“The problem with being the strong-and-silent type is that everyone rides roughshod over you.”

“I have a faint, very faint niggling suspicion that you may be referring to me.”

“Who else?”

“I wish I had a dirty, nasty thing to say to you.”

“You’ll be making a record if you didn’t—one of the firsts.”

“You’re saying I’m nasty?”

“Let’s not do this again.”

“No, we must. That’s the worst description I’ve had in recent times coming from you. Nasty?”

“That should even be tame, I think.”

“Tame? You know, honey, sometimes you are so full of insults. That’s a dreadful thing to say to a lady.”

“I never said I was a gentleman for a sec.”

“Not being one doesn’t stop you from acting like one, or at least treating others like one, like being nice, for instance.”

“Nice? Nice when you feel dirty and horrible inside. That’s the height of deception—deceiving your own self. But then a lady wouldn’t understand that. If I remember correctly, a lady is the epitome of phlegm—nice, pretty, mannered, unflustered in an ivory-tower world where everything is lovely and sweet. Just so long as there’s tea and cookies on a lovely day while you are sitting beneath a parasol and picking scones with gloved fingers.”

“Parasol and gloved fingers? Oh really! This is the twenty-first century. That doesn’t happen to be the current indicators of ladyship. You are a caveman.”

“Just don’t expect me to pull out your chair for you, or hold the car door open, not even for a sec.”

“You know, you are right. There is a problem with being strong and silent.”

“Doing things and never complaining?”


“Never bothering to complain, pretending all is well.”

“You wish!”

“What the blazes is it?”

“The swear word. You are speaking to a lady.”

“If I have to pass my intent across, I will doggone well use the swear word!”

“Couldn’t you have found some other word? Or was that supposed to make me forget what I had to say?”

“As if that were possible for a sec.”

“The trouble with being strong and silent is that you equate silence with reason. You stay silent for so long you think that when you do break that silence whatever you say would be the binding writ. But you are wrong.”

“Which I painfully admit to being about so many things.”

“Like what?”

“Oh, never mind. It doesn’t matter.”

“No, let’s hear it.”

“You and who? I said, don’t bother.”

“You are not going to say, is that it? Are you hiding something horrible?”


“That’s the reason closest to mind.”

“You are unbelievable.”

“It stands to reason.”

“Don’t try to goad me. It won’t work. Hell, lady, you have a heckuva lot of nerve. But then I know you are not a lady. Ladies are not nasty, manipulative, scheming species of the human race.”

“What is it, the thing you were wrong about? Don’t change the subject. I want to know. I demand to know.”

“All this vanity for starters.”

“Vani…vanity! You call this vanity, demanding to know?”

“It’s the way the demand is made and the circumstances surrounding it. Like being a woman confers on you the right to know every thought process going on in my head.”

“I just want to be able to tell when you are happy or sad or just plain goofy. Why would it be so difficult to share those emotions if you don’t want to hide something from me? You want to hide everything, keep everything secret. You love to be so mysterious about everything and yet you say women are complicated.”

“It’s not about mystery or secrecy. I could share the contents of my brain cells now and then. But sometimes I just want to…not share that much. I want to be on my own—think without shouting my thoughts from the rooftops, without getting the question, ‘what are you thinking?’”

“You are detached!”


“Yes, that’s right. That’s another problem you have—detachment.”

“I or men?”

“Detached, detached, detached!”

“Wanting some personal space is being detached?”

“Nothing touches you. You don’t touch anything. You are just there, on your own.”

“You are blowing it out of proportion. If I were as detached as you think, you think I would give you the time of day?”

“It’s in everything you do. Your head is so high up you don’t see anything even if they bit you in the nose. Eyes right all the way.”

“Wait a goddamn sec. What is it I don’t see?”

“You don’t know?”

“What? What is that you are doing?”

“You can’t tell…?”

“You are…pulling a lock of your hair…”

“Was it this way last week?”


“It’s been almost a week and you couldn’t tell let alone say anything about it. Too late now, but don’t bother. We do not want to hear.”


“Honey, your jaw is on the floor.”

“You…you one-half of the human species! You can be so vain.”

“Vain? That word again. Ladies are not vain!”

“Don’t cry.”

“Don’t cry? What do you think of yourself? That I would cry because of you? Because you think you’ve wounded my vanity, which is nonexistent, by the way?”

“Are you fishing for an apology? I would always give it out. Sorry…”

“Keep your sorry.”

“Oh, you are not taking it? Talk about vanity. What do you want me to do, grovel in the gutter like a worm and ask for your forgiveness? You can’t crucify me with those eyes, so stop looking at me that way, like I’m supposed to just wither and die when you give me that look. You women are all the same—vanity, vanity, vanity equals nothing.”

