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Monday, June 19, 2017

(16) ALL HIS LADY FRIENDS GET TOO AGGRESSIVE.

B  I’m dying to find out how Ed made out with his date.
J  Jesus, the way you were tearing her apart yesterday, it’s a wonder he went out with her. 
B  Tearing her apart?
J  Oh yeah, she’s this and she’s that.
B  I was trying to prepare him to not expect too much. 
J  Let him find out for himself.
B  He’s already said she was dumb.  I said, “I don’t think she’s dumb, she just has a habit of talking too
much about herself.”
J  Does he want to go steady or does he just want to—
B  He wants a relationship.  She called me back to say they were going out to dinner.   She said, (lifeless,
drawling tone.) “I hope he doesn’t expect me to pick out where we’re going to eat because I haven’t been
out very much.  I hope he’s the aggressive sort that will choose where we’re going to have dinner.”  She 
talks in a flat voice like that.  She has no liveliness.
J  No enthusiasm.  That’s what’s important in a woman, enthusiasm. 
B  Are you going to get mad if I call Ed to find out what happened last night? 
J  Not if I know the reason.
B  I’m curious, that’s the reason.
J  You know what killed the cat
B  Poison.  (Phone rings in living roomt.)
B  Hello.  Hi, Ed, how did you make out?  You are not!  Don’t you think I felt like a loser two years 
ago? Didn’t I say a hundred times that finding someone was too late for me?  You didn’t feel like a loser
then. You’re not!  All the cards are stacked for the men.  You just don’t go to the right places.  Go on a
cruise. You’ll find yourself besieged.  Eligible women outnumber the men ten to one.
Jack (to himself and machine)  She’s ditched me again.  
~~~
B  On the phone this morning you sounded like your first day as Mister Tough Guy.
J  Yeah, yeah.  I’m a very tough guy.  Did I really sound like that? 
B  You did. 
J  You’re like fighting the plague. 
B  Thank you! 
J   If you hadn’t called I would have stayed away from you tonight, and who knows what would have
happened? 
B  I would have gone to the party alone.  But I wouldn’t want to. I’ve talked so much about you to
everybody.
J  You couldn’t show up without me very well, could you? 
B  I’d have had to make some kind of excuse.  I was gonna think of something.  I could tell everybody
you were having a yard sale.
J  At my condominium?
B  They wouldn't have to know you lived in a condiminium
J  There’d be guys who would be so happy you were there by yourself, you wouldn’t have to say a word.
B  I wanted you there.  With me.  Elsa Palimiter is a perceptive woman about men.  After she chatted with you,
she came over and said, “Jack has a very sensuous mouth.”
J   She did not.  I do not.
B  I said, does he ever, because that’s exactly what you have, Jack.  That’s why I still love to kiss you after
two years.   
J  It takes two, angel.  Don’t forget you’re the other half of what makes it feel good. Did you swim today? 
B  Yes, I got up early this morning, seven-thirty, found Ed was gone, so I hopped into the pool.  Did I see
a quick movement of the head? 
J  Yes, you did.   Ed was gone.  You say it like . . . Why didn’t you tell me he stayed and then tell me he
was gone?
B  He showed up about twelve-thirty yesterday.   It was so damn hot--I was dripping `cause I’d been
working on the pool--we agreed it was too hot to go flying.  I read the papers and had a cold drink, and
Ed got to weeding.  He gets compulsive about weeding.   He weeded for two hours, and I kept saying,
“Why don’t you relax?” He stayed for dinner, and we watched a special program of “Upstairs, Downstairs”
from nine to eleven.  I said, “You can spend the night if you want.”  He got into his pajamas and his
bathrobe, kissed me goodnight like a brother and went to bed.
J  A bathrobe?  Was it cool by then?
B  He brought the fan up from the basement.  There wasn’t any sign that he was dying of frustration or
passion or anything else, and off  he toddled to bed.  I think the point he was making was that he just wants
to be able to think of me as a friend and companion.  He called this morning and said how pleasant the
evening had been and that I’m the only one he feels really comfortable with.  Every place else he is, he just
paces up and down.  In fact, Elsa said to me the other day in the divorce court, “How do you stand the
way he paces around jingling his keys all the time?”   
