Brief Interviews With Hideous Men Script - Dialogue Transcript

Voila! Finally, the Brief Interviews With Hideous Men script is here for all you fans of the movie adaptation of the David Foster Wallace story. This puppy is a transcript that was painstakingly transcribed using the screenplay and/or viewings of the movie to get the dialogue. I know, I know, I still need to get the cast names in there and all that jazz, so if you have any corrections, feel free to drop me a line. At least you'll have some Brief Interviews With Hideous Men quotes (or even a monologue or two) to annoy your coworkers with in the meantime, right?

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Brief Interviews With Hideous Men Script

- So...

I have this thing.

It's a--

well, it's this--

Well, it's cost me every
sexual relationship I ever had.

And I don't know why I do it.

It's--I'm not a political person.

I don't consider myself--

I mean, I'm not one
of these "America first,"


will-Hillary-get-the-nod people.

I'll be doing it with some girl.
It doesn't matter who.

It's when I start to climax
that it happens.

I'm not a Democrat.

I don't even vote.

I freaked out about it once,
and I called a radio show,

a doctor on the radio,

And he diagnosed it as

the uncontrolled yelling

of involuntary words
or phrases,

frequently insulting
or scatological.

is the official term.

- What is it that you say?

- "Victory for the forces
of democratic freedom."

Only way louder,
as in, really shouting it.

"Victory for the forces
of democratic freedom!"

Only louder than that.

It wouldn't be so embarrassing

if it weren't so totally
fucking weird,

if I had any clue
what it was about.

You know?

- Well, I'm very surprised
to see you here.

- Oh?

- Well yeah, I mean, your--

your record on attending
these academic events

has been somewhat spotty.

- I know.
I'm sorry.

I was just finishing up
grading those papers.

I should have them
to you tomorrow.

- Yeah, and you?

Will we have you
in class tomorrow?

- Yes.

And, Professor, I know I've been
a little distracted,

and I'm sorry.

- Look, I know you're allergic
to these events,

these parties and whatnot.

But believe it or not,
I actually look forward to them.

Now, I think we can talk
about this at some other time,

and you need
to give yourself a break.

All right?

And look, as long as you're out,

you might as well
have a good time.

- Pretty nice, huh?

- What's that?
- Pretty nice?

- Yeah, glamorous.

You been doing this all day?

- Yeah, a few people before you.

Do you mind if I turn this on?

- No.

- Great.

- Sure.

- Sometimes it's like,
I think,

"Hey, what if I can't?'

And then I think,
"Oh, shit, don't think that,"

you know, 'cause thinking
can make it happen.

Not that it happens that often,
but I get scared about it.

We all do.

Anybody tells you different
is full of shit.

You can tell 'em I said so.

It's like, I always think,
you know,

"I wouldn't even be worried
about it if she wasn't here."

It's like she's expecting

You know, that if she wasn't
lying there, expecting it,

wondering, like, evaluating,

it wouldn't even occur to me.

You know, and then I get
kind of pissed off.

I get so pissed off,

I don't give a shit anymore,
"Can l, or can I not?'

I just want to show her up.

You know, and then it's like,
"All right.

"You asked for it.

"Here we go, bitch.

Here we go!"

- What does today's woman want?

That's the big one.

- I totally agree.

It's the--what do you call--

- Or put another way,

what do today's women
think they want,

versus what do they really
deep-down want?

- How about this?

What do they think
they're supposed to want?

- From a male.

- From a guy.

- Whether it sounds
Neanderthal or not,

I'm still gonna argue
it's the big one,

because the whole question's
become such a mess.

- Looks like someone
needs to refuel.

- Hey, Jeff.

No, thank you.

- These bathroom waits
can sometimes take forever,

so it's best to hydrate.

Well it's not
that wine rehydrates.

It's more--

you get it.

So how are you?

- I'm doing really well.

Thank you.

- Yeah?


Good, because I heard--
I mean, but that's great.

I mean, that's really--

that's really great.

You know, I almost asked you out
our first year.

- You're kidding.

- It's true.

I should have.


I was just too intimidated.

- Oh?

Why is that?

- Why?


Well, it's not just that
you're beautiful.

I mean, but you are.

It's just, you're so darn smart.


That's why.

Beautiful people
are a dime a dozen.

And not--
hey, let's face it,

genuinely smart people are rare
of either sex.

You know that.

But for me, I think, for me,

it's your smartness
more than anything else.

- My smartness, Jeff?

Are you drunk?

Because your grammar's
starting to suffer.

- Perhaps.

I suppose,
from your point of view.


Except, think about it
for a minute.

Would that possibility
have even occurred to a--

a not-so-smart girl?

Would a dumb girl have the sense
to suspect that?

- Hmm.

I suppose you're right.

- See?


So you proved my point
and that I mean what I say,

and you're not gonna blow it off
as just something, you know--

some kind of come-on
or something like that.


'Cause that's not
what I'm doing.

- Oh.

- Go ahead, go ahead.

I don't even have to go, really.

I'm just--

- Okay.

- You know--

- Okay, Jeff, well,
have a good night.

- Have a good night.

I'm sure I'll see you around.
- Good night.

- Good night.
Good night.

- The modern woman has

an unprecedented amount

of contradictory stuff
laid on her

about what she's
supposed to want

and how she's expected
to conduct herself.

- The modern woman's a mess
of contradiction.

And they lay it on themselves.

It drives 'em nuts.

- That's what makes it
so difficult

to know what they want.

- Yeah, you can say that again.

- Difficult but not impossible.

- Baby, come on.

Open the door.

Come on, baby.

Let me in.

- Hey.

- How you doin'?

Baby, come on.

Open the door.


Don't be ridiculous.

That was the super.

- Women?

I love women.

I really do.

Oh, I love everything
about them.

I can't even describe it.

Short ones, tall ones,
fat ones, thin,

from drop-dead to plain.

To me, hey, you know,
all women are beautiful.

I can't get enough of 'em.

Some of my best friends
are women.

- As a child, I watched
a great deal of television.

And the show I most preferred
to watch was Bewitched.

It was as a child,
while watching Bewitched.

that I had my first
erotic sensations.

