There are only two people I've ever met whom I believe to be capable of unconditional love: my paternal grandmother, who never even said a bad word about Hitler; and Jan Kostner, my oldest friend in the world.
Or, as Jan prefers to say, "my friend I've had the longest."
For a woman who's managed to move through the world at impressively high levels, Jan is jaw-droppingly guileless. I consider myself a fairly earnest fellow, but I am Machia-fucking-velli compared to Jan. Plus she's nice. And loyal. Holy crap, is she nice and loyal. I can spew the worst kind of bitch-venom around Jannicups and feel secure that (a) she will not judge me and (b), what goes in the moment, stays in the moment. Hell, she even puts up with me calling her "Jannicups."
Which is not to say Jan is above a good, chatty evening of gossip and Chardonnay; she's not. When I'm starting to feel a little butch, a dose of Jan sets me right up. When we meet to eat, it's usually for tea or cocktails (or tea AND cocktails) at some fabulous hotel bar. She took me for my first pedicure and gave me my first gift certificate to a Four Seasons massage (which, three years later, I still haven't used;I swear, they're going to take away my girl card if I don't start stepping up my game).
Legend has it that our mothers met when we were two, pushing strollers on Michigan Avenue. Neither is around to confirm or deny this any more, but it doesn't matter: Jan and I are long past needing reasons to be friends; we're family, and family, for better or for worse, is yours for life.
Jannicups? She's all about the better...