Like with most things in pop culture, I am considerably behind the time in which it was appropriate to have a public opinion on Beyoncé's "Lemonade." My "hot take," if you will, is a little late.
I'm an old-fashioned Millennial who isn't on Twitter, has about a dozen pictures total on Instagram and only downloaded Snapchat under duress, so this is much more of a lukewarm take, a two-hour old dishwater take or an, "I had to run an errand right after I got a burger and fries, and now there's no use putting them in the microwave to reheat because it'll just be gross" take. But I'm going to write about it anyway. Sue me.
Among the catchy beats, political messages and celebrations of #BlackGirlMagic, what inevitably got the most attention were the lyrics alluding to an affair. Every track on "Lemonade" was examined, dissected and reexamined under the "Did Jay Z really cheat on Beyoncé" lens. Bey seemed ready — eager, even — to spill the tea about her previously notoriously private life with Jay Z. And smack dab in the middle of the track "Sorry," she dropped the line that launched a thousand speculations: "He better call Becky with the good hair."
Suddenly, the Internet couldn't find Becky quickly enough. Who was she? Was she Rihanna? The ex-wife of one of Jay's business partners? Rita Ora? Mya? A happily married and completely innocent chef/talk show host about to have the worst 48 hours of social media in her life? The truth is we will never really know who Becky is. But why do we care? Does it matter?
Being a bisexual woman who has dated mostly men, I often get a version of this. Many of the men I date tend not to care about my sexual orientation. Many women, however, do. In my experience, when I meet a woman and hit it off, we inevitably come around to the conversation about the bogeyman that is the bisexual woman.
"Hey, are you usually here on ladies night? I thought I'd met every single lesbian in town, and I've never seen you before." "No, it's my first time here. Just came with some friends."
"Cool. Yeah, it's so hard to meet single lesbians in this town. I usually end up wasting my night hitting on some bi girl. I mean, they're cute and all, but who wants to deal with that drama, right?" An awkward silence ensued. "Yeah, I'm just going to go and ... not be here. Bye," was my response.
The circumstances are different, obviously, but the fear is the same: This person is or will be disloyal at some point, just by virtue of who they are. The assumption is that a bi woman will eventually "leave you for a man," or will be a Becky and steal your man while your back is turned. Both of these stereotypes are too simplistic. Beckys don't appear just by virtue of your partner being around, and bi women aren't just looking to bide the time with you until their future husband comes along.
If either of those things were to happen, they both boil down to the same result: Someone betrayed your trust, and you got hurt. Does it matter which Becky your husband stepped out with, really? The fact is if he was going to cheat and it wasn't with her, it would be with the next woman who came along and eventually said yes. The same thing goes for bisexual women. Does it really matter if the bi woman leaves you for a man? Either way, she left because either the relationship failed, or it was simply in her character to leave when things got shaky. What determines who stays is entirely up to the relationship and and the individuals in it. The failure of a relationship should never be solely attributed to the sexual orientation of one of the partners.
"Becky with the good hair" isn't just one woman. She is the embodiment of the "other woman" bogeyman trope. She is prettier, smarter, funnier and sweeter than you. Are you a brunette? She's a California blonde. Are you a short, slightly chubby, lovable nerd? She is the leggy, model-esque sorority girl who used to make you feel insecure in high school.
She makes things easy for him. She's fun. She doesn't give him sh*t about the 50th time he's left the water running in the sink overnight. She doesn't nag him about going to visit her parents. She doesn't come with the hard work it takes to make a real, loving relationship strong. She is a phantom who stalks the back of every woman's mind at some point.
It doesn't matter what her name is, or how she got into your life. She could be anyone. What matters is who let her in, and why. Who made promises and commitments to you, and who broke them? Don't spend your time and energy worrying about Becky. Don't give her your energy. She will always be there. The real concern is whether or not your partner is the kind of person who will let her in.
Beyoncé is even telling us that in the song. When she refers to Becky, she's just giving that string of women a generic name. They don't deserve even the slightest consideration in Beyoncé's universe. "Whoever it was," Beyoncé is saying, "call her. Because I don't have the patience to deal with your sh*t today."
Beyoncé's saying, "Hopefully she (whomever she is) is willing to take you in because I am not. You messed up, and now anyone else can have you."
Beckys will enter and exit the peripherals of your relationship for years. That's just the way of the world. But she doesn't nearly deserve the attention some are willing to give her. That can (and should) be focused back onto valuing your relationship and yourself above all else.