May 5, 2010

Let's read "The Lifelong Single Gay Virgin."

This is another episode in a NY Magazine series, presenting, each week, a 7-days diary from a different anonymous individual. (I assume these are not fiction. Am I wrong?)

We're told the diarist is "27 years old, male, single, Upper West Side, gay":
DAY ONE
6:30 a.m.: Consume oatmeal, orange juice, and coffee while watching Remains of the Day. Anthony Hopkins manages to inadvertently seduce Emma Thompson despite being a sociopath. What am I doing wrong?
Ha. Answer: Life isn't a movie. Imagine how different it would be if it was. Little random details would pay off big a few days/scenes later. Deja vu! I said Life isn't a movie to someone... yesterday. Ah, yes! A neighbor was describing her fight against gypsy moth caterpillars. Once she poisoned a tree full of them, and zillions of them fell to the ground and were writhing and bloody looking. (The juice that oozes out of them looks like human blood.) Later, she went out to clear the carcasses off the walkway, and they were all gone. She had a vision of them off somewhere gathering strength and plotting their revenge. Actually, her neighbor had swept the walk. But if it were a movie, the enraged caterpillars would be back — enlarged and superstrong as a result of the poison, Toxic Avenger-style — ready for human blood.

Back to the virgin:
7 a.m.: Lest anyone forget, Christopher Reeve was devastatingly handsome. Super. Smoking. Hot. Playing a principled American congressman doesn't hurt, either.

8:30 a.m.: Commute to nonprofit job. No one on my trains are cute enough to tear me away from my crossword puzzle. Thomas Edison's middle name: Alva....
Ah! This is exceedingly charming. Have you never experienced extended virginity/celibacy? I'd say this captures the vibe brilliantly. Was Thomas Edison — little Alvy — ever cute?


Maybe. In 1879.
DAY TWO

5:30 a.m.: Commute to Penn Station. Dear day laborers who crowd the early morning trains, please touch me with your rough, dirty, work-worn hands. Much obliged.

7:30 a.m.: Business trip to New Jersey. This state is worse than I remembered. My penis is inverting....

6:30 p.m.: Call non-boyfriend and tell him not to visit. He is upset. I feel like a jerk. Perhaps I am a jerk.

8 p.m.: I wonder if being single forever is the curse that everyone says it is. I'm single, have always been single. I used to think that despite a dearth in sexual partners and romantic relationships, I was genuinely happy. But now I think that because of a dearth in sexual partners and romantic relationships, I'm genuinely happy.
And that is the dangerous thought. But what is more seductive than dangerous thoughts? Did you recoil from that idea as from a bloody, enraged gypsy moth caterpillar? Did you shrink from it like a penis reacting to New Jersey? Do you immediately assume this young man is deluded and pathetic? He could be right. What would the world be like if he were right? Take a moment to imagine it. Did you imagine the world we are in? If not, why not?

46 comments:

TosaGuy said...

Does anyone work in the private sector anymore?

shoutingthomas said...

Works for a non-profit?

Penis doesn't like New Jersey?

Poseur alert!

This guy deserves not getting any.

MadisonMan said...

What a lonely existence.

It makes me feel incredibly fortunate.

FloridaSteve said...

This just makes me glad I don't live in New York and commute to New Jersey. My penis just couldn't handle the strain.

As an aside the the whole concept of the story.... yechh... Is it even possible to do this without coming off as a self absorbed twit.

Jason said...

Reminds me of that guy who shot up that LA Fitness in PA a while back.

He couldn't get a girl, and got more and more frustrated over time, and finally, being twisted to begin with, boiled over and killed women in their exercise class.

t-man said...

Is our diarist admitting to being a sociopath? Just not as successful in the art of seduction as Anthony Hopkins?

His thoughts about being single remind me of many pre-Meadehouse posts from our hostess, though. If you don't know what you are missing, it doesn't seem so bad.

tjl said...

Some virgins are born, others are made, and some have virginity thrust upon them.
The personality that emerges from the diary entries suggests the diarist has hit the virginity trifecta.

Lincolntf said...

He should just take his fucking tampon out and go get a date.

