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Adult World (II)

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Back to David Foster Wallace or Brief Interviews with Hideous Men.


This is an outline of a story that picks up where "Adult World (I)" leaves off. The story explains what happens during Jeni's epiphany. While she is having the conversation with her first lover, she sees her husband's car across the street in the "Adult World" (sex shop) parking lot. Her epiphany is that her husband has been making secret trips to the sex shop and masturbating compulsively. While she is having her epiphany, her first lover confesses to her that he still loves her and sometimes thinks of their encounters when he masturbates. Her first lover misinterprets the disturbed look on her face (she is distraught because of her epiphany, and has been tuned out of the conversation) as a sign that she feels the same way, and proposes that they go down the street to the motel. She agrees to go with him to the motel. Instead of following him there, she keeps going down the street, weeping for her first lover and for her husband. She realizes that her husband has internal problems that have nothing to do with her as a wife. Their marriage then enters a new phase, with the wife now exploring masturbation rather than worrying about her skill level. The difference is that the wife masturbates openly, while the husband does it in secret. In this new phase of the marriage, the two discuss having children.


  • Jeni Roberts
  • her husband
  • her first lover

Themes & Motifs