Who Is The Bad Aunt Friend
An unusually high percentage of Al[l]ison-based content today.
I don’t know if there is discourse circulating that I’m no longer privy to now that Twitter is dead or if every other publication took one look at Allison P. Davis’s New York Magazine “parenting and adult friendships” story and called a full twenty four hour hold while the ensuing conversational tsunami demolished every group chat, but I do know that this story is the only thing the Tabs Discord has talked about for a solid day now.
The question it raises is a pressing one to almost everybody, parent or non-parent, as most of us relentlessly get older and find our social circles changing and adult friendships almost impossible to maintain. Davis surveys an interesting range of sources with different adult-friendship-related challenges and strategies. But the real delight of the piece is the slow-burn self-revelation that Davis’s struggle to maintain friendships with the parents in her life is mostly because she’s kind of awful to them. In one anecdote, for example:
I’ve felt judged, as if my friends were treating my decision to remain child-free as transitional, despite my once having shown up to a baby shower bemoaning how insane I felt thanks to the Plan B I’d taken the night before and declaring it worth it because “no fucking way did I want a baby.” (Cute.)
I’m not sure the decision to remain child-free is what’s being judged! And later:
I remember sitting by the pool one summer with Liz as she cradled her 1-year-old. It finally felt like our friendship was coming back to life. We had had dinner and hours of conversation for the first time in ages just the night before. I was re-rehashing the details of a recent situationship that had defined my summer. She mm-hmmed absent-mindedly and nuzzled her son as he ate a peach. It was a sweet moment between them, and though I was touched to see my friend as fully Mom, she was so distracted (or focused, depending on the perspective) she didn’t notice as I trailed off. I snapped a photo of the two of them and then just stared at my phone in silence, wondering who else I could start hanging out with.
Finally, after a whole year, it seemed like she was getting over this “having an infant” thing, but I guess not. Liz gets her revenge though:
My friend Liz overheard and reminded me that I had once mom-blocked her: She had just had her second child, it was her birthday weekend, and I threw a backyard barbecue with all of our friends and didn’t invite her. “You had just had a C-section,” I said in my defense. “I knew you couldn’t come. I didn’t want to taunt you.”
“I actually had a very easy, very quick vaginal birth,” she corrected me. (I’d been telling the story wrong for a year.) And yes, she couldn’t have come, obviously she couldn’t have, but would it have been so much effort for me to invite her?
Justice for Liz!
What I didn’t tell her, and I guess she’s finding out now, is that though I didn’t mean to hurt her, the slight wasn’t completely unintentional. Her second baby had kicked off my friend group’s baby boomlet. A bigger part of me than I would like to admit was irritated. When did all of my interesting friends become so conventional and heteronormie? I felt disappointed in the squaring of my friend group.
Damn, now THAT is how you end a friendship. If you’re my friend and you want to be rid of me, you better roast my ass in The Cut or I’m not even gonna notice. Obviously Davis chose to tell these stories about herself and she’s too much of a pro to be un-self-aware about how she might appear in them, so hats off to Allison P. Davis, you’ve done it again.
Today in How is This Not a Dril Tweet:
If you haven’t had the misfortune of encountering him before, this guy is a white supremacist and fave of Substack founder Hamish McKenzie. I guess he’s also into cartoons, sexually? Also today in normal fascist stuff, here’s Chauncey DeVega in Salon with the news from 2015: “Trump plans to become a dictator — denial will not save you.”
Angie Martoccio reports that Olivia Rodrigo has finally learned to parallel park, in a Rolling Stone cover profile featuring some of the strangest celebrity photography since The Guardian made Sally Rooney hold an owl.
It’s always DNS. FDA agrees that phenylephrine is worthless and they never should have taken our pseudoephedrine away. The Messenger launched four months ago and the only time I ever see the name “The Messenger” is in headlines like “Execs Flee The Messenger Mess and Its ‘Mad Dog’ Boss” so I guess it’s going well. Alison Willmore: “Is Taika Waititi Even Trying Anymore?” Yikes.
Today’s Song: New Petey album next Friday with tour to follow! Here’s “Did I Mention I’m Sorry”
Music Intern Sam will be rejoining us this season but I keep overriding his music selections so not yet. Probably tomorrow. I feel like there’s not much in today’s newsletter but it’s all I had so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. I’m not gonna load you up with a lot of filler—only the best of the worst and the hottest of the takes, then we can all get on with our day. That’s the Today in Tabs promise.
Please subscribe and join in, we’ve managed to go more than 24 hours talking about parenting and non-parenting life choices and friendship struggles with both parents and non-parents involved, and no one has had to be banned or even reprimanded. It is truly a unique place in the landscape of online, and did a better job taking this piece seriously than I am going to, or possibly than Allison P. Davis did.
Speaking of which, I shamelessly stole today’s subject line from @antler, tm tm tm no copyright intended.