Monologue for a Man (30s-40s)
(free for students & auditions)

Speed Dating with the Divorce Lawyer

By G. L. Horton
copyright © 2004 Geralyn Horton

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 table.

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 we're here?

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.


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