Post Socratic Dialogues: Love: 4
BY GREG SCORZO –
Post-Socratic Dialogues are moving thought experiments. They portray elaborate, unfolding situations which, at every turn, force the reader to examine his or her philosophical intuitions about a range of topics. These dialogues are called “Post-Socratic” because there is no Socrates figure, telling the reader which arguments (if any) are the best ones. The reader decides that on their own.
LOVE: PART 4: Gender Roles
Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast, It is not proud.
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking,
It is not easily angered,
It keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil
But rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts,
Always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.
1 Corinthians 13:4
At 11pm, Joe hears Loraine yelling from her room.
Loraine: Joe…what are you doing?
Joe: I’m just organising our shopping list.
Loraine: It’s 11 oclock.
Joe: I know, just give me a few minutes to finish this.
Loraine: Joe, I need to be asleep soon.
Joe: Maybe you should try and get to sleep without me tonight. You don’t want to become dependent on sex in order to fall asleep. There might be some nights when I’m not here.
Another ten minutes go by.
Loraine: (yelling) Good night, Joe! I guess you’d rather finish that shopping list than spend the night fucking your girlfriend’s pussy!
“Oh God, she’s trying to turn me on,” Joe thinks to himself noticing just how unerotic he finds those words. He then thinks, “I guess I’d better go in there. I don’t want her angry with me tomorrow because she can’t sleep.”
Joe walks into their bedroom. Loraine has nothing on but a blue robe and high heels. She has her legs spread open in a V-shape. She’s rubbing her cliteris with her right hand.
Loraine: Get over here, naughty boy.
Joe sits down at the side of the bed.
Loraine: Tonight, I’m going to give you a reward for getting serious about your food plan again. You’ll like this.
Loraine takes Joe’s hand and brings it to her vagina.
Loraine: (smiling mischievously) You won’t be needing any more junk food. This is your candy store from now on.
Joe pulls his hand away.
Loraine: What’s your problem?
Joe: I’m not really in the mood for this.
Loraine: Well fucking get in the mood!
Joe: I’m too uncomfortable.
Joe: I don’t feel comfortable with you talking about me that way.
Loraine: What way? I was trying to turn you on.
Joe: You’re talking about me like I’m a child.
Loraine: What does that even mean?
Joe: You’re talking about me like I’m a kid who you’re giving sex to in exchange for good behaviour.
Loraine: That sounds like a naughty fantasy.
Joe: It might be as a fantasy. But right now, it feels like it’s not a fantasy. It feels like that’s how you see me.
Loraine: I see you as my boyfriend who I’m trying to do something nice for.
Joe: Something nice?
Loraine: Yes, you’re getting sex from your beautiful girlfriend who loves you.
Joe: Well, I don’t know how I feel about that.
Loraine: Would you rather I not be nice to you? Should I force you to take care of yourself in the other room?
Joe: I don’t know. Sex isn’t something I want because you want to be nice to me.
Loraine: But I’m your girlfriend.
Joe: I don’t want you to have sex with me because you want to be nice to me.
Loraine: You’re confusing me.
Joe: I want you to have sex with me because you want to.
Loraine: But I do want to.
Joe: You want to so you can sleep.
Loraine: No, I also think you deserve some sex. I know it was hard for you today, hearing how I felt about your weight. I thought I’d make it up to you and motivate you to continue on your eating plan.
Joe: Motivate me? You mean manipulate me?
Loraine: It’s not manipulation. I’m being honest with you. I’m TELLING YOU I’m trying to motivate you.
Joe: Well I don’t like how it feels.
Loraine: I don’t like how it feels when you get stroppy when I try to help you grow and stop self-harming with food.
Joe: I know that but..
Loraine: (interrupting) But rather than get angry, I try time and time again to be nice to you. I’m not taking anything away from you because of your weight. You’re getting pussy most men would kill for. Be grateful for that. It doesn’t happen to just anybody.
Joe: That doesn’t make me feel any better.
Loraine: I don’t know how to please you. You’re doing my fucking head in!
Joe: (loudly) I don’t want you to have sex with me because you want to be nice to me! I want you to have sex with me because you want to!
Loraine: (loudly) But I do want to!
Joe: You want to have sex because you want… to do a favour for me. You don’t want to have sex with me because you desire me.
Loraine: Well if I only had sex when I felt desire, I wouldn’t have had sex with you for most of the past year.
Loraine: You’re angry because I gave you sex anyway? Do you realise how many men wish they were you?
Joe: I don’t care. I want to feel like my girlfriend actually desires me.
Loraine: Well, then you should have made more of an effort not to be nasty. If you don’t want pity sex, don’t make a habit out of eating like a filthy fucking pig. Act like you care about yourself. It’s not that hard.
Joe: (loudly) That’s so fucking mean! Why should it matter what I look like? You’re supposed to love me in all my frailties. I’m not perfect. If you can’t love my imperfections, what kind of a relationship is this?
Loraine: (shouting) You’re the one whose being selfish! You expect me to fuck you when you when you keep all that fucking fat on you?
Joe: (shouting) I know I struggle with food but that’s not selfishness! Food for me is an addiction! If you were addicted to heroin and looked like a rail, I’d still love you. You’re supposed to love me the way that I love you!
Loraine: I do love you! But at least once a week you do a big speech about how you feel unattractive and want to lose weight. I try to make you feel good about yourself. I try to encourage you. But when I tell you to get on a diet plan, you ignore me. Then you shove shit down your face the next night while I have to sit there and watch you. I want to fucking puke looking at you most nights we have dinner together. Do you think I like eating when I’m eating next to you?
Joe: Loraine, it’s really hard for me to…
Loraine: (interrupting) But I let you continue to eat like that and I still fuck you! How am I the selfish one? I’m the one who lets all that fucking fat roll against me every night! I’m the one who lets you body slam your big nasty hang dog of a gut into me over and over and over again! Do I complain? No! I even suck on your fucking boobs because I know it makes you cum hard! You think all of that makes me feel sexy? You think I like looking into your fucking eye patch?
