(third day in a battered women’s shelter. outside. she is smoking a cigarette and is calm.)
steve was kind of a charmer, but in that dopey way, and i didn’t have the heart to tell him that dopey guys are kind of out these days. self-deprecation was a late 90s-early 2000s kind of thing. it’s really unattractive these days, even when they’re trying to be humorous. it’s like, women know you’re really confident, or more likely arrogant, so the last thing we want to see is you pretend you’re not. these days we want confident men–i mean all days we want confident men, but especially now, with this onslaught of manchildren. we want men who support us rather than destroy us. and women are okay without men. we’re fine with it, really. they’re angry, they’re needy, they pretend to be bad at things so they don’t have to do them. it used to be guys were just horndogs, and i would be fine with that, but they’re not even that anymore. they feel like they deserve sex. they’re angry and they feel entitled to that anger, which means they beat the shit out of women they don’t get sex from. it’s so stupid that it’s that simple, but it is.
so steve was so charming when he got what he wanted, and when he didn’t, get flew into an adolescent rage and tossed me around like i was nothing. it was like this for years. in public he was self-deprecating and seemed harmless, but even in public settings if you said the wrong thing you could see that minuscule change in his demeanor, that little twitch in his eyes. maybe it was just me who could see it because i was used to it. and i tell you, 95% of the time he was harmless, he was downright respectful even, took care of the kids, we went on dates, we made love, and it was great. but because of the 5%, i always worried, waiting for that day he would break and hit me so hard i would get a concussion or something.
so that’s why i’m here. because he did that. fractured my orbital socket in two places, cracked the back of my skull against the banister in our house. because he had a bad day at work and i wasn’t feeling good, so i opted out of sex. that was it. really. i barely remember that night. i remember the emergency room and i remember ginny telling me that we were coming here, and i remember arguing with her about how i couldn’t, how i had to go home. that whole fucking time i felt so guilty, felt so bad and upset that i let this happen. a miasma of emotions that were all bullshit.
(long sigh. drag from cigarette.)
that’s what charming gets you, laura.