Thursday, February 14, 2013

Revolving Closet Door

Ron, age 20s-30s, any race. Gay. A Leading Man type.
Eliot, same, except more of a Side-kick.

Location: Ron’s living room, present day. There is a couch (or 2 chairs side-by-side) off center.

Props: none.

(Ron hurries onstage, pursued by Eliot.)

Eliot:     Wait, wait! You can’t just tell me a thing like that and then rush out of the room! Ron, stop!

(Ron stops.)

Eliot:     Ok, so you’re telling me that you want to go back IN to the closet, is that right? You can’t go back in, Ron, not after all the struggle to come out in the first place. In  my whole life, I have never met anyone who already knew the hard-won, sweet taste freedom, of self-acceptance, of honesty, but then decided to go back in. Closets don’t have revolving doors, you know.

Ron:     Don’t think of it that way. I’m not going back into the closet.

Eliot:     You just said you don’t want to be Gay anymore. How am I supposed to think about it?

Ron:     I mean, Eliot, maybe I’m not really Gay in the first place?

Eliot:     So all those times you swallowed cock, that didn’t mean you were Gay?

Ron:     I’m just thinking, I’m an actor. You know? Everyone around me’s Gay. Maybe I just wanted to fit in.

Eliot:     We all know what you wanted to fit in. You and I did it, a hundred years ago, remember? Besides, not everyone in theater is Gay.

Ron:     Musical theater?

Eliot:     Ha ha. What the hell, Ron?

Ron:     I just think maybe I never was really Gay in the first place. In the theater world, everyone around me is smart, funny, and homosexual. And I just wanted to be one of the guys, that’s all. But now I want to be my real self.

Eliot:     How does that work? How do you stop being who you are?

Ron:     You’re not listening, Eliot! I’m not really Gay. I just thought I was.

Eliot:     Oh? So then, how do you know you’re not? This I gotta hear.

Ron:     So recently I started dating this woman. We’re getting kinda serious.

Eliot:     What?! When did you start dating a…a…woman?

Ron:     We met at the temp job. Her name is Rachel. She’s a contract copyeditor.

(Ron shows a picture of her in his wallet. She is not attractive.)

Eliot:     Ouch. Um…ok. So…how long have you two dated? And why is this the first I’ve ever heard about your “serious” relationship…hello?...with a woman? Hello! Best friend over here!

Ron:     Cuz I knew what a judgmental queen you’d be. Rachel and I have been dating a few weeks now.

Eliot:     A few? How many is a few? 15 weeks? 2?

Ron:     Altogether, we’ve been dating 5 weeks. Like I said, it’s getting kinda serious. There’s been talk of the “m” word.

Eliot:     (chokes) So you just started dating this…uh…Rachel woman, five weeks ago. And that makes you not Gay. Have you guys ever…? I mean, can you?

Ron:     Not that it’s any business of yours, but yes. Not often, but we do enjoy a happy sex life.

Eliot:     Does Rachel think it’s a happy sex life?

Ron:     She loves me.

Eliot:     I see. Five weeks, and there’s already talk of marriage and love. Are you sure Rachel’s not a lesbian?

Ron:     Bitch.

Eliot:     So…what? You fuck her, but imagine fucking guys?

Ron:     Why, you game?

Eliot:     Please Mary, that ship sailed a thousand years ago.

Ron:     We don’t fuck. But there’s things we can do.

Eliot:     What, oral? First off, ew. Second off, oral sex is totally the retreat of the closeted Gay man. Dick ain't hard? That’s ok, you can always satisfy her with your tongue. Did I mention “ew”?

Ron:     Rachel understands that I am trying to change to a healthier, normal heterosexual lifestyle. She says she can be patient. She’s happy with whatever we do, for now. As our relationship progresses, we’ll enjoy more complete union…eventually.

Eliot:     So basically, you admit you are Gay, but just don’t want to be?

Ron:     No, Eliot. I’m just out of practice with women.

