Jo and I met at Mrs Bushells nursery, when we were 2.
Jo was sporting an unruly corkscrewed mane (which would later bequeath her the nickname “whatamess” – kids are bastards) and I was donning what would now be on-trend heavy blunt bangs, alongside some infantile tub (which would later bestow me the nickname “the cabbage patch kid” – kids are bastards) We were a hairdressers dream, a match made in heaven.
Despite Jo keeping it under the radar, and openly lying on occasions – we have both recently turned 36. Though we feel mutually disheartened with this latest juncture, that’s a damn fine sum of comradeship we’ve clocked up – and while we’ve not been shoulder to shoulder in the “BFF” sense for the entirety, we’ve never been that far apart either.
There were stints of remoteness. Times when Jo shacked up with other, less plump mates at school. When she went and lived ‘in the mountains’ shortly after I announced I was up the duff for the first time (clever timing Jo, clever timing) and a spell where she unknowingly, and more so regrettably committed her teenage self to four years of extreme motorsports and mobile homes in the pursuit of love – she’s committed like that.
Therein lies one of Jo’s many merits – commitment. However, she poses countless others.
I’ll make it simple. If I were a bloke, I would like to take Jo home to my parents for Sunday lunch. I would want to hang out with her in the pub. I would relish taking her to watch a sporting match of my choice – should that float my boat. I would happily book a city break and take Jo with me. I would gladly let Jo meet all my mates. In my eyes, she’s a catch. When I was single, Jo would always be my plus one. It was assumed, correctly, that she would be by my side at most social gatherings. She would accompany me on family weekend breaks to the Cotswolds, Sibling parties and work socials to name but a few. I’ve never once worried that she might not have fun, fit in, feel awkward or drink as much as me. She is unassumingly, one of the family.
I fretted that when I fell pregnant for the first time, our leisurely days of drinking, shopping and basically doing fuck all, would exist in more of a fleeting manner – that our friendship might struggle and we would have to grapple at retaining our years of coerce. However, our alliance has always been a force to be reckoned with. We endure the fierce, and bear the heavy – but we do it together. Back when it was cool to give each other nicknames (or was it?!) we entitled one another “Hubby and Wifey” – I know! That HAD to mean eternal friendship, right?
Physically and mentally, be it sober or smashed – Jo has picked me up off the floor countless times. She has protected me, sniggered with (and more often than not, at) me, listened to me (her ears must be well and truly fucked by now) valued me, and silently (plus ingeniously) kept me in check. When you’ve wounded Jo – and it takes a great deal – you’ll be sure to know about it. It’s a line that thankfully I don’t often cross.
Much like Elton and David, our union has matured. Rather than ‘single Sunday’s’ spent down the pub and nights in our flat wearing cheap matching primark onesies, chewing the friendship fat – we strategize a little more now. As is usually the case post-partum – a ‘night out’ at my gaff tends to be on the cards. Jo has her own key and let’s herself in. She usually brings dinner, and if she doesn’t she will cook. I never ask her – she just does it, without any fuss or performance. She also knows what time the ‘bath and bed’ rigmarole kicks off, and either arrives before (heroic) or after (nifty) If ‘Auntie Jo Jo’ signs herself up for a pre-bath arrival, she is as hands on as great companions come, and an integral part of the routine. Jo has grown with me, my circumstances, Jamie (she lived with us as a couple – that alone deserves praise of the highest heights, god bless you lady) and our girls. Our friendship is perpetual.
But hold on a minute you lot! It’s not all fluffy rapture and blowing smoke up Jo’s backside, oh no. If I were to be on a quest for companionship, Jo would offer some unease in my search for the perfect partner.
1. I don’t like Jo’s perfume. She knows. I’ve told her – another reason ‘we work’ – I’m the rowdy segment of our ‘forever friends’ necklace. For years, the smell of her expensive perfume used to make me feel a bit vommy, sometimes even angry? She didn’t care, and although it has bugger all to do with my aversion, she has since begun misting herself with a new scent – of which we share mutual affection. So that’s been splendid.
2. She doesn’t have an interest in music. Her favourite song is Katie perry, firework.
3. She is SO fucking untidy (please note my previous post on OCD)
4. She doesn’t like hugging. And never replies to my “Love you” message sign offs.
5. She won’t have a pedicure with me. I dream that one day we will share this moment together.
Sadly, and a little frustratingly – I seem to have exhausted my list. At five things.
I guess the point of the above is we are quite distinct in our differences – we very much nestle into the stereotypical “opposites attract” arena – however, we’re not married. We don’t have kids. We don’t share a mortgage. We have no physical ties to each other, but when you find mates in each other, as Jo and I have – you make your friendship work because – as much as Jo will wince at the mention of this (see point 4 above) we love each other. There, I said it. I LOVE YOU JO.
And there we come to the end of my post. Thus, in keeping with the uninterrupted ramblings of my mind – I had been mulling over the above of late, and pondering as to whether I should (or could) make this a blog post. An entire blog post about Jo? Is that weird? Probably. Would only Jo, my mum and Jo’s mum read it? Probably. I’m ok with that. So here it is.
Jo is a legend. Jo is my mate.
Be more Jo.