“That nothing, as you so quaintly put it, is not called vanity. Get that into your thick head. It’s called style!”

“Style! Give me a break!”

“It’s that thing we have that pulls men out of their shells, leads them to us, then we lead them down the road and leave them stranded.”

“Let me tell you something, my dear lady: the so-called thing you call style is no style at all. You don’t have any style: you can’t conceive it. The word I think I’m looking for is inconceivable. You can try, but you just can’t. You are a bumbling lot, goofing in whatever you do. We men named your mess style, we called your ramblings poetry, your clumsiness grace, your crusty makeup beauty.”

“So what if we are vain? Call all the beauty vanity, but you have to admit we do it with style. We are great at it.”

“Of course.”

“And our beauty has beclouded your judgement.”

“Excuse me!”

“Otherwise, you wouldn’t be spouting such nonsense as you are now. Your heart wouldn’t beat like a rail line; you won’t stay up all night in wet dreams and spend all your waking hours daydreaming. You won’t come knocking on Papa’s door asking for his daughter’s hand. And why shouldn’t we be vain? Hair as black as night, skin as glossy as ebony and chestnut, voice as smooth and sweet as honey, breath as delicate as robusta, fragrance as enticing as heaven. Why shouldn’t we be vain?”

“And all those a pretty face make?”


“Oh, my dear lady, your graces and charms are only as valuable as we men decide to exalt you. Those so-called pretty skin and hair and eyes survive defilement so long as we spill our blood for it. They exist because of us, for us. We give you breath and life. Without us, you are nothing. Without us, would anyone bother to call a lifeless stone an angel?”

“You must be—”

“Wait a sec.”

“I don’t want those secs anymore. No more secs!”

“My God! You know what you just said?”

“Listen to me, you.”

“You listen to me.”

“I said, listen to me.”

“No more. We’ll talk about this later, if I have the time.”

“You wouldn’t—”

“Time up. Sorry. Bye.”

19 thoughts on “Tango” by San Jules (@sanjules)

  1. Was it John Gray that said men are from Mars and women are from Venus? Well, we’re both here on earth and have to learn to live with each other. :)

    The dialogue was good, especially obvious as you did away with the tags and I was still able to follow.

  2. San Jules,

    This was well written, but it felt rather abstract to me. I would have preferred it if you had included in the dialogue events that had occurred between both characters that made them feel the way they did – that way, I would have more context about why they were so angry with each other.

  3. This got me laughing so hard. I triple enjoyed it.
    Despite their bickering one could tell they like each other, may be even love.
    Nice argument from both sides. Who won? Of course the dude.

    1. wow.
      this was a good read but I sure hope u’re not going after any lady cos, this was a little insensitive to ladies…ha ha! vanity? I really want 2 bite-u! lol
      I believe that the use of roughshod, doggone could have being left out and the dialogue would flow beta cos, they made for fumbles.
      check: quaint…not properly used.
      vanity, vanity, vanity…equalS nothing…’S’
      do we use chestnut for a black skin?
      and check these please: u know, sometimes; less is more…
      skin as glossy AS ebony AND chestnut…
      skin AS delicate AS robust,
      fragrance as enticing AS heaven

      @kaycee…dudes neva win dem chicks!


  4. Well done, the piece lived up to the title! Good writing, very witty.

  5. Nice. Interestingly abstract.

    Well done.

  6. well written and very engaging. only that i am not much for long dialogues between just too people.

  7. I’m glad it tickled your funny bones and critical joints. Every point made is noted, but the thing is the story was posted sans editing. Sorry about the words that ran into each other and words that sounded like they should not be there. I will post an edited copy so the story flows smoother. If after that you still feel like taking a bite at me, I’m all for the slaughter. Thanks, everyone.

    1. trust me for the slaughter

      1. Xiaky…the blood wey don stain your hands never do you?!?! You greedy!!!!!

  8. That waz quite a creative work. I love to see people do distinct things. It waz good.

  9. Very creative and well written. Good job.

  10. Interesting dialogue. I’m not sure that this would work well in fiction though, a play perhaps.

  11. I ditto Adura. Too ‘back-n-forth’ to be really used in a novel or something like that. And very abstract.

    1. thats what i meant with the “two people dialogue” with no narration….it gets boring along the way

  12. This shows that you’re good with dialogue. Writing a story with strictly dialogue is tricky; every word must pack a punch, sort of like a poet painting a picture with words.

    However, this was linear.

    If it were short, short, then it might work. But once you go past a point and there no pivots, it becomes tedious. Like two dogs barking at each other. Wanna tell both to shut the fuck up.

    Keep at it, but work in the pivots.

  13. Nice dialogue.
    I enjoyed it.

  14. Very interesting dialogue. It got me laughing.

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