Just look at that obituary!
Why should I? And why are you? Did you know her?
No, not at all. I just saw this here in the wrapping paper. All they can say is that she usually had a kind word for her colleagues at work, yada yada yada, and a world-class collection of milk glasses. I mean, what is that?
It’s an obituary. What do you expect?
We are so much more than milk glass collectors. Our lives are magical and each of us is part of a mysterious universe.. We’re complex. We’re deep. But for some reason they can’t write about that. A milk glass collection?
Well at least you sound pretty deep and complex. Does that come with being an art critic?
Actually, I am just a freelancer.
Aren’t you going to open the bottle?
Oh, sorry. I didn’t mean to get carried away.
She probably spent most of her mysterious, magical life watching crap on TV, stuffing herself with junk food, bad-mouthing her neighbors and complaining about the weather. They usually don’t put that sort of thing in obits.
There is so much missing here — the wonder, the passion.
Yeah, I was wondering about that. Where’s the passion?
As far as I know we didn’t come up here to read newspapers and discuss obituaries. Aren’t you going to pour the wine, light the candles, put on some music . . . you know, go through the ritual?
I’m sorry. I got distracted. What sort of music?
Wrap something in newspaper and I end up reading the articles. I think I have an undiagnosed attention disorder.
If I asked you to unbutton my blouse? Would that do something for your attention disorder?
Oh, Christ. I am so stupid. I’m terrible. Forgive me. Let’s talk about something else. Can we talk about you?
We don’t have to talk at all, and I’ve already told you; I’m a grade school teacher.
I bet you’re a really good one.
Yeah, and you already told me that when I told you I was a teacher the first time. We’re repeating ourselves . . . I’m afraid they’re not very big.
My breasts. They’re not very big.
My God, why are you saying that?
I just wanted you to know.
But I’m of taking off your clothes and I am looking at you. You’re beautiful. Why would you say that about your breasts?
I wanted to be honest with you.
What could be more honest than getting naked together. My mother would call what you said a BBD.
A bad breath declaration.
That’s not very kind of you. I think I’d better go.
No, you misunderstand me.
I doubt it. This isn’t gonna work.
Wait. Can we take this to a more abstract level? She meant that if someone thinks they have some blemish or shortcoming — and God knows I am not including your breasts there. Your breasts were one of those details that attracted me to you in the first place. If someone thinks . . . you see . . . if someone thinks they have something that is not what is expected . . . not the norm, or the fashion, or whatever . . .
Go on — you have, like, ten seconds to fix this or I’m out of here.
. . . you declare it. You get it out in the open because then no one can accuse you of not knowing. BBD people believe that not knowing your own faults is, like, worse than having them in the first place.
You’d be happier if I had bigger boobs.
No. And there is no way in the world we can have that discussion. There is nothing I can say that is going to convince you one way or another.
I didn’t ask you to convince me.
Well one of the sexiest women I have ever known had literally no breasts at all. Probably the absolute sexiest woman I’ve ever been with . . .
Yeah, and some of my best friends are Jewish.
You see — we can’t have this conversation. It doesn’t work.
I agree. Why are we talking at all? It’s a strange fastener.
I’ve noticed. Maybe if you turned around? There is one more thing about a BBD . . .
Listen, Richard. Richard’s your name — right? I thought you were pretty cool back there at Augustino’s. That’s why I came home with you. But I believe what you’re talking about is called ‘excusing yourself’ and it’s part of being nice. I don’t think one has to be a philosopher or know your fucking mother to understand that.
You can’t. She passed away last September.
You needn’t be. Anyhow, when you make a bad breath declaration you diminish yourself. If you say you are weak, you become weaker. If you declare you are ugly, you become uglier. Not just for whomever you are talking to, but for yourself. Primarily yourself. Whenever you say you can’t — there’s a lesser chance that you can.
So, you shouldn’t say anything at all? Hold it all in?
You shouldn’t even allow yourself to think about it in the first place. That’s where it starts.
What? Are you some sort of a self-help coach?
No, I’m still just an art critic . . . freelancer, actually.
But you are encouraging people to turn themselves into übermenschen by never admitting to their faults?.
It doesn’t have to be that extreme. But being uncritical of yourself is probably a big part of being successful. Yes.
Don’t let self-reflection bring you down.
Something like that. Does this feel good?
It’s OK. What if I had HIV?
Ha, that’s pretty funny.
HIV is funny?
No, I am assuming your question was rhetorical and I laughed because it puts a dent in my argument . Obviously having HIV. . . well you should let people know.
But having HIV could be an excuse for a lot of things. Acknowledging HIV wouldn’t do much for your self-esteem.
True. If it wasn’t going to affect other people then maybe you should keep it to yourself . . .
I’m really sorry about your mother.
You were joking, right? You don’t have HIV?
Yes — joking. Where’s your bedroom?
I don’t have a bedroom. The couch folds out into a bed. It’s a tiny apartment. I’ll put your dress on the chair so it doesn’t get wrinkled.
Nice paintings, though.
Thank you. And you’re wearing some pretty wild panties.
I’m wearing them for you.
But, you didn’t know you were going to meet me when you put them on.
Exactly. Aren’t you going to take off your underwear?
Yes, it’s just that . . .
You have a little dick and it embarrasses you.
How did you know that?