The recession didn’t only destroy the lure of the glitzy heels and handbags “Sex and the City” promoted.
It also tarnished the show’s rosy portrait of female friendships.
“Sex and the City” rose to prominence as terms like “BFF” soared in popularity. Suddenly, sisterhoods were divine. And involved traveling pants.
Then, something funny happened: Little by little, an inadvertent PR campaign for sisterhood lost its luster.
“Gossip Girl” premiered. In one particularly memorable scene from the series, two young women get into a physical fight on an Ivy League campus — all because one heroine is jealous the other is outperforming her on a college entry interview.
Later, they make up, giving the reader just enough time to restore her faith in friendship.
But just beside the Internet’s choruses of “girl power,” there are articles like “The recession wrecks friendships” — a piece that appeared on women’s Web site DoubleX in June.
The newest challenge to female friendships comes from the literary world: Lucinda Rosenfeld’s “I’m So Happy for You.”
The novel focuses on protagonist Wendy and her best friend Daphne, who at the novel’s onset is That Friend — the drama-ridden woman who calls stable Wendy at late hours to complain about her married boyfriend and threaten suicide.
That is, until their roles are unexpectedly reversed.
Daphne meets a new man and ends up engaged, pregnant and settling down in a stunning home. Wendy, meanwhile, is still desperately trying to conceive a child with her husband — who has taken a year off work to write a stalled screenplay.
It’s enough to make Wendy spiral into the deepest pools of jealousy, all while entertaining Daphne with the pleasantries of sisterhood.
Rosenfeld decorates the book’s jacket with a woman holding a voodoo doll behind her back.
As her envy grows, Wendy goes to the lengths of giving Daphne a bitingly cynical wedding toast and defacing her baby shower gift with a black pen.
Rosenfeld’s point is clear: It’s hard to find a truly happy female friendship — one that hasn’t been tainted by differences in material acquisition, marital status or career success.
She recently penned an essay for the New York Post, “Why women are frenemies.” In it, she writes, “As many women have seen their net worth tumble, or their husbands have lost a job, some can’t bear to spend time with intimates who have been less affected by the economic downtown.”
Common sense says true friendship should trump material possessions. It doesn’t matter what you have, but who you have.
Common sense also doesn’t account for the friend who loves flaunting her jeans’ $400 price tag.
If nothing else, “I’m So Happy for You” diminishes the guilt you feel when you nod at her denim enthusiastically — and then secretly hope it shrinks in the laundry.
Contact Sonya Sorich at firstname.lastname@example.org or 706-571-8516.