Elizabeth Montgomery

would perform a circular motion
with her hand

accompanied by the sound
of a zither or harp

and produce
a supernatural effect

in which all motion ceased

and all the other characters

were suddenly frozen
in mid-gesture.

So it is of little wonder

that my fantasy also involves
supernatural powers

over the women of my choosing.

For some reason, my fantasy
always takes place at a gym,

the gym my mother
religiously attended.



In my fantasy,

I envision myself
looking out across the floor

of vigorous exercises.

And my gaze falls upon

a beautiful, sensual,
and athletic woman.

And she,

looking up from her exercise
equipment, sees me.

I beckon her to me
using only my eyes,

or perhaps a slight circular
motion with just one finger.

And she, overpowered with erotic
attraction, comes towards me.

We meet on an exercise mat
at the room's exact center,

she, removing the straps
of her heavy clothing

in a frenzy of sexual mania

while my schoolboy's uniform
is removed

with a more controlled
and amused deliberation,

forcing her to wait
in an agony of erotic need.

And then there is copulation
in varied and distinct ways

among the many other petrified,
unseeing figures,

for whom I have stopped time
with my hand's great power!

- Yeah, Sara, by the way,
I think you look fantastic.

- Well, thank you, Harry.


- No, it's true.

It seems that single life
has just kind of

kicked the sweet little
Miss Cardigan right out of you.

No, no, I like it.

This whole Urban Outfitters,

Edie Sedgwick thing works,
you know?

It's kind of, like,
it's edgy, but it's distinctive.

- That's great.

That's exactly what
I was going for.

- You look good, Sara.

- Thanks, Sam.
- Really.

Good for you.

- Thank you.

- Okay, all right, where was l?

- Big.

- Oh, right, okay.

So, I'm out with this girl,

and this big, big guy,
he comes over to us.

- Who was it?

- Nicki.


- Wow.

- No, Nicole.

Okay, whatever.

So he comes over there
and he says,

"You boys nowadays
are all the same."

"Excuse me?'

He said,

"All you smoothie type fellows
go around thinking you are

the Lord's own gift
to the female species."

- Was he black?

- Yeah, actually.

- Mm, racist, that's racist.

- What?
That's how he talked.

- Finish your story.

- But you want to know
how to really be great,

how a great lover
really pleases a lady?

Now, most of these fellas
haven't got the first damn clue.

Not really.

You know, a lot of them
don't even care,

to tell you the truth.

Now, that's your first type,

right, your Joe Six-Pack cracker
type fella.

Yeah, and he's like
your basic pig, right?

The type that rolls on,
has at her,

and the minute he's done, right,

he rolls off again
and then commences to snoring.

But you see,
these fellas are just animals.

They're not even in the same
type of game

that we're talking about here.

No, what we're talking
about here

is your basic secondary
type of fella,

the fella that thinks
he's a great lover,

your sensitive
male smoothie type.

Now, what they're into
is a woman's pleasure.

And giving the woman pleasure,
that's this type's whole trip.

And I'm guessing from looking
at you over here right now

that you've been up against
a smoothie a time or two,

who runs down
to Barnes and Noble's

for all the latest female
sexuality-type books,

huh, right?

With the pheromone aftershave
and holding and touching,

and you know, about the earlobe
and the back side of the knee

and, and all that,

with the strawberry oil
and the hand massages.

But, but, will he let
the little lady replicate?


Will he allow her to give him
so much as a backrub?

No, sir, he will not,

Because this type's whole trip
is that he's got to be the one

giving the pleasure here.

Thank you very much, ma'am.

And this, this is what gives me
contempt for these guys

that go around thinking that
they're the Lord's own gift

to the female species.

And watching them in bed
is like watching

when the mechanics
in the white suits

workin' on a Porsche.

They're all swelled up
on their own expertise.

They think they're
a great lover.

They think they're being
generous in bed.

What they don't understand

is that their type
is an even worse drag

for the lady with any sense

than the on-and-off pig
ever was,

because how'd you like to just
lay there and be worked on, huh,

like a Porsche?

You see, that's where
your smoothie types

always lose the game.

They want to be the only
great lover in bed.

Now, you want my opinion, huh?

You want know how
to be really great, hmm?

There's only one in a thousand
fellas that's figured it out.

The secret is, you've got to--

- I disagree.

- What?

- I disagree that's it's
impossible to determine

what it is they really want.

- I don't think I said

- Though I do agree that
in today's postfeminist era

it's unprecedentedly difficult

and takes some serious deductive
firepower and imagination.

- I mean, if it was
literally impossible,

then where would we be
as a species?

- And I do agree that you can't
necessarily go

just by what they say they want.

- 'Cause they're only saying it

'cause they think
they're supposed to.

The media perpetuates it.

- My position is that actually
most of the time

you can figure out
what they want,

I mean, logically deduce it,

if you're willing to make
the effort to understand them

and to understand the impossible
situation they're in.

- Schizophrenic media discourse,

exemplified by, like,
for example, Cosmo.

On one hand, get liberated.

On the other hand,
make sure you find a husband.

Who wouldn't be nuts
with that mess

laid on them all the time
in today's media culture?

- The most important thing
is to understand her,

understand the paradox.

Damned either way.

- Yup.

Mars and Venus.

- I love, love, love them.

Yeah, I love to watch them move,

and I love how different
they all are.

I love to hear them giggle,

you know, the different
little sounds.


I love how you can
never understand them

and the way that you just can't
keep them from shopping,

no matter what you do.

- Okay, ladies and gentlemen.

Today we are going
to be concluding part two

of the very riveting
Nanook of the North.

Yes, yes, groan, groan, I know.

It actually will
be a fascinating example

of scientific hubris.

Pay close attention
to the documenter

rather than the documented.

In all the sciences

the essential question is,

All right?

Shall we do this?


Hit the lights, please.

-  Don't go changin' 

- Yikes.

I'm not playing that.
- Come on.

- No, I'm not gonna--

- You figure it out.
- No.

- You know you want to.

 Don't go changin' 

together:  To try
and please me 

 You never let me down before 

-  Mm-hmm-hmm mm-mm 

You forgot that.

