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A Guy's Moleskine Notebook

Thoughts and reflections on works of fiction and literature. Pondering of life through pictures and words. Babbling about gay rights. Travelogues and anecdotes.

  • [1] Annie Proulx: Brokeback Mountain
  • [2] Arthur Golden: Memoirs of a Geisha
  • [3] Yu Hua: To Live
  • [4] Alan Hollinghurst: The Line of Beauty
  • [5] Colm Toibin: The Master
  • [6] Carlos Ruiz Zafon: The Shadow of the Wind
  • [7] William James: The Varieties of Religious Experience
  • [8] Charles Higham: The Civilization of Angkor
  • [9] Graham Greene: A Burnt-Out Case
  • [10] Dai Sijie: Mr. Muo's Travelling Couch
  • [11] Alan Hollinghurst: The Swimming-Pool Library
  • [12] Mikhail Bulgakov: The Master and Margarita
  • [13] Colm Toibin: The Blackwater Lightship
  • [14] Alan Hollinghurst: The Folding Star
  • [15] Ross King: Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling
  • [16] Fyodor Dostoevsky: The Brothers Karamazov
  • [17] Jonathan Franzen: The Corrections
  • [18] Colm Toibin: The Story of the Night
  • [19] John Banville: Shroud
  • [20] Leo Tolstoy: Resurrection
  • [21] Peter Hessler: River Town, Two Years on the Yangtze
  • [22] Ian McEwan: The Atonement
  • [24] Gabriel Garcia Marquez: Love in the Time of Cholera
  • [25] Ignacio Padilla: Shadow without a Name
  • [26] Umberto Eco: The Name of the Rose
  • [27] Richard Russo: Straight Man
  • [28] Fyodor Dostoevsky: Notes from Underground
  • [29] Alan Hollinghurst: The Spell
  • [30] Hermann Broch: The Death of Virgil
  • [31] James Baldwin: Giovanni's Room
  • [32] Ken Kesey: One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest
  • [33] Xingjian Gao: One Man's Bible
  • [34] C. Jay Cox: Latter Days
  • [35] Harper Lee: To Kill A Mockingbird
  • [36] William Shakespeare: The Taming of the Shrew
  • [37] Daniel A. Helminiak: What The Bible Really Says about Homosexuality
  • [38] James Baldwin: Tell Me How Long the Train's Been Gone
  • [39] Kenji Yoshino: Covering - The Hidden Assault of Civil Rights
  • [40] Italo Calvino: If, On a Winter's Night A Traveler
  • [41] Arthur Phillips: The Egyptologist
  • [42] George Orwell: 1984
  • [43] Michael Warner: The Trouble with Normal: Sex, Politics, and Ethics of Queer Life
  • [44] Andrew Sullivan: Virtually Normal
  • [45] Henry James: The Wings of the Dove
  • [46] Jose Saramago: Blindness
  • [47] Umberto Eco: The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana
  • [48] Dan Brown: Da Vinci Code
  • [49] Kazuo Ishiguro: Never Let Me Go
  • [50] Ken Follett: The Pillars of Earth
  • [51] Leo Tolstoy: War and Peace
  • [52] Michael Thomas Ford: Alec Baldwin Doesn't Like Me
  • [53] Jonathan Franzen: How To Be Alone
  • [54] Jonathan Lethem: The Fortress of Solitude
  • [55] Matthew Pearl: The Dante Club
  • [56] Zadie Smith: White Teeth
  • [57] Fyodor Dostoevsky: The Double
  • [58] Jose Saramago: The Double
  • [59] Andrew Holleran: Dancer from the Dance
  • [60] Heinrich von Kleist: The Marquise of O & Other Stories
  • [61] Andrew Holleran: In September, the Light Changes
  • [62] Tom Perrotta: Little Children
  • July 29, 2006


    Perils of Dating

    I'm feeling lazy today so this won't be too much of a post. After finishing a couple books required of my students for class, I can also take a break from Penguin Classics-type of books and take up a couple of light reads. I am reading Alec Baldwin Doesn't Love Me by Michael Thomas Ford, a collection of essays drawn from queer life. His addiction to home-making Martha Stewart-way and his frenzied pursuit of Alec Baldwin's furry chest crrr-a-c-k-s me up. (Confession: Alec Baldwin and furry chest were what caught my attention of the book at first!) Then one particular essay titled the Perils of Dating hits me. Here is an excerpt:

