Growing up, I had my fair share of advice from adults and self-help books to be judicious in finding company. “Be careful choosing your friends,” a particular book said, “you become who they are.”
With time I came to realize that friendship, as with any relationship worth its while, becomes less about enabling circumstances and more about the choices we make to stay connected. This becomes especially true when circumstances – for reasons geographical, professional, spatial, or if you want to go all Bradbury or Spielberg about it, dimensional – make togetherness anywhere from a notch to an eon more difficult. Ultimately, the desire to connect — or re-connect — is a commitment.
Nineteen years ago, I was born on the last week of July in the midst of a thunderstorm. Every birthday since, it had been a challenge to invite people to celebrate with. Varying degrees of rain were constant gatecrashers at my parties, after all. But this July 29 was a different story, with some of those I hold dearest conspiring for a surprise get-together.
The tapestries of each friendship are as diverse as the people themselves, but a single thread binds them together. They are among the first people I could, would and do turn to when I get a bad case of what Audrey Hepburn (as Holly Golightly) called the “mean reds”.
My birthday outfit was inspired by the iconic “wild thing” Miss Golightly.
The Taylor black brocade dress (P250) is from Red Tomato. Black leather platforms are by Gibi. Layered teardrops choker (P150) is a tiangge find, and the necklace used as a hair accessory is a birthday gift.
Here’s one of my favorite scenes from Breakfast at Tiffany’s, where Holly explains the mean reds to her writer-neighbor Paul Varjak:
Holly: Poor cat! Poor slob! Poor slob without a name! The way I see it I haven’t got the right to give him one. We don’t belong to each other. We just took up one day by the river. I don’t want to own anything until I find a place where me and things go together. I’m not sure where that is but I know what it is like. It’s like Tiffany’s.
Paul: Tiffany’s? You mean the jewelry store.
Holly: That’s right. I’m just CRAZY about Tiffany’s! Listen, you know those days when you get the mean reds?
Paul: The mean reds, you mean like the blues?
Holly: No. The blues are because you’re getting fat and maybe it’s been raining too long, you’re just sad that’s all. The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you’re afraid and you don’t know what you’re afraid of. Do you ever get that feeling?
Holly: Well, when I get it the only thing that does any good is to jump in a cab and go to Tiffany’s. Calms me down right away. The quietness and the proud look of it; nothing very bad could happen to you there. If I could find a real-life place that’d make me feel like Tiffany’s, then – then I’d buy some furniture and give the cat a name!
In another scene, Holly said, “Anyone who ever gave you confidence, you owe them a lot.” I may not see these lovelies all the time, but everyday I’m grateful for the likes of them, who make me feel like Tiffany’s — and eons, eons better.