How am I supposed to pass the Bechdel test?
There should be two women (this woman) in a room (on a blog) talking about something other than men. Preferably they have names.
I tried to pass. Put in my very best effort. I went to Ireland last month a very happy me, full and satisfied and single and thoroughly enjoyed all things green.
I started to worry, though, because I had nothing to write about. Nothing new to say. I was just living, and living well. There’s not much to tell when I’m wasting hours in the back corner of a pub with my Baileys coffee and book. No drama to investigate. Just me, feeling alive, riding bikes on an island, content with sweaters and soups, just as impressed with latte art as real art. No story hidden in the simplicity. No secrets.
Who wants to read about girls who are, well… fine?
Am I interesting anymore, without a man? Without a story to tell? With the story I have that’s just featuring me?
But then again, it’s not just about me, is it? I don’t want it to be, anyway- I still would like to find a man, right? (*cue feminist cringes*)
Should we be cringing, though? What’s wrong with men? What’s wrong with wanting to be with a good one?
There were some Irish nights, instead of soaking in my singleness, that I found myself putzing around on newly downloaded dating apps. I wasn’t really interested in the guys looking for someone who’s “a freak for her man” (whatever that means), and not really interested in guys who think Vegas bachelor parties are considered world traveling. Even still, I was there, and a little interested.
Why couldn’t I just be the lovely, independent, strong woman that Lizzo wants me to be?
Why was I on the other side of the ocean with two sisters, adventuring away, and still hoping for the attention of heavily accented red-headed bartenders? Go back to your Guinness, girl!
No Irish bartenders for me, but I did get home and try to go on a date. Shocking, I know.
We met on an app (weird), he asked me on said date (weirder), then hours before meeting flaked on date (weirdest). No explanation, no follow up, hardly even an apology. Maybe the actual weirdest part was that I was surprised.
Anyway, it was a strange, disappointing entrance into the so-called dating scene.
In an effort to redirect this post away from the feminist rant it could be and towards the peaceful, lovely, self-secure place it should be, I’m going to tell you the truth now.
I was annoyed, yes. However, primarily, I was relieved. Despite my wishy-washy I-want-a-man meanderings, I don’t think I actually wanted to meet the man.
Probably in part because it’s much safer and easier to be single. No one can hurt you when you take yourself to the movies, right? Also, I really don’t know if I have the energy right now to form a meaningful connection with a stranger male, or the real desire to take responsibility for a that same male and incorporate him into this life of mine. I’m still busy stretching and wiggling and allowing myself to toy with the idea of learning Italian and taking writing classes and doing whatever the hell I want because I’m relearning what it is I want.
Of course, I’m also relieved to learn of flake-boy’s flakiness before I’ve started to care. He’s been kind enough to reject me before he’s actually met me, which is much gentler on the ego.
I’m failing Bechdel again.
I would like to have something to say that doesn’t have anything to do with relationships, whether that’s getting into them or out of them.
Or maybe Bechdel was a little bit wrong. Maybe I just need to make peace with relationships and having things to say about them. Really, the whole point of life is relationship, isn’t it? It’s an endless back-and-forth between us and ourselves, with God, with others. It just so happens that a significant portion of those others are male. And, ultimately, I’d like to be with one of them.
In the long run, it’s not going to be the most interesting thing about me, but it might still be worth my attention.
Yes, I’m already on an adventure- insert strong independent woman cliché- but I’m thinking that maybe strong independent women can also coexist with men who respect them. Maybe she’s even encouraged by them.
In the meantime, I’ve gone to Ireland and bought my own Claddagh ring. I’ll not die pining after anyone like the sad little man who made the first one. I’ll buy my own jewelry and I’ll turn the heart towards me, not because mine is taken by a man, but because I’m already cared for. I’m quite securely held by God, my friends, my sisters, my parents and myself.
I think I’ll try to operate out of that place and let go of the rest.
Bechdel approved or no, I’d like to anchor into myself just enough that I can still move through the world with love. After all, isn’t that the most wild adventure of all?
Ever so slowly, these doors I’ve closed are opening. Fresh rain-clean breezes are blowing in freedom, untamed by rules or tests or time. This new, free, self will be the best self.
All will be well, no matter who’s talking in what room. Just love. Live well. Drink Guinness. Move on.