By: Mar Curran
Everything I learned about relationships, I learned from Beyonce. Okay, that’s not even remotely true. I did learn one important relationship lesson this past year that had to do partially with Queen Bey and partially with me growing up.
I have been known to halt a burgeoning relationship for what some might say are small matters of taste. How am I supposed to relate to someone who won’t understand Mean Girls references, though, really? In the effort of personal growth, however, I decided that I should start letting those things slide more often in interest of getting to know people in a more deep way before casting such judgements. In this mindset I entered into a courtship with Tara.
My friends usually say my type can be described in three words: mom-like, midwestern, and mean. And it’s totally true; I fall into the trap of feeling I need to earn someone’s love and overcome their sarcastic criticisms to feel wanted. You know how it is. One moment you’re getting drinks with a girl thinking it’s endearing that she shows little remorse for causing the accidental death of her roommate’s deaf cat (how refreshingly honest) and the next minute you’re in a relationship with her.
Early on Tara told me she had lied about her dedication to the Church of Knowles. “I mean, I think she’s alright,” she waffled, “but I know how much you like her. I didn’t think you’d like me if I didn’t say I was a fan.” I have plans with a friend to form a heavy metal Beyonce cover band. I once told a customer at my job she couldn’t prove I wasn’t Beyonce because she’d never seen the two of us in the same room together. When I was named one of the Windy City Times’ 2012 30 Under 30, my fun fact about myself was that I knew all the words to “Say My Name” by Destiny’s Child and could play an acoustic cover of it on guitar. Patrick Gill and I formed a friendship that is around 30% based on singing “Bootylicious” to one another. One of my favorite facts about my mom is her undying love for the song “Irreplaceable.” She may have been right. I have an unironic, unabashed love for B that started as a preteen and has never wavered. But I decided to be a “real adult” and joked, “Well, it’s too late to worry about that now.”
Everything was as hunky-dory as any of my relationships ever is, meaning not very, but that’s just kind of how my Southside of Chicago Irish Catholic mentality works. If I decide to date you, I either put an expiration date on it at the beginning or stick with it despite my unhappiness because, you know, commitment! It’s the thing you do! Not to mention I was grieving a slow loss of life of a family member I love dearly, starting literally two days before our first date and culminating in my crying and having anxiety attacks with alarming frequency, which always helps a relationship that’s already strained!
All of this, however, was not enough to clue me in. Beyonce gave me my wakeup call.
The documentary “Life Is But A Dream” had just come out, meaning my months of waiting and discussing the possible coverage with my best friend Janie were about to culminate in a agical viewing experience. Tara had an HBO Go account, meaning I had access to seeing the documentary without pop-ups! Without grainy bootleg internet picture fuzz! Without having to verify I was a human being! It’s every broke 20-something’s dream, dare I say! Tara and I made plans to have a special date night viewing; dinner, wine, and Beyonce. Let’s just say that had I not been the one planning all this myself with little to no help, I would have felt thoroughly romanced.
The weekend after the documentary came out I still had not had time to arrange our date. We did, however, have time to meet up with some friends of mine to celebrate a life event. The documentary became a topic of conversation and Tara slipped into the discussion, “Oh, yeah, she talks about that in the documentary. It was alright.”
“What?” My eyes got wide. “What?” she asked, in a more confused and less accusatory tone than my own.
“You watched it?” I wasn’t sure of this was a question or a statement, trying to convey so many hurts and incredulousness over the microaggressions of our relationships to her.
“Yeah, I watched it the other night with [her roommate.” “We were supposed to watch it together!” “I forgot, and [roommate] wanted to watch it, and I couldn’t just let her watch it alone!” “So it’s okay for me to watch it alone even though you said we’d watch it together?” “You can watch it with Janie!”
It’s true, I could watch it with Janie. I could do a lot of things with Janie, because Janie loves me. I mean, she really fucking loves me, so she considers my feelings when she does something that will affect me. It doesn’t hinder her living her life, or stop her from going out and having fun or staying in alone some nights, or derail her other life plans. It just means she cares about me, and our relationship, and wants to nurture it because we help each other flourish. What I perceived as callousness to my efforts, excitements, investments, to her was just me freaking out over a movie we didn’t watch together.
My relationship with Tara didn’t end over this, or any one specific fight, really. It didn’t end for another couple of months even. But when it did, at 2 a.m. two days after my beloved family member had passed away, after asking her to leave my apartment because she said she would be perfectly happy not seeing me again for extended periods of time, and she couldn’t be there for me during my grieving, and she wanted to be selfish, it kinda made sense.
Now I have a new relationship rule: Beyonce and I must be first in your life. If I’m dating someone who doesn’t realize that planning a Queen B date night is a special event, they will not be my date. And next time someone doesn’t like Beyonce, I’m just going back to breaking up with them. I think that’s the lesson we learned here tonight, right, kids?