According to authors Andrea Lavinthal and Jessica Rozler, women’s friendships have deteriorated to the point where they can no longer recognize the difference between a friend and an enemy. They’re the authors of Friend or Frenemy?: A Guide to the Friends You Need and the Ones You Don’t, whose launch was celebrated Wednesday evening with a party at the Christano Cora Salon, sponsored by a sickly sweet pink cocktail undoubtedly chosen to drive home the girly themes in the book.
The guest list read like a Who’s Who of C-list women with frenemies: the stars of the Real Housewives of New York City; Whitney Thompson, the winner of the most recent cycle of American’s Next Top Model; and Cherry Martinez from Power 105.1. (None of the Housewives showed up, sadly.)
Then there’s Paris Hilton, who might be queen of the frenemies. "She appeared three times in the book–her and Nicole and all of them, so thank you ladies," said Ms. Lavinthal, who is an editor at Cosmopolitan. Indeed, Ms. Hilton and her clique drive home the most universal frenemy theme: fighting over guys. In the book, Ms. Lavinthal writes about a woman who drove her car over her boyfriend’s speakers. "Everyone has that one crazy friend who’s batshit psycho, and you love her," she said. "But at the same time, you hope she doesn’t blow up in public." (The pair’s first book, The Hookup Handbook, was another zietgeisty tome about why hooking up has replaced dating.)
The Daily Transom admitted to still being a bit confused over the difference between a frenemy and a woman simply driven to madness over a love affair. "The gist of the book is to, you know, keep your friends close, and rid yourself of toxic people," said Ms. Rozler, who works in book publishing. (Easier said than done, lady! Women these days will cut a bitch!) The two authors noted, however, that there are indeed some frenemies who can’t be avoided. "There are some in the workplace and others you are forced to interact with, so there’s not much you can do about that type," said Ms. Rozler sagely. "But other ones, where the relationship does more harm than good, you have to make a judgment call."
Three women, all friends (or are they frenemies?) of the authors, competed with "who has the worst frenemy" stories. A woman named Katie who was caught in the middle of dueling friends whose fight culminated in a slap across the face, a gift card sent in an attempt to heal the damage, and a firm decision to cut all ties to the toxic friend was the unofficial winner.
In another corner, three men had no idea why women even bother keeping frenemies around. "Nip it in the bud as quickly as possible," said Dan Mejias. Then again, Mr. Mejias is a teacher at an all-male high school. That makes him officially not an expert!
"I don’t think there are many men with frenemies because guys are more direct," Ms. Lavinthal said. (Yeah, except when they’re breaking up with us! Texting: not acceptable!) "If you just listen to how they talk to each other; they’ll just tell each other ‘you’re so rude; that was so mean.’" Justin Tranter, the lead singer of the band Semi Precious Weapons, and his manager perfectly captured Ms. Lavinthal’s point:
Manager: My wife says that women who can’t hang with other women are either insecure or beyond gorgeous.
Mr. Tranter: So your wife’s really insecure?
Daily Transom: Oh, so you guys are frenemies?
Mr. Tranter: Sorry, dude, you left yourself wide open to that one.
The two smile and walk off, clearly friends again.
See, girls, it really can be that easy. No book necessary.