Cheating on the Bechdel Test

starbucks

Starbucks on Conduit Street in London – © Google 2018

“She’s right Monet, Mum, but an expert at oblivescence. Can’t even remember my cell number to call me.”

“Stop trying to be epigrammatic, Jilly. Just say that the little tart can’t be bothered with you after your one night stand.”

Jilly and her Mum Sophia were having their weekly chat over tea at Starbucks on Conduit Street. The younger woman, hardly out of her teens actually, wrung her hands against the edge of the table as if it were wrought iron instead of wood. Sophia, who had always exuded sophistication and confidence, even when she was her daughter’s age, kindly tolerated the angst of her only child while examining the cheap vase sitting between them as if it were a spot of rust on a Lamborghini Venero.

“Are you trying to tangle my brain?” Why are you always so critical?”

“My dear, if anything, I’m attempting to tenon your rather random associations. Perhaps if you hadn’t overslept, you’d be able to consider this situation more objectively.”

“Ever since I came out, it’s like I can’t bleeding get a girl to commit to me.”

“Have you considered that your peer group may not desire commitment?”

“Have you considered trying to be more supportive?”

“I am being supportive, but that doesn’t mean I can’t also be realistic. You approach every lover as if she’s going to be your life partner, and when that’s not what she wants, you become downhearted.”

“You don’t know what it’s like to be rejected. You’ve always been perfect.”

“That’s only the illusion I weave.”

“Like a web. It’s how you capture minds and souls.”

“Then why don’t you follow my example? Weave your own web. If you believe you’re irresistible, most people will believe it too.”

“Mum, I can look in the mirror. I’m the most resistible person on the planet.”

“That’s only true because you say it is. Don’t try so hard. Living life isn’t running uphill. Instead of seeing yourself in your reflection, see the ideal Jilly, the woman you are inside.”

The next morning, Jilly took her Mum’s advice. She found a photo of Sophia when she was twenty years old and taped it on the bathroom mirror. “There’s my bloody illusion, Mum.” She started feeling better after that.

I wrote this for Wordle #199 hosted at Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie. The idea is to use at least ten of the twelve words in the list below in a poem, short story, or other creative work. I used all twelve. I bolded them in my story so the reader can pick them out better.

  1. Vase
  2. Wrought
  3. Hill
  4. Rust
  5. Peer
  6. Monet
  7. Tart
  8. Oblivescence (n)) the art of forgetting).
  9. Overslept
  10. Epigrammatic (adj)) of or like an epigram; terse and ingenious in expression. Containing or favoring the use of epigrams.
  11. Tenon (v)) to join securely) – there are more definitions but this was the least technical.
  12. Tangle

There’s something in fiction writing (usually for movies) called the Bechdel Test used for dialog between two women. To “pass” the test, the conversation between them has to be about anything besides a man (which I guess is all too common). I cheated and had it be about a relation with a woman, or women in general in Jilly’s case. I guess I should have been more creative.

I also used a non-traditional definition for the word “Monet” found at Urban Dictionary.

A Lamborghini Venero is one of the most expensive cars in the world, costing about $4 million.

I’m not really satisfied with the story. It lacks drama and even I’m having a tough time liking my own characters, and especially feeling good about the advice to create an illusion of yourself in order to be attractive to others. Then again, self-talk tends to turn into self-definition. In other words, we are what we think.

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