J  How does she know?
B  She knows because he’s done that around her.  So that’s the story of yesterday.  I answered a call at
Samaritans today, and the first words this woman said to me were, “Will you please tell me one good thing
that has happened to you this week?”   I said, “Okay.  I got a divorce.”   
J  What a week for that question.
B  I said, “And I spent yesterday with my ex-husband, and it was very friendly and amicable.”  She said,
“How do you do it?  I’ve been separated for two years, and it’s awful.” She asked me how old I was and
I told her.  She said, “When will you be fifty-three?”  I said August.  She said, “I’ll be fifty-three in July.”
J  Are you going to see Ed every Sunday, Barb?
B  No, I don’t think this will be a schedule like, I see Jack these days, and I see Ed these days.  I think it
will be a random thing.  What happened yesterday was good because I was able to tell Monica Dickens about
it at the Samaritans.  I said he just wants my companionship, and it’s working out fine.  As far as I’m
concerned, this is what the world is gonna know. 
J  That’s right.  You don’t have to tell anybody anything.  They’d love to hear it, but I don’t think you
should.
B  Who’s gonna understand?  I mean, it’s unbelievable to me that you can understand, which you say you
do, and I believe you.  But there aren’t too many people like you around.  Even Monica, who is so tolerant,
thinks I should have nothing to do with Ed.
J  Don’t give me too much credit. 
B  Who else would I give credit?  
J  When I said I can understand, I can understand your feeling.
B  See, you’ve known me for almost two years.  You don’t think I’m a bad person, but a lot of people
would condemn me if they knew any superficial fact they could fasten on.
J  Well, yeah, if they see me leaving here in the morning and see Ed leaving here the next morning, they’re
bound to think something. When did you decide to see me tonight?  I don’t generally see you on Monday.
B  Ed had said something about going flying some afternoon this week. I checked my calendar and said the
only time I could possibly go flying would either be Friday or Tuesday.”  He said, “Okay, we’ll go flying
Tuesday, and I’ll bring the steak.”  Then I thought, I won’t see Jack Monday, I won’t see him Tuesday, I
won’t see him Wednesday.  This is no good.  So I called you.
J  And Thursdays are out. 
B  Why are Thursdays out? 
J  Bobbie has Weight Watchers.
B  Why do you have to stay at home because your daughter is going out?  Oh, I suppose she needs the car. 
Hey, I could come and see you.  If it were a hot night, we could sit around the apartment pool. 
J  We could if you promised to give me your undivided attention and stay covered up.  
It’s a  comfortable, friendly situation with Ed.  He knows that you’re it, in spite of what I said in Fort
Lauderdale.  And he knows I’m not going to do anything that will upset you.  That’s a fact.
J   I don’t like it.  That’s a fact.  I find it difficult . . .  
~~~
B  When I was 16, Floyd Rinker told the class he thought young people should be able to read anything
they wanted to.   That was how they would learn about life.
J  Aww, I don’t believe that, Barb.  Back then, the things that kids could read couldn’t possibly be like the
things that are available today. 
B  Some filthy comic books reached my desk when I was in junior high school.  And look at how well I
turned out.
J   How can I argue with that?
B  Did I tell you that Ed is now ready to compromise? 
J  What made you think of that?  Why out of a clear blue sky?
B  Because your saying, “How can I argue with that” made me think of sex. 
J  It did?  You thought of Ed as soon as you thought of sex?
B  Well, yes, because I’ve been having these daily arguments with him.  He calls every day, and today
again he was saying that he—
J  Aw, I don’t blame him.   I don’t blame him a bit.
B  I said I would be glad to be a sister to him, and maybe once in awhile, we go to a movie but—
J  You would not go to a—would you go to a movie with him?
B  I’d go to a movie. 
J  And you’d tell me? 
B  Would you want me to? 
J  I don’t know.  I haven’t decided that yet, dammit.
