You're Ugly Too Characters
Charlie is Evan’s boyfriend. Described as ‘‘independently wealthy [with] an amusing little job in book publishing,’’ Charlie spends his time at home watching football games on a television that gets fuzzy reception and has a ritual of undressing at night in which ‘‘he kicks up his leg and flips the underwear in the air and catches it.’’ It is in Charlie’s Manhattan apartment that the Halloween party takes places where Zoë meets Earl.
Earl is the date Evan arranges for Zoë at the Halloween party. He arrives to the party dressed as a naked woman with ‘‘large rubber breasts protruding like hams.’’ Earl has recently gone through a divorce, and throughout the evening he attempts to engage Zoë in conversation about love, only to be continually interrupted by her sarcastic quips and vague allusions. Earl is a photographer who worries aloud about the effect the photographic chemicals are having on him. At one point in the evening, after repeated attempts at having a comprehensible discussion with Zoë, Earl gives up and says, ‘‘You’re not at all like your sister.’’ And in final defeat he announces aloud that he shouldn’t go out with ‘‘career women’’ anymore. ‘‘You’re all stricken,’’ he says and adds that he’ll be better off ‘‘with women who have part-time jobs.’’
Evan Hendricks is Zoë’s younger sister, five years out of college, who lives in Manhattan with her boyfriend, Charlie. Evan has a part-time job arranging photo shoots of food and lives in Manhattan in ‘‘a luxury midtown high-rise with a balcony and access to a pool. . . .’’ Evan sets her sister up with Earl at the party and just prior to the party announces to Zoë that she and Charlie are getting married.
The main character in the story, Zoë Hendricks teaches American history in a small liberal arts college outside Paris, Illinois. Considered eccentric or simply misunderstood by both her students and her administrators, she often interjects seemingly irreverent statements to conversations and has been known by her students to sing aloud as she enters class. Cynical and sarcastic, Hendricks loves jokes, but the punch lines are often lost on her audiences. Her response to every situation—whether it is a date with a colleague or the ultrasound tests she undergoes due to the severe abdominal pains she has been experiencing—is to make joke or sarcastic comments. Her favorite joke, and the source of the story’s title, is about the doctor who tells his patient that he has six weeks to live, and when the patient asks for a second opinion, the doctor says, ‘‘You’re ugly, too.’’
As a single woman, she has unsuccessfully tried dating local men, but the only two men she seems to care for are her postman, who delivers her ‘‘real letter[s], with real full-priced stamp[s], from someplace else,’’ and a cab driver, whom she has gotten to know from the repeated trips she took to the airport in order to leave town. When her...
(The entire section is 787 words.)