A relationship is followed from its giddy beginning to its bitter end, replete with a running commentary from a peanut gallery of friends. 3 men, 2 women, simple set.
Time: Somewhere between 1980 and 2005. New York City.
Setting: A bar, a bedroom, a park, but mostly inside the imagination and memory of the people present. A bare stage save for black boxes.
* * * * * * * * * *
PETE: Now I’ve read that a man who is attracted to breasts, is an exhibitionist. Outgoing. And if you’re attracted to legs, you’re socially conscious. An altruist. And if you’re attracted to the butt, that means you’re stingy. Self centered.
TOM: What if you’re attracted to long legs in lingerie?
PETE: I believe that makes you a socially conscious transvestite, Tom.
CLARINDA: Looks looks looks. Always hung up on looks.
PETE: And women aren’t?
CLARINDA: Not like men.
TOM: Well if that’s true, what’s the difference between me and Brad Pitt?
(all stare at TOM)
PETE: Gosh, Tom. I can’t think of a thing.
TOM: I can. I’m taller.
CLARINDA: Women are not as hung up about looks.
TOM: Oh sure. Why do you spend all that money on makeup?
CLARINDA: The makeup is for other women.
PETE: That’s true. There’s not a straight man in the entire country who cares a thing about eye shadow.
CAYLOR: So if women aren’t looking for looks…
TOM: Which, don’t fool yourself, they are.
CAYLOR: ..what are they looking for?
CLARINDA: They’re looking for feelings.
TOM: Oh yeah. A beautiful babe, a wrinkled old man.
PETE: He opened his wallet and there she was.
CLARINDA: If you fall in love for money, you’ll get misery.
TOM: And a good divorce settlement. Maybe a house on the beach.
CLARINDA: It’s a perversion of the heart.
TOM: The world is full of perverts.
CLARINDA: Of every stripe.
PETE: A crooked heart is not the sole province of either sex.
CLARINDA: Here here.
CAYLOR: So what is it, that people fall in love with?
(they sip their drinks and ponder)
TOM: Let’s say I was Mick Jagger.
PETE: We will stretch our imagination.
TOM: Why do all the women want to make it with Mick?
CLARINDA: I don’t. I want nothing to do with the guy. Skinny little body and those rubber lips that make you wonder where they’ve been. And an attitude to boot. And he’s old now, too. Hello?
TOM: All right, why did lots of women want to make it with Mick. Why do guys in bands get all the chicks?
PETE: I see. We are into cosmic questions here.
TOM: Absolutely deep stuff.
CAYLOR: Okay. Women want to make it with Mick for the same reason men want to do Playboy centerfolds or cover girl models.
TOM: Which is…
CAYLOR: For the same reason women buy makeup or men buy a brand new Corvette.
PETE: Oh, tell us Obi Wan Kenobi.
CAYLOR: Beauty is the promise of happiness. And we all believe if we can only possess something outside of ourselves — that beauty, the thing that makes the music, the car, that famous person with a perfect life so superior to our own — if we could just have that or have them, then we’d be magic, too. Happy and beautiful. Immortal. But it doesn’t work that way.
PETE: But it doesn’t stop people from trying.
TOM: And if I ever get famous, I will do my best to spread my magic around.
CLARINDA: The world will be so lucky. Probably full of unspeakable diseases, but so lucky.
PETE: I’d be careful about sleeping with a lot of strange women these days, Tom.
TOM: How many would you consider a lot?
CLARINDA: We got derailed here. We are speaking of love, not sex.
TOM: There’s a difference?
PETE: So you met this woman.
TOM: Who you didn’t think was your type.
CAYLOR: No, not at first. But…
ANNIE: (enters) Oh, Beethoven. Definitely Beethoven.
CAYLOR: And Chopin.
ANNIE: Oh yes. So dramatic.
CAYLOR: And Dylan. Are you one of those people who like his voice? Or you one of those people who thinks he whines?
ANNIE: (considers this a trick question) I like his voice.
CAYLOR: Good! Good! That’s good!
(ANNIE and CAYLOR stroll US carrying on an animated conversation
CLARINDA: Ah, the get acquainted period. The honeymoon.
PETE: Nothing is greater in life than hope.
TOM: Or more false.
CLARINDA: To think that you have found someone.
PETE: Or they you.
TOM: And all he really wants to do is to get his bologna buffed.
CAYLOR: I guess that’s a long story and I should start at the beginning: (strikes a pose) I am born.
ANNIE: (rolls her eyes, but remains good humored) Fascinating.
(CAYLOR and ANNIE continue their animated conversation)
PETE: You know, I think I married my first wife just so I wouldn’t have to tell the story of my life any more.
PETE: It’s true. I got tired of telling the damn thing. Breaking my arm on the bike, burning down the garage. I figured I would tell it one more time to one more woman and that would be it. We’d get married, and I’d never have to tell the damn thing again.
TOM: There are worse reasons to get married I suppose.
PETE: Probably, but not many.
CAYLOR: Cats. Oh, definitely a cat person.
ANNIE: Me too.
ANNIE: Forget it.
CAYLOR: Especially mean dogs.
ANNIE: People who keep mean dogs…
CAYLOR: They’re making up for some psycho-sexual deficiency.
ANNIE: Some sort of inadequacy.
CAYLOR: In another part of their life.
(they lock eyes for a moment, then turn to their respective friends, excited)
CAYLOR (cont’d): I met this girl!
ANNIE: I’m seeing this guy!
CAYLOR/ANNIE: And we can talk!
