My Junior year of college I was enrolled in a women’s studies class that made me want to pull my own hair out. I’d say I’m a feminist by definition and I’m damn proud to be a woman but one thing I can’t get behind is a woman shaming another woman for doing stereotypical female things like wear makeup or get manicures. That type of feminist is exactly the type of person the professor was in this class and she was a total asshole to the majority of us girly females in her class. On the plus side, I shared that class with Amy and Meghan, providing some relief and companions in my misery. Also in the class was Deb Youngdahl. We had become friends the semester before but I really believe it was that horrible class that helped push our friendship into a place in which I am now dedicating this blog to her.
It was her senior year and her last semester and this class was hard enough as a junior. I can’t imagine trying to get through it with a bad case of senioritis. Deb is a very outspoken person to say the least. She is passionate about what she believes in and has no hesitation speaking her mind. This class is where I learned about this particular quality of Deb. We survived the semester and somehow I passed without actually reading “The Vagina Monologues”.
Because Deb was graduating, her next step was to head to Florida for a year of work at Disney but there were a few weeks between her lease being up and the move. Amy, Meghan, and I agreed to let her crash on our couch for those weeks. Having a fourth person in our tiny one and a half bedroom apartment was crowded but we did fun stuff like make breakfast together on Sundays. One day we made pancakes and I asked Deb “do you want to fork or finger it?” It was a phrase spoken in innocence but has since become a running dirty joke for 12 years.
In that month Deb lived with us , all of the end of the year festivities took place like the Strawberry festival and the boat cruise. Deb was my date to both and our friendship grew. We laughed a lot and Deb got a chuckle out of my very innocent mind and mouth with no filter. One night we were out for drinks at the Big Easy, aka Big Sleazy. When we left the bar to head home, I saw an FDNY ambulance parked outside. This was before I met Tom but like a fly on shit the FDNY logo drew me in. They didn’t have a patient, they were just waiting for the next call. I stumbled over to say hello. Very loudly and very rudely I announced “I’m destined to marry a fireman. But not one you guys, you’re not real firemen.” Deb quickly grabbed me by the arm and through laughter, started dragging me up the block telling me “Inner monologues Jezzy! Inner monologues!” Another phrase that has stuck with us, both for fun and for purpose for 12 years.
The summer following, Deb made a trip back up to NYC for a long weekend right at the time my mom was in town to help me move into my studio apartment. When Deb landed and planned to meet up, I happened to be at the ASPCA with my mom adopting Miss Matisse. Deb met us outside, I introduced her to my mother and then we started walking the half block back to my apartment. Matisse was in the cardboard carrier they had given us and instead of holding it by the handle, I held it up to my chest, both arms wrapped underneath. Not even ten steps in Matisse got so scared, she pissed in the box, soaking right through the bottom onto my arms and shirt. I was mortified and my mom and Deb, having just met laughed so hard they were crying, a friendship quickly made. I would later learn that my mom thought my breakup with my high school sweet heart had me exploring my sexuality and she thought Deb was my girlfriend. Neither one of us are gay but if we were, we’d be quite the power couple.
After a few years in Florida, Deb moved back to NYC because basically…she missed me. She made it back just in time for my 27th birthday and lived in our living room for a few weeks before she found her place in Brooklyn. It was nice to have her back and nice to galavant again with someone who reinforces my sassy behavior. That summer we went to see her husband Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z at Yankee Stadium. It was 103 degrees outside but the feels-like temp was well over 110. We sang and danced out hearts out and when Jay-Z brought Alicia Keys out to sing “Empire State of Mind” I got chills. I knew right then that that moment was going on my top ten list for best New York City moments.
Like so many, Deb fell victim to the wear and tear of the city and she knew it was time to move back to Pittsburg, her home town. It turns out that move was fate because it wasn’t long after she left the city she met Kurt; the man who would later become her actual husband. Sorry Justin. Never in my life have I met two souls more perfect for each other. They married last October and I was honored to stand at the alter as a bridesmaid with my ex lesbian lover and give her away to her perfect match.
Over the years and over the miles, Deb and I have kept up our inside jokes, silly banter, and incessant need to take ridiculous pictures. “Operation: Ridic Pic” kind of speaks for itself but word to the wise, don’t fall asleep on the train. We’ve been friends for twelve years and in that time, Deb has made it back to NYC for most of my birthdays, she drove 9 hours to be a part of my bachelorette party, and flew across the country to not only attend but also photograph my wedding. We don’t talk everyday. Sometimes we don’t talk every month but when we do it’s like she’s still living on my couch and nothing has changed. She’s still my Mountain Dew loving, rom com guru, liberal minded Deb Youndahl and basically…I love her for it.