Enter Toni: Toni Childs specializes in results (or at least that's what her slogan as a real estate agent suggests). She is the best friend of Joan Clayton and self-proclaimed most fabulous girlfriend of them all. She's vain, she's rude, and often a bit arrogant, but she does have a good heart. Toni Child's lavish lifestyle may have transformed a lot from that of the girl she was growing up on the farm in Fresno, California, but she embraces her country roots. It makes her day when her mom visited, cooking up pies and greens and her love for fried catfish was something serious! No matter what wealthy man Toni was seeing or which sale she was hurrying to get to at Neiman Marcus, she was always, unapologetically, Toni Childs at the end of the day.
How I identify with Toni: Like Toni, I appreciate the finer things in life. Toni feeds the "Champagne-Dreamer" in me. Toni prides herself on living a life of fabulousness and lavishness at all costs. Plus, she is such a diva! While I will NEVER go over my budget for fashion, I do enjoy indulging in a fab purchase every now and again. I also share Toni's love of good down-home cooking, though I constantly complain about what it does to my figure. We can't have it both ways, Toni (with the budget and the figure, that is)!
Below are five things I learned from Antoinette Marie Childs (Garrett) throughout the show's tenure:
1. Every now and again we must indulge in self: Toni Childs (Garrett) always took the time to indulge in self. In fact, she was the only person she is ever seen truly indulging in! While many may find that Toni was a bit too self-indulgent, I find that being your own cheerleader does has its benefits. Though Toni may have appeared to be very confident and beyond narcissistic, her behavior seemed more like a defense mechanism to me. She needed her fashions to feel authentic. She needed expensive hairstyles to feel beautiful. Anyone paying close enough attention could see these behaviors as masked insecurity. Perhaps this was Toni's way of compensating for her humble beginnings. Either way, I say take it from Toni and be your own star player. And if you don't feel like a star player, fake it until you make it! LOVE YOURSELF!
2. It will rain. Marriages do not always make it to the happily ever after and children don't make spouses stick around: During the latter seasons of Girlfriends, Toni began having problems with her then-husband Dr. Garrett. They eventually divorced and went through a nasty custody battle. Though I hated that the two divorced, I knew their relationship was doomed from the start. During a break-up was when Toni found out she was pregnant in the first place, and she used this pregnancy to forge her way back into Dr. Garrett's life. While they married soon after, they struggled through financial problems. Toni longed for a knight-in-shining armor to give her a fairy-tale life and once Dr. Garrett's financial situation changed, so did Toni. The moral of the story is: THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS HAPPILY EVER AFTER unless you work diligently through the storms to make your fairy tale happen for you and your spouse.
3. We can't choose our family, but we can definitely choose our friends: On many episodes, we heard Toni complain about her mother's alcoholism and how it deeply affected her childhood. Though she complained about her mother and her sister she couldn't get along with, we could tell she loved them dearly. And though she often thought of her group of girlfriends as family, they simply were not. She depended on Joan more than she did her family when it came to her wedding and her custody battle. And both times Joan let her down. The custody battle became the final straw in Toni and Joan's failing friendship and surprisingly Toni was the one that severed those ties. It always seems way easier to forgive family than friends, doesn't it?
4. Money can't buy happiness: Toni looked for happiness in each fashion she purchased and each high-end boutique she frequented. But at the end of the day, no matter how much money she spent, she had problems with her man, her family, and her career just the same as the other women.
5. Everything that glitters ain't gold: To further elaborate on #4, Toni seemed to do a good job of decorating a pretty package. She always looked fabulous. She always indulged in the finer things. But she was often troubled within. And even when she did not have the means to splurge, she continued to buy extravagant gifts for her friends just so they wouldn't think she was "broke". Sooner or later they found out she was in financial trouble anyways when they ended up paying for her lunches when they went out. Isn't that ironic?
How did you feel about Toni's character?
Could you relate to her?
Could you see yourself being friends with someone like her? Why or why not?