The Mating Habits of an Urban Heterosexual and Other Business

— Act 1 – Scene 1 —
At Rise: Valerie is at home taking care of her plants. She waters a few of them with a sprayer humming thoughtlessly. She takes down a hanging potted plant and brings it to a coffee table to prune it.

VALERIE
Look at what happened here. I don’t believe this. Hasn’t Paige been taking care of you while I was away? I guess not. There. God, look at this. It a wonder you’re still alive. I’d better re-pot you.
(She walks to the kitchen to get a pot and soil from under the sink.)

(Paige storms into the apartment. She slams the door behind her letting the chain and unfastened deadbolt rattle. She slams her purse down on the bar knocking a potted plant onto the floor. She stops for a second to contain her anger. The second becomes a minute. She clears her mind, hits the playback button on her answering machine and goes to hang up her coat.)

DAVID
(voice only)
Paige? Paige are you there? It’s me, David. I– I guess you know. I– I just don’t know what to say, uh-h-h. I would say I’m sorry but that just doesn’t seem like enough. I– I– uh-h-h–.

PAIGE
(turns it off)
Oh, shut up! Stuttering jerk. “I would say I’m sorry.” Oh, fuck off! How could you do this? How? To me? Damn you!

VALERIE
I guess it would be kind of stupid to ask how your date went, wouldn’t it?

PAIGE
Yes, it would.

VALERIE
Want to–.

PAIGE
No!

VALERIE
–talk about it? Okay.
(starts cleaning up the soil)

PAIGE
(takes a tub of ice cream out of the freezer)
I don’t want to say anything. I don’t want to hear anything. I don’t want to know from anything.

VALERIE
Got it.

PAIGE
Good.
(long silence)
You know what burns me up? Men who cannot make up their minds. Now I know why there are so many men in politics. It has nothing at all to do with that power-control-macho thing. It’s because men have an incredible facility to waffle on any topic that you could ever name. They are on the fence, forever balancing on that fine line between yes and no. They thrive in that mythical land of “maybes” that floats in between.

VALERIE
Well, I always–.

PAIGE
It really doesn’t matter what question it is. It could be something as simple as, “Do you take your tea with lemon or cream?” Men are incapable of a straight answer.

VALERIE
I don’t know, because–.

PAIGE
If I asked you how you felt about something, anything, you’d be able to give me an answer. And, not only an answer, but one that made sense. Why can’t men do that?
(long silence)
Well?

VALERIE
Beats me.

PAIGE
Big help you are. Want some?

VALERIE
Sure.

PAIGE
Grab a spoon.

VALERIE
So, what did he do?

PAIGE
It’s not what he did. It’s what he didn’t do.

VALERIE
So, what didn’t he do?

PAIGE
Okay, okay. Now, just try and picture this. Okay, now, you’ll have to think like a man: So, grab a beer, turn your brain off, stick your hand down your pants, and listen up. We were at this wonderful french bistro with soft lights, soft music, and those candles melted into old wine bottles, you know. Well, there we were, nursing glasses of bordeaux and trading bits of witty repartee as my chocolate mousse became a soupy mess on the plate.

VALERIE
(sarcastically)
Please Paige stop, I don’t think I could stand anymore. God, how did you live through that?

PAIGE
Shut up! Damn it Val, this is hard for me to say. Shit, I’m so embarrassed.

VALERIE
What?

PAIGE
I said it.

VALERIE
What? Said what?

PAIGE
It.

VALERIE
What “it?” What did you say?

PAIGE
God, I can’t believe it! How could I have been so stupid? So dumb?

VALERIE
Well, tell me what you said already, and I’ll let you know.

PAIGE
There I was, looking across the table at him. Looking into those big brown eyes of his. I put my hand out on the table. His slowly reached across to hold mine. We both got very quiet, and that’s when it happened. I said, “I love you, David.”

VALERIE
You didn’t.

PAIGE
Oh, yes I did. I didn’t even realize I had done it. It just sort of spilled out of my mouth. I couldn’t help it.

VALERIE
Well, what did he say?

PAIGE
Nothing.

VALERIE
Nothing? How could he say nothing?

PAIGE
Well, he did it. I said it, and he just let it lie there, like a beached whale drying out in the sun.

VALERIE
Poor guy.

PAIGE
“Poor guy” nothing. He’s a turd.

VALERIE
Now just wait a minute.

PAIGE
I can’t believe it. You’re taking his side.
(takes back her spoon)
Val, that’s low.

VALERIE
Hey, that’s not fair. What, just because I might– repeat might– be able to see his side you’re going to call Gloria Steinem and have me drummed out of the sisterhood. Correct me if I’m wrong, but you were just making some high and mighty speech about the fact that women can communicate with each other.

PAIGE
Yeah.

VALERIE
Okay Paige, so don’t back out on me now. How long have you and David been dating?

PAIGE
About three months.

VALERIE
No.

PAIGE
What do you mean “no?”

VALERIE
Paige, Paige, Paige, you’re thinking like a woman. Now, I have three brothers and I can tell you that the male definition of dating is much more complex than ours.

PAIGE
This I got to hear. Please impart your wisdom oh goddess Valerie.

VALERIE
When I asked you how long you’ve been dating, you figured out how long it’s been since your first date, right?

PAIGE
Of course.

VALERIE
Wrong!

PAIGE
Wrong?

VALERIE
Wrong. Okay now, male logic: you had your first date about twelve weeks ago. Twelve weeks sounds shorter than three months. Then, you were “seeing each other on and off” for a few weeks. Then, you started dating only about three weeks ago.

PAIGE
What’s the difference between date and dating?

VALERIE
Simple. A date is dinner, small talk, and hoping to god that you don’t have a stray piece of spinach caught in your teeth. Dating is the basis of commitment. Dating is when that friday night date is a foregone conclusion. It’s when he doesn’t need to get awkward on the phone wondering whether or not you are interested. He doesn’t ask if you are busy. He starts asking where are we going, “We,” you understand. A man is only dating once he starts using the plural pronoun.

PAIGE
Where do you get this crap?

VALERIE
It’s not crap, it’s fact. Paige, take my advice, give the situation a little time to settle down, then talk it out with him.

PAIGE
Are you sure?

VALERIE
Trust me.

PAIGE
If you know so much about relationships dear Abby, why are you flying solo?

VALERIE
Simple, those who can’t, teach.

Download not available

Leave a Reply