The Awful Truth

The Awful Truth

Most Men Are Just Not Raised to be Intimate

By Terry Real

November/December 2002

"I can understand why Jenn is so frustrated," Peter says, sighing, his voice soft and Southern. He runs his hand through thinning hair. Early forties, I figure: he's handsome--even sexy--in a cerebral, Ivy League sort of way. With a mop of jet-black hair, a long frame, and dark lipstick, Jenn is visually arresting as well. But despite her looks and style, there's something faded about her, worn and fatigued.

"I'm glad I'm here," Peter says tentatively. "Really, I am. It's just--." He trails off. We wait for him. "I don't know," he moans, frustrated. "I guess I'm not sure what I want, to be honest. I'm--." He pokes a hole with the tip of his polished shoe in my carpet. I resist the impulse to tell him to stop. "I guess I'm just, well, I'm confused."

"Can I just cut in here?" Jenn offers. "Sure, perhaps we could--," I begin.

But she breezes right past me, "I just have one thing to say," she wheels on her husband.

"I'd like to suggest--," I try again.

"Fuck you, Peter!" she delivers her payload. "Just go fuck yourself." And then she leans back, arms folded over her chest, not heaving or screaming or anything, just staring.

Peter and I both look at her. "That's it?" I ask.

"You want to be confused?" she asks him, ignoring me. "You're confused? Then fine. Okay? But, I'm gone. All right? I hope you work it out someday, really."

"Perhaps, Jenn, you might--," I say.

"Be confused!" she snorts. "You've been confused our…

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