Please, read the whole thing. This is the same Jessica Mitford who wrote the stunning attack on the funeral industry, "The American Way of Death." The below essay is from 1977, respect.
A Different Stripe: Making Frenemies with Jessica Mitford
I soon discovered that a substantial number of the names listed in my address book belong in the category of Frenemy, an incredibly useful word that should be in every dictionary, coined by one of my sisters when she was a small child to describe a rather dull little girl who lived near us. My sister and the Frenemy played together constantly, invited each other to tea at least once a week, were inseparable companions, all the time disliking each other heartily.
I wonder whether most of us do not, in fact, spend more time with frenemies than with actual friends or outright enemies? Those fringy folks whose proximity, either territorial or work-related, demands the frequent dinner invitation and acceptance of their return hospitality? Pondering the potential guest list, dear reader, how often have you and your spouse bickered on in this fashion: “Well, if we ask Geraldine, we’ll have to ask Mary and her awful boy-friend.” “We can’t just ask Peter from my office and not the others—makes for bad blood. If we ask Peter, we’ve got to have the lot.”
The return invitation of the frenemy is always cause for alarm, although generally not immediate alarm: “It’s three weeks off, darling, and anyway it’s a free dinner so let’s go,” one says hopefully. In our neighbourhood, the evening too often involves the showing of slides of the frenemies’ trip to Europe. In California, where the threat of earthquakes is ever present, one can take out “slide insurance” on one’s house; but this does not, as I have ascertained from my insurance agent, apply to such gatherings. “There is no such thing as a free dinner,” my husband once gloomily remarked as we staggered, exhausted, from the interminable click-click of the slides being put into their slot: “Oh, sorry, upside down, but this is Maudie at the Kremlin—you can just see her skirt on the left....”