"Telling the Boys," a monologue cut from MARRIAGES OF INCONVENIENCE, a full-length play by William Ivor Fowkes, was been named semi-finalist by EXPOSITION REVIEW's Flash 405 (August 2017).
TELLING THE BOYS
Uh, hey guys—sit down a minute, will ya? . . . Give Trevor some room, Bobby! . . . You can go back out and play in a minute. I want to talk to you.
(as if presenting a rehearsed speech)
I want to talk about something called sexual orientation.
Yeah, Bobby, that’s right—like the birds and the bees . . . No, a woman can’t get pregnant from tongue kissing.
(back to his speech)
Sexual orientation has to do with the kind of people you’re attracted to, the kind of people you like and want to kiss and maybe even marry and live with.
It’s OK, Trevor, you don’t have to kiss anyone . . . Yes, you can still kiss Mommy and me . . . Guys, guys! Calm down! Stop teasing your brother! And don’t hit him back! Hitting’s never right . . . That was only one time. And I was very sorry . . . C’mon, guys! Focus! This won’t take long.
(back to his speech)
Look, there are three kinds of sexual orientation. Now, listen to me! People attracted to people from the opposite sex are called “heterosexual” or “straight.” You know—boys that like girls and girls that like boys. But some people are built differently. They’re attracted to people from the same sex—boys that like boys and girls that like girls. They’re called “homosexual” or “gay.” And then some people are attracted to both boys AND girls. They’re called “bisexual.” Are you following all this?
I know, Trevor, but I think it’s too soon to say you’re bisexual . . . Because you’re too young to have the kind of feelings I’m talking about. When you get older, you’ll know what you are . . . You’ll just know, that’s all! . . . You can go out and play in a minute, Bobby . . . Look—do you know about prejudice and discrimination? . . . That’s right; you studied it in school. You probably learned that some people discriminate against other people just because of their religion or the color of their skin, and that’s wrong. Well, some people discriminate against other people because of their sexual orientation, too. They look down on people just because they’re gay or bisexual . . . You’re right! That’s VERY wrong. Remember that! And remember that whatever your sexual orientation turns out to be will be all right with me—and your mother. The world is full of lots of different types of people.
(getting down to business)
Now, for example, Mommy’s only attracted to men. She’s straight. That’s why she married me, and that’s why she’s going to marry Doug Schmidt.
No, Doug Schmidt won’t be your father! He’ll be your stepfather.
I’LL always be your father—your only father! Don’t forget that!
(breaking down a bit)
I’ll always be here for you.
No, it’s O.K. to like Doug Schmidt . . . Now, look, let me finish!
(change of tone—more nervously or defensively)
Something you don’t know about me is—well, I’m attracted to men . . . I’m gay.
(said with difficulty)
That’s why Mommy and I got divorced—because straight people are usually happier when they marry other straight people.
Of course I like Mommy, Trevor. I love your mother . . . What’s that?
(repeating Trevor’s words)
That makes me bisexual?
Oh, I don’t know . . . maybe.
No, you don’t have to tell your friends about this . . . No—maybe you SHOULD tell your friends! There’s nothing to be ashamed of . . . Just be selective about who you tell . . . I mean maybe you should only tell people you like and trust, because some kids might make fun and use bad names . . . Yes, that’s one of them. Where did you hear that?!
Well, don’t ever use it again! And the next time you hear Doug Schmidt use a word like that, tell him that’s not a nice thing to say! Or tell him he’s a homophobe . . . That means someone who doesn’t like your daddy.
What are you thinking, Bobby? . . . Why is it creepy? . . . But that’s what I am . . . Please don’t get upset! And I’m not doing this to you! I’m not doing this to anyone. It’s just what I am.
(starting to break down)
You boys are the most important thing in my life. That’s the main thing to remember.
I know things are different now.
(trying not to cry)
No, your mommy and I aren’t ever getting back together. She has Doug Schmidt now . . . It’s part of life . . . Remember when you graduated from nursery school? It’s like that. We’re all moving on to something new.
(trying not to cry)
Things don’t always work out the way we want.
No, I’m not crying . . . But there’s nothing wrong with crying. Men can cry. They SHOULD cry . . . Oh, no—don’t you cry, too, Trevor! No, I mean it’s OK to cry. Sometimes it makes you feel better . . . Yeah, OK—you can go out and play now, Bobby.
END OF MONOLOGUE