When you’ve been friends with someone for over 20 years, there are zero pretenses. Zilch. That’s how I feel about my beloved galpal Erin Kiernan—who may quite possibly be the hardest working woman in show business now that James Brown is dead.
For me, the fact that we have two decades of kibitzing, gossiping and teen angst under our belt says something. It says I found my kindred spirit and I’m not about to give her up. Why? Because it took 20+ years to cultivate that kind of comfortable familiarity. It also took a lot of hairspray. (We’re probably both partially responsible for the depletion of the ozone layer.)
Because I’m a cheap SOB, I decided to write this ode to her in lieu of a Christmas present. She’ll probably cherish this more than, say, a Noah’s Ark pizza anyway (but I could be wrong). Here now are the Top 11.5 Things I Like About Erin Elizabeth Sheniqua Moodring Kiernan:
11.5) I’m considerably older than she is. I tell people I’m younger. She allows it.
11) True story. A hundred million years ago, I ran the TelePrompTer for Erin’s very first gig anchoring a newscast. She was nervous. I was more nervouser. Mere moments before she went on the air, she looked at me and smiled her megawatt grin. “Any last-minute advice?” she asked. “Don’t swear, fart, or black out,” I barked. She’s taken that advice to heart the rest of her esteemed anchoring career. You’re welcome, dear.
10) She probably doesn’t remember this, but she yelled at me once. Once. Because I was being a mean girl. Not to her, but to one of our mutual acquaintances. I made a totally snarky, inappropriate comment and Erin tore into me. It was brutal. If you look up the word “admonish” in the dictionary, there’s a teeny-little picture of her next to the definition that says, “See Also: Erin Kiernan.” I’ve been a kinder-gentler M2 ever since then. Not. Even. Kidding.
9) Her warts-and-all approach to life. While the rest of the world is angling to put their best farce, er, face forward on social media, Erin’s posts slice right through the pretentious, look-my-life-is-perfect B.S. She’s honest, forthright, no-nonsense and wholly relatable online and in real life. If you’re not following her, you need to be. She’s got wisdom that comes from years of life experience. If Walter Cronkite and Mother Teresa had a baby, she would be the by-product.
8) She has good hair. (I was going to make that #1, but it seemed so shallow. It’s true, though. She has really good, luxurious anchorwoman hair. I hate her. And the worst part? She can go 22 days only using dry shampoo and it still looks stunning. She’s the worst.)
7) She married a man who can cook. Besides being a great hubs and phenomenal father, Michael Kiernan makes gourmet comfort food better than any professional chef alive. Fight me. I can’t tell you the amount of smack-your-momma-good meals I’ve eaten at Casa Kiernan over the years. Erin likes to eat. I like to eat more. Michael likes to cook—usually things that include bacon. It’s a win-win-win. His food gives me life—figuratively and literally.
6) Never once has Erin told me what I wanted to hear. Want to know the difference between a good friend and a best friend? A good friend will placate you. A best friend will tell you that your Speedo is ill-fitting. And that you have a drinking problem. And it’s noticeable. Casually. Over coffee. When I ask for Erin’s advice or insight—which is approximately every 12-14 minutes—she’s the first to let me know her true thoughts on any subject. She’s rarely wrong. She’s a great touchstone. I think it’s because we share the same brain. (Which is funny given all the brain cells we’ve killed from hairspray abuse.)
5) We’re both fitness instructors. She looks the part. I don’t. I hate her.
4) Erin is a stellar writer. (Takes one to know one.) You know how much pablum is out there? A shit-ton. Erin has the ability to muse what’s going on in her hairspray-addled brain into poignant, cohesive thoughts. Her storytelling abilities far surpass anyone in the Des Moines market. (Sorry, Eric Hanson.) She could make the ingredient list on the back of a cereal box sound riveting. Again, if you’re not following her — you need to be. Otherwise you’re missing out on a lot of pithiness.
3) Her “put-on-your-damn-swimsuit” movement. A few years ago, Erin told the world about her emotional breakdown trying on swimsuits. We’ve all been there. Her post struck a nerve with—well, every single woman on the face of the planet. They all chimed in. All, 3,844,796,142 of them. And, boy, did they have something to say. I don’t mean to brag, but I’m pretty sure the swimsuit industry saw an uptick of business thanks to her singular take-no-prisoners post.
2) Her vulnerability. For just as many goofball laughs as we’ve had, we’ve also had our fair share of tears. Really ugly, gut-wrenching tears too. When my dad died this year, my friends all swooped in to prop me up and ply me with weed. It was much needed. Erin, meanwhile, made tea and let me sit on her couch and stare out the window for about four days. We babbled incessantly about anything but death, dying and funerals. It renewed my spirit. I still owe her for that.
And—with a bullet—the 1) thing I dig about my favorite twisted sister? She was born to be a mom. The amount of love that woman has for her kids is unreal. I may be biased because I’m Auntie Michael, but Erin has found her calling. It’s motherhood. She dotes. She spoils. She loves on her babies and moms harder than anyone I know. An exponential amount of love too. I would give her a high-five, but her hands are probably sticky. I mean, she does have two kids under the age of four.
So, there you have it. My ode to my next-generation bestie. I heart you, Schmoops. I hope you enjoyed reading this, dear. And, more importantly, just know it saved me $10 on that Starbucks gift card I was gonna get you. X to the O.