Big Girls Don't Cry

“All of our conversations tonight have to pass the Bechdel test,” I say as I settle into my twin bed.

My roommate turns off the overhead lights and I hear the tell-tale creaking and rustling of her getting comfortable atop the adjacent mattress. This has become a nightly-ritual of ours, spilling out thoughts to each other in the translucent darkness.

“What do you mean?” she asks through a yawn.

“I mean no boys.”

“What if I want to talk about my brothers?”

I like hearing about her adolescent siblings. They worry about such odd things.

“Fine. No boys over eighteen.”


Silence creeps into our dim dorm room. A few girls giggle outside our door.

“My calc lecture wasn’t completely mind-numbing today,” I say.

“Oh,” she says.

Someone pads barefoot down the hall. Another individual wearing squeaky, rubber-soled shoes chastises them for this.

I try again, this time with a clear idea of where I want to steer the conversation.

“You know, my mom’s the highest ranking woman at her job?”

“Oh? What does your mom do again?”

“I’m not really sure. Whenever I ask her, I get confused. I feel like she fills out charts and sends emails all day,” I say.  

“Hmm,” she hums disinterestedly, “You know who’s cool? Amal Clooney.”

So she does understand what I’m trying to do. I smile triumphantly.

“Yeah. She’s an international law and human rights barrister, right?”

“Yeah. And she stays serving looks. Is she a person of color?”

“She’s Lebanese,” I answer.

“She’s kind of brown, so I’m gonna say she is.”

We both laugh.

“She didn’t get engaged to George Clooney until she was 36,” she  begins.

“Hey, that statement does not pass the Bechdel test.”

“And she didn’t have her kids until she was 39.”

“So you’re just going to ignore my request, then?” I lament.

“I’m just saying, boys may not happen for you in college, which is fine,” she states sympathetically.

I don’t reply.

“Are you angry.”

I’m not, but I want her to think I am.

“I’m sorry. We’ll only talk about bad bitches for the rest of the night,” she offers.

I don’t want to think about how I had been texting a boy from my hometown for the past few weeks. How I thought he may want to meet up when I came home for the summer. How earlier today, he casually mentioned his girlfriend and how I immediately blocked his number. Because I don’t want to think about how bad this boy has unwittingly hurt me, I babble on about Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Cameryn Goodman