Larissa Pham

  • Behaving Badly

    IN “A ROMANTIC WEEKEND,” the second story in Bad Behavior, Mary Gaitskill’s grim and lyrical debut collection from 1988, two characters go to Washington, DC, for the titular getaway. Much of their time together goes awry because of a drastic mismatch of expectations and psychosexual needs. Beth, the female protagonist, has fallen suddenly in love with her companion. She conjures a fantasy of complete submission and devotion: “He made her do things she’d never done before, and then they went for a walk and looked at the new tulips that were bound to have grown up somewhere. None of this felt