The Language of Love

Written by Mark Peikert on . Posted in Posts, Theater.


Words are both barbed and
seductive in Itamar Moses’ new heartbreaking Completeness, in which two graduate students fall back on their
rigorous training in science and technology to fight love. “This is your ‘A’
material,” Molly (Aubrey Dollar) says as computer scientist Elliott (Karl
Miller) jumps out of bed after sex to explain a complicated problem. It turns
out that it is his A material; it also turns out that it works. Molly and
Elliott are smitten with one another and will never again let themselves be as
happy as in that moment.

This means that, under the
keenly felt direction of Pam MacKinnon and Dollar and Miller’s gorgeously
painful performances, that is the last moment the audiences are ever that
happy, as well. From then on, we must bear silent witness to Molly and
Elliott’s purposeful sabotaging of their burgeoning relationship, using
everything from icy distance to flirtations with other people.

The obvious parallel to
Moses’ complicated, technically thorough dialogue is that towering exercise in
romantic academia, Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia. But where last season’s revival of Arcadia was laser focused on the words and ideas, MacKinnon
treats the trading of theory between Molly and Elliott as foreplay. There’s a
reason why Molly is so turned on when Elliott explains the Traveling Salesman
Problem in his boxers; Miller makes Elliott into a cerebral, very funny
sexy-geeky guy. And Dollar’s open face, across which shadows keep flitting that
warn us that this relationship is transitory, promises a woman who has survived
tough knocks with her sense of possibility still intact. It’s a sinking feeling
when she greets Elliott’s admission of panicky terror when relationships turn
serious with her own confession that she sometimes simply disappears when
things get too intense with a man; the ending has already been written in Moses’
characters’ genetic codes.

That ending eventually does
come, but not without a piece of meta-theatrical masturbation that almost
destroys the tenderness of what came before. As Molly and Elliott are drawn to
other people, the set’s walls fill with computer formulas until the light board
“crashes.” What follows is painful and puzzling and doesn’t come close to
achieving Moses’ ambitions. That Dollar, Miller and MacKinnon eventually win us
back in the play’s wrenching final scene is a testament to the talent of all
three. Completeness is not a
perfect play, but the relationship that Dollar and Miller have created on stage
between Molly and Elliott is. Reader, I cried.

Completeness

Through Sept. 25,
Playwrights Horizons, 416 W. 42nd St. (betw. 9th & 10th Aves.),
www.playwrightshorizons.org; $70.

The Language Of Love

Written by None - Do not Delete on . Posted in Breaking News, Posts.


I’m a 28-year-old woman who has never been on a date. Consequently, I’ve never had sex either.
I’m not ugly or socially inept—I’m an African American who grew up and lived in a predominantly
white environment. Because of racist beauty standards, none of the white guys I used to know would
date me. And the fact that I’m shy did not help me with the few eligible black men with whom I crossed
paths.

Anyway, I just moved to New York and want to make up for lost time. Any advice
on getting a man into bed without embarrassing myself? Also, should I tell the guy I’m a virgin? If
so, how do I do it without scaring him away?

I’ve already signed up for a few blind dates and I’m running personal
ads online.

—Horny African-American Honey

First, let me both offer my condolences on growing up in a racist shithole
and my congrats to you for getting the hell out. While it’s true that NYC is far from some kind of hate-free
utopia, the sheer volume of people here make the jackasses far easier to ignore. (Though you should
probably avoid Howard Beach and parts of Staten Island.)

And—phew!—I’m so glad you wrote before you made a big fat
fool of yourself! Black, white and every shade in between—New York Men are a breed unto themselves.
Make no mistake: Luring one of these captivating creatures into your bed is a very complicated maneuver,
demanding the utmost sensitivity and grace. Because I can see your situation has reached crisis
mode, I’m going to share with you a magical phrase that’s always worked for me: “C’mere.”

Simple, yes, but when combined with a beckoning index finger and a low-cut
blouse? Nearly impossible for the New York Man to resist. Follow that with a simple hey-let’s-get-outta-here
head nod (while simultaneously saucily raising the eyebrow closest to the exit) and you’re in like
sin.

As you’ve already placed an internet personal ad, this process becomes
even easier still, as the online-personals community is geared toward ridding sweet young ladies
such as yourself of bothersome things like virginity (and occasionally self-respect).

If no-strings sex is what you’re after, please don’t give a second’s
worry to embarrassing yourself. Men have been humiliating themselves for centuries in the quest
for pussy. A sample line I’ve been fed: “Please just let me put it in; I promise not to move it.” Not
surprisingly, it didn’t work, but the fella who offered it didn’t so much as flinch as I fell off my
chair laughing. And when I finally picked myself up and regained composure, he was still sitting
there, waiting for an answer.

See what I mean?

As far as telling potential devirginators that you’re still one with
your hymen, the less said the better. Decent guys are going to be all freaked out and worried (and
possibly fret their way out of fucking you), whilst deviant freaks are going to find you that much
more appealing because of it. Ideally, you’ll find someone who falls between these two extremes.
Just be careful (condoms!) and ferchrissakes, don’t fall in love with the first fella who puts it
to you. Oh, and you should resign yourself right now to the fact that the first time sucks for just
about everyone. Practice makes perfect.

I read one of your articles a couple of weeks back and I figured I would
axe you a couple of questions. I am spending the summer doing my internship here in and am wondering
if it is possible to approach women in the city in the hustle and bustle? And if so what can you say in
15 seconds or so?

Is everyone in the city resorting to internet dating to find someone?
I hope not because I think it’s kinda impersonal, but anything’s possible.

—LH

Well, sweetpea, if the number of misspellings and grammatical errors
you forced me to correct on your little note are any indicator, you’d better pray you don’t
have to resort to internet dating. I realize you’re young, but if someone’s been kind enough to offer
you unpaid employment during the months when your peers are working on nothing more taxing than
their tans, you should at least skim through Strunk & White.

But to answer your question, yes. It is possible to approach ladies on
the street, although you’re going to need a thick skin, as most of us are going to completely ignore
you, if not come right out and tell you to fuck off. You can chalk this up to bitchy NYC attitude, but
the fact is, a woman walking down any city street puts up with so much shit (comments on her anatomy—both
positive and negative, the occasional ass-grab, etc.), that an innocent “hi!” can elicit a snarl.

Not that it can’t be done. My buddy Rich picked up a cute girl on the subway
once. He went home with her and discovered that she was a Wiccan alcoholic who firmly believed her
pets spoke to her (perfect English, as it turned out). She “borrowed” money offa him and I believe
he got a blowjob for his trouble.

If I were you, I’d brush up on my spelling.

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