We’ve all seen it: that new TikTok trend circulating, where you ask any unsuspecting man in your life (most often boyfriends, brothers, or friends) how frequently they think about the Roman Empire.
While most women who took part in this growing fad expected their boys to respond offhandedly with a ‘not at all’ or ‘maybe once a year,’ almost all were faced with a stranger reality. Based on the growing number of video responses on TikTok, lots of men apparently think about the Roman Empire at least once a week.
With the mass number of men claiming they are lost in thought about the Roman Empire all the time, a separate internet trend was born amongst women – trying to figure out the female equivalent.
After consuming media on this topic for the past week or so (both by and against my own will), I believe I have garnered a list of the best responses I’ve seen.
- “It’ll Pass” from Fleabag
This one hit me hard. For those who have yet to observe the masterpiece that is Fleabag, here’s a quick synopsis. The show follows a sexually depraved and yet realistically portrayed woman who breaks the fourth wall throughout the show to share her ‘true thoughts’ with the audience. Most of the time, this cinematic effect presents itself in scenes with men, where she is presenting a calmer, more tolerable version of herself, or around her family. However, in the show’s second season, we see the entrance of a new character who frequently challenges this side of the protagonist – he, likewise nameless, is affectionately referred to as Hot Priest.
The ‘it’ll pass’ scene is the heartbreaking culmination of a season-long slow burn, pushing the boundaries of religion and purity. I won’t spoil it for those of you who have (tragically) missed out on this amazing piece of feminist media, but there are definitely justifiable reasons for thinking about this at least once a week (if not more).
- ‘Silver Springs’ Performance (1997)
If you were raised on ‘Landslide’ and ‘Dreams,’ then you are most definitely familiar with this performance by Fleetwood Mac. Perhaps the most infamous band breakup of all time happened between bandmates Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham. At first, they tried to mend the broken relationship for the sake of keeping Fleetwood Mac together, but as always, this didn’t work out. The result is this performance of the song “Silver Springs,” which has often been analyzed as a curse from Nicks onto Buckingham.
In the popular video, Nicks sings the following lyrics directly at Buckingham, maintaining eye contact and creating an obviously intimate (yet still rageful) moment on stage. If you haven’t seen this performance before, check it out here. Again, I get why you might think about this heated display all the time.
- Phoebe Bridgers, Paul Mescal, and Daisy Edgar-Jones at the Met Gala 2022
Some online commenters pointed out yet another great female ‘Roman empire’ in the apparent love triangle between musical artist Phoebe Bridgers and costars Paul Mescal and Daisy Edgar-Jones. Following a tweet from Bridgers about ‘Normal People’, the show adapted from Sally Rooney’s popular novel (featuring both Mescal and Edgar-Jones as love interests), she and Mescal entered into a long-term relationship. Fans have speculated that the pair may have also been engaged at one time.
Despite the fact that they have since split up, there is an infamous photo from the 2022 Met Gala that girls are referencing as their ‘Roman empire.’ In this picture, Bridgers and Mescal made their first-ever public appearance as a couple. One of the most popular images of the night shows Bridgers arm-and-arm with Mescal, staring up and laughing at him. However, Mescal’s eyes are fixated on something in the distance. From another angle, in the background of a photo, we see Mescal staring directly at Edgar-Jones instead.
This perceived relationship, complex and tumultuous as it is, has clearly caught the attention of many women.
- “Can’t Help Myself” Art Display by Yuan and Yu
This piece was the first-ever robotic commission by the Guggenheim Museum in 2016. Created to illustrate the monotonous nature of human existence, this robot arm, trapped in a clear glass box, spends its days trying to clean a blood-like oil spill surrounding it. For all of its existence, the arm swipes at the stained ground, working in a circle and jerking in a painfully human way.
Over time, the robot has begun to rust and deteriorate, growing slower and slower with every movement. Here’s a video reference for those who haven’t yet seen it. According to the art girlies on TikTok, this is the creative version of the ‘Roman empire’ trend, and I totally agree.
At the end of the day, every girl has her own thing. I just hope I see even more niche TikToks in the next couple of weeks about it.