Sunday, May 10, 2009

Sunday Short Story: The Sexes

Dorothy Parker. "The Sexes." The Portable Dorothy Parker. Ed. Marion Meade. 2nd Ed. Penguin Books: 2006. 24-28.

This is a short, quick slice of life in the form of a battle-of-the-sexes style argument. At this point, this story's portrayal of gender roles is clichéd, but Parker's economy of style and cynical wit make the story a bitterly fun little read anyway. It depicts an angry conversation between a man and a woman who are dating, but displeased with each other. The piece doesn't feel like a story so much as a snapshot of dialogue through which a relationship is illuminated. What I love about it is Parker's wry misogyny; in four short pages, she vividly illustrates the ways in which men and women manipulate each other through passive-aggressive posturing. This conversation could quite easily be overheard today, and yet it feels incredibly cynical to have it written down and published as a story.

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