Joe: (shouting) That’s TOTALLY SELFISH! You don’t like sex with me! You’re only FUCKING me so you can fall asleep at night!
Loraine: (shouting) No, being able to fall asleep is the reason I tolerate it!
Joe: (shouting) BUT WHY TOLERATE IT?
Loraine: (shouting) BECAUSE I’M A GOOD GIRLFRIEND TO YOU!
Joe: Jesus, do you realise how ridiculous you sound right now?
Loraine: I know I sound ridiculous. But its because I’m trying to reason with someone I can’t please. I can’t win with you.
Joe: I don’t understand.
Loraine: You go on and on about how love is selfless and about tolerating the imperfections of others. When I show you my weaknesses, you act disappointed with me. When I do things for you, you get angry at me because I’m not doing them for me. You go on and on about how you want honesty without manipulation. But every time I’m honest with you, you look at me like you want to cry. Everything I do is wrong when I do EXACTLY what you say you want!
Joe: I never asked you to be so fucking shallow about bodies.
Loraine: That’s one of my weaknesses! I know I’m shallow! But that’s who you chose to love.
Joe: That doesn’t stop me from loving you. It just fucking pisses me off.
Loraine: If it pisses you off, that means you can’t forgive me for it.
Joe: I can’t forgive you for it because of how it negatively effects me. It fucking hurts, hearing you talk like that!
Loraine: You can’t forgive me for one of my weakneses because of how it negatively effects you. And you call me selfish?
Joe: I tolerated your shallowness for a long time. I didn’t know until tonight that you were shallow about my body.
Loraine: Again, you forgave me for one of my weaknesses until it negatively effected you.
Joe: Anyone would be hurt by the things you said to me! Can you imagine what it would be like if a man said to a woman the things you said to me today?
Loraine: But I’m not a man and you aren’t anybody. I’m with you because I thought you could handle me. I thought you would be different to all the other men I’ve been with. I thought you would man up rather than sulk like a little girl every time I say something you don’t want to hear.
Joe: You thought I would be fine with you hurling insults at me?
Loraine: I thought you weren’t weak. I thought you weren’t someone I should feel sorry for.
Joe: (loudly) I’m not asking you to feel sorry for me!
Loraine: You know I fucking can’t stand people who don’t help themselves. I thought you were better than that. I thought you could handle a beautiful woman.
Joe: Well I’m sorry but I don’t think’s it’s terribly weird not to want to hear your lover call your stomach nasty and disgusting.
Loraine: Normal people don’t like how they look so they lie to each other. You’re not with a normal person, Joe. You’re with me.
Joe: So because you’re beautiful, you think that gives you the right to body shame me? You think being beautiful gives you the right to say cruel shit to anyone you think doesn’t look as good as you?
Loraine: I can say whatever the fuck I want! This is my house. If you don’t like it, go sleep outside on the pavement.
Joe: (loudly) It doesn’t matter that this is your house! I live in it with you and pay for half the rent!
Loraine: You don’t contribute anything to this house except for the rent. This house runs because of me. I do almost everything while you sit on your fat ass and gorge yourself with food.
Joe: (loudly) Our routines aren’t just my fault! You agree to do the things you do!
Loraine: Yes, blame me instead of yourself.
Joe: You have a say in how this house runs, Loraine. You can ask me to do more if you’re not happy with what each of us are responsible for!
Loraine: (loudly) Yes, and you can take some inititative so I don’t fucking have to ask you! I swear, you’re like an overgrown retard. I feel like I’m living with a five year old.
Joe: (loudly) That doesn’t give you the right to treat me like shit and insult my body!
Loraine: I’m not insulting you. I’m just telling you the truth.
Joe: (loudly) You can tell me the truth without hurting me!
Loraine: But why should I? You don’t fucking change without incentives. No one does.
Joe: I don’t care. I’m fed up with you trying to change me. I’m fed up with your incentives. I’m fed up with your honesty. You use your honesty as an excuse to hurt me when I’m already hurting. You never make me feel better when I’m in pain. When I’m suffering, you try and make it worse.
Loraine: (sarcastically) Well then helping you with my honesty is another one of my weaknesses. And surprise surprise, it’s a weakness you won’t tolerate!
Joe: (loudly) You don’t tolerate the fact that I’m a human being! Whenever I show you my vulnerability, you belittle me and say the meannest shit! And it’s not just me. You don’t have a kind fucking word to say about anybody! I don’t know anyone as intolerant as you.
Loraine: (loudly) My God, you are such a selfish fucking prick! You actually think you’re the tolerant one in this relationship! You think you’re the tolerant one even though I’m the one looking into an eye patch getting fucked by a human jelly baby. Half the time you smell like shit!
Joe: (shouting) STOP FUCKING SAYING THOSE THINGS TO ME! I’VE HAD ENOUGH!
Loraine: (loudly) Yes, and you can say whatever pops into your head! I can see how this works.
Joe: (loudly) Unlike you, I don’t say whatever’s in my fucking head! If I did, you’d be devastated!
Loraine: Then you’ve been dishonest with me too! I’m finding out more and more things about our relationship every minute!
Joe: (shouting) If I was honest, you’d fucking leave me!
Loraine: Try me then. Do your worst!
Joe: Fuck off.
Loraine: No, go ahead! See how I respond to that honesty! You fucking owe me that given how much I’ve risked in being honest with you!
Joe: I don’t owe you anything.
Loraine: That’s right. (mocking Joe) “Relationships aren’t bank loans. It’s not a tit for tat.”
Joe: You can make fun of me all you want. I’m still the only person in this relationship trying not to hurt the other.
Loraine: (shouting) That’s fucking bullshit! I do whatever you say you want and then you’re disappointed at everything I do! I feel like you’re getting off on fucking with my head! It’s easier for you to do that than actually tell the truth!
Joe: (boiling with anger) You want to know the truth?
Loraine: I don’t think you have it in you to tell me the truth! You’re a fucking coward. You don’t want truth in this relationship. You just want what you like to hear.
Joe: (shouting) Oh, you’ll get the truth from me, you heartless fucking cunt!
Loraine: (mocking Joe loudly) Bring it on Joe! See if you can make me leave you! I’m sooo scared!!
