2012 saw HBO score another hit with Girls, with its multi-tasking writer, director and star Lena Dunham winning best actress at The Golden Globes this week. The show follows the lives of four recently graduated twenty-something women as they make their way in New York, but unlike its big sister Sex and the City, Girls tries to set its story in reality. Whilst well-heeled (we're talking Manolos) Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda had wardrobes and lifestyles most women can only fantasize about; Hannah, Marnie, Jessa and Shoshanna live in outer boroughs and their clothes reflect their modest incomes.
This got me thinking about my own experiences as a twenty-something living in a dingy house with three girlfriends on the outer edge of London's zone two. Just graduated we quickly realised that although we had degrees we were not going to walk straight into a management job - so we started at the bottom as assistants. London is not a cheap city and after I paid the rent I had £300 a month to live on; clothes were a luxury and this was a PP era (Pre-Primark).
One of my housemates was an unpaid intern for a top fashion stylist, the other a post-grad journalism student, and the third worked as a trainee buyer for a high-street chain. This was a godsend for us cash-strapped fashionistas as she got to go to sample sales! Every six months we would hand over £10 each and she would grab whatever she could, bring it home and divvy out the spoils. This happy arrangement came to an abrupt end when she got the sack for chronic unpunctuality. Meanwhile when the journalism student decided to edit her huge collection of stylish thrift shop clothes - the rest of us descended on it like a pack of hungry wolves.
Despite our meagre wages (non-existent in the case of the assistant fashion stylist) we had a good time. Saturday nights started with a ritual of tuna pasta bake followed by what was essentially a two hour party getting ready with a bottle of wine on the go; we would drink before going out as we couldn't afford the London bar prices. One memorable evening at a swanky London club involved being invited to the VIP lounge by a pop star and his entourage; that glamorous evening ended with us hitting reality with a bump on the night bus home to zone two.
Somehow we found our way through the insecurities of our twenties and are now comfortable with who we are. The assistant buyer now works in fashion PR and is married to a banker, the journalist graduated and works for a local paper in Surrey, and the assistant stylist is now a successful (and paid) fashion stylist working in London. Whereas me, I got seduced by the first dotcom bubble and when that imploded, took a plane and headed to Milan.
So eventually we all moved on, and yet we have stayed in touch. I wonder how many friendships forged by people in their twenties survive, not many I should think. All I can say is thank goodness for Facebook!
The new season of Girls starts Monday 14 January on SKY ATLANTIC HD.
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