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Maeve and Delia Discuss Gender Double Standards
(March 1976)

(After her date with Roger, Delia is sitting in the Ryan living room polishing her nails when Maeve comes in.)

MAEVE: Ah, Dee, you're home. When did you get in?

DELIA: Oh, I've been home quite a while. Listen, I sent - oh, thank you - I sent J.P. home. He was in an awful rush to get there. He must have a lady friend.

MAEVE: (laughs) Darling, he has a wife.

DELIA: Well, you never know, do you? You know, I'm glad my cooking lesson was over. It gives me a chance to just sit here and think about Frank and me.

MAEVE: Well I hope you haven't been sitting there nursing old wounds?

DELIA: No, believe it or not, I wasn't even thinking about Jill.

MAEVE: Good.

DELIA: I was just wondering why Frank can stay out til all hours of the evening without a good explanation but if I did the same thing, I would never hear the end of it!

MAEVE: I suppose that's true, dear.

DELIA: You know what it amounts to, Maeve? Men can be unfaithful, but women can't be.

MAEVE: Sure, I know. Oh, it's just because Frank's late (puts her hand on Delia's shoulder) that you're worrying.

DELIA: Partly that.

MAEVE: You're not altogether back together again. Dee, would you do me a favor? Would you give it a year?

DELIA: A year?

MAEVE: You know, I think that one of the greatest mistakes you can make in your life is to think that the way things are, right at this moment, is the way they're always going to be. You've got to remind yourself that a lot of change can take place in a period of twelve months.

DELIA: Yeah, it can get worse.

MAEVE: Dee, that attitude; you've got to work at it and want it to get better, darling.

DELIA: But what about him? Doesn't he have to work at it? Doesn't he have to try?

MAEVE: To be sure.

DELIA: Well he doesn't, Maeve. He isn't. I'm telling you, it's always the woman. He has the affair, and I'm the one who has to try. We're going down the street together and he turns to look at some pretty girl without a bra on, well that's fine, that's okay. But if I just so much as look at another man...

MAEVE: Well I'm afraid that's the way the world is, dear.

DELIA: You know what the trouble is? I don't think you know what it feels like to be in my position.

MAEVE: Oh, I think I can...

DELIA: No, no, you and Johnny are the perfect couple. Johnny's never had an affair, has he?

MAEVE: He has not! But if he had, I hope I could have found it in my heart to understand and forgive the man.

DELIA: See? And of course you've never had an affair.

MAEVE: Now, Delia, mind you, there are times in any marriage when you think, oh, things are so settled between you. But to entertain the thought of having an involvement with another man? No! I mean, that would hurt my husband too deeply. That would be the end of any real marriage for us.

DELIA: You see? That's exactly what I mean. If Johnny had an affair, well you would find it in yourself to forgive him. But if you found somebody else, that would be the end, right?

MAEVE: (nods) I'm afraid so.

DELIA: You know what the awful thing is? I don't think it would be the end for me and Frank at all. No, I don't even think he cares.

MAEVE: Delia!

DELIA: (puts her hair back) See, I think he cares more about his precious political career than anything else. You know, what would really bother him, is if I got caught in public or I caused some kind of scandal.

MAEVE: Do not do this, Delia.

DELIA: No, I won't. I was just thinking how unfair it all is. But you know, it would really serve him right if I did.

(Delia is clearly calculating as the camera fades out.)

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