Joe: (loudly) You’ll never leave me because you’re too scared to be with someone you can’t control. He’d kick your ass to the curb.
Loraine: (loudly) Yes, unlike you. You’re with me because you’re too scared to lose out on a hot piece of ass. You know I’m the only attractive woman that will ever fuck you. This is the best deal you’re gonna get, fat boy!
Joe: (loudly) What a great deal! I’m with a woman who finds my body disgusting. I’m with a woman whose shallow and insensitive. I’m with an intelligent woman who wastes most of her day thinking about trivial bullshit. I’m with a woman whose small minded and petty. I’m with a woman who cares more about fixing our door frames than how much her words hurt people.
Loraine: You’re gonna have to try a lot harder than that if you want to get rid of me.
Joe: I’m with a woman whose malicious, whose cruel, who focusses on the physical attributes of people they can do nothing about..
Loraine: (interrupting) If you’re talking about my aversion to obesity, that’s bullshit. Fat people like you can do something about being fat.
Joe: (shouting) They can’t if you tell them they’re nasty and disgusting!
Loraine: (shouting) They need to FUCKING HEAR IT!
Joe: (shouting) THEY DO NOT NEED TO HEAR THAT, LORAINE!
Loraine: (shouting) Of course they do! Fat people are selfish fucking assholes! They make themselves ugly and then force the world to lie to them! Everybody knows they’re hideous! Everyone knows they look like fucking monsters but no one’s allowed to fucking say it!
Joe: (loudly) You think they like being hideous? You think they’re not hurting inside?
Loraine: (loudly) They’re not hurting enough! They’re not hurting enough to stop eating bins of shit while the rest of the world has children in it who are fucking starving! Fat people are a drain on the health service. They’re a drain on all the natural resources of this planet. And they get away with it because they make people feel sorry for them! No one’s brave enough tell them they’re greedy fucking bastards!
Joe (loudly) But they’re not greedy! They can’t control how they eat! Being fat isn’t like being a normal person! Being fat isn’t a choice!
Loraine: That’s so fucking stupid. People lose weight all the time! It’s lazy people who stay fat. It’s the pathetic fat blokes like you who get hurt when you finally notice most women think you’re disgusting!
Joe: You don’t have to remind me most women think I’m disgusting.
Loraine: (loudly) Oh yes, I fucking do! You think you have a right to fuck women! You think women don’t have a right to say no to you!
Joe: (loudly) I don’t earn sex by being thin, Loraine! Sex isn’t like that!
Loraine: (loudly) Yes, it fucking is! You don’t fancy bloated fucking cows! You like women who look nice!
Joe: I know that but being thin is so fucking hard! I can’t express to you how hard it is. You know I would be thin if it was easy, but it’s harder than anything. You’ll never understand what that’s like for me. I’m not just a big bloke who drinks too many beers at the Fire-Bug. I’m in pain. I wish I could explain how I feel.
Loraine: Fine. Stay ugly. Be selfish.
Joe: (loudly) You are so fucking uncompassionate!! When I’m out in public and see other women I fancy, it makes me want to kill myself!! When you told me how my stomach made you feel tonight, it made me want to crawl into a hole and fucking die!! It reminded me of when I was a kid!!
Loraine: Yes, you’d rather crawl into a hole than change. You’d rather die than lay off the fucking cheeseburgers. You’d rather be a disgusting fat bloke than treat me with some consideration!
Joe: (shouting) I can’t lose weight if I feel like an ugly, worthless piece of shit!
Loraine: It’s too bad that’s what you are. It’s too bad you’ve chosen that.
Joe: (shouting) I CAN’T CHANGE IF I HATE MYSELF!! I CAN’T CHANGE IF I WANT TO DIE!!
Loraine: Yes, the world has to cater to you in order for you to change anything about yourself. That’s your big excuse for never changing anything.
Joe: (shouting) IT’S NOT AN EXCUSE! I DON’T NEED YOUR FUCKING CRUELTY TO LOSE WEIGHT! I NEED TO HAVE SOMETHING TO LIVE FOR! I NEED TO KNOW THAT WHEN I LOSE WEIGHT, I WON’T FEEL LIKE DYING!!
Loraine: And what makes you think you’re so special? Why do your feelings matter so much?
Joe: My feelings are all I’ve got, Loraine.
Loraine: You let your feelings ruin your life. You let them run you into the fucking ground.
Joe: (shouting) YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO SAY THAT TO ME! EVERY DAY I IGNORE MY FEELINGS TO MAKE YOU HAPPY!! I SHOVE THEM DOWN FOR YOU!! I PRETEND I’M NOT HURTING!!
Loraine: (shouting) Bullshit! You use your feelings as an excuse to take advantage of me!! You cry and then you eat! And then you turn yourself into a fat ugly pig with tits!
Joe: Why do you have to be so horrible?
Loraine: (yelling) Because you expect me to touch you!! You expect a beautiful woman to touch you!!
Joe: (yelling) You’re the one who wants to have sex every night!
Loraine: (loudly) And I fucking do it!! I swallow your rancid fucking sperm!! I let you stick your bloated fingers in me when you can’t get a hard on!! I even suck you off when you haven’t had a shower!!
Joe: (yelling) But you don’t have to! That’s not what I want! I want us to have good sex!
Loraine: We ain’t having sex again until you lose 4 stone. I won’t be degrading myself anymore.
Joe: (taken aback) What?
Loraine: You haven’t earnt a space on this bed, Joe. Until you lose 50 pounds, you’re sleeping downstairs. I’ll be fucking my vibrator. Not your tiny mushroom cock. And don’t even think you can see me naked until you’ve lost at least 20 pounds. I’m not putting nasty things inside me anymore. If you get horny, you can fuck your fat friends. See how nice that makes YOU feel.
Joe: (flabberghasted)… Do you even love me? The shit you say is so hurtful..
Loraine: (interrupting and shouting) I WOULDN’T BE SAYING THESE THINGS TO YOU IF I DIDN’T LOVE YOU!!
