Growing up, I loved the show Girlfriends, an American sitcom about a group of four friends whose interactions felt like a reprieve, a place to be yourself without judgement, a safe place to bawl your eyes out, to be silly, to laugh with your whole heart and of course, to be confronted with truth about your choices – that you sometimes might not want to hear.
I’ve yearned for that kind of friendship.
I’ve lived out #squadgoals vicariously through some of my on-screen girlfriends. Take the local film Happiness Is A Four-letter Word: I’ve imagined what it would be like being Princess (played by Renate Stuurman). She owns an art gallery and falls for a struggling artist, enchanted by his charming free spirit. His broke free spirit, that is. Much to the horror of her ambitious and materially successful girlfriends. You can imagine the conversations they have with Princess about this particular relationship choice.
I’ve also been a part of the girl squad from Unmarried on Showmax, another hugely popular production from Mzansi Magic. I’ve been embroiled in the exhilarating mixture of having fun, suffering heartbreaking and feeling hopeful with them. Renate Stuurman again plays my favourite girlfriend, this time as Brenda, a successful banking executive, unravelling from a disastrous end to her 10-year marriage. Her friends Thembi and Lesego don’t have it figured out either but that’s why I can relate. Together they navigate Johannesburg in search of an elusive place called Happiness.
** mild spoilers ahead **
Here’s why Thembi, Brenda and Lesego are #squadgoals:
They’re your safe place
The girls would never say “you’re too emotional” to each other, that’s why they’re the best friends to have around when your heart is broken (usually over a man). When Lesego finds her Minister of Finance (aka blesser) cosying up with another woman at a club, she loses it. Literally. Brenda was there to hold her back when she started a fight with the other woman. Lesego’s girlfriends question her love life but still stand by her.
Thembi’s also had her fair share of drama with her baby daddy and live-in partner Bongani. And Brenda was there to help Thembi with a place for her and her kids to stay while she picked up the pieces of her life.
They’re all about the truth
The series opens with a scene of Brenda’s husband getting married to another woman. Luckily, Thembi and Lesego are at the scene of the crime and warn Brenda about Donald’s shady ways. It can’t be easy to tell your friend that you’re at her husband’s wedding and that she needs to get there and put a stop to it. That’s what friends are for, though!
They’ll give you the truth, neat without the rocks and tonic. Then pour themselves a drink too and drown your sorrows with you.
As it turns out, they’ll also tell you it’s a bad idea to have a fling with the security guard from your workplace, even though he really is the perfect gentleman – like they did with Brenda.
They’ll have you in stitches
With girlfriends like these, Thembi is reminded that, even though she has two kids and has been a doormat for while, she can still put her sexy on and unleash it at a nightclub with her girlfriends.
There will also be lunch dates as they unpack the state of the nation, complete with blow-by-blow developments of their love lives and careers. Inevitably, they’ll be laughing at life’s twists and turns.
Every girl deserves a girl squad like the one in Unmarried.