Eliot:     Straight guys don’t need practice to get it up with women. That’s why we call them “straight”.

Ron:     Rachel says she wants to help me recover from my previous sick lifestyle and become a normal heterosexual again.

Eliot:     Oh! So Gay is sick, is it?  I’m sick? Abnormal? Is that right?

Ron:     No, no, no I don’t mean you’re sick or Gay is sick. It’s just sick to pretend to be something I’m not. Not really.

Eliot:     Ron, you are Gay! You’re not pretending. You might be a “fairly” good actor, but you’re not that good. Your CD collection has Celine Dion.

Ron:     Lots of straight people like Celine Dion.

Eliot:     No. They don’t.

Ron:     Rachel likes Celine.

Eliot:     Well then, by all means marry her. Before some other Gay guy sweeps her off her feet. I hear that Michael Buble’s in the market for a beard.

Ron:     I believe that Rachel and I can live a healthy heterosexual lifestyle together, if we try.

Eliot:    This is about AIDS, isn’t it?

Ron:     Ok, I am concerned about that, yes.

Eliot:     Concerned? Richard tested positive. And now you’re so fuckin’ scared you caught it from your ex-boyfriend that you’ll just stop being Gay over it. Lock yourself up in a love-less, sex-less, passion-less, air-less box. Where no virus can ever touch you. But no joy either. No life!

Ron:     Thanks for being an understanding, supportive best friend.

Eliot:     I am being supportive, by telling you the truth. You can’t turn off Gay! All you can do is return to a life of secrets. How long do you think you can hold out before you have to act on your natural urges? Start sneaking around public urinals, rest stops on the highway, waterfront parks? One minute you’re Mister Happy Heterosexual, the next you’re tapping your foot in the airport bathroom. Lots of people get hurt in the process. Like Little Miss What’s Her Fuck.

Ron:     Rachel.

Eliot:     Whatevs. If AIDS has you so worried, then you should be more worried about being in the closet. Don’t you get it? It’s you closeted guys who are at biggest risk of infection, and of passing it on. Closeted guys take all kinds of risks within the “safety blanket” of anonymity. You know what happens inside bars like the Rawhide and  Phoenix. Chock full of married “straight” guys on the down-low. Ron, you’re not running from AIDS. You’re running to it. Why would you want to expose an unsuspecting, innocent woman to that shit?

Ron:     It won’t be like that. Besides, Rachel knows about my past.

Eliot:     She knows you’re Gay, but she wants to marry you anyway? Uh dude, that’s fucked up right there.

Ron:     I told her I am bisexual and now want to live a normal heterosexual lifestyle.

Eliot:     Stop saying normal. There is no such thing. And stop saying lifestyle. Heterosexual is no more a lifestyle than Gay. You’re one thing, or the other. And some people are Bi, although you’re not.

Ron:     Rachel understands me and wants to help.

Eliot:     Oh my fucking God! Save us all from homely, desperate women! Want a man so bad they go after the Gays. Thinking they can switch us over to their team. But that has never, ever worked. Not really. Look at Calvin Klein! And here you are, feeding her delusions with your own delusions of “bisexuality”. Dude, don’t do this. You would just be playing another role. Putting on another mask. Although at this point, I’m not sure if it’s the mask of Tragedy or Comedy.

Ron:     We’re talking about moving to Arizona after the wedding, where nobody knows us.

Eliot:    You mean, where nobody knows you.

Ron:     Eliot, you’re just mad because you’re still in love with me.

Eliot:    What the fuck?

Ron:     You have always wanted to be with me. But put that out of your mind. Don't fantasize about what a compatible couple we would make, or how everybody already thinks we're a couple anyway, how good it might feel, how we're always there for each other...

Eliot:     Uh, who's loving who?

Ron:      Put that out of your mind. And try not to be jealous, even though you just can’t stand to see me genuinely happy with a woman.

Eliot:     Ron, dearest, our thing lasted like a minute. A thousand years ago. Ever since, I have never been anything but your friend. 