Joe: Then why am I not allowed to be hurt by them? Why won’t you allow me that? Why is that against the rules?
Loraine: (shouting) Because I’m helping you! Fucking listen, for once. Stop obsessing over your fucking feelings and listen! You’re making me hurt you!
Joe: (screaming) I can’t help being hurt!! I can’t feel ok when you reject me like that! I’m a human being!!
Loraine: (screaming) You’re a fucking child that needs a wash!
Joe: (loudly) Loraine, I’m not perfect! I can’t always be strong! Sometimes I’m vulnerable! Sometimes I’m like a child! I’m like every human being! Everyone has feelings!
Loraine: I have no sympathy for you. None whatsoever.
Joe: Don’t you have feelings?
Loraine: Yes, and I feel fucking disgusted at you. There’s nothing more disgusting than self-pity. There’s nothing more unattractive in a man.
Joe: (exhausted) Oh, here we go again..
Loraine: (loudly) Here you go again! You should get a vaginoplasty to go with your boobs!
Joe: (shouting) Fuck you! I can’t lose weight because my partner is witholding sex! I can’t lose weight because you tell me I’m a horrible piece of shit! I don’t work that way and neither do most people who lose weight!
Loraine: (loudly) I don’t fucking care if most people are lazy! I’m not! I work hard for this body! I value myself enough to care about my own health! I love you enough to care about actually turning you on!
Joe: Then can’t you love me enough to be sensitive towards me? I don’t understand why you refuse to do that. I don’t understand why that’s such an unreasonable thing to ask of you!
Loraine: Your actions have consequences. If you eat shit, you can spend the rest of your life cumming on your hand. I will not be fucking a pig anymore. I’m going to start fucking men and women I fancy. I deserve that. I’m tired of turning down all the good people who want to fuck me. I’m going to start saying yes for a change. I might even fuck Sasha, just to teach you a lesson.
Joe: And what lesson would that be?
Loraine: (smiling sadistically) You’ll know when I film it and email it to your students. Those ugly retards would love to see me and Sasha. I’m just not sure how the department might feel.
Joe: (nervous) …I don’t believe you would do that. You care about me too much.
Loraine: You forget that I can access your email from my computer. I could send your students anything I want.
Joe: (incredulous) You’d ruin my career because I’m fat?
Loraine: I’ll do whatever it takes to get you to stop embarrassing yourself. I’m not afraid of you, Joe. You can’t intimidate me because you’re a bloke. I could fucking kick your ass!
Joe: (sarcastically) I’m so lucky to be with someone so kind.
Loraine: I am very fucking kind to you! I’m the reason you’re not as big as Claire! If it wasn’t for me, you wouldn’t even be living in this fucking house! You’re the one who acts like an ungreatful shithead!
Joe: That’s because it feels like you hate me.
Loraine: (loudly) I don’t hate you! I just hate how you eat! I hate your excuses! I hate how you treat this house. I hate how you treat yourself. I hate your hygeine. I hate how you look. I hate how you dress. I hate your goddamn day dreaming and I hate your pathetic fucking tears!
Joe: You do hate me.
Loraine: No, Joe. I love you. That’s why I nag you. That’s why I get at you for the way you treat women. That’s why I wish you would stop teaching and get a proper job. That’s why I want you to exercise and start eating like a human being. Don’t you get it?
Joe: I do get it. You hate me.
Loraine: (loudly) I don’t hate you, Joe. I just hate living with a failure!
Joe: I’m not a failure.
Loraine: It doesn’t have to be this way, Joe. It’s all because you don’t listen to me. You never do what I tell you to do. That’s why you’re a disappointment. That’s why no one will remember you after you die.
Joe: You’re not listening to me, Loraine. I’m not a failure.
Loraine: What have you done with your life? What have you actually achieved?
Joe: I’ve achieved many things.
Loraine: Don’t make me laugh. You haven’t done shit except let yourself down. You’ve surrounded yourself with a bunch of ex-cons, cripples, and fat bitches who tell you how great you are. But you’re nothing, Joe. You’re nobody. You can’t get any job as a writer. You can’t fucking look after yourself. You can’t even manage a house without your fucking girlfriend doing everything for you. You can’t stand up for yourself. You can’t protect me. You don’t make decent money. You’re socially awkward and clumsy as fuck. You look and smell like a hairy fucking egg, and fill your life with sick weirdos who treat you like a guru. Then you wonder why I don’t take you to London with me anymore. I’m fucking embarrassed of you!
Joe: (tearing up) You think I don’t know that?
Loraine: (loudly) When people see me standing next to you, it’s like being covered in shit! It’s horrible!
Joe: (sighing)…I’m still the guy who loves you. I’m still the guy that never gives up on you.
Loraine: You’re the guy who ruins my whole fucking life! I’m ashamed to say I even know you! Half the time, I wish you were dead!
Joe: (holding back tears) …Why do you have to say things like that to me?
Loraine: (yelling) Because YOU need to hear them! You need help!
Joe: Hearing them doesn’t help anything. It just hurts.
Loraine: (loudly) You are such a fucking liar. You’ll ruin both of our lives if I let you! Anything you do well, you do because of me! I’m even the one who reminds you to fucking write! You wouldn’t get up in the morning if I didn’t wake you up!
Joe: There’s a lot I do for us. There’s a lot I do for you. You don’t notice any of it.
Lorain: Oh, please. You’re more useless than that whiny little cunt you keep talking about in that fucking novel you can’t finish. She’s more attractive than you anyway.
Joe: I don’t want to be with someone who hates me. Or my body.
Loraine: (loudly) I don’t hate your body! I just want you to fucking change it!
Joe: I need to feel hope in my future. I need to believe we can be happy together and raise a family that’s not totally dysfunctional. Otherwise, I can’t go on. I feel like I’m drowning.
Loraine: We can create that happy family if you stop fighting me every time I tell you to do something!
Joe: I’m not fighting you. I’m just not as useless as you think I am. There are things I can do without you, Loraine. I can get healthy without you belittling me!
Loraine: I hope that’s true because you’re not going to be the father of my children if you don’t get healthy. You’re not just losing weight, Joe. I will not be gestating your sperm until you fucking stop smoking.
