Friday, Audrey and Rita had an interesting conversation about paying for companionship. To the news that Lewis is an “escort” hired occasionally by Audrey, Rita’s reaction was what probably most of us think – “a gigolo!” with a little titter of laughter. Audrey denied there was any gigolo-related activity going on, just someone to talk to. “On the meter,” Rita scoffed. She told Audrey that she could find men for companionship or whatever without resorting to paying for them. Audrey doubted the likelihood of that.
It was a sad scene, two widow women talking about finding interesting single men. But more than that, it was reassuring. These women know that they are “of a certain age”. But their age was not something they discussed. Audrey said you watch a movie and fall in love with Gregory Peck or Cary Grant, an oblique temporal reference. They are smart women who know their own minds and know the state of available male-hood in their neighbourhood. Their age and past history of relationships were not the issue, rather a way of giving perspective to their opinions.
Dramatically, and as discourse, it was thought provoking. Rita’s shock and hint of titillation at the thought of hiring a man was countered by Audrey’s dispassionate assessment of her situation and the purpose of Lewis in her life. You rent a movie for entertainment of an evening, why not rent an evening of good conversation? Why not indeed – it can be pretty hard to come by.
What strengthened her thesis was that she did not tell Rita that Lewis was “off the meter” when Norris had seen him and Audrey together. Had Rita known that, she would have seen the whole thing differently. She probably would have said, oh so you’ve become friends outside of “work” then. But Audrey didn’t say it, and therefore she kept the discussion on the plane of payment for services, with the type of service being the point.
This civilized introspective look at being single and having needs for companionship was beautifully placed in the show. Following it was a continuation of a scene that dealt with the same topic, more or less, from the other end of the spectrum. It started in the episode before, with Ryan suggesting that he and his girlfriend and Sophie, in a blind-date situation with a friend of Ryan’s, watch a movie at his place since his mother was out.
Ryan and Sian watched maybe 5 minutes of the film before heading to the bedroom. Yuck. Friday, Sophie and Ryan’s friend are still watching the movie while Ryan and Sian are behind closed doors. So Ryan’s friend figures it’s time to put the big moves on Sophie. Double yuck. It was realistic, as those who choose to remember their teenage years of raging hormones know. And it was cheap and disgusting, as anyone who is past those years also knows. And, dramatically, it was a superb counterpoint for the scene with Audrey and Rita analytically and emotionally looking at the need for human contact.