my young adult girlfriends provided me not only emotional support in their friendships, but also loving, physical compassion in the form of actual touch. Was/Is it odd or unusual? I doubt it.