Joe: (annoyed) You know I’m quitting in three weeks! We’ve talked about that at least twenty times.
Loraine: Yes, and I can’t go in my garden without breathing in your fucking smoke!
Joe: (loudly) I SAID I’M QUITTING!
Loraine: You are going to fucking quit because you will not hurt our children. Once I get pregnant, you’re going to do things right. You’re going to be healthy even if I have to force you. I’ll make you fucking eat right. I’ll make you exercise. I’ll say what needs to be said until you fucking hear it. You won’t silence me anymore. I’ll make you fucking miserable until you do as I say. I won’t let you off the hook the way that I do now. I will be ON YOUR ASS until you are good enough to be the father of my children! We’re gonna have the family I fucking want! You will not spoil our kids! You will not feed them shit!
Joe: So you plan on being cruel to our children too?
Loraine: If you don’t give them boundaries, that would be far more cruel than I could ever be. Allowing a child to be fat is horrible. Forcing them to have a fat parent is even more horrible. That’s abuse.
Joe: (sarcastically) Yes, its so much more abusive than burning cigarrettes into their Dad’s neck.
Loraine: (shocked) What the bloody hell…
Joe: You’re the one who brought up abuse.
Loraine: (shouting) YOU TOLD ME YOU WOULD NEVER BRING THAT UP AGAIN! YOU FUCKING PROMISED ME YOU WOULD NEVER EVER BRING THAT UP AGAIN!
Joe: You promised you wouldn’t hit me and then you threw boiling water at me. You’re lucky I get out of the way.
Loraine: (shouting) YOU FUCKING PIECE OF SHIT! YOU FUCKING ASSHOLE, I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU’RE BREAKING YOUR PROMISE!! I TRUSTED YOU TO NEVER TALK ABOUT THAT AGAIN!! I FUCKING TRUSTED YOU!!
Joe: If you wanna talk about abuse, lets talk about abuse. Let’s talk about all the things you’ve done.
Loraine: (screaming) I WAS FUCKING DRUNK AND DON’T EVEN REMEMBER ANY OF THOSE THINGS! YOU KNOW I DON’T DO THINGS LIKE THAT ANYMORE!! YOU KNOW YOU CAN’T TALK TO ME ABOUT THIS!!
Joe: You’re not the one who had all your clothes ripped to shreds. You didn’t get broken glass thrown at you. You don’t have any scars, Loraine. I do.
Loraine: (boiling with anger) I can’t believe you…I can’t fucking believe this..
Joe: Believe it.
Loraine: (loudly) You sick fucking bastard…You’re trying to make me feel guilty about my drinking!.. You know how hard it was to fucking quit…I trusted you to be supportive!! I trusted you NOT TO MAKE ME DRINK AGAIN!!
Joe: You act like hurting me wasn’t your fault because you don’t remember what you did. Like that absolves you of any responsibility.
Loraine: (shouting) It was MY FAULT and that’s why I STOPPED DRINKING! I actually changed something for you! I did something YOU ASKED ME TO DO and you PROMISED ME YOU WOULDN’T FUCKING TALK ABOUT IT!!!!
Joe: I know that, Loraine. It’s just..
Loraine: (interrupting loudly) I know what you’re doing! You’re trying to BRING ME DOWN!!
Joe: (loudly) I’m not trying to bring you down!
Loraine: (screaming) YOU’RE TRYING TO GET ME TO FALL OFF THE WAGON!!
Joe: (loudly) Of course I’m not doing that! You think I want that?
Loraine: You want to fuck up my career! You’d love to see me fail and be like you!
Joe: Loraine, the last thing I would ever want is for you to fall off the wagon again!
Loraine: (shouting) THEN DON’T EVER FUCKING BRING UP MY DRINKING!! DON’T EVER BRING IT UP EVER AGAIN!!
Joe: I was just trying to make the point that..
Loraine: (interrupting loudly) You don’t have any points to make! You’re trying to manipulate me! You’re trying to make me feel like I’m the one whose letting us down! It’s like you’re getting off on hurting me. You’re a fucking sadist!
Joe: That’s what you said the last time you got drunk and smashed my laptop through the kitchen window. Right after you said all that horrible shit to my Dad on Skype. Or was that the day you got angry and killed our dog?
Loraine: (screaming violently) STOP IT!! JUST STOP RIGHT NOW! IF YOU DON’T STOP I’LL SMASH YOUR FUCKING HEAD IN!! I CAN’T TAKE ANY MORE OF THIS!!!
Joe: (shouting) Do your worst then! Hit me you fucking cunt! Go ahead! Do it sober!
Loraine kicks over the small bookshelf next to her bed containing some of Joe’s books. The shelf hits the ground as the books scatter all over the floor. It makes a huge noise. Loraine puts her face in her hands and starts to cry. She’s so angry she’s shaking.
Joe: Do you think you’ve really changed since you quit drinking? Are you that much more calm and serene?
Loraine: (crying) ..You’re the one who needs to change!.. Not me!..I’ve done all the changing I need to do for you!..You haven’t done shit for me..
Joe: (sarcastically) And here come the tears.
Loraine: (crying hysterically) YOU WANT THINGS TO STAY THE SAME!! …YOU ALWAYS GET YOUR FUCKING WAY!!…I WON’T LET YOU THIS TIME!!… I WON’T FUCKING LET YOU !!
Joe: (shouting) Oh god, listen to yourself….you’re wailing!! Calm down!!
Loraine: (sobbing) I won’t let you make me feel guilty..I’m stronger than that!..You can’t fucking hurt me ..not after what I’ve been through…
Joe: Stop crying and listen to me! I’m not trying to make you feel guilty!
Loraine: (crying) Yes, you are…You’re killing yourself… I will fucking leave you… before I ever tell you that’s ok. ..…You want to be fat..and embarrass me…
Joe: (interrupting) How many times do I need to say how much I hate my weight? How many times do I need to mention the fucking food plan? I’m trying to change my eating! I’m taking responsibility! I know what the problem is from my end. I know where I’m going wrong and I’m trying to do something about it! You, on the other hand, are not doing anything about that cruel shit that comes out of your mouth! You’re just crying.
