Kayleen Schaefer, Author Of ‘Text Me When You Get Home,’ Is About To Be Your New Girl Crush

Last week, I talked about Text Me When You Get Home and why it needs to be on every reading list, discussed at every book club, and just generally read by all women everywhere. Okay, I believe what I actually said was, “every single woman needs to read this book,” but, honestly, I stand by my earlier sentiment. If you haven’t read it yet, Text Me When You Get Home is all about the power of female friendships. It sounds corny, but I promise you it’s not. Recently, I got the chance to connect with Kayleen Schaefer, the badass woman who wrote Text Me When You Get Home. I know, I am truly v blessed. She talked about her own friendships, her inspiration for writing Text Me When You Get Home, her views on feminism, and much more. Read on for my interview with this boss betch.

What was the moment (or series of moments) that made you sit down and decide to write this book?

I was thinking about two phases of my life. The first was that in school and in my early working life, I hadn’t been friends with women. In school I competed with other girls—for guys, for grades, for anything really. I just thought that’s what I was supposed to do. Then, in my twenties, my first job was at a men’s magazine, and I thought I had to be one of the guys to advance in my career. But then when I thought about what I was like now, in my thirties, I realized the people I depended on for my well-being and everyday joy were my female friends. They were my support system, and I thought that was true for a lot of women. But there weren’t any books that validated these friendships, so I wanted to write one. I wanted to tell the story of our friendships being as important as any other relationships in our lives.

What reaction to the book so far have you appreciated the most?

I put a lot of myself in this book—it’s a kind of memoir—and to have the women who’ve read it say they’ve experienced the same things has been incredible. I’ve heard, “I do that too,” or, “phew, I thought I was the only one,” a lot. The other thing that has been a dream is hearing that women are texting or calling their friends after reading it to say they love them—that makes me so, so happy.

Women Reading

Do you have any advice on how to make friends as an adult?

Don’t be afraid. When I was first getting to know the woman who became my best friend as an adult, I asked if she wanted to go see Bad Teacher with me. Bad Teacher isn’t a movie you’d necessarily want anyone to evaluate your taste in movies on, but she had secretly wanted to see it too—and, in fact, was planning on going by herself—so when I asked her, she was overjoyed. We went and had a blast. Making a new friend is a courtship in a way—you want the other person to know you want to hang out with them.

Did you attend the Women’s March this year? If so, how did you feel it differed from its inaugural year?

Yes, and I actually thought it might be more low-key this year, which goes to show you what I know, because it wasn’t at all. The rush of hope and possibility and community while standing next to the other fired-up protesters was just as thrilling.

Women's March

What are your thoughts on women who say they “don’t need” feminism?

I used to think of feminism as a personal stance. If it came up, I would call myself a feminist, but it wasn’t something that I felt connected me to other women. But that changed during the 2016 presidential campaign, when I started to join with and march with other women, and learn about issues that were important to them. But I don’t think that friendship is the same thing as political organizing—liking each other isn’t going to guarantee us equal rights—or that every woman has to say she’s a feminist. For me though, right now, publicly labeling myself a feminist and standing alongside other feminists makes me feel more visible and, perhaps more crucially, more comfortable.

How important is self-care to you in this political climate, especially for women? Do you have any self-care advice/tips/favorite practices?

I think self-care is important anytime.  Moving around helps me chill out, whether that means a solo dance party in my apartment or going on a long run. Or, if I don’t feel like running, I take a long walk. I also think consuming any art you love is important self-care, whether it’s a book, a movie, a podcast, a museum exhibit, whatever. That can inspire me and lift me out of a negative headspace. And it definitely doesn’t have to be high minded. I hate the term guilty pleasure. If you like it, it’s just a pleasure.

Who’s your girl crush right now?

Chloe Kim! She’s this fierce combination of being totally driven but also seeming to enjoy the hell out of everything she does. I love that.

Did you do anything for Galentine’s Day?

I did! I went with five girlfriends to see Cruel Intentions: The Musical. At one point, I looked around the table we were sitting at and all of us were doing the thing where you’re laughing so hard you’re clutching your face because it hurts in the best way.

