«THE FEMALE MIND [A GUIDE FOR MEN] by CHRISTOPHER WALKER A review type approach of separate scenes, held together by the narrator Dr Steph, and each ...»
Catherine Howard and Catherine Parr.
REBECCA Mum, you’re awesome.
SANDRA to Debbie We just walked around all day with umbrellas and sugared donuts, or stayed in the guest house watching telly.
DEBBIE Oh, that reminds me. Did you get your TV fixed?
SANDRA The repair man said it was beyond saving. Tony had to buy a new one and he’s been busy trying to programme the channels all evening.It’s one of those widescreen stereo-dolby multiple surround sound something or others. You know. Does everything but fry an egg. Boys and their toys, eh?
DEBBIE So how’s he doing?
SANDRA Oh, all he’s got is spinning grey haze so far.
TONY looking around, agitated Sandra? Have you moved the manual?
SANDRA I think you’ll find it’s to the left of the sofa on the floor, where you put it when you went to check the aerial.
TONY looks and finds Oh. Right. [Sits thumbing through and studying.] SANDRA I hope he gets it sorted before his parents come to visit us tomorrow night.
Otherwise I don’t know what we’ll do when conversation dries up after dinner.
DEBBIE I’m going out for dinner with Eric at the weekend. It’s our anniversary. He always takes me out for dinner for a surprise on our anniversary. At least he remembers.
[She mimes continued conversation during the following.] Older daughter, Gemma, rushes in carrying two blouses or dresses, one of which would expose more flesh than the other.
GEMMA Mum! I’m not sure what to wear to go out in. This is okay I think [Flashing one at her quickly.] but I’d look way more grown-up in this one. [Holding it in front.] SANDRA What about that lovely pastel pink dress with the ribbons Grandma brought you?
GEMMA Mum! That was when I was twelve! I don’t want to look like a child. I’m nearly fifteen!
SANDRA Well, you’re certainly not leaving the house in that one. [Pointing to the more revealing garment.] It shows far too much flesh.
GEMMA Oh Mum!
SANDRA That would send altogether the wrong signals to this boy. Especially on a first date. What do you want him to think?
GEMMA That maybe I’m cool.
SANDRA Well, I would never have worn anything like that. I want to see you in something which goes up to your neck and down past your knees. [Mimes chatting with Debbie.] GEMMA hoping to get round Dad Daaaad!
TONY without looking How much?
GEMMA Dad! Which dress/ top do you think I should wear?
TONY I’m a bit busy, sweetheart.
GEMMA Please, Dad. Just have a quick look.
TONY glances and scents danger Whichever your Mother says you can.
GEMMA Thanks a lot for your help. When I end up with no boyfriend at all then you’ll both be happy! [She storms out in a sulk.] SANDRA as if continuing... hadn’t really given any thought to Claire’s party yet.
What are you going to wear?
DEBBIE Maybe that blue dress I prized out of Eric for my birthday last year...
[Mimes continuing.] REBECCA going to Sandra Mum. Are you any good at geography?
SANDRA What do you need to know?
REBECCA Which is the deepest ocean?
SANDRA The Pacific, I think. But go check the wall-chart on your bedroom wall.
[Rebecca exits.] Yes, Debbie, that blue dress does show off your figure without it looking like you’re trying too hard.
DEBBIE But I haven’t really got any jewellery that goes with it. Have you got anything I could borrow?
SANDRA Chunky or tinkly, dear?
DEBBIE Tinkly if you don’t mind. I’m not keen on chunky.
SANDRA Well, if you pop round a day or two before to give me an opinion on which dress I should wear, I’ll get my tinkly box out for you. [Folding final shirt.] Oh, just a sec, Debbie. Tony?
TONY not looking Huh?
SANDRA Could you possibly take this pile of ironing up to the bedroom and put it away, dear?
TONY I’m sorry, Sandra, but I can’t do umpteen things at once. I only have one pair of hands.
Sandra sighs wearily but knowingly and they freeze.
DR STEPH All here? Very well, then, let’s take a look at communication. A major result of women’s need to talk is that they’re generally better at it than men. Women are able to open up and discuss the most intimate and personal experiences, unashamedly, with their girl friends. Men on a night out, however, would far rather evade talking about anything remotely personal. Which can somewhat limit the scope of their converstion...
as we shall see here.
Stage right three women assemble around a restaurant table; stage left three men seat themselves around a small table at a pub. [In the original production, these men were also played by women.] A French waiter approaches the women.
PIERRE Bonjour. Your wine, ladies. [Setting a bottle down, he smiles at Barbara who shyly returns the smile.] Enjoy! I await ze opportunity to be of further service. [He leaves.] KAREN Well, you never know! The night is young and we do want to try everything on the menu, don’t we?! [She fills their glasses.] BARBARA raising her eyebrows I’m not saying anything, Karen. Except remember when you tried Italian.
Karen is momentarily chastened by an unpleasant memory.
SUE Well, I’m between men and I plan to enjoy it.
BARBARA Sounds like a plan! A toast to you then, Sue, and to the joys of being single again. [She stands, followed by Karen and Sue. They all take a sip of their wine.] SUE To think I wasted a whole year with Stephen, the most selfish, self-obsessed, boring, conceited, horriblest, meanest...
KAREN coaxing Now, you promised us you’d have fun tonight, Sue.
BARBARA But first, tell us how you got rid of the jerk!
SUE as Karen and Barbara lean in Well, I just told him straight, I said to him [In gruff voice.] ‘Take a walk, a very long walk, in fact, take the longest walk ever - and don’t come back!’ BARBARA You didn’t say that, did you?
SUE in sweet voice, looking proud of herself I certainly did, Barbara.
KAREN So, where is he now?
SUE sheepish Staying with Mike - three doors up. [Sips wine and looks away.] KAREN & BARBARA exchanging glances Oh!
BARBARA So. Karen. How are you and the -lovely - David getting along?
KAREN pretends confusion David?
SUE sharply Karen!
KAREN Oh! That David. The one I was - ‘seeing’. Well, he wasn’t exactly what I was looking for. I decided I could do better.
BARBARA Karen, dear, I hate to break it to you, but Johnny Depp really is taken.
David may not have been perfect but he was a sweet, attentive - interesting man.
KAREN Even if he did look like Jesus and smell like a fish.
ALL laughing He did!
BARBARA Well, there’s always other fish in the sea. And - while you’re waiting for him
- more wine? [She stands and starts to pour.] DR STEPH While Karen, Sue and Barb are well stuck into the subject of each others’ private lives, can the same be said of Gary, Glen and Trev over at the pub, who have been out together just as long?
Cut to the three men, sitting in a semi-circle. All three have pint glasses and are supping while glancing around. None are making eye-contact with each other.
GLEN I’m sure something’s changed in here.
All three slowly look up, then down, and then scan from left to right until GARY The colour.
TREV It’s different wallpaper.
GLEN It used to be blue. Yellow now.
Trev and Gary nod in agreement, sup pints again and pause.
GLEN Beer’s expensive here, Gary.
GARY I know. £2.65.
Pause, during which all three pick up pints at the same time, take a drink, put the glass down and cough.
TREV You get that new car then, Gary?
GARY Yeah. Came last week.
GLEN after pause for thought How much?
GARY Twelve G. Nice car. Midnight blue. From nought to sixty in four and a half seconds!