He said, she said: A dialogue (in stereotype)
A guy named Roger is driving his girlfriend, Gloria, home from dinner one night, when Gloria says, "Do you realize
that, as of tonight, we've been seeing each other for exactly six months?" There is silence in the car. To Gloria, it seems like a
very loud silence.
Gloria (thinking): Geez, I wonder if it bothers him that I said that. Maybe he's been feeling confined by our relationship; maybe he thinks I'm trying to push him into some kind of obligation that he doesn't want, or isn't sure of.
Roger (thinking): Gosh. Six months.
Gloria (thinking): But, hey, I'm not so sure I want this kind of relationship, either. Sometimes I wish I had a little more space, so I'd have time to think about whether I really want us to keep going the way we are...I mean, where are we going? Are we just going to keep seeing each other at this level of intimacy? Are we heading toward marriage? Toward children? Toward a lifetime together? Am I ready for that level of commitment? Do I really even know this person?
Roger (thinking): So that means it was...let's
see...February when we started going out, which was right after I had
the car at the dealer's, which means...lemme check
the odometer...Whoa, I am way overdue for an oil change here.
Gloria (thinking): He's upset. I can see it on his face. Maybe I'm reading this completely wrong. Maybe he wants more from our relationship, more intimacy, more commitment; maybe he has sensed, even before I sensed it, that I was feeling some reservations. Yes, I bet that's it. That's why he's so reluctant to say anything about his own feelings. He's afraid of being rejected.
Roger (thinking): And I'm gonna have them look at
the transmission again. I don't care what those morons say,
it's still not shifting right. And they better not try to blame it
on the cold weather this time. What cold weather? It's
87 degrees out, and this thing is shifting like a garbage
truck, and I paid those incompetent thieves $600!
Gloria (thinking): He's angry. And I don't blame him. I'd be angry too. God, I feel so guilty, putting him through this, but I can't help the way I feel. I'm just not sure.
Roger (thinking): They'll probably say it's only a
90-day warranty. That's exactly what they're gonna say,
Gloria (thinking): Maybe I'm just too idealistic, waiting for a knight to come riding up on his white horse, when I'm sitting right next to a perfectly good person, a person I truly do care about, a person who is in pain because of my self-centered schoolgirl romantic fantasy.
Roger (thinking): Warranty? They want a warranty? I'll give them a warranty. I'll take their warranty and stick it right up their...
Gloria (aloud): Roger?
Roger (startled): What?
Gloria (her eyes filling with tears): Please don't torture yourself like this. Maybe I should never have...Oh God, I feel so...
Gloria (sobbing): I'm such a fool. I mean, I know there's no knight. I really know that. It's silly. There's no knight, and there's no horse.
Roger: There's no horse?
Gloria: You think I'm a fool, don't you?
Roger (relieved finally to know the right answer): No.
Gloria: It's just that...It's that I...I need some time.
Roger (after a 15-second pause during which he is thinking as fast as he can, trying to come up with a safe response. Finally he comes up with one that he thinks might work.): Yes.
Gloria (deeply moved, touching his hand): Oh, Roger, do you really feel that way?
Roger: What way?
Gloria: That way about time.
Roger: Oh. Yes.
Gloria (gazing deeply into Roger's eyes, causing him to become very nervous about what she might say next, especially if it involves a horse. At last she speaks.): Thank you, Roger.
Roger: Thank you.
Then he takes her home, and she lies on her bed and cries until dawn. Roger goes back to his place, opens a bag of Doritos, turns on the TV, and immediately becomes deeply involved in a rerun of a tennis match between two Czechoslovakians he never heard of. A tiny voice in the far recesses of his mind tells him that something major was going on back there in the car, but he is pretty sure there is no way he could ever understand what. He figures it's better if he doesn't think about it.
The next day Gloria calls all her best friends and talks about this situation for six straight hours. In painstaking detail they analyze everything she said and everything he said, considering every possible ramification. They continue to discuss this subject off and on, for weeks, maybe months, never reaching any definite conclusions.
Meanwhile, Roger, while playing racquetball one day with a mutual friend of his and Gloria's, pauses just before serving, frowns, and says, "Norm, did Gloria ever own a horse?"