Because I had nothing particularly sensible to add to an on-going 'writing men as men' blog/lj discussion (although I was following it - in all its twists and turns - with great interest), I thought the following, um, something or other might amuse somebody.

Sensitivity Training Session Number 147
(c) Beth H
18 September 2002

(It's the middle of the day in a large, sunny room in an undisclosed American city . . . and a sensitivity training session is taking place. Chairs are arranged in a circle, all but one of which is occupied by a sullen man. All the men are glowering at the group leader.)

Blair: I don't even know what I'm doing here. Did I mention the time I knocked a gunman out with nothing but a vending machine? Might've killed him, too, but I never blinked an eye.

Jim: Yeah, you told us, Sandburg. You told us a dozen times already.

Blair: What? My story isn't tough enough for you, Army Ranger?

Jim: Chief.

Blair: Don't 'Chief' me. You know, Jim, many psychological studies have suggested that weapons are just phallic substitutes. It takes a real man to kill someone without a gun.

Jim: Blair . . . .

Blair: Maybe you're the pussy around here. You ever think of that?

Jim (looking away from the group and starting to turn red): Jesus, Blair. Can't you ever just shut up?

Blair (under his breath): Asshole.

Fraser: Actually, I'm familiar with those theories, as well, Mr. Sandburg.

Blair: Call me Blair!

(Jim glares at his partner and then at the Mountie)

Fraser: I'd be happy to . . . Blair.

Kowalski (slumps in his chair. Speaks mockingly): 'I'd be happy to. . . Blair.' Kiss-ass.

Fraser (turns to the blond man next to him): Excuse me?

Kowalski: Right, like you didn't hear what I said, Mr. Bat Ears.

(Voice from a dark, shadowy corner of the room): I'm sorry. Did someone say something to me?

Group Leader: It's all right, Mr. Wayne. I believe the 'Mr. Bat Ears' the Detective was referring to was Constable Fraser. However, do you think you might be ready to rejoin the group yet?

Bruce: Not as long as he's there.

Dick Grayson (shaking his head and whispering to the balding man sitting to his right): Abandonment issues.

Vecchio: Tell me about it.

Fraser: Ray, I don't know why you continue to insist on maintaining I have some sort of abandonment issues related to your departure. I certainly understand the requirements of duty, and . . . .

Vecchio: Yeah? Then explain to me why you took up with El Blondo as soon as I left town. It sure wasn't because you wanted fashion tips.

Rafe/Ryf (glances at Kowalski, who's wearing jeans and a t-shirt, then looks back at Vecchio): I've been meaning to tell you how much I like that suit. Armani, isn't it?

Vecchio: Yeah. Good eye. Here, let me give you the name of my guy in the garment district.

Kowalski: Maybe Fraser just thinks I'm attractive.

Vecchio (snorts): Riiiight. He wasn't that blind the time we crashed the plane in the woods.

Kowalski: Okay, you want to take it outside? I'm good to go if you are.

Vecchio: I took on Frank Zuko. Don't think I can't kick your skinny Polish ass.

Group Leader: Gentlemen! I thought we were all clear on the ground-rules for these sessions, and the first is that there are to be absolutely no displays of machismo. We're attempting to break free from the social constructs of masculinity here, not reinforce them.

Kowalski and Vecchio (both men looking shame-faced): Yes, ma'am.

Group Leader (nods): Violence never solved anything.

(There's a snort from the other end of the circle)

Group Leader: Mr Doyle? Is there something you or Mr. Bodie would like to share with the group?

Doyle: What you just said. It's bollocks. (Bodie arches one eyebrow and nods in agreement)

Young Fair-haired Man: Yeah! Let's see a bit of the old ultra-violence!

Group Leader: Alex, this is the last time I'm going to remind you. You're only here to observe. If you continue to disrupt these sessions, we're going to have to find some alternative treatment.

Alex: Oh no! Not Beethoven again, miss!

Group Leader: I'm afraid so, Alex.

Alex: Sorry, miss.

Group Leader: All right. It appears that we're all doing much better at expressing our thoughts, but I think we still need to work a little on expressing our feelings. I'd like each of you to turn to your partner and share with them a time when you felt hurt by something they did.. Why don't you begin, Mr. Krycek?

Krycek: Oh, come on. Start with someone else.

Group Leader: Now, now, Mr. Krycek. Just start with the phrase "I felt hurt by you when . . . ."

Krycek: Fine. Fox, I felt hurt by you when you cut my arm off.

Mulder: I didn't cut your arm off, you delusional sociopath. And stop calling me Fox.

Group Leader (sighs): Perhaps you'd like to give it a try, Mr. Luthor?

Lex: Superman, I felt hurt by you when you knocked me unconscious and made me lose all my

Clark: Lex, that wasn't my fault! I explained about the ship a hundred times already. And would you stop calling me Superman? It's not funny anymore.

Lex: If the cape fits.

Duncan: Would you stop picking on the boy, Luthor? He's only fifteen.

Lex (mutters): Right. He's fifteen, and I'm the King of Siam

Group Leader: I'm not certain if we're all quite clear about the purposes of this exercise. We want to focus on our emotional pain, not our physical pain. Detective Ellison, why don't you give it a try.