-  And don't imagine 

all:  You're too familiar 

 And I don't see you anymore 

 I would not leave you 

 In times of trouble 

 Never could've gone this far 

 Mm-hmm-hmm mm-mm 

 I took the good times 

 I'll take the bad times 

- Hey, Daniel.

Good to see you.
- Hey, Miss Quinn.

- Hello, Daniel.

- I stopped by your office hours
earlier this week.

You must've been--

- I'm sorry, I had
a personal conflict, Daniel.

I couldn't make it.
- Okay.

Well, I'd love to know
what you thought of my paper.

- Yeah, the papers
will be finished tomorrow

outside my office first thing
in the morning.

- Okay.

Well, enjoy.

- It's the arm.

I can see you being all polite,
not wanting to look at it.

Go ahead.

Look at it.

I don't mind.

You want to touch?

I'm just'.

No, but really, that's one
of the stages of the thing,

of using the Asset.

There's always a lot of girls
around, you know,

back there at the foundry there,
at the--

on the lanes.

And Jackpot--
that's my best friend.

Jackpot and Kenny Kirk,

they're what you would call,
you know,

"good-looking" guys,
you know,

"normal-looking," you know,

"do well with the ladies,"
if you know what I mean, huh?

And what I do is,

I go back there, and I talk
to this one and that one,

and eventually,
I get around to the story

of how I got the name
Johnny One.

That's one of the stages
of the thing.

We're back at her place now,
you know?

Just hangin' back, you know,

in her kitchenette,
some such.

And usually what I'll do is,

I'll go,
"Oh, it's so hot in here.

"I feel like taking my shirt
off, but I don't want to

on account of
I'm so ashamed of the arm."

Like that.

Because, you know,
at this point,

I'm starting to get
that I'm coming off

as kind of creepy,
you know.

I'm starting to understand
that she's seeing me

as maybe some kind of a loser,
but they can't back out.

You know why?

Because they've already said
all this nice shit

about how I shouldn't be ashamed
of the arm, right,

and how it couldn't possibly
be that bad.

So now you're getting into
your critical type stage, right,

where I actually
show them the arm.

Every time, sooner or later,

within inside, like,
five minutes of the thing,

they up and they start crying.


Here I am, right,
going up to them,

where they're sittin',

and now I'm holding them
with the good side.

They're breaking down crying,
and I'm next to them,

holding them with the good arm
going, "It's okay.

"Hey, it's okay.

"Don't cry.

"Don't be sad.

"Trusting you has made me
feel so very, very special.

"And now with your help,

I can go out there and not
be ashamed of this arm."

And so on.

Oh, more pussy
than a toilet seat, man.

I shit you not.

Go 'head and ask Jackpot
and Kenny Kirk.

They'll tell you.

Kenny Kirk's the one
that named it the Asset.

Go ahead and ask him.

More pussy than a toilet seat.

- No, I know.

I know.

Hey, hang on a second.

Hey, no, I know.

You think I don't know
that I can be moody sometimes?

Think I don't--

No, and I know that I can be
withdrawn at other times,

and that I can be hard
to be in this with, okay?

But I just--

No, I'm not saying
that this is reassuring.

What I'm saying is that
I'm trying to get you to see

that sometimes things
ebb and flow, okay?

And that's--

and sometimes people are more
into it than other times,

and that's just how it is.

But you, you can't stand that.

I feel like--

I feel like no ebb's allowed.

And that breaks my heart.

That just breaks my heart.

Maybe if I cared about you
a little less,

maybe if I loved you
a little less

then I could take it.

But l--


Yeah, that's what the bags
are for.

I'm leaving.


Well, I don't think that you

Wait, hey, listen.

Just try to listen for one sec.

Try to absorb what I'm gonna
say to you, okay?

My leaving is not a confirmation
of your fears.

It isn't.

It is because of them.

And I know that you're totally
hating me for this,

and I have spent a lot of time
getting ready to the place

where I can face you
totally hating me for this.

And if you could see
the look on your face--

I can.

I can see it right now.

That look on your face,

if anybody could see it,

they'd understand
why I'm leaving.

[Door creaks]

- Because this isn't exactly
easy for me, either.


Leaving you like this,

seeing your face,

Iike this is my last
mental picture of you...

Can you see that I might be
pretty torn up about it too?


Can you?

- And...

oh, I love it when they
bat their eyes or pout,

you know, when they give you
that little look.

The way they look in heels,

those teeny red bumps
that people get

when they're shaving
their legs--

that women get
when they're shaving their legs.

- I'm sorry.

I was asking if you were using
this chair.

- No.
Go ahead.

- Thanks so much.

- So...
- Right.

I meet her at the airport.

Right, well wait.

Let me go back for a second.

So I'm last off again, as usual,

and all that business
like that there.

- Yes, just wait and relax
in your seat, be the last off.

Why everybody right away
all the time has got to stand up

as soon as it comes to a stop
and cram into the aisles

so you just stand there--

- Wait. Just wait.
Just wait.

So finally, coming out
into baggage

and the whole transportation
shit show there--

- Yeah, still always depressing

to come out in baggage
on these cold calls

and see everybody getting met
with the squeals and the hugs

and the limo guys with the names
on the cardboard--

- Just stop.

Shut it for one fucking second,
will you, please?

Because, it's mostly emptied out
by the time I get out there.

Except for over by--

there's this one girl left.

She's peering through
the glass doors

down the Jetway thing.

Our eyes meet and all
that business like that there.

And what--she--she up
and goes down on her knees.

She drops,

crying, slapping the carpet,

bent over so you can, you know,
just about see her tits,

totally hysterical,

with the waterworks and all
that business like that there.

- Another cheery welcome

to Dayton for your fucking
cold calls.

"Hey, we'd like to welcome
you to Dayton."

- No!

It's a story, a story.

It turns out when l, you know,
go over to say, "Are you okay?

Is anything the matter?'

And like that.

And get a better shot of,
I got to tell you,

some pretty fuckin'
incredible tits.


She's all down and bent over.

She says,
"I'm in love with this guy."

And he said that he was
in love with her too,

except he was already engaged
from priorly.

