I don't know who the sadist was who invented the "Best Friend" necklaces, but I would like to rip his "Be Fri" necklace from around his neck, throw it down the garbage disposal, and hunt down his best friend. Once I find him or her, I'll tell that person that he threw out the necklace because he doesn't want to be friends with him or her anymore. Maybe then, he might regret inventing it.
I'm making the assumption that this person is a man because it has to be a part of some fucked up misogynist plot to keep women at odds with one another since they seemed to be marketed and purchased mostly by girls. It always appears that all marketing schemes are dreamt up by white men for demographics they know nothing about. (For the record, I just tried to look up who this person is and this information is conveniently absent from the internet, which further solidifies this conspiracy theory).
These necklaces became an important part of my life in third grade. This was when Carlie and Karen went to Claire's Boutique over the weekend and bought a set for themselves. They wore their respective pieces to school that Monday. As the third in this friendship, I was left out of the best friend revery. I had gotten the message loud and clear. They were forever friends and I was just their toady.
I set off on an adventure, leaving behind Karen and Carlie, to find a best friend of my own. I found that person in Grace, a girl who I could spend hours with on the phone discussing Sir Mix ALot's Baby Got Back. We were equally adept at rapping every line, but we were a little confused about the whole "My Ana kinda don't want none unless you got buns hun" part. Who was Ana and why was she opposed to people with flat butts?
This friendship faded as Grace became best friends with Marta. Karen and Carlie broke off their friendship, so Karen asked me if I wanted the other half of her necklace. This musical chairs of necklace intimacy went on until sixth grade. By then, all the girls in the class were suffering from friendship PTSD, which still affects me to this day. I still assume that the world is always on the verge of taking my "st end" necklace to give to my undisclosed arch nemesis.
For some reason, this ritual of declaring one kid her best friend (to the exclusion of all other friendships) has already begun in Kindergarten. This might be due to kids learning to read at five. I couldn't read at that age, so I had no notion that "best friendship" was a concept limited to two members.
Or, maybe it's because my generation was the generation that gave rise to these necklaces. I may be surrounded by other parents who, absurdly, had super positive experiences with them in elementary school. I think this one has to be the case as I recently witnessed one of the mothers passing out the necklace to her daughter's "best friend" in front of Darla. I gasped as I watched the exchange. I couldn't believe how brazen the mother was. I braced myself for an explosion of emotion that night from Darla, but the necklaces went unnoticed by Darla.
As far as I can tell, Darla has no idea that she can't be best friends with her entire class. I hope this is a forever opinion. I am aware, however, that the lure of those heart shaped brass necklaces is far too great. When the day comes when Darla asks for one, I might have to figure out how to design one that can be broken off into 20 pieces so she can give one to everyone in her class. Or, maybe I can convince her that I'm her best friend and we can share the necklace.