AllenS said...

Maybe he should get a dog?

edutcher said...

From the media, I thought being 'gay' was supposed to be terribly glam and creative. This guy sounds like all the other unhappy people out there, but with much more frustration.

Maybe Siggy was right after all and a lot of it is psychological. Hard to say.

Angst said...

But what about the Gypsy Moths? Were they allowed to consummate before their ethnic cleansing?

Did their peni invert on the first inhalation of that oh so diabolically engineered, man made (even if it was applied by a distaff) poison?

k*thy said...

The guy doesn't sound deluded and pathetic, just depressed.

I loved the gypsy moth story. For a second, I'd have thought the same thing. Funny, and with the appropriate background music.

ElcubanitoKC said...

Hm, if it were up to me, he'd probably remain single for the rest of his life. I am bored to tears with him, what a loser.

Night2night said...

You never really know when reading someone's published musings how much is them and how much is their public pose. Does his penis really invert when he enters NJ?. who knows, or cares. Past the first few lines I turn the digital page. My unsolicited advice to the author: show some joyful passion for something other than a self-pitying monologue from a cross of your own making. You might even catch someone's eye.

kristinintexas said...

I imagined a world with no babies in which the human race eventually dies off. Bleak.

Has anyone read Children of Men by P. D. James?

SteveR said...

1. Being able to easily document (and distribute) the meandering thoughts of being a loser is neither a good thing for everyone else or a good way to stop being a loser.

2. The trend toward self fulfillment/self awareness doesn't make people desirable or easy to get along with in many cases.

3. If sex is your primary focus and means of identification then you probably need to separate your hormonally ravaged adult body from your childlike maturity level.

paul a'barge said...

Some gay guy in the Upper West Side of Manhattan isn't getting any, and ...

Night2night said...

Yes. Excellent story and movie. I sometimes think our myopic emotional consumption blinds us to the satisfaction of participating in the milleniums old dance of our biological imperative. For some, the desire to state "I am different and delightfully complicated, and I'll never be like my parents." trumps everything.

Scott said...

I think these piquantly fascinating slices of life could be adapted for the silver screen by some latter-day James Joyce. Perhaps one like Tom Stoppard.

No, really. I mean it.

Lem said...

Ha. Answer: Life isn't a movie. Imagine how different it would be if it was.

"That's part of your problem: you haven't seen enough movies. All of life's riddles are answered in the movies."

Grand Canyon (1991)

Paul Zrimsek said...

If life isn't a movie how come it's in 3-D, huh?

mrs whatsit said...

Why on earth does anybody care?

word verification: dulth -- the Dulth of this Diary beggars Description.

jamboree said...

No time to edit this little blogger box. Hope this makes sense.

Well, I know what he means. It's the old saw that no relationship is better than a bad relationship. A good relationship is different. Usually teens or early 20s don't know the difference.

When I was in junior high, I was envious of all the girls with their drama and boyfriends. I wanted drama and boyfriends. Then I got my first live-in bf in college and I had drama. I wasn't envious anymore. I absolutely HATED every single second - past the first 3 months or so.

My viriginal friend at the time did her part to destroy the relationship because she was jealous I had drama. She would create drama out of nothing to try and fit in. When she finally got her own relationship going, quite late in life, I remember calling her. They were fighting. But she had drama. She was proud. She had someone to fight with.

You can tell by the way people look. Sex gives the glow, but sometimes in the long run the much coupled look like crap and the more viriginal look younger. It all depends on how the relationships go.

Of course, from observation at this point, it all changes when everyone is older because most of the drama at a younger or middle age is about cheating and/or money, and pressure from kids. It's not the same late. The difficulty level is different.

One of my favorite bits on the state of marital bliss:

Chris Rock: http://tinyurl.com/n8y8ys

c3 said...

Anthony Hopkins is a sociopath in "The Remains of the Day"?

-exceedingly emotionally inhibited yes but sociopath?

Kirstin said...

He doesn't sound genuinely happy.

I read Children of Men. From what I understand, the book is much better than the movie.

Night2night said...

