The crash of a bottle breaking against brick echoes into the parking lot of 21 Romoda Drive. It’s almost midnight and there’s a group of girls gathering in what seems to be a ritual of cathartic release outside the back entrance of the Arts Annex. One of the girls picks up a wine bottle and stares it down, muttering something under her breath. There’s an energy in the air around them that cannot be ignored, it’s evident that something real has brought these women together tonight.
“And the worst part is I blame myself for this…,” Jen’s voice trails off as her wet eyes drift to the left. Liz stumbles away from an almost empty beer can to comfort her friend. As Liz gives her a much-needed squeeze, Jen looks to the ground at the flickering disco lights left over from a party that everyone else abandoned for the bar.
“Fuck him,” whispers Liz, and a silent tear strolls down Jen’s face.
“I still can’t believe he’s doing this to you and Maggie,” chimes Sarah.
“It’s just so unfair. Not only is Maggie not enough for him, but I’m not either. I know he had another girl in there last night,” she sobs.
Jen, a vibrant, strong-willed college junior, has been seeing James for a few months now. It started with a few snapchats, and quickly became an uncontrollable vice for both.
“I never showed interest in him, he was pretty suggestive,” asserts Jen. “You know when you can just tell?”
James peaks his head into the common room and the girls fall silent. “I’m just gonna go to bed,” Jen shoves her chair away from the table and Liz and Sarah head for their own rooms.
It’s 4:15 p.m. and Ashley is reclined in her bed, a look of confusion and sleepiness rests on her round and rosy face. Melissa comes in to check on plans for the night, her orange hair pinned away from her face and her pink eyeshadow glimmering in the afternoon sun.
“Rob just tried to kiss me,” Ashley breathes in disbelief. “I woke up from a nap and he came in unannounced.”
Melissa’s jaw drops and she leans in to hear more.
“He asked if I wanted to play guitar for a bit,” continues Ashley, “but I said no, because I have work to do, so we started chatting.”
Melissa nods, eyes open wide with bewilderment.
“He was kind of touching me a lot, but I didn’t think much of it,” Ashley explains. “Then all of a sudden he grabbed my face.”
“No!” exclaimed Melissa
“I pulled away and asked what he was doing. It was so awkward.”
“What did he do then?” inquires Melissa.
“He tried to make me feel bad by sitting in the room and scoffing about the rejection.”
“It just sucks that guys who I thought were my real friends just see me as a sexual object now that I’m single,” says Ashley, her eyes welling with tears of frustration and disappointment.
“I’m so sorry,” Melissa offers a hug of support.
“I’m furious,” cringes Stephanie.
“What happened this time?” Becky probes.
Stephanie, a kind and patient girlfriend is let down again by her disappointing boyfriend, Charlie. She bought tickets to a Snoop Dog concert, thinking it would be a fun way to spend a sticky summer night together. Just days before the concert, Charlie told Stephanie he couldn’t go because his friend was performing in a Drum Corps show that same night. He chided Stephanie, going on and on about how he never wanted to go anyway and it was stupid of her to even buy the tickets.
“Apparently, I sold those tickets for nothing, Becky. I’m pissed.”
“What do you mean?”
“After making such a big deal about the concert and how kind I was for selling the tickets and understanding that he wanted to go to his friend’s Drum Corps show, he didn’t even go to the Drum Corps show.”
“Stephanie, you deserve so much better than that. Fuck that,” says Becky.
Emma steps out of her car after a two-hour phone call with Chris. Her cheeks are stained with tracks of tears and mascara speckles her pale skin. She picks up the phone and calls Liz.
“Liz, it’s over.”
“Okay, come here, we’ll go on a walk. Everything’s going to be okay.”
The girls spend the afternoon in the woods, walking and talking, Emma sometimes screaming and crying. Liz tells her stories of all the times she’s had her heart broken, and Emma smiles weakly, knowing that though it hurts, this breakup is for the best.
“Remember when Dan cheated on me in my parents’ bed?” inquires Liz.
“Oh fuck, you’re right. This isn’t nearly that bad,” they exchange a chuckle and keep walking.
Emma goes back to her room after the walk and tries to find comfort in a book. It’s the first Saturday night since the summer that she hasn’t wanted to go out. In her room, the tears start up again, and she groans in frustration. Suddenly, she hears a knock at her door.
“Let me in!” shouts an unidentified voice. Emma gets up and the door swings open to reveal Melissa standing with a smiley face balloon and a bottle of Bacardi.
“Tonight, we fuck the boy,” she says with a sly look. “This is from Liz,” she hands Emma a poster with “fuck the boy” written on it in artistic, cursive handwriting.
Emma finally allows a real smile to take over her freckled face.
The girls rush downstairs into the common room of the Arts Annex and get the music going. Melissa gets some paper and starts vigorously slashing black paint into the shape of the letters, f, u, c, k, t, h, e, b, o, y.
Kesha comes over the speaker, and Emma’s alcohol induced rage starts to come out.
“FUCK THE BOY,” she yells as Kesha’s voice so fittingly sings, “I’m a mother fucking woman!” And Melissa raises a glass to that.
Liz strolls in, sporting cheetah print leggings and three long brown ponytails. Emma and Melissa raise their glasses to her presence and continue to “fuck the boy.” More girls flock to investigate the on goings. Melissa hands a paintbrush to every girl that enters, instructing them to make a “fuck the boy” poster. The girls get creative, some writing “fuck the Canadian,” “fuck the dog,” and even “baise le garçon.” Each of them share their own stories about their worst breakups and relationships, warranting middle fingers, eye-rolls, and sometimes even laughter.
Swaying with a bottle of rum in hand, Emma stands on a chair, stumbling, and preparing to make a drunk speech— something her closest friends have known her to do since their first year at college. Sarah and Liz exchange a glance, knowing exactly what is about to come out of Emma’s mouth.
“I cannteven explaaain to you all how mush I appreciate you beein here withme,” she slurs. “Jen, Ashley, Stephanie, you all know, fuck the boy, none of them deserve us. But we, at least we have eachuther.”
In the midst of the niche feminism at work, Steve walks in, the first boy to lay eyes upon such a scene. He approaches Emma with a pint of Ben and Jerry’s.
“I know you’re going through a tough time, but I just want you to know, you’re going to get through this,” he pats her on the shoulder and hands her a spoon.
With a glimpse of hope flickering in her eye, Emma turns her attention back to the girls, grabs the Bacardi, and starts pouring shots. She swigs back the rum and grabs a wine bottle, one that has been sitting on her dresser since the last night she spent with Chris.
“Girls, I’ve got to finally get rid of this thing, who’s coming with me?” Emma staggers out the back door. The crash of a bottle breaking against brick echoes into the parking lot of 21 Romoda Drive.
*Names have been changed to preserve anonymity.