Loraine: (crying) I don’t know how else to help you..
Joe: Well, I’m sorry but you can’t help me by being a mean and punishing bitch. You have a sensitivity problem and I’m tired of it. I don’t want a relationship with this much cruelty in it, Loraine. This is too painful for me. Your tears don’t change that.
Loraine: (wiping away tears) So now you don’t want my honesty. You know that’s how I show you my love ..and you still don’t fucking want it! You don’t want me to love you! You want me to lie to you!
Joe: (irritated) Maybe you’re right. Maybe I don’t want your honesty. Maybe you should keep some of your thoughts to yourself.
Loraine: (sniffing) You want me to lie! You want me to act like a good little wifey who does what she’s told! If you could, you’d force all the women in the world to wipe the shit off your ass! You’re a fucking mysogynist!
Joe: Jesus, Loraine..
Loraine: (loudly) You don’t want a woman whose your equal! You want a fucking slave who cleans your house, sucks your dick and lies to you! That’s all you want from women! That’s all you want from me!
Joe: You need to stop now, Loraine.
Loraine: (loudly) You’re just like every other man! You think you respect women. You think you’re sensitive because a woman can make you fucking cry! You want to call yourself a fucking feminist!
Joe: (shouting) I just want you to stop hurting me! I’ve had enough now! This has gone far enough!
Loraine: (loudly) You think you don’t hurt me? You think I’m not hurting right now? You think I feel good inside?
Joe: You don’t have to stay in this relationship, Loraine. No one’s forcing you to stay with me.
Loraine: You think I like saying these things to you? You think I don’t hate myself?
Joe: You shouldn’t be in a relationship with me if you hate yourself.
Loraine: (sarcastically) Yes, and we both know how much you love yourself.
Joe: (loudly) I said you don’t have to stay with me! I don’t feel good in this relationship anymore. It feels wrong. It feels like we’re over. I feel nothing but contempt from you. I feel hated. I don’t feel loved at all.
Loraine: Joe, I do love you. I just need you to change.
Joe: That doesn’t matter. The things you feel about me you shouldn’t be feeling about your boyfriend. You shouldn’t be with someone like me.
Loraine: (annoyed) You can’t fucking tell me who I should and shouldn’t be with!
Joe: I am telling you. You’ve lost me, Loraine. You killed us. You killed what we had.
Loraine: Don’t overreact to things, Joe. You know I didn’t mean what I said about not fucking you. I’m just angry. You can fuck my ass tomorrow. I’ll get some lube. We can sort this out.
Joe: I am sorting it out. You’re getting a new boyfriend. Or you’re taking time to be alone and figure things out. But you’re not doing this to me anymore. I’m stopping this.
Loraine: You don’t need to stop anything Joe. I’m just being bitchy and you’re being too sensitive. That’s all that’s happening. I’m not trying to hurt you. I’m trying to help you. I’m your girlfriend!
Joe: That doesn’t matter. If I stay with you, I won’t be able to trust myself. I don’t know what I’ll do next time you act like this. It’s getting dangerous, like I can’t control my thoughts. This has to stop. I feel like I’m losing control and I have to stop this. This relationship is over, Loraine.
Loraine: (nervous) How are you gonna survive without me?
Joe: I’ll be fine, Loraine. Don’t worry about that. I can move into my old flat again. I make enough money to live and be happy. I don’t need the dosh you need to feel ok. I’m not materialistic.
Loraine: (panicking) But what about me?
Joe: I think you’ll be much happier with someone who doesn’t disgust you the way that I do. You should be with someone you respect more. It’s ok to leave me so that you can find that person. Or at least get some therapy. I won’t resent you.
Loraine: (loudly) But I don’t want to fucking leave you! I can’t!
Joe: Why not?
Loraine: …..You wouldn’t understand.
Joe: Try me.
Loraine: You wouldn’t understand.
Joe: I don’t understand why you want to stay.
Loraine: You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.
Joe: You’ll never know that unless you tell me.
Loraine: …..I’ve never met anyone as kind or as giving as you.
Joe: Oh, come on Loraine. You can do better than that!
Loraine: It’s true. You’re a keeper.
Joe: How can you say that after..
Loraine: (interrupting) You’re still here. That means you’re kind enough. I’m still arguing with you. That means you’re stubborn enough. I can respect you. You stand up to me.
Joe: I don’t understand.
Loraine: You love me. You love me no matter what. I can be honest and you love me. I can show you my anger. I can be horrible to you. I can cry. You still love me even though I hit you and burned you. No one’s ever loved me like that.
Joe: But I’m afraid of what will happen if I stay in this relationship. I don’t trust myself.
Loraine: I don’t care. I’ve never had love like this before. Very few people have loved me.
Joe: I don’t get it. You act like I’m a nuisance. You say I’m useless. You hate my job. You say I don’t protect you and I’m not a real man. You say you don’t fancy me. You hate the fact that I don’t want your honesty. I just told you I don’t like how you express your love for me. If I stay with you, I might hurt myself. Meanwhile, you think I’m a failure. I embarrass you. You hate how I cry. You think I’m gonna be a horrible parent and being around me is like being covered in shit.
Loraine: All true.
Joe: Why do you want that in a boyfriend?
Loraine: Because I love you anyway.
Loraine: You might not deserve it, but I love you.
Joe: I thought you said unconditional love felt painful for you.
Loraine: It is painful but I can’t help it. I love you. I love you even though you drive me fucking mad. I love you even though I wish I could change a million things about you. I love you even though I think you are the most annoying person I have ever met. I can’t stop loving you. I love you even though I hate your friends and I hate your body and I hate your fucking poetry. I love you even though I think you’re a pretensious wanker and most of the time I can’t even stand the sound of your voice.
Joe: You love me despite all of that?
Loraine: I love a poor, pathetic moron with an eye patch who won’t help himself. I love a failure. I love an ugly fat idiot who will never amount to anything. I can’t stop loving him. Or his small cock.
