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Sissing Contest

I didn’t know there was such a thing as Sisters’ Day, and I don’t know if this is because I don’t have a sister or because Sisters’ Day is another non-holiday that no one knows about and then you are like, “Taco Bell just alerted me to the fact that it is National Goat Day via a tweet referring to the Cheesy Goatida Crunch. Happy National Goat Day, everyone.” Except in this case, it’s sisters.

The thing about sisters is that, again, I don’t have one. I have a brother, but I’m pretty sure that is not the same thing as having a sister, and growing up, I always felt a bit like I was missing out on something. This was specifically the case when observing my female friends and their sisters. In some cases, they were friends, and in some cases, they were enemies who were ultimately friends; but they were always girls⎯more than one girl, sometimes upward of five⎯living in the same house. I never knew anyone with six sisters. Sounds evil.

I was fascinated by this idea. There you are, a girl like me, and there is this other girl who lives in the same house as you, and you talk to each other, and watch TV together, and maybe you have the same type of hair, and maybe you have matching Keds. And did that make you feel good? Did it make you feel like you were part of something? Like you weren’t alone?

Did it make you happy?

A study came out in 2009 suggesting that, yes, probably. Researchers discovered that having a sister makes you happier and more optimistic, and girls from the study who had sisters also tended to be more independent and eager to achieve. Basically, having a sister promotes good mental health. (Brothers seemed to have the opposite effect.)

Professor Tony Cassidy from the University of Ulster, who ran the study with researchers from De Montfort University in Leicester, said: “Sisters appear to encourage more open communication and cohesion in families ... Emotional expression is fundamental to good psychological health, and having sisters promotes this in families.”

Do I have good psychological health? It’s okay. It’s not great, but it’s okay. It’s a work in progress. But maybe what I need to get a little closer to an optimal brain is a sister of my own. So, I decided to interview for a sister. I asked some writers to tell me in thirty words or fewer why their sisters should also be my sister. You’ll find my decision after their pitches.

My sister would be a good sister to you because she owns Friday on three formats.
—Chris L. Terry, author of Zero Fade

Sister for sale! Good source of background noise. Includes: sizable army of stuffed animals, vast knowledge of nice cars. Will give away for free.
Joyce Chong, part-time ghost herder

My sister would be a good sister for you because when I mistakenly order a large pizza for myself at a restaurant, she recalls forgotten life details like that I used to drink a gallon of from-concentrate grape juice per day.
Roderick McClain, writer and artist

Be my sister’s sister because my sister can recite Love You Forever backward, from memory, while hanging upside down and watching Family Matters reruns.
Anthony Martin, scoundrel

When we lived together, my sister slept with the DVD of my college sketch show under her pillow for weeks after my boyfriend stopped looking for it.
Sarah Peters, writer: Workaholics, Nathan for You,
upcoming Aziz Ansari Netflix series

Wow. Really hard choice. All of these sisters sound very good and potentially brain-optimizing. But gallon of from-concentrate grape juice per day recall? Okay. Yes. That’s the one. That’s the one I want.

Roderick, please have your sister contact me immediately for formal Sistering Ceremony, in which we make lasagna together while wearing matching Keds.

MEREDITH ALLING is a writer and nonprofit manager living in Los Angeles. Her work appears or is forthcoming in Corium Magazine, Monkeybicycle, No Tokens, Spork, Wigleaf, and elsewhere. Her website is meredithalling.com, and she is on Twitter at @meremyth.

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