B  I said to Ed, if you felt about some woman the way I feel about Jack, you wouldn’t give me the time of
day. He said, “If anything happens between you and Jack, please turn back to me.” 
J  Son of a gun, you’ve really got something in lieu of Jack, haven’t you?  If I were in the same boat,
which I probably never will be, but if I were in the boat that you are—I do this a lot, I put myself in
people’s shoes—I’d find it as difficult as you do, I’m sure. 
B  Ed says all his lady friends get too aggressive.  “I plan to stay home, and I’ll get a call from Marsha,
`Come on over and have a nice dinner.’  So I go over and there’s wine and candlelight and it’s all very
good.  Then she mentions the tennis club party this weekend, and it’s clear she wants me to take her.”
J  Where’s she from?
B   She lives near him.  Marsha is the realtor he was going with before he met Claire.  But he still sees
Marsha occasionally.  He feels sorry for her.  So he said, “All right, let’s go to the tennis opening.”  Then
he sees Claire---
J   Another night, you mean?
B  —Uh-huh.  And she says, “Of course we’ll be going to the tennis opening,” and he doesn’t know what to
do.  Instead of just saying he already has plans for that night and being honest—I don’t know what he said,
whether he mumbled some kind of excuse or what.  He could hardly lie because she’d hear about it later. 
But he panics over these things.  He said “I feel like going to Japan or some place so I won’t have to face
up to the problem that once they start going with you, these women think they own you.”
J  I’ll never have a problem like that.  One woman is enough for me.  Especially when she comes over here
and lets me take advantage of her. (Time out for a moment.)
B  So next thing I know, he’s asking me for advice on how to handle Claire. 
J  Ex-wifely advice to the lovelorn?  That’s kind of odd, Barb.
B  He says, “I think she likes me, but I don’t think she’s in love with me.  I’m trying not to do all the things
wrong that I used to do with you, like make wisecracks—say a woman has very small breasts, trying not to
let a wisecrack slip out that I think is funny, and then realize it had hurt her.” And this is good, Jack.  This
is the way I’d like to have it.  To have him call me up and ask me for advice on his love affairs as if I were his
sister or his friend.
J  Are you sure you don’t want to go to bed with him?
B  I like things just the way they are.  The other way was too complicated . . . and exhausting. 
J  What you're saying is, “Ed, you can tell me anything.  You can trust me, and it won’t change anything.” 
B  Yes.  It won’t change my feelings about him.  I feel better about him than I have in a long time. He’d still
like to have his marriage back again, but he’s not having as bad a time as he was before.  I’m telling
you all this because I agree with you that it’s kind of odd.
J  The Odd Couple, huh? 
B   The Odd Triangle.  
J  I read something recently in the Globe, a centerpiece article right in the middle of the page.  Oh, Jesus,
did it ever fit you.
B Because it described my way of thinking?
J  It described your ilk.
B  My ilk?  So obviously it was written by your ilk.
J  Son of a gun.  Sometimes I think you're too much for me, but I dismiss the thought immediately. 
~~~
B  I have news about Claire and Ed.  He told me they’re sleeping together, but she has to be very careful
because her husband is spying on her all the time.
J  Which one is Claire?
B  Claire I haven’t met yet, but he wants me to meet her.  She’s the one that got a group together, all of
these couples meeting once a week and talking their hearts out.  It ended up that everybody fell in love with
somebody else except Claire.
J   How do you know?
B  Ed told me.  She lost 20 pounds from the trauma of her marriage breaking up, but she’s gaining it back.
J   She’s separated?
B  They’re getting a divorce, but he doesn’t want to give her a penny, and he’s very, very rich.  He bought
his two boys, one’s 16 and one’s 18, brand new fancy cars, but when it comes to giving her anything, he’s
a miser.  And he’s always trying to trap her.  He grills the kids, “Where was your mother last weekend,
what time did she get in Sunday night?”  She’s going into the hospital to have a D and C, and she thought
while she was at it, she’d have her tubes tied.  She’s in her early 40s, so it’s logical.  Claire’s lawyer is dead
set against it, but she figures this wouldn’t be proof that she was sleeping with anyone.  I asked Ed again
about you and me going for that long weekend on the Vineyard, and he said sure—
J  What long weekend?
