I am lucky to know so many women who radiate confidence, grace, and a playful amount of sass. But it takes a special kind of woman to make you feel at home without doing a damn thing.
Nicole Day is the epitome of the Cool Aunt. The one who takes you to all the best gay bars and doesn’t judge when you sheepishly bum a cigarette. The one you go to when you think your mom won’t understand. I’ve actually gone to her apartment and eaten too much homemade pizza and taken a nap in her bed. Nicole is an A+ storyteller and sometimes I want to sit at her feet when she talks. When she and her roommates clean their apartment they all wear wigs and heels. I could list all the ways she is cooler than everyone you know all day.
I met her in the women’s break room at a fine dining restaurant we worked at on the Upper East Side- exactly two years ago this month. Nicole had blue hair, a killer tan, and a tattoo on her thigh of Darth Vader holding a balloon. I know this because neither of us were wearing pants. It took no time at all for me to realize that she’s also got a razor sharp sense of humor and a magnetic field around her that points everyone’s negativity in the other direction.
It’s easy to make friends in this city but it’s hard to keep them. You may live 1.5 miles away from someone, but it could take an hour to get to their apartment. Everyone’s always working. Everyone’s always busy. Nobody wants to take the train if they don’t have to. Pretty soon that new best friend you made at a deli and shared your life story with just disappears back into the dark folds of your memory labeled, “people I think I knew but probably just dreamed about.”
Nicole moved here just over two years ago from Orlando. She’s a hair stylist, and even though she accidentally hit me in the face with a blow dryer once, she’s extraordinarily talented. When she talks about hair she explains the science behind it, which I appreciate, as I am curiously anal-retentive.
We don’t work together anymore. She’s successfully moved out of the restaurant scene, and I prefer to work in a bar where people laugh at my jokes and can’t tell that I’m still wearing my pajamas. Therefore, we don’t really see each other that often.
But here in NYC, Nicole is my “person.” Which means, even if we don’t see each other for two months, we can still hang out in silence when we finally get together.
Silence is rare though. It’s just a benefit to being very comfortable with someone you love, admire and trust. Nicole is also my person when it comes to having fun. I am a huge advocate of Fun, which means I’ve found a way to overcompensate for my anxiety, which isn’t really that much fun. I need people like Nicole to get me to chill out for once.
One night last year Nicole and I went to see our friend Charlie’s new play on the Lower East Side, and found ourselves at a bar afterwards with nothing but tequila and our whole lives ahead of us. Thus, we befriended a middle aged pair of bros who thought that we were a couple.
The bros were both married to women but they seemed like they were in love with each other and therefore miserable, so we ended up hopping in a cab and going to a club with them, snickering to ourselves because they audibly thought we were gay and we secretly thought they were. The rest of the night is a blur of pumping music and flashing lights, but I’m pretty sure they ended up in a little tiff and had to leave early, and we got tired. That was the craziest night I’ve ever had in New York City.
Once, Nicole and I were walking around the Financial District and a man said to her, “Hey Baby, I think I saw you in my dreams last night.”
And, yes: ew. But I believed him. She’s that woman in a good dream that makes you feel like your troubles are gone.