Joe: (tearing up) That’s one of the sweetest things you’ve ever said to me.
Loraine: I’m happy I found something honest to say to you that didn’t hurt you for once. I hate hurting you.
Joe: Then why do you do it?
Loraine: It’s the only way to help you. You’re lazy and I help you get things done.
Joe: I don’t need you to hurt me so I can make a decision about losing weight, Loraine! You keep ignoring me when I say that! You keep ignoring me and I’m scaring myself!
Loraine: There’s nothing to be scared of. You just need to stop being a hypocrite. You want honesty. You don’t want manipulation. You want to forgive me for all my imperfections. You say you don’t want a single thing about me to change. You say you want to love me unconditionally. Why do you get so upset when I ask you to do those things?
Joe: Giving unconditional love is hard.
Loraine: It’s fucking hard for me too you know! But I don’t have a choice when it comes to you. I can’t help but love you.
Joe: I know that. I have love for you like that as well. This relationship is too hard without unconditional love. It gets cruel without that. I can’t handle all this cruelty, Loraine. I’m afraid of what will happen if this continues. I’m afraid I’ll hang myself.
Loraine: (giggling) You are such a silly head.
Joe: I’m serious.
Loraine: Everything will be fine, Joe. You just need to be honest with yourself.
Joe: About what?
Loraine: Just admit that you’re a man with eyes and a cock. You’re with me because I’m a woman that stimulates your eyes and your cock. There are other reasons you’re with me too, but that’s the main reason.
Joe: No, Loraine. That’s not love. I’m going to love you when you stop stimulating my eyes. When I slim down you can get fat and I’ll still love you. You don’t earn my love with how you look.
Loraine: (loudly) But I do! I work hard to look this way! Don’t make me feel like that isn’t worth anything! I want to look nice for you! That’s important!
Joe: It’s more important that I love who you are.
Loraine: But that’s who I am! I’m someone who works hard to make you feel good! I do that because I love you!
Joe: You don’t have to be beautiful to make me feel good.
Loraine: Joe, Claire’s your best friend. Answer me this: If I looked like her, would I be sitting here with you right now?
Joe: …I don’t know…
Loraine: (giggling) You do know, you plonker.
Joe: It’s horrible though. I don’t want to think about that.
Loraine: Bodies matter, Joe. We’re animals. We like things that feel good.
Joe: I’m not attracted to Claire because she’s like my sister. She’d be like that to me even if she was thin.
Loraine: That’s bullshit and you know it. Claire’s a selfish fucking cow. That’s why you’re not fucking that fat piece of shit. No one wants to fuck her. It’s like eating rotten meat.
Joe: Why do you keep talking about people like they’re pieces of meat?
Loraine: People need to be pieces of meat when they have sex. They need to be meat that looks and tastes fucking good.
Joe: I don’t know, Loraine. What about women and objectification?
Loraine: Joe, the way I look is the reason you started loving me. It’s the reason you love all the other things about me. It’s caused your love for me. Being beautiful to you makes me feel good about myself. I can’t handle it if you make me feel ugly. That’s what pisses me off.
Joe: I don’t want to make you feel ugly! But that doesn’t mean I want you to think I’m going to stop loving you when you get older, Loraine. I’ll love you no matter what you look like. Don’t you know that?
Loraine: Of course I do! But you have to stop being afraid of the reason you’re in this relationship. You’re not in this relationship because you wanted to love a friend. You’ve got plenty of friends. You wanted to love someone you could be happy fucking. You don’t need me to have long conversations with you. You need me to live with you, be there for you, and fuck you. That’s what you need from me now and that’s what you’ll need from me when we’re both 80.
Joe: Loraine, that sounds like….prostitution. I can’t feel comfortable thinking about our relationship that way. Where’s the romance?
Loraine: This is what actually works for men and women! Long conversations don’t stop people from getting bored in a relationship, Joe. Long conversations don’t get people hot when they’re talking to someone they don’t fancy. Long conversations don’t stop couples from fighting and hating each other. There’s a difference between being a friend and being a lover! Don’t you know that?
Joe: Of course I do, Loraine. I know best friends don’t normally do well in relationships. I’ve had first hand experience of that.
Loraine: Then you need to really listen to me. I can give you incredible things a friend never could. I can fuck you every night. I can look after you. I can tell you how to take care of yourself. I can give you a family. I can make other men envious of you. All I need in return is that you don’t make me miserable. I need you to just do what I tell you to do and not give me any shit about it. Stop over analysing everything. Stop being the one who always gets in the way.
Joe: I’m trying. I really am. The last thing I want is to be in the way.
Loraine: Then I need you to appreciate how beautiful I am. I don’t want fucking compliments. I need you to be excited to see me every day. I need to see it in your eyes. I need to look in your eyes and see that being with me is more exciting than any time you will ever spend on your own or with your weird friends. We can’t have that if there’s no good sex.
Joe: You know I want you to be happy, Loraine.
Loraine: That’s why I need you to lose weight without taking it personally!
Joe: I know that! How many times do I need to..
Loraine: (interrupting) I can’t feel like I’m beautiful if you’re fat!! It’s nasty and it’s making me feel like I’m the one whose ugly!! I’d rather die than feel like that again!! Don’t you understand??
Joe: (exasperated) Why won’t you believe me when I tell you I’m going to lose the weight?? What do I have to do to get you to believe me?? Just tell me what I need to do to make you fucking believe me!!
Loraine: I’m starting to believe you, Joe. But it will really sink in when I know you accept the truth.
Loraine: I’ll know you accept the truth when you can look me in the eye and say, “Loraine, I need to lose weight because I am fucking disgusting. My gut is disgusting. My boobs are disgusting. My face is disgusting. I should never have embarassed you in public by making myself so ugly. I’ve been insensitive and cruel. But I won’t be anymore. I’m going to change without any excuses. Thank you for telling me I need to change, Loraine. Thank you for loving and caring for me.”
Joe: Why do you want me to say that?
Loraine: If you can say that without hurting inside, or getting defensive, or feeling sad, I know you’ll lose the weight.
Joe: Well, I can’t say that. I can’t control my feelings that well. I’m sorry but I’m flawed.
