The title of this post came from a photo I found in the Anna Maria College 1970-71 yearbook. Someone had made this sign for the laundry room as laundry theft was no stranger to this all-women, Catholic college. I remember seeing this picture when I was in high school thinking it pretty clever and showing it to my mom. "Yeah, people would get their clothes taken from the machines all the time." This act would have never even occurred to me but then, I was still in high school and the only people who would try to rip me off were related to me and also knew I would properly pound the shit out of them (hi Em!) if they tried as much. But anyway, it got me thinking about different types of solid support that people, much like a good bra, can give one another.
You can support someone by helping them prepare.
One afternoon, I was helping my sister Kate study for her nursing boards (her RN), reading off question after question out of her big ass nursing book. I could tell she was prepared for the exam and I think she thought thought so too. Still, I could tell she was a little anxious about it.
Kate, you have this is in the bag.
You really think so?
Oh yeah. Hey, and when you pass we will have a big celebration! I'll even bake you a cake!
Really? And if I fail?
Well, then I will sing you a song to make you feel better.
[break in this story to mention that when we drove around in the car with our mother, we were not allowed to change her radio station. Therefore, by auditory osmosis I know the lyrics to a lot of craptastically cheesy easy listening music.]
"I gave it my be-eh-est, but I guess my BEST wasn't good enough. Cause here we are back where we were be-fooooore."*
I think it helped her pass too, because who wants to come home defeated by an exam and ALSO have to listen to me sing James Ingram? Sing James Ingram badly. If that doesn't light a fire under someone's ass, I don't know what will. And she did pass.
You can be supportive in the choices others make, either real or hypothetical.
Not long ago, I was watching Dr. 90210 with my brother in-law. It should be noted that I really like both my BIL's a lot, and not just because they're married to my sisters. But sometimes,... sometimes I am left stupefied by the stuff that escapes their lips, as was the case one afternoon while watching this show on plastic surgery with one of them.
"So, if you could, would you ever get implants?"
"No, never. Never, ever."
"Really?" (note his slightly incredulous tone)
Now I knew he wasn't trying to be mean spirited with his words, otherwise I wouldn't have given him the free pass on that one like I did. However, I did inform my sister of the exchange and went on to add, "yeah, apparently he thinks I need them or that I would be stupid for passing up a free pair. " After her eyes returned back into their sockets, we surmised that it must be shocking to some men that not all women aspire to looking like Spamela Anderson. That some of us, as crazy as this sounds, are happy with what we got, even if we are so the opposite end of the DD++ spectrum.
And sometimes, you can be supportive just by keeping your trap shut.
One evening last month, not long after my car accident, I was over a friend's house hanging out with her and her husband, watching TV and having a couple of beers. We were ribbing each other about God knows and at one point the husband said to my friend before he headed upstairs, "Yeah, have another...you know how you get." I kinda knew where he was going with that one but he turned to me and said, "you know, she gets...frisky."
So of course I jumped in with the one story that I know that supported this (see, theme here?) and chimed in with, "Yeah, like the one time after a night out at some party, she stripped ... in the.... c..ar..."
Sometime during the course of my sentence, I felt lasers with the heat of a thousand suns boring down on me. When I looked over to my friend, I noticed that they were shooting directly from her eyes. Eyes that read: ABORT STORY. ABORT STORY.
I swore this happened with her husband but upon hearing, "If you hadn't just been in a car accident, I would totally be kicking your ass right now," it would seem I was mistaken.
I had gotten the right story but THE WRONG GUY.
Of course, this only piqued the husband's interest now by about a billion-fold.
"What's this?" he laughed. Definitely not jealous or upset, he welcomed my story which apparently was throwing my friend under the bus but hard.
"Uhhh, ...nothing? I ...I don't know. I was dead at the time. (to friend) Sorrrry, I really thought it was him in the car that night. Really."
(friend) "Shouldn't you be reading the book, How to Drive?"
Ahh, there's the cheap shot I was looking for. Insult my driving after a recent "brush with death", nice touch. Now I could finish this one off.
"Hey friend, didn't he find your underwear in the driveway the next morning when he went to pick up the paper?"
"Shut up! Shut. UP. And it was my nylons! (to husband) This happened a loooooong time ago, way before you. I was, like 21 at the time."
And see, being the supportive friend that I am, I didn't even add, "And if by 21 you mean 24."
*My ability to tweak lyrics is nothing new. The real lyric is "I did my best" not "I gave it my best".