It was announced a day or two ago that Neil LaBute‘s Reasons To Be Pretty will have a month-long run at the Geffen Playhouse (i.e., the Gil Cates Theatre) from 7.29 to 8.31. Nick Gehlfuss, Shawn Hatosy, Amber Tamblyn and Alicia Witt under director Randall Arney. The news naturally recalls my 2009 viewing of LaBute’s play on the Broadway stage, and my initial reaction and then how I got into a rough-and-tumble with a Jezebel editor. LaBute’s play hinges on a guy offering a careless (if not necessarily malicious) remark to his girlfriend, which is that she’s “regular” looking. I wrote an interpretation about how this remark, however tactless, wasn’t mean-spirited. I offered a view that women in the looks realm of A-minus to C-plus are actually more desirable given the likelihood that they’re probably (though not necessarily) more spiritually developed than A-plusses, double As and triple As as a general rule.
I also wrote a line about a silly fantasy (i.e., “a drunkard’s dream if I ever did hear one”) of having a girlfriend who could be as loyal and non-judgmental as a dog. That’s what really got me in trouble. My point was that love and loyalty are constantly in flux and always being re-assessed and re-negotiated, and that if you want a friend who will never re-assess and re-examine you like a Wall Street trader re-assesses and re-examines the value of a company, get a dog.
“Your stock goes up or down with your wife/girlfriend depending on various evolving factors,” I wrote. “People fall out of love in relationships. (And sometimes back in love.) Ardor fades. People get fat, lose jobs, lose their love of life and sometimes turn to drink. Expectations are unmet and disappointment ensues. All to say that ‘love’ is definitely conditional. Whatever kind of ‘love’ you and your significant other have going right now is not necessarily going to be there tomorrow or next week, let alone a year or two from now. Nothing new in this. The point is that dogs are cool with you no matter what. What’s so godawful in dreaming about unmuddled loyalty and unmitigated affection from a mate? Everyone does this, however unrealistic.”