PETE: Down boy, down.
TOM: Out to the park. You need some baseball.
(MEN exit; ANNIE sits with CLARINDA , who pours two glasses of wine)
CLARINDA: You like him?
ANNIE: I like him.
CLARINDA: So why do you look so confused?
ANNIE: I feel like I’ve been through a battery of tests. Okay, I have been through a battery of tests.
CLARINDA: You passed?
ANNIE: Who knows? He only hears whether or not I agree with him. Guess he figures the rest he’ll have to teach me.
CLARINDA: Why do we let them do that to us?
ANNIE: I don’t know. (pause) I like him. I like being with him. He’s intelligent, he’s funny. Man, he can make me laugh. And mostly I do agree with him. It’s like we were born on the same wave length. But I can feel myself…going under, you know. (pause) Half my life I spend telling other women how strong and independent I am. The other half I spend searching for a man to blend with. Blend…not lose myself in. Blending feels less like a betrayal of myself. Is this insanity?
CLARINDA: It’s called a dichotomy. When you’re split in two.
CLARINDA: But your guy, a nice guy?
ANNIE: So far.
CLARINDA: Good looking?
ANNIE: Good looking enough.
CLARINDA: Good job?
ANNIE: Decent job.
CLARINDA: Not psychotic? Insanely jealous? Wouldn’t beat you?
ANNIE: Don’t think so.
CLARINDA: Not hung up on his mother, ex-wife, old girlfriend?
CLARINDA: Not secretly gay? Not addicted to porn, football, x-box?
ANNIE: All to be discovered.
CLARINDA: Not obnoxiously self centered?
ANNIE: Not anymore than the usual man.
CLARINDA: Wouldn’t lay around the house in his socks and underwear eating barbecue sauce and crackers?
ANNIE: Gross. This happened to you?
CLARINDA: Sylvester. Would pee in the sink because the bathroom was up the stairs.
CLARINDA: Know your man! Know him before you lose your heart!
ANNIE: Now you got me worried.
CLARINDA: Your world is open. You could have anything. You could have a career.
ANNIE: I could.
CLARINDA: You could be a lawyer.
ANNIE: Oh, wretched.
ANNIE: Have you ever opened a law book? Unendurable.
CLARINDA: All right then. An anthropologist.
ANNIE: There’s no money in that.
CLARINDA: The research you do?
ANNIE: Part time at best.
(a beat, a sip of wine
CLARINDA: (sip of wine) But you were seeing that guy. He had a penthouse on Central Park West.
ANNIE: He was a complete ass.
CLARINDA: He had a Calder mobile hanging from his living room ceiling.
ANNIE: He was still an ass.
CLARINDA: Or the doctor. No, no, no, he was a dentist, right?
ANNIE: We didn’t have a thing in the world in common.
CLARINDA: What about the baseball player?
ANNIE: Oh God, I go out with him one time and the whole world knows?
CLARINDA: He was a New York Met.
ANNIE: I’m not going to spend the rest of my life pretending I am dumber than he is. Mission impossible.
CLARINDA: You had three chances to marry rich.
ANNIE: Don’t you think I should love the guy? Even just a little?
ANNIE: I won’t settle for a man I don’t love. I won’t get married just to get married.
CLARINDA: I almost did. I almost got married for that whole Queen for a Day Wedding Deal.
ANNIE: You never told me this.
CLARINDA: A two hundred thousand dollar destination wedding, Cancun, Mexico.
ANNIE: Wow. And you didn’t do it?
CLARINDA: And marry Sylvester? I don’t think so.
ANNIE: All that money and he peed in the sink?
CLARINDA: He was raised by pigs. And that’s a slander to pigs. (scans audience) Now I’m back looking around for a Mister Maybe.
ANNIE: Oh my God.
CLARINDA: (to audience) Every once in a while a guy comes along who…. if you squint a little…
ANNIE: (to audience) If you cut your expectations off a little…say…at the knee.
CLARINDA: I was hoping for higher. Maybe to… (indicates waist) …here. Because maybe I want the whole package.
ANNIE: If he just can get above here… (indicates breasts) …to maybe here…(touches head) …is this too much to ask?
CLARINDA: Is he breathing? He doesn’t stink? Okay, maybe!
ANNIE: Because after you have weeded out the weird and the dim…
CLARINDA: …the goof balls and the meatballs there is… (waves hand at men [or man] in Audience)
…like you, a Maybe. Not George Clooney, but okay.
ANNIE: So you put on that low cut off the shoulder spaghetti strap clingy thing…
CLARINDA: …that you keep around for just such an occasion…
ANNIE: …and the high heels that hurt like hell.
CLARINDA: It’s foot bondage, ladies. They want to cripple us.
ANNIE: They want to bankrupt us.
CLARINDA: But you get all dolled up and go meet this Mister Maybe.
ANNIE: And after five minutes…
CLARINDA: Even with a drink, and you will need a drink, because after five minutes you’re thinking…
ANNIE: You’re not him.
CLARINDA: You’re not even close to him. (to Audience) It is not that we can’t get dates.
ANNIE: We’ve had dates.
CLARINDA: It’s just frankly…the field is not impressive.
ANNIE: The field is more like a pasture.
CLARINDA: The pasture is a wasteland.
ANNIE: Seven billion people on the planet and half of those are men.
CLARINDA: Deduct ten percent for gay.
ANNIE: Maybe more in certain cities.
CLARINDA: Okay, that’s still a lot of men. But somehow…
ANNIE: Somehow it seems the gene pool is drying up.