The Heart and Humor of Mike Dugan
A man’s approach to relationships is usually a centrist affair, not so much because males are egocentric creatures, but more to the point that our inborn GPS unit has been programmed with incredibly incorrect data. We lack guidance from an early age, and all of the landmarks we are given throughout the rest of our lives are contradictory and confusing at best.
Mike Dugan’s one-man show Men Fake Foreplay, which will be performed Saturday, April 17 at the Victoria Theatre, sets a course for a more understanding and communicative relationship with those whose lives we affect in so many ways. The show is based on his book of the same name, a coarse, clever and comically compassionate look at the dualistic way in which males are raised, the mixed messages that males receive and the “boys will be boys” mentality that many men use as a pass to excuse their bad behavior. Dugan recently spoke with DCP in advance of his Dayton appearance.
DCP: What do you think is the most important point you want people to grasp from the show?
Dugan: Understanding the value of a woman’s heart and the importance of having a woman’s trust. If I can’t feel my own feelings, it’s hard for me to care about yours. I think that that’s probably what it is. At the end of the first act, I talk about how I cheated on a woman. I was out of town, doing stand-up, and a woman came on to me and I ended up sleeping with her. If you had asked me before I went to Phoenix if it would be a good idea to cheat this weekend, I’d have said, ‘I’ve got a good thing going here. I don’t want to screw it up!’ But, when I got there and that woman came onto me, my sex drive kicked in and it was like my steering went out. When I came back from Phoenix, it’s like she knew that something had happened and she asked me point blank, ‘Did something happen? You can tell me. Whatever it is we can work through it, but I know something happened.’ I did the worst thing a guy can do in that situation…I lied. And just to seal the deal, I pulled her in close and I hugged her tightly to my chest and reassured her that she was imagining things. Knowing what I know now, I fully understand the cruelty of that lie because with that lie, I put her in a place inside herself where she had to battle between her need to trust and her intuition. How cruel and arrogant to know what I’m fucking with or to feel that I have a right to fuck with that place because that’s where her smiles come from and her joy comes from and that is her soul. Guys: If you believe that if a man should protect a woman first and foremost, protect her from you. I think that that is one of the most valuable things within the show, to really hit home with how our actions affect other people because, as guys, we can go through people’s emotional lives like a bull in a china shop. We’re not aware of our actions having any kind of consequences on people’s lives like they do. That’s what I meant about this not being the typical ‘men leave the toilet seat up and women PMS’ look at relationships.
DCP: What would you say to men to alleviate their fears that ‘Men Fake Foreplay’ isn’t some Dr. Phil inspired ambush of all things male?
Dugan: The show is extremely compassionate to men because as I ridicule a lot of the goofy stuff that we do, I also acknowledge that a lot of guys that I know try to do the right thing. But when you think about everything that’s acting against us, it’s a wonder that any guy can pull it off. I mean, we learn about sex and women from Playboy or Penthouse and then the Church teaches us that sex is dirty. The male’s sex drive is visually activated and we’re bombarded by countless sexual images every day. From the very earliest age, we’re taught that emotions and feelings are feminine and, if we show our feelings, we’re told, ‘Don’t be such a girl!’, so we avoid our feelings like we owe them money. Not to mention that feelings are really uncomfortable, but the good news is that those uncomfortable feelings show up in our life at puberty right when masturbation does…and masturbation wins! So our very first solution to cope with the uncomfortable feelings of adolescence is to create an imaginary fantasy world where women do exactly what we want, when we want it and we always get our way. Every time we do it, we’re rewarded with a pleasurable chemical surge that reinforces this escapist behavior and creates the perfect storm of alienation from oneself.
DCP: Have there been any inspiring revelations from men concerning the book or the show?
Dugan: I knew women were going to like the book, but guys would come up to me and go, ‘Man, this is like the father I never had.’ I had one guy come up to me and say, ‘You know, even when I was running around sowing my oats, sleeping with a lot of women and not necessarily being really nice to them, I always knew that there was something wrong with what I was doing, but I never knew what to do instead.’
Mike Dugan’s Men Fake Foreplay will be presented Saturday, April 17 at 7:30 p.m. at the Victoria Theatre, 138 N. Main St. Tickets are $27-$50. For tickets or more information, call Ticket Center Stage at (937) 228-3630 or visit www.ticketcenterstage.com. In addition, Dugan plans to sign copies of his book during a meet and greet after the show.
Reach DCP freelance writer J.T. Ryder at email@example.com