Sunday, 4 January 2009

Friends with money

Have any of you guys seen the movie 'Friends with Money' starring Jen Aniston and Catherine Keener? I remember going to see with with my friend Pocket whilst I was pregnant - and it really struck a chord with me. See Jen plays a poor cleaner type singleton who dates the wrong men (could be real life bar the home help part eh?) and doesn't have a life plan - hell in this movie she doesn't even wear make-up - in fact she steals beauty products from clients. (One of those indie worthy movies that has Sundance award hype and the like). Meanwhile all her mates are rich successful types who have kids and cars and extensions and patios and fancy dinners with matching crockery. Jen doesn't aspire to be like them - thank god, or else I would have slept through the movie - she just moseys on through, not really giving a damn and being treated like a doormat. But what makes it fascinating is how much her friends compare themselves to her - in order to feel good about themselves and their depressingly mundane mapped-out existences.

One great scene has them all at a fancy schmancy benefit dinner - all polite banter and chat about Jen's rather ugly date. They all drive home in their cosy couples and dissect the evening: 'worrying' for Jen's life... 'sympathising' that one couple don't look happy, 'concerned' that another looks like they've put on weight, another may be sending their kids to the wrong school etc etc. Go on hands up - who hasn't done it - compared their life to another person's in order to feel better? It virtually is a sport these days - picking apart who does what and why, in order to inflate one's own fragile esteem. Why else do celeb mags featuring their break-ups, breakdowns and body issues sell so well? When you meet with friends does the topic always stray to other mates - their absence an open ticket to vent little grievances, to comment on their lifestyles, their choices. To feel a bit smug that your choices are much better - that whatever you're doing, at least you're not so and so with their great big whatever it is, and how much did that big whatsit cost - and them with their blah blah blah blah... did you know that they never... and therefore no one but no one wants to go to their whatever event. And on. And on.

Does it make us feel better? Thaw the jealousy, quell the insecurity, hide the frustration that some people have all the luck and others just plod through from one drama to the next? Well yes, sometimes it does. But at the end of the day - it doesn't make a jot of difference to your life who does what where and how - unless they are doing it with your husband/boyfriend/man of the month. And those who judge you - let 'em. They have their life and you have yours. And they're talking about yours. Right Now.

All this ADD (after dinner dissecting) isn't good for the soul - even genuine concern can spill over into judgemental cynicism. So this year - in the spirit of resolutions - mine is to rake over folk's lives less. Going cold turkey will be hard - in fact it makes me wonder what I will have left to talk about with some aquaintances - but I am determined. Hell I may even enjoy myself.

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