    Nor does it help that I'm completely oblivious when someone is interested. I do not know when I am being cruised. I think men who smile at me knowingly are looking at something amusing behind me. I once had a man I was intensely fascinated with kiss me for a full three minutes on a crowded New York street in front of a whole phalanx of firefighters battling a restaurant grease-fire inferno. Afterward, I politely said good night, went home alone, and wondered for days if he liked me. It never occurred to me that sticking his tongue down my throat before an audience of toasting diners might be a clue. I thought he was just being nice. By the time I figured it out, months later, he'd moved on to someone [else]. p.79

    It hits me not because it touches on the recent wound from my past relationship. In fact I don't even think about myself in this situation. The writing makes me feel for the people who are afraid to give their heart, afraid to be vulnerable with his feelings, and afraid to commit in a relationship. I can put this guy whom I had seen on and off for 10 months last year (yes, old drama) in MTF's shoe. I find it very interesting (sad and heart-breaking, if I've read this article three months ago when I still thought he was the only gay male human being on the face of this earth) that the guy shares striking similarities with the dater in the excerpt--he is always cordial and polite, he is disarmingly down-to-earth, he always says good night to me, and he thanks me for giving him a kiss!

    For whatever the reason he cannot reciprocate the love to me I no longer care--over it. I'm happy that I can break away from this relationship woe, which has lingered for months to an extent so pathetic that I would rivet at my cellphone and hope that he would at least call to say hello. If he didn't get a tincture of an idea that I was very interested in him, maybe that was not meant to be--blame it on the wrong timing. I just hated it that no sooner I had got over him than he called me, imploringly.

    But I never returned the call.

    July 30 Update: Sunday Sing-a-long


    Blogger John said...

    Hmmm, I think your "lazy" posts are as memorable as your not lazy posts.


    7/29/2006 10:02 PM  
    Blogger matty said...

    Um, this is a great post!

    I feel sorry for the poor guy you left standing infront of the blazing building. I wonder how he must have felt after you let him kiss you and you then walked away leaving him all alone.

    I'm glad you didn't return that guy's call, by the way.

    How goes it with this new fella you've been dating?!?!?

    7/30/2006 12:45 AM  
    Blogger Jef said...

    I never knew when someone liked me. I once went to dinner with a guy I had been in a play with, and had no idea he liked me until he kissed me unexpectantly. Unfortunately, we were having dinner in a restaurant, and he leaned in just as I was bringing the fork to my mouth. After that night, he avoided me. I guess he was embarrassed about it.

    In a way, I like to know if someone likes me because it helps me prepare mentally for all the things that I wouldn't normally worry about that I could suddenly obsess over.

    7/31/2006 6:48 AM  
    Blogger Matt said...

    Thanks John. It makes my day whenever people enjoy reading my ramblings. :)

    We both wish to take things slowly since we were just out of relationship. I really like him and bask in the thoughts of him from time to time. A couple tender moments I had with him occupy me. Am I being too much?

    You can't be *that* clueless! :) But I completely agree with you about being assured about someone's interest in me. That way I'll be at least mentally prepared what to expect.

    7/31/2006 12:06 PM  
    Blogger Robert said...

    Sounds like things with you and your man are going wonderfully. Yay! I think if one keeps a fun and positive attitude, dating can be a lot of fun.... and only if one starts to expect - something, then things can get a little messy. :-)

    Happy Monday Matt!

    7/31/2006 2:34 PM  
    Blogger matty said...

    I think it sounds like you're doing just fine! see ya tonight!

    7/31/2006 3:04 PM  
    Blogger mingerspice said...

    I recently ended a was-this-a-relationship-? with someone who was pretty self-aware of his own inability to accept and return affection/love, but self-awareness just don't cut it. I want change! I'm not blaming him, it's just a realization I had during our time together.

    As a long-time student, it's tempting to assume that just becoming aware of something is achievement enough. Not so.

    I'm not mister totally-open-about-my-feelings either. Like many of us, I'm working on it.

    7/31/2006 11:03 PM  
    Blogger Carmi said...

    I think we each move through life at a speed that makes sense to us. Sometimes, we simply need to mull something over, turn it every which way in our mind, let it settle in, before we're comfortable moving forward.

    I'm like that, too. I'm an observer, a thinker, a passive soul who only gets on the dance floor long after the first dancers have left.

    8/01/2006 7:08 PM  
    Blogger Matt said...

    As usual, very elegant and thoughtful prose Carmi.

    I am a slow, almost too meticulous, conscious dancer in life too. After the past relationship, I cannot help putting up a watchful eye--afraid of being stepped on.

    It's better to get on a dance floor late than never getting on it right?

    8/02/2006 7:28 AM  

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