Text Me When You Get Home: The Evolution and Triumph of Modern Female Friendship is available here.

Images: Ben White, Vlad Tchompalov, rawpixel.com / Unsplash; 

‘Text Me When You Get Home’ Is The Book You Need To Read If You’re Single On Valentine’s Day

One Thursday night, my friends and I went to happy hour, as we often do, setting our sights on a douchey sports bar in the hopes of finding the slightly overweight frat alumni of our dreams. On the way to the bar, we were discussing the post apocalyptic wasteland that is dating in 2018. You know what I’m talking about— “I’m never getting married,” “I’ll be single forever,” “I might really kill it in the second round, when everyone has divorced their first spouse and is looking for their second marriage.” Just me on that last one then? Whatever, see y’all at the altar in 20 years when I’m looking fresh-faced and youthful because I haven’t had a husband stressing me out for the past two decades.

 

“I’m 29,” remarked one of my friends who’s as single as the rest of us. “You guys can’t complain until you’re actually pushing 30.”

 

Just then, a middle-aged couple walking in front of us turned around.

 

“I just turned 60,” the woman said to us. So okay, maybe they were a little past middle aged—somebody let me know when the cutoff is. She continued, “And we just got married last year. You have a lot of time.”

 

“Ohmigaaaahd, that’s amazing,” we all gushed simultaneously. I’d like to say we all were instilled with a newfound optimism about dating, but this is the real world (and New York City) that we’re talking about. As soon as we got out of earshot, we all immediately rolled our eyes and started commiserating about how fucking depressing that was. So we’re supposed to go on the same shitty dates and maintain unwavering optimism in the face of fuckboy after fuckboy for the next 30 fucking years? I’d rather set myself on fire.

 

If you read the above and are now checking over your shoulder to see if I was following you and your group of friends around, it’s time you pick up a copy of Text Me When You Get Home: The Evolution and Triumph of Modern Female Friendships by Kayleen Schaefer. On the most basic level, it’s a book about female friendships. Don’t worry, when I first read that, I rolled my eyes too, but Schaefer quickly made me a believer. Have you ever introduced two friends who you both love, but who don’t know each other? And you know how hard it can be to explain why you just know they’ll get along, other than to say, “This person is literally the best, just trust me, you’ll love her”? That’s how I feel about this book. Nothing I can really say is going to sound like anything but a line ripped from a trailer for a Lifetime movie, so you’re all just going to have to trust me—you’ll love Text Me When You Get Home.

 

Schaefer’s book is for any woman who’s ever bragged about one of her friends to a complete stranger or had a girl crush or used the hashtag #squadgoals (whether ironically or not). It’s for any woman woman who has even one friend who is also a woman—whether that be your mom, your sister, someone you met in middle school, your work wife, whoever. It’s for anyone who’s ever watched a sitcom in the past 10 years and thought, “Those characters are just like me and my friends.”

 

In Text Me When You Get Home, Schaefer covers female friendships on every level: she chronicles the history of women being friends with other women (in Medieval times, for example, men literally did not believe women were capable of forming significant friendships with each other); she examines the portrayal of female friendships in popular culture; she recounts her own personal journey from Cool Girl to  Girl’s Girl, and much more in between.

 

Text Me When You Get Home will restore your faith in your friendships, and maybe as a by-product, make you realize (again) that men ain’t shit. Kidding (not really), but odds are it will make you look around and realize you’re looking at things all wrong. It will make you grateful for whatever network of women you have around you, and if you don’t have one—if you’re one of those girls who “just gets along with guys better” because “girls are too catty”—you just might see the error of your ways. Kayleen Schaefer will (gently) school you on the myth of female cattiness and mean girls, not just through personal anecdotes, but through sociological evidence. You’ll finish the book and immediately grab your phone to text your closest friends.

 

Any woman who’s single on Valentine’s Day—or any day, or any woman regardless of relationship status, really—needs to read Text Me When You Get Home. 

Text Me When You Get Home: The Evolution and Triumph of Modern Female Friendship is available here.