Recently a friend asked me if I thought it was problematic that most of our happy hour conversations failed the Bechdel Test. If you’ve never heard of it, the Bechdel Test is a means of evaluating a movie’s treatment of female characters; to pass, a movie must have at least two women in it who speak to each other about something other than a man.
At first, I felt guilty. Here we were, intelligent, thoughtful, creative women, and almost everything we had discussed from the first appetizer to the dessert cocktail had to do with men: the men we were dating, the men we wanted to date, the men we couldn’t quite tell if we were dating, the general douchebaggery of men we used to date. I briefly considered forcing myself to talk about other things—career goals, perhaps, or something I’d seen in the news. And then I got a cryptic text from my ex and threw that silly idea right out the window.
My love life matters to me. My friends’ love lives matter to me. Of course, it is woefully inaccurate to suppose that all women want to talk about is dating (we also love to complain about our moms!), but it is just as wrong to shame ourselves or our friends for prioritizing matters of the heart. Admitting that your love life plays a big part in your fulfillment doesn’t make you any less self-actualized. I care about my career, I cultivate hobbies, I put time into creative outlets, but at this point in my life, I am still enormously impacted by my pursuit of (and many misadventures in) love.
So if your breakup is on your mind, you shouldn’t hesitate to talk about it with your friends (and when they get tired of it, your mom, and when she gets bored, your therapist). If you are obsessing over what to wear on a date, go ahead and crowdsource it with your ladies (include pictures of all potential outfits). At the end of the day, no one has the right to tell you what you should value or how you should feel. And to be honest, if I’m sipping a cosmo I’d probably rather hear about the weird thing your boyfriend did in bed last night than what quarterly budget increases your boss is implementing—just sayin’.