Elena Bowes

New York-London design & culture writer of a certain vintage looking for meaning and wholeness in life

Girlfriends Anonymous

May 14th, 2016
Richmond Park, London

This week I went to a talk by the ever-feisty, 77 year-old Australian feminist Germaine Greer. She said women become invisible post-50, that we need to support each other more, speak louder in a man’s world. Don’t let them do all the talking.

The next day I bumped into a male friend in the park. We walked for a bit, he talked for a lot. Not once did he ask me about me. Instead I heard all about his recent business successes. Maybe Germaine is right. Maybe we are invisible.

That’s why I love my girlfriends. I know that regardless of how I look, I will never be invisible. The day after my soulless chat with Mr Smug, I went to Richmond Park with my girlfriends  Munkee and Lauren …


and our four-legged children …


We talked about anything and everything. From recurrent body abscesses (the draining part is just another reason I could never have been a doctor) to HRT and where to buy stylish prescription glasses (sign of the times) to bookclub dinner disasters – Wish I was exaggerating with this bookclub menu by loveable superwoman: cheese puffs, Lays potato chips with pesto and mayonnaise dip, followed by Salmon a la Croute stuffed with, wait for it, raisons. Still hungry? Dessert was collapsed chocolate tart with prune Armagnac.

We also discuss love, relationships and  what we’re having for lunch. No topic is ever barred even if we can’t all follow along:

What are those flowers called? I ask.

I call them pink flowers, says Munkee.


Those are rhododendrons and azaleas, answers teacher’s pet Lauren. And those over there are English bluebells. It’s important to distinguish them from the crass arrivistes, Spanish bluebells. Look at those Gunners Manicata!

Gonorrhoea? Munkee asks.

And I thought Poison Ivy was bad. Defs not touching those, I say, as I quickly attach my dogs to their  leashes.

We always get to the heart of the matter and talk about how we really are – where once we got excited by sex, drugs and rock n’ roll (I lie, we were never that cool) we now get hot flushes by the mention of  great books, menopausal cures and good restaurants. Speaking of which, I can’t wait to read Curtis Sittenfeld’s latest novel, Eligible. Talk about an author who gets women. Invisible? Try Invincible.

May, 2016