It was one of those ugly rainy days meant for me to skip skiing and spend an evening alone. Flipping through the local liberal arts rag, I stopped short for an ad called “Men Fake Foreplay”. Hhmmm, this sounds interesting…
“Standup Comedy Writer Mike Dugan talks relationships and intimacy, sex and cheating and he does it in sort of a Woody Allen meets Jimmy Stewart kind of a way, his gentle philosophizing really drawing you in.” the ad reads…”It’s not necessarily the type of humor that makes you laugh so hard you cry but a much rarer type that makes you smile knowingly to yourself.”
2 touching endorsements and 1 box office phone call later and I’ve just scored myself the very last seat in the house.
“Are you going to the show too?” I volunteer to an African American women, as we hurry our pace to the Egg’s Performing Art Center. She’s decked out in high heals and a low-cut blouse, balancing her step on slippery cobblestone streets while juggling a cell phone and a oversized purse. “Yes, I’m terribly late. It started at 7pm” she panics. “No, your not – the show doesn’t start for another 40 minutes” I assure her. We board the elevator inside the Egg and I notice I’m the only one dressed in blue jeans and sneakers, expensive DKNY’s and Puma’s though! Could my laissez-faire attire not be suitable for a Emmy-award winning Irish Comedian? The elevator door opens and a poster welcomes me to one of P. Diddy’s Bad Boys, Comedian Rickey Smiley. Oh, I get it — wrong theater!
I jump back on the elevator and the little white women with curlers in her hair says to me, “Yes, I thought I might have dropped you off at the wrong theater — your not showing enough cleavage Miss”. I burst out laughing. Rickey attracts a mostly black majority while low key and self-effacing, Mike Dugan, is like a magnet for the pastier folks. Never before did I think comedians attracted such a racial divide.
A poster on stage reads 2 dictionary definitions of the word ForePlay (1929) as I find my seat. I don’t scribble down either but Mike Dugan’s opening monologue quickly crafts both as imposters to what women REALLY want.
“Funny how the word Foreplay was invented during the year the stockmarket crashed…as if it might have had something to do with men realizing how much they need women when they have no money” explains Dugan.
And so begins Dugan’s revelations into every man’s secret vault of insecurites about the opposite sex. He uses funny vignettes and experience to compare a heat-seeking missile with a guy’s dick and coins the term “Fantasy-guidance-system” to explain eternal bachelorhood. Ahhh, clarity and persuasion for the troubled male – is that guy infront of me taking notes?
Admitting his own emotional shortcomings, “I don’t have a lot of relationship skills because all of my training is in casual sex”, Dugan gets the entire audience applauding his candor. My favorite was his story about how he came to find himself after cheating on a blossoming relationship – justifying it to himself because it was only 4 months into their courtship. “Women’s intuitions can always tell when something’s amiss… but instead of telling her the truth, I lied about it and compromised that beautiful place in her soul where her smiles come from….a month later, my conscience caught up with me, and I told her I indeed had sex with someone else. Well, that was it — her trust in me was gone. Her last words to me were “You don’t have the self-awareness I need to feel safe with you, Mike”.
During intermission, I winced with a little longing for an ex – someone I thought knew me better than he really did. Mike’s relationship enlightenment was having a Valentine’s effect on the couples around me. Arms were being tossed across their partner’s backs and hands held tight. “Keep scribbling in your tiny notebook Sony, keep scribbling” I whisper to myself. Listening to “Torn” by Anne Previn during intermission didn’t help matters any.
Second set and Dugan’s on fire! He’s pissed off with commercial exploitation of women, he’s pissed off at John Gray (Men are from Mars…), Howard Stern and Hugh Heffner, he’s pissed off that father figures don’t exist anymore, he’s pissed off that drugs, drinking and casual sex is destroying the fabric of our country. He’s speaking the truth, not because he was raised a good Catholic boy but because he’s 45 and finally discovering whats kept him from finding his center, his core. His pissed off that he’s left a trail of broken hearts in his wake.
I could go on and on and on about this wonderful show, but…My God, it’s 1am and I haven’t observed Daylight Savings Time yet!