B  The one we agreed on.  It’s on my calendar, Jack.  Ed was talking about what a problem it was to see
Claire and get any kind of relationship going. They have to be chaperoned all the time.  I said why don’t we
all go to the Vineyard?  Jack and I could go over early on the ferry, and you and Claire could fly over later,
and we’d each have our own cottage.  He said, “That’s a terrific idea.”
J  That’s a terrible idea. 
B  I thought it would help cement the relationship between them and help them
J   We’d be helping to cement their relationship?    I don’t understand.
B  He’s worried about how he can see Claire except at the Thaxters’ place in Vermont, and even when the
four of them are up there, the husband’s questioning the boys, hoping he can pin something on her.  And
the kids say, “We don’t talk to Mother about your activities, and we’re not going to talk to you about hers.” 
But Irving called Ed and laid down the law.  He said you could just ruin this, if Claire's husband were able to
pin anything on you.  Ed said, “We absolutely cannot be anywhere together unless there are chaperones.” 
My idea may not work out, but even if it doesn’t, it’s a funny situation.  It feels like the believe-it-or-not-ness
of life.
I’ll have to ask my lawyer.   If it’s to my disadvantage, I want no part of it.
B  We’ll have our own little cottage and our own car.  At first I thought we could all fly over together, and
then I thought that would be awkward because we’d be dependent on the same car.  But as long as we
have our own car and go our own way . . .
J  Well, if we’re going to have our own car and our own cottage and go our own way, what’s the point to
it?
B  Then if word should get back to Claire’s husband that Ed and Claire were over at the Vineyard, they
could say, “But Ed’s first wife and her friend were there as chaperones.”
J  Get outta here, there isn’t going to be any chaperoning.
B  By the time he heard anything, it would be too late for him to fly any detectives over and peek in 
windows or anything like that.
J  Well, right.  So there’s no purpose to saying that we’re chaperones.
B   I could testify in court, if need be, that we were chaperones.  The Thaxters would do that, too.
J  Why do you have to testify in court so Ed and his friend can get together?
B  I don’t think I’d have to, but if they went over there alone, and her husband found out about it—
J  He’s not going to fly any detectives over there.
B  Maybe not, but he could find out about it.
J   He has to prove they were there.
B  Maybe he could. 
J  By flying detectives over there?  That’s pretty far-fetched.
B  You better talk to Irving, and you’ll understand it better.
J   I’d better talk to Irving?  Claire’s lawyer? 
B  Yes, he’ll explain it to you if you really don’t think there’s any problem with Ed and Claire flying over
alone.
J  If they flew detectives over there, but they found out that you and I were there, then everything would
be okay.   Hahaha. You believe that, Barb?
B  Yes, because we’d be chaperones.  We could testify that they were with us all the time and that Claire
and I slept in one cottage and you and Ed slept in the other.  (giggle)
J  You’re soft.  First you have me in a plane he’s flying until it runs out of gas.  And now this.  I should
think you would giggle.
B    It probably won’t work out, but I’d get a kick out of it if it did.  I would love to hear what Cohasset
would have to say.  I love setting Cohasset on its ears.
J  Setting Cohasset where?  Sorry, I was watching your mouth, hon.
B  You keep doing that, Jack.  It’s too bad you can’t read lips.
~~~
B  I took Ed’s mother out to lunch.  She said, “Edward told me you were away on vacation.  He said
you’d gone off with your lover. And I said to him WHAT?  He said, `She’s gone off with her lover, don’t
you know Jack’s her lover?’  I said, well, it’s your own fault, Edward.  You brought it all on yourself.  She
was a good wife to you.”  So like it or not, Jack, you’re a lover.
J  Yeah, I guess I am.  It’s not important.  There was a time when he would never have called me your
lover, I’m sure.  He would have called me a fuckin’ marshmallow.
B  I tell you too much, I think.
J  No you don't honey, not at all.

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