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'Text Me When You Get Home'


For a long time, women's relationships on TV and in the movies were mainly portrayed like this.


LINDA EVANS: (As Krystle Carrington) You were jealous, jealous because I was going to give Blake a child. And you couldn't stand that, could you?

JOAN COLLINS: (As Alexis Colby) No, no, you're jealous because Fallon's had her baby. And that's made you even more paranoid. Well, I didn't cause your accident, Krystle, just as I didn't cause your baroness. So if you've quite finished...

EVANS: (As Krystle Carrington) I haven't.


GARCIA-NAVARRO: That, of course, is the '80s TV show "Dynasty" and one of the many of what had been called catfights between Linda Evans and Joan Collins. The idea was that the women were competitive, jealous and undermining. And they were always fighting over the big prize - men. But the way we see and are experiencing female friendships is evolving, argues Kayleen Schaefer in her new book "Text Me When You Get Home: The Evolution And Triumph Of Modern Female Friendship." She joins us now from our studios in New York. Welcome to the program.


GARCIA-NAVARRO: Any excuse to play a clip of "Dynasty," I must say.

SCHAEFER: I really liked it, too.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: (Laughter) Explain the title of the book. It's become almost an instinct for women to say that to each other.

SCHAEFER: It absolutely is. Every woman I asked about the title when we were figuring out what to call the book said, I say that. I absolutely say that. I always tell my friends, text me when you get home. It's about safety, first of all. But more than that, it's about solidarity. It's about saying, I know what it's like to be alone on the street or walking into an empty apartment. And so I'm with you no matter if you're in front of me, no matter if you're walking away. I've got you.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: This is a kind of memoir.


GARCIA-NAVARRO: You talk about yourself and how you used to pride yourself on not having female friends.


GARCIA-NAVARRO: You wanted to be a cool girl. Explain that.

SCHAEFER: I thought it was important to do what men liked, what men were - liked and were interested in - that was important. What women liked - that was frivolous. That was not something that I wanted to bother myself with.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: What changed?

SCHAEFER: Well, I started to feel like an imposter, first of all, because when you're trying to be one of the guys, and when you're trying to be a cool girl, you're discounting any of your feelings about things that you like. And if I liked something that was girly, it was confusing to me. I was like, well, if I admit that I do like nail polish and glitter, you know, will these guys still want to hang out with me? And so that started to feel uncomfortable to me. And then I also looked around and saw a bunch of women who were amazing who I wanted to be my friends (laughter).

GARCIA-NAVARRO: We're seeing a huge conversation happening around the #MeToo movement. And there's been a lot of discussion about the whisper networks and other ways in which women have protected and warned each other about predatory men. So I guess the question is, hasn't this female solidarity always existed? Maybe it just wasn't as well-represented in the media because it wasn't as dramatic.

SCHAEFER: No, you're absolutely right. And I think in the title of the book "Text Me When You Get Home," it's something women kept to themselves. It was something we said in our goodbyes and our private embraces. And we kept these bonds quiet. And then now if you're seeing the hashtag #MeToo, it's something we're making public. We're saying, hey, these bonds were always here. But we kept them to ourselves because society at large sort of dismissed these bonds and said, you know, women, you can't trust each other. You'll always turn on each other. And we're saying, no, that's not true. And we're making it public in this way for the first time. And you also see it in television shows, too. There are a lot of shows about just two pairs of friends. And you never saw that before. And now there's a ton of shows that - where the two stars are two friends.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I have to say one of the things that this book made me do is immediately text my person in the world...

SCHAEFER: I love that.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: ...My best friend. Shout out to Nadia, (ph) who I've been friends with since I...

SCHAEFER: (Laughter).

GARCIA-NAVARRO: ...Was a very young girl. I call her the keeper of the secrets.


GARCIA-NAVARRO: She knows everything.

SCHAEFER: And you call her your person...


SCHAEFER: ...Which is great.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Because there's a whole scene in "Grey's Anatomy," when the two characters sort of realize that they're going to be each other's person.

SCHAEFER: Yeah. And it's a wonderful moment.


ELLEN POMPEO: (As Meredith Grey) Hello?

SANDRA OH: (As Cristina Yang) You are my person. You will always be my person.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Valentine's Day is coming up. And you mention Galentine's (ph)...

SCHAEFER: Galentine's (laughter).

GARCIA-NAVARRO: ...Day. If - those of us who may not know what that is, explain what that is.

SCHAEFER: Galentine's Day is the day before Valentine's Day actually. People sometimes think, oh, it's a replacement for Valentine's Day. But it's not. You can celebrate Galentine's and Valentine's. And it comes from the sitcom "Parks And Recreation."


AMY POEHLER: (As Leslie Knope) Oh, it's only the best day of the year. Every February 13, my lady friends and I leave our husbands and our boyfriends at home. And we just come and kick it breakfast-style. Ladies celebrate ladies. It's like Lilith Fair minus the angst.

SCHAEFER: Amy Poehler's character created this holiday because she wanted a day to celebrate her girlfriends. And theirs was always a brunch. They would blow off work for a few hours and go to brunch. But, you know, women all over celebrate it in their own ways. And it's actually taken off as a real holiday. I think it should be legitimized. I think it should be an official holiday.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Are you celebrating Galentine's Day?

SCHAEFER: Oh, absolutely.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: What are you doing?

SCHAEFER: I'm going with some of my (laughter) girlfriends to see the musical "Cruel Intentions." So they made the movie into a musical. We are really excited.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: That sounds like a really fun Galentine's Day.

SCHAEFER: It's going to be wonderful.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Happy Galentine's Day, Kayleen Schaefer.

SCHAEFER: Thank you.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: She is the author of "Text Me When You Get Home: The Evolution And Triumph Of Modern Female Friendship."

(SOUNDBITE OF TOTORRO'S "CHEVALIER BULLTOE") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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