@jamboree: Without wanting to sound too snarky, what your describing sort of sounds like what salmon run you've been given (with you as the salmon).

ricpic said...

Any homo who can't find a partner is a homo who fears the hog, right Titus?

Lem said...

If life isn't a movie how come it's in 3-D, huh?

That explains my perpetual nausea ;)

halojones-fan said...

I think that "shrink from it like a penis reacting to New Jersey" needs to be part of the Althouse Canon and posted in every thread from now on.

William said...

I can understand why a straight guy would want to hide in his room and lick his wounds. The whole logistics thing involved in getting laid when you're straight is daunting. And it's not been made any easier by the nanny state banning the sale and possession of chloral hydrate despite the fact that this harmless drug causes no lasting neurological deficits. At any rate, this guy makes celibacy seem like a self indulgent vice.

LordSomber said...

He sounds like he would be just as much a loser even if he wasn't single.

Remains of the gay.

Scott said...

While reading this, I kept thinking, 'Ah ha! the anti-Titus!'...

Perhaps I need to get out more...

The book 'Children of Men' was FAR better than the movie, but both pale in comparison to 'Greybeard'

Palladian said...

"People sometimes say that the way things happen in the movies is unreal, but actually it's the way things happen to you in life that's unreal. The movies make emotions look so strong and real, whereas when things really do happen to you, it's like watching television — you don't feel anything."

Andy Warhol

Methadras said...

God, what a pathetic state of affairs this persons life is. Hey, maybe Titus can pay him a visit and show him his hog?

tim maguire said...

I think he's deluded. Before one can be made happy by a dearth of romantic relationships, one must first have a romantic relationship to be happily freed of.

Or not. Being single sucks just as much, just differently.

kristinintexas said...

P. D. James is great. I never saw the movie though.

Scott - I'll have to look that one up. Thanks!

David said...

Well, if he's really committed to being single, somebody better warn him not to start a blog and flirt with the commenters.

GMay said...

Let's see, gay card - check.

Self-indulgent - check.

Must comment on own non-profit work - check.

This guy seems like he's trying too hard to get a writing gig. Either that, or this is NY's newest effort to gauge reader reaction to a new writer.

cokaygne said...

Fiction. Does any guy refer to his organ as a "penis" in private?

Movies don't happen in real time. Sometimes decades are compressed into 90 minutes. Imagine if our political system were like the Jim Lehrer news broadcast. Would anyone vote?

Salamandyr said...

Waitaminute...this guy can't find a guy to have sex with?

MaggotAtBroad&Wall said...

I'm left wondering if his penis gets happy on the reverse commute from NJ to NY?

David said...

Guy can write. It has some energy.

There is an issue with descriptive clarity. What the hell is an inverted penis.

David said...

GMay said...

Self-indulgent - check.

Must comment on own non-profit work - check.


More like self absorbed. He's 27 and lives in NY. Gay or hetero, that's a pretty good profile for self-absorbtion.

But I took the comment on "non profit" as a gentle jab at his own stereotype. He's self absorbed, but part of his absorption is realization of his own ridiculousness. It's subtle, but it's there. I think that's one reason why his writing rises above the usual crap.

Trooper York said...

Holy Burt Ward Batman!

Titus has his own column.

Sweet.

Kurt said...

I was debating whether to make a comment about this ridiculous NYT series and thinking I didn't have anything to add when I noticed that my word verification word was "anented"--"anent" is a preposition from the middle english meaning "about" or "concerning," according to Miriam Webster Online. So "anented" would appear to be an apt description of this fellow's ridiculous self-absorption to me. Blogger just wanted to make sure I told you that.

Mind you, I haven't gone back to read the sort of stuff I was writing in my journal when I was a 27 year-old virgin, but I honestly don't think it was even remotely this pathetic or dull. Or at least it was dull in different ways. Some might say I was repressed, but often repression can be a good thing if it allows you to get other things done without worrying endlessly about your sexual identity or lack thereof.

Jocon307 said...

The Children of Men was a very enjoyable read. I only read the book, but it was the movie trailer that intrigued me.

P.D. James is quite a good writer.

And nobody does dystopia better than the Brits!