So already there's all this
back and forth

and storm and drag.

And I'm lending the ear to her,
you know.

- Right, right

- And she says, but finally,
the guy gets off the fence.

And he says he's gonna surrender
to his love

for this girl here
with the tits

and that he's gonna go back

and tell this other girl
in Tulsa,

where he's from,
break it off,

and commit to this
hysterical girl with the tits,

who feels like finally,
for chrissakes,

after all
the one-track shitheels

she'd got
the runaround from,

finally here at last she's met
a guy she can trust

and love and merge souls with

and the whole sort of violins,
hearts, flowers--

- And blah, blah, blah.

- And blah.

So, off the guy goes
flying back to Tulsa.

Then he puts his hand
over his heart

and swears he's
coming back to her,

and he'll be on that plane there
with the flight number and time.

And she swears she'll be there
with the tits, to meet him.

- Yeah.

We can't see that one coming.

- And she says how
he even called her.

It rings.

It's this guy.

There's all this static and hiss
on the phone.

He says he's calling her
from the sky,

is how romantically he puts it.

Calling her in flight on one
of the little phone thing there.

- Hey, you know what?

The markup on those things
goes six bucks a minute.

It's a racket.
- That's not the point.

Do you want to hear this or not?

That's not the point.

This girl says how
she gets there early

in the baggage area

and already with some
of the waterworks

from love and violins.

And it gets in finally,
the flight.

And they--we--

all in the big
rush out the Jetway thing.

He's not in the first wave out.

He's not in the second wave out,
how they come out.

- Jesus, I ought to--

the amount of fucking time
I spend in baggage.

- And says like a pathetic,
a total fool,

her faith never faltering,

she just kept peering

during all the hugging
and everybody meeting

and every time
expecting this guy.


- Poor little muttski.

- But then at the end there,
I come off.

Last off, as usual.

- That bastard even must have
faked the phone call.

The static,
if you run your Remington,

it'll make static.

- And I am telling you,

you have never seen anybody
so the word "heartbroken."

You think it's just words,
blah, blah.

But then you see this girl
with this hand

knocking herself in the head
for being such a fool,

crying so hard
she can't mostly breathe

and all that business like that.

And how men are shits,
and don't even trust 'em.

- Men are mostly shits.

It's true.

- It's true.

Most guys are shit.

My heart...

My heart's going out
to this poor girl.

- Heh, heh.

- "Heh, heh"?

- You got to ask?

- You shitheel.

- What?

What am I gonna do?
- You bastard.

- You know.

- You shitheel.


- Hence, the timeless importance
of passion.

- Women want to be both
irresponsible and passionate.

- No.

What they want is to experience
a passion

that is so powerful
and irresistible

that it obliterates any guilt
or tension that they may have

about betraying their
perceived responsibilities.

- And deep down,

they all want
to be irresponsible.

- Deep down, they want a man

who's gonna be so passionate
and powerful

that they have no choice.

This thing is bigger
than both of them.

You shitheel!

The hell with it, right?

For science, right?

I'm sorry, that is what this is,
right, science?

It'll be used for--

oh, never mind, never mind.

You know what you're doing.

- Hey.

You cut your hair.

It looks good.

- Sweetie, we need to talk.

We've needed to for a while.

I have.

I mean, I feel like--

Can you sit?

Sweetie, my relationship record
indicates a guy who's bad news.

You see, I have a history,
a pattern, so to speak

of coming on very fast and hard

in the beginning
of a relationship,

of saying "I love you"
very early on.

It's not as if how many of them
I've said it to

is not an understandable
question or concern,

but if it's all right,
it's just--

it's just not what I'm trying
to talk to you about.

So I want to hold off on things
like names or numbers

and just try to be honest
with you

about what my concerns are,

'cause I care about you
a great deal.

I'm not explaining this well.

I'm not getting through.

I'm really starting
to freak out.

And I know it's insecure,

but it's very important to me

that you believe
that I have meant it

absolutely every time I told you
that I loved you,

every time.

And I know I should've told you

some of all this
about me sooner,

before you moved
all the way out here,

which, believe me, meant so--

it made me feel
you really cared about this,

especially because your moving
out here

was something I lobbied
so hard for.


your apartment,

having to get rid of your cat,



Mr. Fluffy.

And I know--I know a better guy

probably would've
told you about this

before we even slept together.

And despite how
incredibly magical

and ecstatic
and right it was--

Can you imagine what it takes
to tell you this,

that I'm terrified,

that it's even possible
that the pattern of sending out

mixed signals and pulling away

is just another way
of pulling away?

Maybe deep down,
I'm such a coward

that I can't pull away myself,

so I somehow force you
into doing it.

Those are valid,

totally understandable
questions, sweetie.

There's just one more thing
I feel like

I have to tell you about first,

God, I am terrified to tell you,
but I'm gonna tell you.

Can you do me a favor
and sort of brace yourself

and promise not to react

for a few seconds
after I tell you?

Can you promise?

Can you promise?

Can you promise?

Can you promise?

- Maybe we should talk later.

I've got a rehearsal
for this thing,

and think I have a break
for a couple hours

if you wanted to--

you know what?

I'll call you.

I'm here if you need me.


- Why?

Why did you do it?

How could you do it?

That's all I ever get,
is this face,

this remorseful face of yours.

You had the same face
when you left.

You just stood there
with this look.


You fucking coward.

You are all cowards.

You say you were unfaithful.

You say you're sorry.

You say you can't imagine
how much it must hurt.

- And I can't.

- Try.


- Well, call him and see
if he'll, you know,

set up something.

But it needs to be soon,
I would think, right?




- Professor?

- Oh, Sara.

- Hi.

I hope I'm not disturbing you.

- No, no, no.

Please, come in.

Just grab the door.

- This okay?

- Yeah.
How are you?

- Fine, thanks.
- I was just--that was my wife.

She's--her mother's kind of
going through a little--

it's kind of hard on her.

- That's--gosh, I'm so sorry.

- Oh, no, no, no, no.

I don't mean to make
a big deal--

No, no, it's okay.

I mean, it's gonna be fine.

No, my wife,
she's an extraordinary woman.