Jim (glares at Blair): Fine. You want to know what hurt? When you betrayed my trust in that damned dissertation of yours.

Blair: Hey! I never . . . .

Group Leader: Please let him speak, Mr. Sandburg.

Jim: It was . . . God, Blair. How could you do that to me? Were you planning on keeping it a secret forever? (He begins to get teary-eyed)

Duncan (nods): That's what I want to know, too (he turns to Methos). We were lovers. Don't you think I deserved to know that you were Death? (Duncan starts to cry)

Lex (sniffles): . . . .that you were an alien?

Skinner (with red-rimmed eyes): . . . that you were a double agent working for a shadow conspiracy?

Mulder (turns to Skinner, horrified): You were sleeping with Krycek, too?

Skinner (glances over at Krycek): Well . . . yeah, Mulder. Everyone was.

Mulder: Even Scully?

Skinner: Even Scully.

Mulder (weeps): How could you, Krycek?

(The soft sound of men weeping and gentle murmurs of comforting words fills the room, when suddenly heartbreaking racking sobs echo from the walls. The men look around, trying unsuccessfully to find the source of the crying)

Group Leader (sighs): Joe? Joe Dick? Is that you?

Joe (weeping): Yeah.

Group Leader: Joe . . . please try to remember that you're no longer alive, and so your medical plan no longer covers sensitivity training.

Joe: But . . . but . . . I was mean to Billy!

Group Leader: Yes, dear. But you're still going to have to leave. If you'd like to set up a private session with someone, the late Sean Burns is taking new patients.

Duncan (sobs): I suppose you're going to hold that over my head, now.

Methos: Well, you did kill him, MacLeod.

Duncan: Shut up.

Methos: You shut up.

Duncan: You shut up first.

Group Leader: All right. I think this is a good place to stop for the day. Now I have a little homework for each of you to do over the coming week. Just look into the mirror and say . . . .

(Voice comes from one of two large boxes in the corner): Um . . . ma'am?

Group Leader: Oh. Right. Everyone except Spike and Angel should look into their mirror and say something positive, so that . . .

(Knock on the door)

Group Leader: Come in.

Curly-haired Man: Sorry. Are we early? We were scheduled for the Crying and Expressing Feelings Workshop by our lieutenant.

(Group leader, consults list): Ah, Detective Starsky. No, you and your partner were signed up for the Not Crying and Not Expressing Feelings Workshop which starts in twenty minutes. If you could just take a seat in the waiting room, I'll be with you in a moment.

Hutch (hissing): See? I told you not to keep calling me 'Babe!' We never get to go to any of the cool workshops.

Starsky: Sorry, Babe.

(Hutch starts to cry as the two men walk out of the room)


Note: After I posted that snippet to my livejournal, Kit Mason wrote and said she'd like to be a fly on the wall at the after-life therapy session run by Sean Burns. I goaded Kit to write that scene herself, and this is the result:

An old lounge somewhere, with beat-up but comfortable chairs, small tables holding coffee cups, and men sitting around talking.

Caspian: You set me up, Kronos! You put me into that asylum.

Kronos: Brother, it was for your own good. Shut up.

Sean: I'm hearing some hostility here. Caspian, could you tell us how you feel about what Kronos did?

Caspian: Like I want to rip his head off!

Sean: (nods.) You're very good at expressing your anger. I think you're in contact with your emotions in a strong and positive way.

Kronos: He's always been good at anger. It's one of his finest traits.

Caspian: At least you think I'm good at something. (sniffs.)

Silas: (mutters) I'm good at things too.

Sean: Let's concentrate more on expressing your feelings, and leave the discussion of anger for another time. Silas?

Voice from the back of the room: Um, I'm new here. Am I in the right place?

Voice from the other dark corner: Me too. Just got in.

Sean: Gentlemen, this is Sensitivity Training 101. Joe, Richie, thank you for coming. Now, remember to use the "I" statements and talk about how you feel.

Silas: I ... I feel betrayed. It hurts. It hurts! (starts to sob)

Caspian: I feel betrayed too. So many times.

Sean: Joe?

Joe Dick: Yeah, uh, okay, right there with you. The fucker went and left me. It hurt. I didn't have anyone left to keep me there, so I went with my feelings.

Sean: And?

Joe: I offed myself with a gun.

Sean: Because of love.

Joe: Yeah. I fucking offed myself because of fucking love.

Richie: Wild.

Sean: Would it be fair, Joe, to say that you followed where love led you? That you loved death enough to join it?

Kronos: Death? You loved Death too? Did he betray you as he did us? (sobbing)

Silas and Kronos together: (to Joe) Brother! (throw their arms around him in a group hug.)

Richie: Wait a minute. Death?

Caspian: Death on a horse (sniffling).

Richie: Death on a horse; you mean sex on a stick. I know that guy.

Silas, Kronos, Joe, Caspian: Brother! (more hugs.)

Sean: (passes out ethereal handkerchiefs and tissues)

... and so it goes...


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