Him: Heard it from a friend who, heard it from a friend who, heard it from another you’ve been messing around.
Her: Wow. Really? That’s what this is all about, Greg? Some third-rate intel from, who, exactly? A friend of a friend who got it from a stranger? Wait, did you mean Sharon? Because everyone knows she is crazy jealous of me because of that time we spent the summer at Hampton Beach and I won the Miss Fourth of July Firecracker Contest and got that $100 gift card to Applebees and the cute bartender invited me to go jet skiing with him and not her. So, consider the source, Greg! But seriously, now I’m intrigued. Tell me, what else are you getting from this super savvy, high-level intelligence chain? Stock tips? Government secrets? The cure for diabetes? Maybe instead of listening to gossip that is flimsier than your online cosmetology certificate, you should put some time and effort into this relationship, Greg. Maybe we should go to Hampton Beach this summer. I still have that Applebees gift card you know. I can get us a lot of free drinks. That’s all I’m saying.
Him: Pour some sugar on me!
Her: Eww! Gross! No! Babe, c’mon, we have wall-to-wall carpeting, how would that even work? We put plastic down like serial killers? I suppose the kitchen is an option, but we just got rid of our ant problem. Uggh, just talking about this is giving me flashbacks to when I was six and my family spent a summer at Hampton Beach. I was fishing sand out of my places until February! I’m sorry, babe. Besides, you know I’m doing a month of paleo to slim down for my sister’s wedding. I’m off sweeteners, I told you! I could pour some room temperature carrot juice on you? How about that?
Him: She’s my cherry pie, put a smile on your face, ten miles wide.
Her: Hello! Hi! My name is Lisa. I have a PhD in gender studies as well as degrees in botany and art history. I was a Rhodes Scholar—twice–and recently awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship to do research at the Sorbonne next year. I am fairly confident I speak for most women when I say that we really don’t appreciate being objectified as food objects to satisfy your juvenile oral fixation. Moreover, this kind of overt sexualization contributes to the systemic misogyny upholding patriarchal institutions and attitudes vis-à-vis women’s inherent value and power. Not to mention that it dangerously conflates capitalist desires with sexual ones—women are not made to be “consumed.” The ongoing fetishization of women’s bodies is a hallmark of toxic masculinity, which makes you part of the problem. You know what? Here, I’m going to text you the deets to our feminist book discussion group. We’re working through the fifth edition of The Feminist Theory Reader, but I’m sure you’ll be able to catch up. And don’t worry: we don’t bite! Ha! Just kidding, we feast on the tears of white male fragility. See you at seven. Bring snacks—vegan, responsibly sourced, fair trade only.
Him: Baby, talk dirty to me!
Her: You know what I want to do to you? I want to slide your hands all over this hot, wet compost pile. Are those eggshells? *Giggle* Mmmmm. I want to feed you week-old sushi from an unlicensed food “truck” in Tucson. I want to skinny dip with you in an overflowing Venetian sewer drain in August. Ooooh baby! Yeah. Let’s eat each other’s boogers! Let’s run naked through an abandoned junk yard overrun with feral cats! Oh God! Oh Yes! ATHLETE’S FOOT! BODY LICE! NASTY, NASTY TOOTH DECAY!!! YESSSSSSS!!!!
Him: My blood runs cold! My memory has just been sold. My angel is the centerfold. Angel is the centerfold.
Her: Sure, I did some “modeling” when I was in college. My Mom has MS and she needed a new electric wheelchair that the insurance company wouldn’t pay for, those dirty sonofabitches. The economic and class disparities in our health care system are egregious. That’s why I became an organizer. I’m with a community action group that works with politicians on the local and state levels to shape healthcare policy. We’re always looking for donors. If you can afford a magazine, surely you can spare something extra to support what is, in my opinion, the most critical problem facing our modern society as well as putting the well-being of future generations in peril. You know what? Here, I’m going to text you the deets to our next strategy meeting and also put you on our snail mail, email, and text lists so you’ll never miss a notification or update. Oh! We’re staging a public protest Saturday, outside of that sonofabitch insurance company downtown. Since you’re into print stuff, you can pick up supplies to make signs and banners. New guy always gets coffee and doughnuts for everyone, too. It’s BYOBC: Bring Your Own Bolt Cutters. That’s a little activist humor! So, so cool we got reconnected! See you there!
Him: You give love a bad name.
Her: OH YEAH? WELL YOU GAVE ME GONORRHEA AND A TERRIBLE CREDIT SCORE! I never should have let you use my credit card to buy that stupid food truck. Who is going to buy sushi from a truck in the middle of the desert? Idiot!
Him: Saying ‘I love you’ is not the words I want to hear from you. It’s not that I want you
not to say, but if you only knew how easy it would be to show me how you feel.
Her: You’re right, John. Sometimes it does take “more than words” to express love in a relationship. How about, I don’t know, emptying the dishwasher for once in your goddamn life? That hair in the shower drain I’m constantly scooping out? Not all mine! Maybe you can take Kiki to the vet to have her dewormed. Actions matter, John. Right? Isn’t that what you’re getting at here? So would it kill you to “show me how you feel” by ASKING ME ABOUT MY DAY OR LISTENING TO ME WHEN I TELL YOU ABOUT THE FIGHT I HAD WITH MY SISTER, NOT THE ONE THAT EVERYONE HATES, BUT THE OTHER ONE! But please, fine, go ahead, tell me more about how you want me to do that disgusting thing with my elbow you saw on some website once.
Him: Beth, I hear you calling. But I can’t come home right now. Me and the boys are playing
And we just can’t find the sound.
Her: Hey Jerry, it’s Beth, again. I guess you’re still at band practice. Really hope that the Roach Riders find their sound. I know how important that is to you. I wanted to do this in person, but I can’t seem to get a hold of you, and, again, I get it, the art and everything. Anyway, so I’ve been spending a lot of time with my old college roommate, Rachel. You remember Rachel. We rented that condo at Hampton Beach one summer. Yeah. Those were some legit crazy days. Remember how Rachel almost got clocked trying to break up a fight between these two girls at an Applebees? Bananas. Anyway, the thing is, spending so much time together with Rachel again made us both realize that, well, we’re more than friends. Like, way more, like, in ways that we can’t even put into words. I mean, Jerry, she’s the love of my life. Wow. Holy shit! I haven’t even said it like that to her yet, but, yeah, that’s it, that’s how I feel! She’s the real deal, Jerry. She’s my everything. We’re planning to move to Tucson to open a bakery. Hope you understand or, I don’t know, maybe you can get a song out of this? I’m babbling. I actually don’t care! I’M IN LOVE, Jerry! Okay, the moving truck is here. Gotta go. Lose my number. Bye!