She's--I've been married
for 21 years,

and my wife
is just so beautiful,

just a beautiful woman.

- How'd you meet her?

- That's funny.

I was just thinking about that,
the day I met her.

Yeah, I was thinking
about this moment,

and, it was such
a long time ago,

you know,
and I was so young.

And I was thinking--

and this was a big reason
for marrying her--

thinking that I was likely
not gonna do better than this,

you know, because of the way
she looked.

I mean she was so beautiful,
that just--

even after she had a kid,
by the way.

So and I thought,

"God, you know,"--

'cause I had always had
this major dread when I was,

you know, before I got married
that, you know,

that I'd marry some
amazing woman,

beautiful woman
and everything,

and then she'd change, you know,
that she would get pregnant.

And then it would
change her and, you know--

And I'd have to convince myself,

"No, no, this is who
you signed up with.

"This is who you're gonna spend
the rest of your life with.

"This is who you're
gonna be with

for the whole
rest of your life."

God, this just sounds terrible,

so shallow.

Doesn't it?

But I looked at her,
and she was beautiful,

and she was a mother.

And, you know,
I remember thinking,

"This is amazing,
because it's like she's already,

you know, pretested."

Yeah, pretested.

And, I thought--
I actually thought about that.

I thought that.

And l--

Is it shallow?

Does it sound shallow?

Or do you think the truth
behind this kind of thing

will always sound shallow,

you know,
everybody's real reasons?

- Crab cake?

Hey, Miss Quinn.

I stopped by your office hours
earlier this week.

You must've been--

but I'd love to know what you
thought of my paper.

- All right, listen,
that's just ridiculous.

- Well, I'm sorry, Harry,

but that is my opinion
you're stepping on.

- Well, the holidays are
a chance to have fun.

You know, this whole moral
oppression thing

is fuckin' lame.

- Harry.
- What?

I don't need to be guilted

into analyzing
my whole year's actions.

- Wow.

- You know, I'll change
when I want to change.

It doesn't have to be
in December, you know?

It just feels forced.

- Okay, and you got all this
from a kid's show?

- But it's television,
for God's sake.

You know?

I want to watch people revel
and be merry, you know?

I want to watch
pretty things and, like,

funny things
and, like, singy things.

- Oh.

- Singy things?

No, hey, I want to learn
how to revel.

Please, sign me up.
Which hall?

Where're we--
where're we doing that?

- What's the argument?
- It's nothing.

- No, it's not nothing.

- No, I'm probably just tired.

- Tired or depressed.

- I'm not depressed.
I'm not depressed.

Not clinically.

- Are you okay?

- I'm fine.

It's just, the holidays
are always weird for me.

- Well, the holidays
in general, or--

- Okay, you know, is it weird
to get so depressed

watching a children's
Christmas special--

Oh, wait, I shouldn't say that.

I mean, that's not a good word.

It's not just "sadness,"

the way one feels sad
at a film or a funeral.

It's more of
a plummeting quality.

Or the way, you know,

the way that light gets
in winter just before dusk,

or the way she is with me.

All right, at the height
of lovemaking,

you know, the very height,
when she's starting to climax,

and she's really responding
to you now,

you know, her eyes widening
in that way

that's both, you know,
surprise and recognition,

which not a woman alive
could fake or feign

if you really look intently
at her, really see her.

And I don't know,

this moment has
this piercing sadness to it,

of the loss of her in her eyes.

And as her eyes, you know,
widen to their widest point

and as she begins to climax
and arch her back, they close.

You know, shut, the eyes do.

And I can tell that she's closed
her eyes to shut me out.

You know,
I become like an intruder.

And behind those closed lids,
you know,

her eyes are now
rolled all the way around

and staring intently inward
into some void

where l, who sent them,
can't follow.

- It's the ones that act
all understanding,

Iike they don't care,

and it's okay,
and they understand,

and it doesn't matter,
that embarrass me the most,

because it is so fucking weird
to yell,

"Victory for the forces
of democratic freedom,"

when you're shooting off

that I can tell
they're totally freaked out

and just condescending
down to me

and pretending they understand.

And it's those--

those are the ones
where actually--

I actually end up
almost getting pissed off

and don't even feel embarrassed
not calling them

or totally avoiding them...

The ones that say,

"l think I could love you

- Imagine not existing
until a man needs you...

Being there and yet not there.

The face he wore
in the men's room,

he couldn't take it off.

Six days a week, he stood there,

Saturdays a double shift.

The sounds.

How do you forget
the unmistakable sounds

of urine into water,

the rustle of newspapers
in the stalls,

the rumble
of the toilet paper dispensers?

All sounds magnified,
reverberating slightly.

This was
my father's environment.

- Top-rated historical hotel
in the state.

The finest lobby,

the single finest men's room
between the two coasts, surely:

marble shipped from Italy,

stall doors of seasoned cherry,

scalloped basins,
opulent and echoing,

all sounds amplified

by the tile
and Florentine stone.

- The odors,

all the odors,

odors as environment, all day,

nine hours a day,

standing there
in Good Humor white.

It's what he stands in.

Sonic center,

The place where the shine stand
used to be,

the place designed
for him to stand.

- Just outside
of the large mirror's frame

by the sink,

a continuous sink of marble,

leaves of gold foil
around the fixtures

and mirrors.

- This is his occupation.

This is his career.

He takes their briefcase
and their topcoats,

guards them, remembers without
asking whose is whose,

speaking as little as possible
in all those acoustics,

appearing at men's elbows
to hand them a towel.

This is my father's career.

Why this?

Why this tradition?

- Large opulent room
for men of business,

substantial men,

men with places to go
and people to see.

- Men of substance

who flush the toilet
with their feet,

men who will touch fixtures
only with tissue,

men who blow their nose
in the sinks

and walks off without rinsing.

- The door tells
the whole story.


The task is to stand there
as if you are not there.

Not really.

There's a trick.

You hear everything,

some tapping, some humming,

some speaking aloud
to themselves,

forgetting they are not alone.

- Imagine to attend,

to see men of substance
at their most elemental.

This is his career,
a career man.

