Monologue for a Man (30s-40s)
(free for students & auditions)
Speed Dating with the Divorce
By G. L. Horton
copyright © 2004
HUGH: 30's-40's, personable but not handsome, sits at a small
table across from his invisible speed date, engaging the audience
as if it were his scene partner.
HUGH If I tell you what I used to do, you'll move to another
I was a divorce lawyer.
Well, thanks: but really: I'd change tables if I were you.
Oh, yeah. Really really grim. Doing divorce was like spending
7 years in hell. The clients were all damned sinners, and I was
one of the devils. Really, it's Hell! I'd rather sit in Harvard
Square with a tin cup and beg, than go back to divorce.
I'm not exaggerating. People in a contested divorce are terrible,
they're crazy: and lawyers make them crazier. Is this poor heartsick
sap a glutton for punishment? Well, it's our job to give it to
him! Or her. It's like the opposite of the Golden Rule. That's
what contested means. The parties all want to do unto their ex-es
whatever would hurt most if it were done to them. No matter what
it costs: self respect, friends, family, religion, career--- not
to mention the thousands of dollars they pay the lawyers. Mostly
they just want to fight, just want to hurl themselves, teeth bared
and frothing with rage. Junkyard dogs.
Fight over dogs? Oh, yeah, they do that. They fight over the
family dog. But that's not so bad, really. It's real. A dog's
real. Dogs don't turn around one day and fall out of love with
you. A dog'll sleep on the empty side of your bed, and when you
wake up weeping he'll lick your hand. A dog's worth fighting for,
like the kids-- but unlike the kids, he'll just accept whatever
happens. The dog will only suffer if he's abandoned: custody can
go either way. Not like the kids--!
Really, the hellish part is the fights over stuff. Stupid stuff,
not worth mentioning, let alone going to court. Like, they fight
over grandma's wine glasses, over cloth napkins for the dining
room table. Who gets the time share-- like either of them ever
wants to see it again! They're fighting for the sake of fighting,
and their lawyers do it squared, cause that's the job. That's
what I did for a living: one to one tutoring on how to torture
the person you used to love. I never want to do that again. I
never want to get married, either. My self-description said so,
didn't it? I know it's important to be up front.
No, not at all. I'm not angry at women. Women aren't worse than
men. They're probably a little bit better, a little more likely
to stop and think about what they're doing to their kids and the
grandparents. They say hell hath no fury like a woman scorned,
but in my experience the male is even worse. Divorce makes us
monsters. So I'm just not willing to take the chance. I don't
ever want to turn into one of those hell-people, and I don't want
to see it happen to a woman I've loved, either.
Oh, yeah. It's really scary: these are people who promised to
love each other forever. I've seen guys-- mothers, too!--throw
their careers away, rather than share their salary with an ex.
And the custody fights! They'll lie cheat and steal, make up sick
accusations. Fuck up their own kids, just to get at the ex! I
had to stop enabling.
Do now? The funny thing is, I still do child custody-- but as
a court Mediator. On the kid's side. The side of the angels.
I'm not that much of an angel! I still date: isn't that why
Not at all! I'm not sour on love. I love my friends, and my mother
and my brother and my cat-- . I can do that kind. As for the "falling
in" kind of love, I'm willing to risk it-- and if it doesn't
work out, I'll do my best at least to stay a friend. I just don't
believe any more in marriage. My parents, my friends' parents,
my friends--- even my grandparents, for chrissake! They're all
divorced. I'm not any better than they are. Are you?
I'm don't think of myself as a pessimist-- just, I'm a lawyer,
and all the evidence is against. I figure I have to be up front
about it: "not looking for a wife or a family". I'm interested
in a serious relationship, but--.
No--I like kids, I'm good with kids-- as long as they understand
that I'm like a buddy or an uncle. I'm not even saying that marriage
is impossible. There might be a woman who could turn me around.
But not if we're working against some kind of nesting instinct,
some ticking bomb of a biological clock. I'm looking for a relationship
of pleasure, not pressure. (HUGH rises as she gets up to leave.)
Yeah, well, it's been nice talking to you. You have my card if
you should change your mind.