Oddly as a child all of my friends were of the real life variety. It is only as an adult that I have found myself wishing, that certain women would actually become my real life friends. The chances of that actually happening are slim to none. So occasionally, I will indulge in a fantasy friendship, with various females that inspire such an odd devotion in me. Caitlin Moran, Lena Dunham, Sarah Waters, Dawn French and Dorothy Parker to name but a few. All of them fearless and shockingly talented writers, girls I could drink gin with, talk politics to and unleash my inner feminist with. In short, the women I want to be, when I grow up (and start drinking gin!) For a while I worried that I was the only person to have imaginary friends as an adult and my relief was palpable, when I read in ‘Moranthology,’ that even my imaginary best friend Caitlin Moran, has her own imaginary friends. Hooray it is normal and I am not crazy, well not much. There is however, a woman who transcends all of the above, Joan Rivers. She’s the woman I view not just as an invisible best friend, but my hero too.
I know to some, she might be a slightly odd choice of hero, but I have a few heroes that inspire me Violette Szabo, for one. She might be a more traditional choice, but the two inspire me in different ways. For me, Joan Rivers is an amazing role model for all women. She is eighty one and still kicking the proverbial arse of her contemporaries. Something she perfected, as one of the very first female stand up comedians in America during the 1950s. She is acerbic, non PC and most importantly riotously funny. She may take the mickey out of anyone and everyone, but she takes it out of herself first and foremost. You wouldn’t be able to make a joke at her expense, without finding out that she had already gotten there first.
To me she is fearless, feisty and ferociously talented. As a woman she has been at the top of her game, not just as a comedian, but also as an actress, author and talk show host, not to mention star of her own reality show. Her ambition and refusal to ‘lay down and accept defeat,’ even after suffering both personal tragedies and massive career setbacks, are highly commendable personality traits. Traits that I would love to have, I can’t imagine Joan Rivers was too scared of rejection, to even send her manuscript to an agent. Something that I am currently battling with.
Not only has her career spanned many genres and decades but she’s still relevant and hilarious at the grand age of 81. That’s 81! I had to say it twice because to me this is awe inspiring, I find myself terribly wimpy about age and if I’m honest sometimes life in general. When I have found myself feeling anxious or worrying unnecessarily, I try to use the mantra WWJD? Not, as you might think what would Jesus do? For me what would Joan do? This is a woman who zip wired in Las Vegas when she was 79; she has also recently tried pot and kissed a woman for the first time on her show ‘Joan and Melissa, Joan knows best.’ Not for Joan an early retirement and a slow sink into old age! That is exactly the way I hope to be when I’m in my eighties. Still sticking two fingers up at the world and having fun whilst doing it. I also hope I look just like her at 81. Yes you did read that last sentence correctly, given the choice of looking like Joan or looking like an 81 year old, I would pick Joan every time.
This post is entirely my own opinion and may be viewed as a somewhat self indulgent piece and a deviation from subjects that I normally blog about. But as you probably know, Joan Rivers is seriously ill at the moment and this is my chance to pay tribute to a truly amazing woman. If anyone is listening please let Joan get well very soon. Everyone needs a hero in their life, particularly a wise cracking legend like Joan Rivers.