Most friendships begin with a hello.
Mine with Little Rock radio/TV personality Lisa Fischer began with "Are you wearing Spanx?"
It was the fall of 2006, and I had been invited by my friend -- her morning show co-host Jeff Matthews -- to a party/movie screening that their station was hosting at someone's home. PF Chang's lettuce wraps would be involved, so I said yes ... and, yes, wore Spanx.
Though we mutually admired each other's work, Lisa and I had not met before this night. And the first thing this disarming, charming brunette asked me was if I was wearing restrictive shapewear.
Some might have found it offensive. (She now shudders when I recall this story: "Why did I ever ask you that?!")
But I found it endearing. We discussed undergarments like old friends.
She was funny, outspoken and inappropriate. I could relate, and therefore liked her big mouth instantly.
Over the years that I've known her -- first as a friend, then as a co-worker, then back to a friend again -- I'd learn her heart is even bigger.
But first I had some unlearning to do.
Here's something that I don't think I've ever admitted to Lisa, whom I've told just about everything else: I didn't trust her at first.
Oh, I loved her company, her cackle and her confidence. Secretly, however, I was sure that she was shady.
At that point in my life, I was outwardly gregarious, but extremely guarded. And I hadn't enjoyed many great experiences working with other women in the media, and much of that was my own suspicious, ambitious, aggressive fault. Our field can be competitive and cutthroat, and I had allowed myself to get very caught up in that. (Now would be a good time to apologize: If I was less than "delightful" -- a term I've adopted from Lisa -- to you during my early career, my sincerest apologies.)
So when Lisa approached me about being a contributor on her station, I was appreciative but didn't anticipate it happening. I thought it was just talk.
Oh, she talked all right. She marched right into an advertiser's office herself -- with at least one of her home-schooled children in the car outside -- and pleaded for them to sponsor my segment so the station could hire me. And she'd speak up again after a few months, convincing them to double my salary.
A woman professionally pulling for another? This was so foreign -- and so refreshing -- to me.
Then, when she was in need of a co-host, she rallied for me again. For two-and-a-half fun-filled years, we chatted and chuckled Monday through Friday morning -- even more when the microphones were off than on. I still can't believe I got paid to talk to my BFF every morning; it was a sweet gig.
Sweeter yet is the bond that remains. I have no idea what I ever did to deserve her ceaseless support, but no one, with the exception of blood relatives, has ever encouraged me more. What's so exceptional about Lisa is how she has done this not just for me, but her many female friends.
Lisa is always the first to remember a birthday. The first to congratulate someone on any milestone. The first RSVP for a party. The first to notice someone's new hair/outfit/lipstick. The first at the door with a carby casserole when there's been a birth, death or illness. The first to call when one needs a beauty consultation, thyroid advice (she does think she's a doctor) or, more important, prayer. The first to fight for an idea or a person she believes in. The last to stop laughing at someone's joke.
What if more women so heartily championed other women?
Lisa has always been my cheerleader. Now it is my time to promote her.
Friday is Lisa's last day as a full-time radio personality, though you'll still hear her ads. She'll continue doing TV commercials, she'll be writing for AY Magazine and podcasting for Arkansas Heart Hospital. And she'll be sharing her wit and wisdom on her website, lisafischersaid.com.
I wish her much success with these endeavors, as I remain grateful for her support of mine.
Lisa, Spanx so much!
What's in a Dame is a weekly report from the woman 'hood.
Style on 06/19/2018
Print Headline: Big heart is BFF's best trait