Loraine: I know. You’re a fucking mess.
Joe: I have limitations. If you’re going to be my girlfriend, you’re going to have to accept my limitations. I can’t give you anything more than that.
Loraine: I had a feeling you wouldn’t be able to say what I need you to say. People I love always disappoint me. You aren’t the first.
Joe: Well, I’m sorry I’m such a big disappointment. There’s plenty of other guys who would be less disappointing to you. You don’t have to stay with me.
Loraine: I don’t want to be with any of those guys! I love you. I’m going to love you whether or not I can trust you to do what I need you to do. I’m going to stay with you whether or not you lose the fucking weight. So don’t guilt trip me if I need to complain about you! I just need to vent sometimes. I’m human too. There’s no reason to be scared.
Joe: Did you just say you’re going to stay with me regardless of how big I am?
Loraine: Of course I’m staying with you!
Joe: You love me that much?
Loraine: I can’t stop loving you Joe. I wish I could but I can’t.
Joe: For someone who hates unconditional love, you may actually be better at it than me.
Loraine: (tearing up again) I love you because you’re mine. You’re the only guy I have ever known who loves me no matter what I say or do. No one has ever done that for me. I always get rejected sooner or later. You always stay with me. You always forgive me.
Joe: That’s unconditional love, Loraine. You see? It’s not about how you look.
Loraine: (crying) You can say as many nasty things about me as you want… You don’t even have to fuck me… I’ll still love you back. I’ll love you even if you hurt yourself. I’ll try and stop you but I’ll still love you!
Joe: (tearing up) That’s all I’ve ever wanted from you Loraine. I want to know that no matter what, you’ll always love me.
Loraine: All I want is a relationship where we can be honest with each other. Is that such a horrible thing to ask for?
Joe: No, I guess I still want that too. You are right that I need to develop a thicker skin. I need to be able to hear what you say to me without taking it so personally. And I need to forgive you for your flaws. I have to work on not getting so hurt whenever you show me an imperfection. I need to be stronger, mentally.
Loraine: We both want the same things. You just need to work on yourself if we’re both going to have them.
Joe: I know, I know. I have a lot of work to do on myself.
Loraine: I’ll be here for you through all of that work. I don’t care how long it takes you to start doing what I tell you. I’ll always be here for you, Joe. No matter what.
Joe: I’m so lucky to have you, Loraine.
Loraine: (wiping away a tear) You fucking are! Now come here and give me a hug.
Joe and Loraine embrace for a minute, crying.
Joe: (crying) I’m sorry I get so emotional and confused sometimes.
Loraine: (crying) It’s ok. I get confused too.
Joe: (crying) I love you.
Loraine: (crying) That’s all that matters, Joe.
Joe: (crying) I want us to work.
Loraine: (crying) We can make it work because we love each other. I love you so much.
Joe: (crying) I love you too. I’m gonna work hard to give you what you need from me. I know I need to be a better boyfriend. You need a boyfriend you can be honest with. You shouldn’t have to be with a bloke you don’t fancy.
Loraine: (crying) All you have to do is listen to me and everything will be fine, honey. You’re my guy. You can be as good as you want to be.
Joe and Loraine hug for another minute.
Loraine: It’s actually pretty late. All this fighting’s made me pretty tired. I think I can sleep tonight without an orgasm.
Joe: Good. I’m tired too.
Loraine: Fighting can be sexy. But this was exhausting.
Joe: I know. I think I need to go online and look at some relaxation videos to calm my head down. I’ll be back in about an hour. I don’t have to work tomorrow, remember.
Loraine: That’s fine if that’s what you need to do. But just be quiet on your way in when you’re done.
Joe: I will be.
Loraine: I didn’t mean what I said earlier today about your gut. I was just angry at you for not listening to me. I was trying to make a point so you’d set up your new diet without me having to ask you 30 times. Your belly isn’t nasty, really. It’s kind of cute.
Joe: Well, I’m glad you feel that way. But what you said was still mean.
Loraine: Well, tonight you were mean too. It wasn’t just me.
Joe: I know.
Loraine: Can you say you’re sorry? It would make me feel better. In fact, I think it would make you feel better.
Joe: (sighing)…. I’m sorry for being mean to you, Loraine. The last thing I wanted was to hurt you tonight. I was trying to communicate how I feel and I took things too far. I can be a dick sometimes. I know that and I hate it more than you do. Please forgive me.
Loraine: (smiling) You’re so sweet.
Joe: Am I?
Loraine: Yeah, you are. I wish I was more like you.
Joe: (laughing) Well, you’re not. You’re nothing like me at all.
Loraine: That’s why we’re good for each other. We balance each other out.
Joes goes to his office and decides to check his email one last time before he watches his relaxation videos. He sees an email from an email address he does not recognise. The subject heading is:
It’s Me Janet
Joe is terrified. Initially, he thinks Janet is stalking him because she intends to harm him. His next thought is that he should immediately delete the email and block Janet’s email address. She is untrustworthy. Whatever she says will be an attempt at manipulating him. However, another part of him simply can’t resist opening the email to see what it is she has to say.
Joe opens the email. It is very long. Initially, Joe is very skeptical of the things that Janet is telling him. He sees ulterior motives in nearly every sentence. He even finds much of what she says offensive. Yet he keeps reading anyway. Towards the end of the email, Joe starts to feel a confusion, a confusion he can’t fully understand. As he reads Janet’s final sentences, Joe surprises himself. He does something he has tried desperately not to do since he last saw Janet.
He allows himself to miss her.
When this happens, he immediately brings his hands to his face and sobs. His sobs are loud and painful. He sobs for over 40 minutes, his entire body shaking. Loraine hears Joe and assumes Joe is just having residual emotions from their previous argument. After Joe is done crying, he quietly goes back to bed with Loraine. As he drifts to sleep, he feels completely and utterly uncertain about his feelings. His last thought is he actually knows nothing about what he thinks or what he wants.
COTO is a platform for expressing and exploring fresh, maybe controversial, but definitely thought provoking ideas that allow people to understand contemporary culture in new ways.