And, yes,
do I admire the fortitude

of this humblest of working men,

the old-world grit,

standing there all these years,
never a day sick,


Or do I despise him?

You're wondering.

Feel disgust?

- Men who tip,
men who do not tip,

millionaires who don't
wash their hands,

heirs who steal towels,

tycoons who pick their noses
with their thumb,

philanthropists who throw
cigar butts on the floor,

self-made men
who spit in the sink.

- Plain white shirt
and white pants

and white shoes
he'd have to throw out

if so much as a spot--

He bleached his work clothes

and ironed them.

Never a word of complaint.

- Food on the table, a roof,

children to educate.

A double shift, if I could.

- His arches would swell
from the standing.

He showered three times daily,
scrubbed himself raw.

But the job still followed him.

Never a word.

- Every morning up at 6:00.

Kiss you all good-bye.

A piece of toast for the bus.

- He stands there
when it's empty too.

I haven't seen my father
since 1978.

And I know he's still there,
all in white,


averting his eyes
to preserve their dignity.

I wear nothing white,

not one white thing.

I eliminate in silence
or not at all.

I tip.

I never forget someone is there.

- Hi.

- Hello, Daniel.

Is there something
I can help you with?

- Yeah, well,
I finally got my paper back.

I was wondering whether
we could talk about it.

- Well, Daniel,
right now I'm actually

in the middle
of my own research.

- What didn't you like?

- I'm sorry?

- Which parts didn't you like?

- Daniel, it's not that
I didn't like it.

My comments are based
more on your presentation.

- What does that mean,
my presentation?

Did it upset you?

- Did it what?

No, it didn't upset me.

It certainly was provocative,
but that's never bad.

And certain points
you made were--

- Which was your favorite?

- My favorite?

- Well, I think it's important
for me to know

which parts of the paper
pushed the limits.

I don't want to be accused
of doing something

just for shock value.

- Okay.

"Who are we to say getting
incested or abused or violated

"or any of those things
can't also have

their positive aspects
in the long run?'

Now, that's shocking,
especially as a woman.

- See, you--you misunderstood
what I was saying.

Look, I guess all
I was trying to say is,

you have to be careful
of taking a knee-jerk attitude.

I think a knee-jerk attitude
to anything is a mistake,

especially in the case of women,

where it adds up to this very
limited and condescending thing

of saying they're fragile,

breakable things
that can be destroyed easily.

Everybody gets hurt and violated
and broken sometimes.

Why are women so special?

Not that anybody ever
ought to be raped or abused.

Nobody's saying that.

But that's while it's going on.

What about afterwards?

All I'm saying is,

there are certain cases
where it can enlarge you

or make you more
of a complete human being,

Iike Victor Frankl.

- What?

- Well think about
the Holocaust.

- Daniel, that's--

- Was the Holocaust
a good thing? No way.

Does anybody think that
it was good that it happened?

No, of course not.

But did you read Victor Frankl,

Victor Frankl's
Man's Search For Meaning?

It's a great, great book.

But it comes out
of his experience.

It's about his experience
in the human dark side.

Now, think about it.

If there was no Holocaust,

there'd be no
Man's Search For Meaning.

- Why don't we talk about this
at office hours?

- Hi, Miss Quinn--
- Daniel, I'm--

- You said to meet
at office hours.

- I'm in the middle of work.

You can't just walk
right into the room.

- I just want to know why
you hate it so much.

- Fine.

I thought it was easy.

I thought your claims about
women were wild and incendiary,

and I think you absolutely
wrote it for shock value.

And quite frankly,

I'm not interested
in discussing any further

some paper that exemplifies
some pent-up,

overdeveloped teen angst.

- I'm impressed my paper
got to you like that.

- Daniel, I don't think
you understand.

There is no point.

No one cares.

- Careful.

That's not true.

Think about it.

- Think about what?

- About being degraded
and brought

to within an inch of your life,
for example.

No one's gonna say
the sick bastards that did it

shouldn't be put in jail.

But let's put two things
into perspective here.

One is, afterwards, she knows
something about herself

that she never knew before.

All I'm saying is,

there are certain cases
where it can enlarge you.

What she knows is that
the most totally terrible,

terrifying thing
that she could ever

have imagined happening to her
has now happened.

And she survived.

She's still here.

Make you more
of a complete human being,

Iike Victor Frankl.

And now she knows something.

I mean, she really,
really knows.

- Now, that's shocking,
especially as a woman.

- No.

See, I'm disappointed in you.

That's what I'm talking about,
the knee-jerk attitude,

Taking everything I say
and filtering it

through your narrow view
of the world.

Look, totally terrible
things happen.

- Now, you want my opinion?

- Existence and life
break people in all kinds

of awful fucking ways
all the time.

Trust me, I know.

I've been there.

And this is the big difference,
you and me here,

because this isn't
about politics

or feminism or whatever.

For you, this is just ideas.

You've never been there.

- Sara.

Can I talk to you a sec?

- I'm not saying nothing bad
has ever happened to you.

You're not bad-looking.

I'm sure there's been some sort
of degradation or whatever

come your way in life.

But I'm talking

Victor Frankl's
Man's Search For Meaning type

violation and terror
and suffering here,

the real dark side.

- Daniel came
into my office today.

- Professor, let me explain--

- He said that he was looking
to talk to you about his paper.

- I can tell from just looking
at you, you never.

Wouldn't even wear
what you're wearing.

Trust me.

- Listen, I just wanted you to
know that I'm taking care of it.

I basically told him to,
you know, give it another shot.

I know how persistent he can be.

- Miss Quinn.

Sorry, I didn't mean
to startle you.

- There's just one more thing

I feel like I have to tell you
about first, though.

- What if I told you it was
my own sister that was raped?

What if I told you
a little story

about a 16-year-old girl
who went to the wrong party

with the wrong guy

and four of his buddies
that ended up doing to her

just about everything
four guys could do to you

in terms of violation.

- "Here we go, bitch.

Here we go!"

- But if you could ask her

if she could go into her head
and, and forget it or, like,

erase the tape of it happening
in her memory,

what do you think she'd say?

Are you so sure what she'd say?

That's while it's going on.

What about afterwards?

