DISCLAIMER- UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES, IS THIS AN ENDORSEMENT TO CHEAT ON YOUR PARTNERS.
Frances is a student in Dublin who has aspirations to be a writer. Bobbi, her best friend and former partner, is stunning and self-possessed. Frances and Bobbi capture the interest of Melissa, a well-known photographer while performing slam poetry one night. Both the girls are increasingly drawn into Melissa's world. It takes a turn when Frances is caught off guard by Melissa's reserved, actor-husband, Nick. Frances and Nick's affair, as ironic and absurd as it appears at first, gives way to a quiet tenderness.
‘Conversations with friends’ is a book written by the critically acclaimed author Salley Rooney which was further adapted into a twelve-episode series (I recommend the book). On the surface, it can appear a story about an affair. But if you are at all familiar with Salley Rooney’s universe you know it’s never that simple. Hence, I beg the question, what are the nuances of an affair? Or is cheating completely immoral and that’s that? What does it mean to truly support the happiness of the people you love? Declarations of loving somebody more than you love yourself and keeping their needs above your own. Are these merely abstract outcries of love and what happens when they are challenged?
The book isn’t an open guide on how to have an affair but gives you an insight into an ‘affair’. It showcases what happens when a relationship is fundamentally fractured but they can’t get themselves to leave each other. It opens your mind to the idea that is love accommodating enough to let them replace you or is it being confident that there is enough space for everybody.
Loving two people at the same time sounds selfish and incredibly exhausting but buying into the notion that one person can fulfil all our needs- Being a best friend, a confidant, a homemaker, and a person we can share an irresistible chemistry; doesn’t that sound exhausting? The book made me question the fundamentals of love and how we perceive it as a society. The heteronormative idea is so deeply engraved in our psyche, of what love is and how it should look like that even considering any other way of living feels immoral. But we completely neglect that the evolution of the modern family came into existence due economics of resources rather than the realization of a soulmate. Making this clear little circle of what family and love look like and breaking and moulding everybody to fit in it, isn’t that immoral?
The agenda is not to condone or promote infidelity but opening up to what ‘normal’ is or at least could be. How unconventional arrangements can thrive if there lies an undercurrent of love and respect to make it work.
Women have never had more consciousness and autonomy (progress isn’t always linear) than they have had in history. From being seen as a resource manufacturer which came in with immense scrutiny for high fertility and loyalty. We can finally (partly) be seen as living breathing humans with minds and souls. So instead of experiencing life as a binary of black and white, one can experience it as a spectrum. A judgment-free spectrum where people can choose what fits them best and when.
P.S. DON’T BE AN ASSHOLE. FEEL-THINK- COMMUNICATE.