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  • It’s Me. It’s Him. It’s Them.
  • Diana Joseph (bio)

It may just be me.

I worry that my friend Andrew Boyle is a pervert even if he doesn't hang fuzzy dice from the rearview mirror of a sleekly black Pontiac Trans Am. Andrew doesn't own a Trans Am or a customized van all decked out with zebra skin rug, waterbed, and a sign that reads "If You See This Van A'Rockin' / Don't Come A'Knockin'." He doesn't linger in front of the Kwik-Trip where the troubled high school girls—the pukers, the cutters, the partiers, the sluts—like to hang out smoking cigarettes and drinking Diet Cokes after school. He doesn't unbutton his polyester shirt all the way down to his snakeskin belt. Andrew Boyle fusses over his appearance, he is always fashionably dressed, he purchases his clothes on eBay, designer brands so expensive I've never even heard of them. He doesn't wear polyester shirts. Andrew Boyle wouldn't be caught dead in polyester. Nor does he wear shiny shoes, like the ones the sleazy teacher at your school wore so he could stand close to a cheerleader and sneak peeks up her skirt in the reflection of his shoe. Though he lists Lolita as one of his favorite novels, Andrew does not leer at schoolyard nymphets, nor does he say light of my life, fire of my loins or hey little girl, do you want some candy? or I'm gonna make a big star out of you except, maybe, as a joke, something he might drunkenly say to a beautiful woman of appropriate age with the hope that she will model for him.

When I was first getting to know Andrew, I didn't think I would like him because he seemed arrogant and show-offy. And it would turn out that I was right: Andrew Boyle is arrogant and show-offy, but he is also witty and well read, environmentally conscious and politically aware, a person with whom you can have a smart and interesting conversation about Raymond Carver's short stories or Robert Altman's films or the Canadian [End Page 1] rock band Rush or Peter Singer's argument against speciesism. When I like Andrew Boyle, I like him a lot. He can be easily amused, easily entertained, his laugh is nice to hear.

A vegetarian except during Thanksgiving dinner, Andrew takes good care of himself. He doesn't smoke cigarettes or marijuana, he doesn't chew tobacco or gum or drink cheap domestic beer. He drinks grenache/shiraz/mourverde, vintage 2001. I've never heard of it, but he says it tastes like PBJ without the bread or the peanut butter. He doesn't mind when I call him a snob. He doesn't take offense.

He doesn't have a pierced ear or wear a gold medallion on a gold chain. He does have a gold watch that his parents gave him as a graduation present, an expensive gold watch from a fine watchmaker, but because gold jewelry is tacky, he doesn't wear it. When he thinks about his parents giving him this gift of a watch that he'll probably never wear, he feels guilty.

At some angles, Andrew is very handsome; at others, he's sort of funny-looking. Gawky. Geeky. He can look hip and cool and urbane, or he can also look like what he is: a dorky high school valedictorian who spent many a Friday night playing Dungeons and Dragons and secretly wishes he still did.

His undergraduate degrees are in math and music. He has a PhD in art history from a prestigious European university. Andrew can affect the world-weary, snobby, snotty, fashionably androgynous attitude of someone who's spent some time hobnobbing in Europe. A friend of mine, upon first meeting him, was surprised to learn that Andrew is not gay. "Of course he is," she said. "He's completely gay. He's totally gay." And when I told her no, he's just serious about the time he spent hobnobbing in Europe, she insisted, "That guy is so gay."

Lots of...


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