What if she said
that even after that,

totally negative
as what happened was,

at least now she understood
it was possible.

People can.

- Can what?

- Can see you as a thing,

that people can see you
as a thing.

Do you know what that means?

- Men are mostly shits.

It's true.

- Because if you can really just
see somebody as a thing,

you can do anything to him.

- And I know,
I know a better guy

probably would've
told you about this

before we even slept together.

- What would it be like
to be able to be like that?

You see, you think you can
imagine it,

but you can't.

But she can.

And now she knows something.

- Sorry.

I tried calling earlier.

- I mean she really,
really knows.

- You cut your hair.

It looks good.

- This is what you wanted
to hear.

You wanted to hear
about four drunk guys

who knee jerked you in the balls
to make you bend over

that you didn't even know,
that you never saw before,

that you never did anything to,
that don't even know your name,

that don't even know your name,

to find out you have to choose
to have a fucking name.

You have no fucking idea!

And what if I said
that happened to me?

Would that make a difference?

- Why don't we talk about this
at office hours?

- Okay.

Office hours this week?

- Yes.

- Good luck.

- What does today's woman want?

- They want to be autonomous.

- Basically, it's all still
an elaborate semiotic code.

And the only way not
to get lost in the code

is to approach the whole issue

- They want you to understand
the bind that they're in.

- Wait.

I want to--

I don't mean any of this in just
another Neanderthal male

trying to put women down
'cause he's too insecure.

And I'd go to the wall

to defend them
against any scorn

or culpability for a situation

which is clearly
not their fault.

- You can go nuts
trying to figure out

which tack to take.

I mean, they might go for it.
They might not.

Today's woman is a total mess.

I don't suppose you know where
the little wranglers' room is

in this place, do you?

- The solution is to understand
today's woman.

- I mean, 'cause it's getting
time to answer Nature's page,

if you know what I mean.

The solution is to realize

that today's woman is in
an impossible situation

and wants what
any human being

faced with two conflicting sets
of responsibilities

is gonna want:
a way out.

- An escape hatch.

- A passionate male.

- They want to be overwhelmed
with passion.

- When they say,

"I am responsible
for my own sexuality;

"I am my own person;

I don't need a man,"

what they really
are telling you is

what they want you
to make them forget, which is--

what they're telling you

is what they want you
to make them forget.

They want--

- Thank you.

- Hey.

I decided to get help.

I got in touch with the fact
that the problem

had nothing to do with her.

I saw that she would forever

go on playing victim
to my villain.

I was--

I was powerless to change her.

- Mind if I turn this on?

- No.

- Great.

- Sure.

My own father was,
you might say,

a man who was,
by natural proclivity,

not a good man
but who nevertheless

tried diligently
to be a good man,

temper and so forth.

My father's proclivity for rage
grew over a period of time.

And eventually,

he resorted, after periods
of unsuccessful counseling,

to the practice

of handcuffing his own wrists
behind his back

whenever he would lose
his temper with any of us.

This self-restraint

eventually progressed
over a period of years,

such that the more enraged
he might become with any of us,

the more coercively he began
to restrain himself.

Often the day would end
with the poor man

on the living room floor,

screaming furiously at us,

trying to get the gag in
without getting bitten.

Whatever possible use
that piece of history might be

to anyone not privileged
to have been there.

And now I look at her,

and I promised myself as a kid--

I told myself
I would love my woman.

And even now--
and I try so hard.

And she's the one--she--

she always says
that she can save me.

And I think,
"There's no excuse."

I know that.

I think, "l have promised myself
to this woman.

I have promised to love her."

But whatever.

Now we can explain
my proclivities

and trace their origins

and have it all tied up all nice
and tight and tidy for you.

Can't we?

- No, wait.

I know it may sound ridiculous,
but I know that she can.

- Can what?

- Save you.

- You don't know what I've done.

- Do you want me
to start it for you?

It was a large outdoor concert
community festival thing.

- Stop.
- And then you saw her there...

- Stop!

- Sitting on a blanket
with her amused expression.

- Stop.
- And then you fucked her.

- Stop!
- I got all of that.

But there has to be
something more.

I don't understand.

How could you do it?

We were in love.

- No, we weren't.

Look, Sara, I know you.

I'm aware of how all this sounds
and can well imagine

the judgments you're forming.

But if I'm really
to explain this to you

then I have no choice
but to be candid.

Yes, it was a pickup.

Plain and simple.

And she was what one might call
a granola cruncher, a hippie.

And she was straight
out of central casting:

the sandals,
flamboyantly long hair,

financial support from parents
she reviled,

and some professed membership

in a apostrophe-heavy
Eastern religion

that I would defy anyone
to pronounce correctly.

Look, I'll just bite
the political bullet

and confess
that I classified her

as a strictly
one-night objective,

and that my interest in her

was due almost entirely
to the fact that, yes,

she was pretty.

She was sexually attractive.

She was sexy.

And it was really nothing more
complicated or noble than that.

And having had
some prior dealings

with the cruncher genus,

I think the one-night proviso
was due

mostly to the grim

of having to talk with her
for more than one night.

Whether or not you approve,

I think we can assume
you understand.

And there's something
in the way,

I mean, a near contempt
in the way that you can

casually saunter over
to her blanket

and create the sense
of connection

that will allow you
to pick her up.

And you almost resent the fact
that it's so goddamn easy.

I mean, how exploitative
you feel that it is so easy

to get this type to regard you
as a kindred soul.

I mean, you almost know what's
going to be said

before she even opens her mouth.


So now, there we are
in my apartment,

and she begins going on
about her religious views,

her obscure denomination's views
on energy fields

and connections between souls

via what she kept calling

And in response to some sort
of prompt or association,

she begins to relate
this anecdote.

And in the anecdote,
there she is, hitchhiking.

Well, she said she knew
she made a mistake

the moment she got in the car.

Her explanation was
that she didn't actually feel

any energy field until she
had shut the car's door

and they were moving,

at which point it was too late.

And she wasn't melodramatic
about it,

but she described herself

as literally paralyzed
with terror.

It was something
about his eyes.

