We all know about all the hubbub surrounding the big holiday on February 14th: The chocolates, the hearts, Cupid’s arrow and all.
But do you know about the other big holiday of the month, the one that comes a day earlier than its romance-focused brother? Well, in case you haven’t heard, Galentine’s Day is February 13th. If there’s one holiday you celebrate this month, it should be this one.
While Valentine’s Day is fine and all for celebrating romantic love, Galentine’s Day celebrates another kind of love, one that, dare I say, is even stronger and more profound. Galentine’s Day is a holiday all about female friendships. The official title “Galentine’s Day” dates back to a Season 2 episode of Parks and Recreation in which feminist powerhouse and longtime champion of lady love Leslie Knope invites all her female friends to celebrate with breakfast and gifts. She calls it a day for “ladies celebrating ladies,” and thus launches one of the greatest cultural phenomena of our time.
I can say without a doubt that my female friendships are the most important relationships in my life. Romantic love is great, and I’ll always be a proponent of it. But, there is something special, something sacred about the bond that occurs between female friends. Sure, a boyfriend is nice for some late night cuddles, but no boyfriend can match the intimacy that comes with the shared experience of being women, and of being women who value closeness.
We get it. We get that life can be scary and hard and unsteady, and the only thing to make it easier is each other’s support. We get that sometimes what we need is a three-hour heart-to-heart about our fears and our families and our futures. Or sometimes what we need is to spend hours sprawled out on top of each other with our favorite TV show on, or we need just a plate of cheese fries and some wine.
We get that a day of self-care often means a gym session together in the morning and finishing off a bag of chocolate chips together that night. We get the discussions over that new sex thing I tried last night, and that weird bump she has (which, of course, we’ll check to assure her it’s an ingrown hair), and all those questions we would never dare ask anyone else. We get that parties can be overwhelming and so we hide in the bathroom together, huddling in for a group selfie that only we’ll ever see. We get the hair-stroking and the getting-dressed routines and the inside-joke-filled pictures of animals taped to the walls and the little ticks we get when we’re nervous. We can have conversations without saying a word, because we get it. We love each other.
Sex and the City gets a lot of flack for some outdated views (another essay for another time), but one thing the show completely gets right is the value and specialness of female friendships. One of my favorite moments comes as Carrie laments the fact that she doesn’t have a boyfriend, and Charlotte sweetly and profoundly suggests that the four gals can be each other’s soulmates. It’s a moment that’s touching and even more so, empowering.
We put so much weight on the idea of bae, that one person who’s supposed to come before anyone else. But baes come and go. They don’t root themselves to your core the way best friends do. There is a level of understanding and deepness and closeness to female friendship that is permanent in an unparalleled way. If anything is going to become before anyone else, it’s my best friends.
I have learned more from the women in my life about myself, about how to be there for another person, about how to grow than I have ever learned from any romantic partner. If that’s not worth celebrating, then I don’t know what is.
So this February 13th, break out the cheese fries and wine, or whatever it is that you and your bae love, and celebrate the ladies in your life.