"We, uh -- actually listen to them. I mean, we don't just talk to them so we can get closer and look at their breasts."
Ralph and Linc are fraternal twin brothers in college out shopping together at the local mall. Ralph, though straight, has always been more socially awkward than his openly gay brother Linc. Ralph spent most of high school in his more popular brother's shadow, including the way they relate to their mutual friend Isobel. Though she knows Linc is gay, Isobel still carries a torch for him, though she'd be the first to deny it. Ralph, meanwhile, harbors a crush on Isobel, but she rarely notices him if Linc is in the room. This, and other issues, caused a recent argument from which Ralph is currently retreating. Harris, a flamboyant young gay man, happens to have retreated to the same place.
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copyright 2001 by Matthew A. Everett
With the sound of a flushing toilet and a shift of emphasis in the light, we have returned to the men's restroom.
HARRIS has been taking care of business and now walks downstage and, facing the audience, leans forward and mimes washing his hands in an unseen sink.
RALPH walks into the light to a place further upstage, back to the audience. He adjusts himself as if standing at a urinal, using it.
HARRIS sneaks a look at what would be the mirror in front of him, to get a look at RALPH's back. HARRIS washes his hands longer than even an obsessive-compulsive would need to.
RALPH finishes up at the urinal.
HARRIS quickly looks down from the mirror as RALPH turns around and steps down to what would be the sink next to HARRIS.
HARRIS can't help sneaking additional glances at RALPH, peripherally or in the mirror as the scene continues. He likes what he sees but is clearly nervous.
HARRIS quickly finishes as RALPH washes up. HARRIS retrieves paper towels out of the dispenser next to him.
He dries his hands for an awfully long time.
RALPH reaches in front of HARRIS to get a towel for himself. HARRIS catches his breath, stops drying his already dry hands.
RALPH takes his time getting the towel, and retracts to his own sink slowly.
HARRIS starts breathing again.
RALPH looks in the mirror which would be in front of him. He dries his hands slowly, not looking at HARRIS, who hasn't moved. Still looking straight ahead, not at HARRIS, he breaks the silence --
RALPHAre you gay?
RALPHIt's not a trick question.
HARRISDepends on who's asking.
RALPHSo that's a yes?
RALPHSorry, none of my business.
HARRISNo. I mean, I don't mind. I mean, you're right, it's none of your business but I'm not ashamed of it or anything. And you know, it might be your business, if I'm lucky.
RALPHJust picked up my twin brother's gaydar.
HARRISThere are more of you?
RALPHFraternal, not identical.
HARRISToo bad for him.
RALPH is a little surprised at how good that compliment makes him feel.
HARRIS would bang his head against a wall if it wouldn't hurt. He settles for rolling his eyes at how cheesy he just sounded.
RALPH smiles. It's the kind of smile that makes people tell him he should smile more often. HARRIS is smitten all over again.
RALPH extends a hand.
HARRIS realizes he still has a hand full of paper towel, quickly shakes it off, and takes Ralph's hand.
HARRIS would extend the handshake but doesn't want to seem too eager. The impulse ends up making the handshake unnaturally brief and jerky.
RALPHSo, what is it exactly with women and gay men?
HARRIS can't believe this guy wants to have this discussion in a restroom. Oh, what the heck --
HARRISUh -- no threat of sex? We, uh -- actually listen to them. I mean, we don't just talk to them so we can get closer and look at their breasts.
At this point, HARRIS realizes he's been staring at Ralph's chest. Or arms. Or crotch. There is suddenly no safe place to look. Ralph's eyes definitely aren't an option.
RALPH is a little surprised at how good that makes him feel. So he tries to jumpstart the discussion again.
RALPHBut what if the woman still wants the gay guy anyway?
HARRISWe're, like, way out of the hypothetical at this point, aren't we?
HARRIS motions for the two of them to adjourn to anywhere outside of the men's restroom. RALPH and HARRIS walk out and begin to walk the mall, side by side. HARRIS mulls the question, aware of how perilously close he is to RALPH.
HARRISWhy would somebody continue to carry a torch for someone they know they can't have? I wish I knew the answer to that one.
RALPHBut why are some guys so attractive?
HARRISGay or straight, same things. Confidence.
HARRIS gestures to Ralph's hair.
HARRIS (cont'd)Good hair.
HARRIS can't help blurting out, joking --
HARRISNot in that shirt.
HARRIS stops walking and immediately slaps both hands over his mouth. Yes, he just said that out loud. He waits on Ralph's response, a little fearful.
RALPHYou know, I need to buy shirts anyway, and my gay brother fashion consultant kind of isn't speaking to me at the moment. You wanna -- ?
HARRIS nods, keeping his mouth shut.
RALPH heads off in one direction.
RALPH stops, looks to HARRIS, who shakes his head.
HARRIS (cont'd)Not that store.
HARRIS points meekly in the opposite direction.
RALPH gestures for HARRIS for lead the way.
HARRIS does, looking back to be sure RALPH is following.
RALPH catches up to him and they walk off together.
copyright 2001 by Matthew A. Everett