She said she knew instantly
in the depths of her soul

that this man's intentions were
to brutally rape,

torture, and kill her

and that by the time
the psychotic

had exited into a secluded area

and actually said
what his true intentions were,

she wasn't the least bit

because she knew

that she was going to be just
another grisly discovery

for some amateur botanist
or scout troop a few days later,

unless she could focus her way
into a soul connection

that would prevent this man
from murdering her.

I mean, to focus intently
on this psychotic

as an ensouled and beautiful,

albeit tormented person,
in his own right

rather than merely
as a threat to her.

And I'm well aware that what
she is about describe

is nothing more

than a variant of the stale old
"love will conquer all."

But for the moment,

just bracket your contempt
and try to see

what she actually has
the courage and conviction

to really attempt here,

because imagine what it
must have felt like for her,

for anyone.

Contemplate just how

little-kid-level scared
you'd be...

that this psychotic
could bring you to this point

simply by wishing it.

And now here she is, in the car.

And she's realizing that she's
in for the biggest struggle

of her spiritual life.

She stares directly
into the psychopath's right eye

and wills herself to keep
her gaze on him

directly at all times.

And the effects of her focus,

she says that when she was able
to hold her focus,

the psychopath behind the wheel
would gradually stop ranting

and become tensely silent.

And she wills herself
not to weep or plead

but merely to use focus
as an opportunity to empathize.

And this was my first hint
of sadness

in listening to the anecdote,

'cause I found myself admiring
certain qualities in her story

that were the same qualities
I had been contemptuous of

when I first picked her up
in the park.

And then he asks her
to get out of the car

and lie prone on the ground.

And she doesn't hesitate or beg.

She was experiencing
a whole new depth of focus.

She said she could hear the tick
of the cooling car, bees, birds.

Imagine the temptation
to despair

in the sound
of carefree birds

only yards from where you lay
breathing in the weeds.

And in this heightened state,

she said she could feel
the psychotic realizing

the truth of the situation
at the same time she did.

When he came over to her
and turned her over,

he was crying.

And she claimed it took
no effort of will

to hold him as he wept

as he raped her.

She just stared into his eyes
lovingly the entire time.

She stayed where he left her
all day in the gravel,

weeping and giving thanks
to her religious principles.

She wept out of gratitude,
she says.

Well, I don't mind telling you.

I had begun to cry
at the story's climax.

Not loudly, but I did.

She had learned more about love
that day with the sex offender

than in any other stage
of her spiritual journey.

And I realized in that moment

that I had never loved
anyone before.

She had addressed
the psychotic's core weakness,

the terror of a soul-exposing

with another human being.

Nor is any of this
all that different

than a man sizing up
an attractive girl at a concert

and pushing all the right
buttons to induce her

to come home with him
and lighting her cigarettes

and engaging in an hour
of post-coital chitchat,

seemingly very content
and close.

But what he really wants to do

is give her a special
disconnected telephone number

and never contact her again.

And that the reason for this
cold and victimizing behavior

is that the very connection
that he had worked so hard

to make her feel terrifies him.

Do you see how open
I'm being with you here?

Well, I know I'm not
telling you anything

that you haven't already decided
that you know.

I can see you forming judgments,

with that chilly smile.

You're not the only one who can
read people, you know.

And you know what?

It's because of her influence

that I am more sad for you
than pissed off,

because the impact of this story
was profound,

and I'm not even gonna begin
to describe it to you.

Can you imagine how any
of this felt,

to look at her sandals
across the room on the floor

and remember what I had thought
of them only hours before?

And I'd say her name
and she'd say, "What?'

And I'd say her name again.

Well, I'm not embarrassed.

I don't care how
this sounds to you now.

I mean, can you see how I could
not just let her go after this?

I just, I grabbed onto her skirt
and I begged her not to leave.

And then I watched her
gently close the door

and walk off barefoot
down the hall

and never seeing her again.

That it didn't matter

that she was fluffy
or not terribly bright--

nothing else mattered.

She had all of my attention.

I had fallen in love with her.

I believed that she
could save me.

Well, I'm aware of how
all this sounds.

I can see that look
on your face.

And I know you.

And I know what you're thinking.

So ask it.

Ask it now.

This is your chance.

"I believe she could save me,"
I said.

Ask it now.

Say something!

I stand here naked before you.

Judge me, you bitch.

You happy now?

You all borne out?

Well, be happy,
because I don't care.

I knew she could.

And I knew I loved.

End of story.

- Okay, what do we got?

- I've been looking
in completely the wrong place.

- You've been look--
what do you mean?

My research

in studying the effects
of the feminist movement.

It's redundant.

Everybody knows
how it affected women.

I think the real opportunity
to learn something

is in looking at men.

- Okay, I'll buy that.

- So, I want to set up

I want to get primary research.

I want to hear it.

- Sara, listen,
you and I both know

that the review board,
they can be killers

if they find someone's work
to be frivolous or impulsive,

and everyone's
gonna want to know why.

- Because I don't think
the truth about men

can be found in a book.

The real impact is specific.

And I feel like if I can get
a few of these men

to open up with real stories

about their desires
and their fears,

then I can begin to get answers.

- Okay, and what is it
you want answers to?

- Well--

- No, I don't need to know.

But you do.

-  Every man I fall for 

 drinks his coffee black 

 "Love" and "hate" are tattooed
on his knuckles 

 and my name is on his back 

 Every man I fall for 

 works the graveyard shift 

 He kisses me softly
to wake me up 

 and takes my place in bed 

 And I fall 

 I live with one concern 

 It's the law 

 Diminishing returns 

 It's the law 

 Diminishing returns 

 Every man I fall for
keeps his anger 

 on a string
and holds it tight 

 When other men walk by
blinking their eyes at me 

 he always pick a fight 

 I go walk alone
down Ocean Boulevard 

 peek in your windows 

 Tired housewives nagging
at their husbands 

 But is this the life
you chose? 

 And I fall 

 I live with one concern 

 It's the law 

 Diminishing returns 

 And I fall 

 I live with one concern 

 It's the law 

 Diminishing returns 

 Every man I fall for 

 nearly every man 

 Every man I fall for 

 nearly every man 

Special thanks to SergeiK.