Ron:      With the exception of that one Mardi Gras we took Ecstasy. 

Eliot:     But lotsa boyfriends between then and now. I would totally continue to be a supportive friend, as I have for the past…million years, to see you genuinely happy with another man. Hell, I’d throw the bachelor party. Male strippers from the Corner Pocket, Jell-O shots, color-coordinated invitations tastefully laser-printed with a sans-serif font.

Ron:     Rachel’s brother will be my best man.

Eliot:     Ouch. So…what? You’d rather take a stranger—excuse me, the stranger’s brother, to stand as your best man? Instead of me, your best friend since the Dawn of Time? Who talks you off the ledge whenever Southern Rep fails to give you a callback, after you prepared so hard for the big role? Who pretends to be your date whenever old trolls hit on you at the Pub? Who sat right there on your couch, held your hand, and cried with you when Lady Sybil died on Downton Abbey?

Ron:     That was sad. So now you do want to attend my “sham” wedding after all.

Eliot:     Are you kidding? I love seeing you in theater!

(Ron tries to leave in a huff.)

Eliot:     We’re not done talking about this. Ron Lewis Livingston, I will call your mother!

(Ron stops.)

Eliot:     Now come on. Sit down.

(They sit on couch.)

Eliot:     Talk to me. Seriously, what is all this melodrama really about?

Ron:     I told you already.

Eliot:     Yeah, all this time I’ve been your friend, you’ve secretly been a straight man. But this time, tell the truth. Why the hell do you want to do something so drastic? Marry someone you just met? Leave town? Frankly, you’re freaking my shit out.

Ron:     (losing it) Um, ok. Listen. Eliot, I’m unhappy! There, I said it. Alright? I have been for a long time. All my life even. I feel sad. A lot.

Eliot:     Well that’s no big secret. You’re an actor. Newsflash! (pretending to shout through a megaphone) “Actors have big emotions!” You’ll ride out this mood, like you always do. Until the next big role comes along, and you get all caught-up in the excitement.

Ron:     This isn’t just a mood swing, Eliot. I’m lonely! All the time. So terribly, terribly lonely.

Eliot:     Well that has nothing to do with being Gay. Welcome to the human condition! You think I’m not lonely? You think straight people aren’t lonely, even married ones? Rachel? Honey, that girl is lonely.

Ron:     (crying) I thought when I came out, the Gay time, that I wouldn’t be so lonely anymore. That the hungry, unquenchable maw would be satisfied. Each time I met a new boyfriend, had sex, for a time I wasn’t lonely. But it never lasted. Long before we broke up, I’d already feel the loneliness coming on again, wedging itself between us. Sometimes I was lonelier IN the relationship that out of it. With someone, but lonelier despite of it. Or because of it.

Eliot:     I  know, Honey.

Ron:     I just want to feel connected, you know? I just want…I need the silent screaming in my brain to stop, once and for all. I need my heart to quit tearing itself out of my chest. I don’t want my soul to continue this slow, protracted dying anymore. I reach out, but no one answers my grasp.

Eliot:     I know, Honey. You’re lonely. We’re all lonely. That’s the big dirty secret of life, Ron. Everybody is lonely.

Ron:     I just want a chance at happiness with someone else.

Eliot:     I know. But this is not the way. Don’t marry someone out of loneliness, someone you hardly know, who you’re not really attracted to, and who tells you things she thinks you want to hear. Don’t call that happiness. That’s desperation.

Ron:     But I am desperate.

Eliot:     No. You’re not. You deserve better. And I want better for you, my friend.

(They share an intimate moment. Ron takes it too far.)

Eliot:     Stop that. Ew! You are so not straight. (shoves Ron away) Told’ja.

(Ron teases Eliot with tickle fingers, as Eliot springs up from couch.)

Eliot:     I mean it, Ron. Stop that! Ew! Ron Lewis Livingston! I will call your mother!

(Eliot rushes from room, pursued by Ron's tickle fingers.)