Several of us went to see the play “A Round Heeled Woman” featuring Sharon Gless as the lead character. The play was in a small intimate theater south of Mission in San Francisco. Yes, the actors were great, but the story made me feel depressed and disturbed.
The play is about a 66 year old woman who puts an ad in a NY paper saying that she wants to have lots of sex before she turns 67. She gets lots of responses to her ad and creates two piles; one for those she wants to meet and the other pile for the ones who are married, want kinky sex, or for some other reason she decides are a “no”. She then begins her sexual journey.
The story is supposed to be an adventure as well as funny. It is neither. This is a story of continual rejection and lots of life long issues that are continually presented over and over again throughout the play. She is lonely and in search of companionship but seems surprised she continues with that loneliness at the end of each escapade.
Many of the men dominate her, tell lies, or are rather controlling. Several freely critique and reject her after sex before they go on to their next conquest. "Let me give you some advice," one of the men told her, "Next time use KY jelly. You're pretty dry". She then accepts this new type of slap in the face and begins what appears as a brooding ritual.
I was surprised how this well educated retired teacher seemed to mimic behaviors you would see from women who are abused; she became totally obedient and compliant with the men she encountered, almost as if she was afraid to say no. "Put your breasts on the table" one man directed her. She responds, "but this is a public place!" She then complies as if he is in charge and she has no choice but to follow his orders. The only time she ever acted like an equal was with a man who was half her age. With him she seemed to exert more of her true persona, which was rather refreshing.
At the conclusion of the play I appreciated the bravery the author showed in laying out and exposing so much of her personal life in front of others. But I would have enjoyed the play more if the protagonist had been more in charge of her own adventure. She seemed to act as if she was a passenger on her own sexual adventure train, continually allowing men to come in and emotionally reject her over and over again.
I left the theater feeling I needed a hot shower to get that feeling of disgust off me. It was as if I had been listening and watching creepy old men all evening and wanted to wash away their presence, letting it swirl down the drain.