Last time there was a lot of big talk about living the dream. And god knows there’s a lot about this life that is decidedly dreamy, like looking at this every evening…

But there are sacrifices to be made if one wants to live as I do. And I’m not just talking about going without Miracle Whip.

The other day I watched as two women engaged in a lengthy chat. I could tell they knew each other well—there was that easy, touchy, laughing then serious then back to laughing camaraderie between gals who have gone through thick and thin together. I wasn’t close enough to hear what language they were speaking, I didn’t need to be. They were speaking womanese and that’s a language I know well.

I often long for my friends: Krista and Jill and Monique and Nancy. Bonny and the girly gaggle of psychiatrists and all the other fabulous femmes who have graced my life so far, too many to name here. I’m in regular contact with all my ladies in Canada, but it’s not the same as just hanging out for no good reason whenever the hell you feel like it.

One can have as enviable a set-up as can be imagined and yet the need for the stand-by sisterhood persists. Sometimes you just want to sit with someone and laugh at how bad a haircut is, drift effortlessly into the latest on reproductive rights legislation, then conduct a comprehensive review of the season’s heel and hemline heights, followed by an in-depth analysis of relationships—Israel and Palestine, you and your significant other, whatever.

So far, any serious attempts at grooming Neil to fill the void have been relatively unsuccessful. He doesn’t read books. He’s not one to get excited about art and music. He doesn’t get how scary skinny jeans are. He’s not a big talker and despite all my training efforts he still can’t see why his “Whatever makes you happy,” to my “Do you think I should let my hair grow?” is entirely unacceptable. I could make a whole afternoon (and a bottle of wine) disappear on that one question alone with any woman I know.

Although all may not be lost. The other day we were looking at pictures and he was noting the presence of a double chin (his, not mine). Later that day, after a few minutes in the mirror, he turned to me and asked, “Do you think my face makes me look fat?” I’d say he’s just about ready for a Saturday of shoe shopping.