Ana and her friend Kate are sitting in a coffee house. Ana appears
distraught, her mocha latte barely touched, a single bite taken out of
her dark chocolate biscotti. Kate has finished one espresso, and is
quickly working her way through a second tiny cup, no milk or sugar to
mask the bitter taste. The look on her face is a mixture of concern and
Ana: Well, sure he’s domineering, but…
Kate: No buts, Ana. You deserve better than this guy.
Ana: He’s really a nice guy underneath it all, though. He has my best
interests at heart.
Kate: Sure he does. That’s why he does all of those things to you. He
doesn’t own you, Ana.
Kate: I mean, you didn’t sign a contract or anything, right?
Ana: No, I didn’t sign a contract.
Ana: Well, it’s as if I signed a contract. I mean, he says
there’s this “social” contract that exists even though it doesn’t exist
on paper. He says it’s the ideal contract I would have signed if I were
perfectly rational and understood what’s really good for me. Like he
Kate: Oh boy. Look, Ana, this guy is a shyster. He’s totally taking
advantage of your… let’s call it “innocence” to be polite. He’s bad
Ana: Well, he’s not perfect, but who is? Sure, he takes things a little
too far sometimes, but… but I kind of like it. It makes me feel secure
to know that someone else is in control, you know?
Kate: No, I really don’t.
Ana: And think of the children. He’s good with the children. I mean,
he’s pretty strict with them, but it’s…
Kate: For their own good, yeah, I’m beginning the see a pattern here.
Look, what’s so scary about being in control of your own life? Why do
you need some guy telling you what you can and can’t do, and when you
can and can’t do it?
Ana: Ugh. It’s just so much responsibility, you know? Wouldn’t you
rather have someone else making the decisions for you? Don’t you just
have a craving to submit?
Kate: Again, no, I don’t. I mean, maybe for fun, once in a while, but
not 24/7 like you’ve done with this dude.
Ana: Look, he’s just better than I am at all this stuff, calling the
shots, making plans, deciding what we need to buy…
Kate: Oh dear. You’re giving him all your money, aren’t you?
Ana: No! Not all of it. Just half or so. And I don’t have to give it to
him, he just takes it right out of my bank account. He knows my pin.
Kate: Why did you give him your pin?
Ana: I didn’t. He just knew it. He knows all my passwords, actually.
It’s so he can make sure I’m not doing anything that would be harmful to
me or others. And he listens in on my phone calls, too. Just to be sure.
You can never be too careful.
Kate: Guilty till proven innocent, eh? Better that ten innocents get
punished, and all that?
Ana: Did I mention I kind of like the punishment part?
Kate: I think you did let that slip, yes. Look, How could he possibly
know enough about you to know what’s good for you better than you do? Is
he really so much wiser than you are? Only you have access to what’s
inside your head.
Ana: But what I want, my whims… It’s not the same as what I need. He
knows what I need.
Kate: I think I know what he needs: a good swift kick in the…
Ana: And even if I’m relatively well-balanced…
Kate clears throat.
Ana: Even if I’m relatively well-balanced, what about the others?
Some of them really need his guidance and protection. What kind
of example would I be setting for them if I just did as I pleased?
Ana: What’s that?
Kate: There are other women?
Ana: Oh sure. Men, too.
Kate: Jesus Christ, Ana, you’re in a cult!
Ana: It’s a community, Kate. You wouldn’t understand.
Kate: You’re saying I don’t know what’s good for me? Lemme guess who
Ana: You’re not being very open-minded, Kate. But then, you always were
kind of selfish.
Kate: Right, it’s selfish to want to control your own life, but it’s not
selfish to want to control the lives of others.
Ana: Because it’s for our own good!
Kate: Brilliant. And what would it look like if he were doing it for
his own good but just saying that he was doing it for your own good?
Kate: Look, whatever. You’ve made your bed, you can go let him tie you
Ana: Actually… He wants to talk to you.
Kate: What? Well I don’t want to talk to him!
Ana: The thing is, you see, there’s this contract…