32 Nashville, United States
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My self-summary
A FRIEND, BACK IN MONTREAL: Are you seeing anyone?
ME: No.
HER: You should be. Why not?
ME: Oh, I don't know. I'm not meeting as many cute nerds now that I'm not in school.
HER: I can see how that would be your type.
ME: If nothing else, it's my constituency.
HER: You should try the Internet.
ME: I don't know about that.
HER: You don't think there are nerds on the Internet?

* * *

That was a few years ago. I joined up, went on good dates and interesting bad dates, romanced some lovely nerds, made a couple of dear friends, and became the type of person who will sometimes, out in public, turn to the person he's hanging out with and whisper: "That's someone from Internet dating!"

Then I moved to Nashville, to do a Ph.D. in English. I'm in school again, but I'm an old man now and 98% of everyone else there is the cast of Gossip Girl, except they're too young to know what Gossip Girl is. My classmates are terrific, but it's a small program; I like my professors a lot, but they're my professors. Otherwise I don't know many people here.

Nashvillians, I would like to know more of you.
What I’m doing with my life
Reading and writing, taking classes, teaching classes, futzing around the city in an exploratory way, staying up, sleeping in, bicycling cautiously and wishing for better public transit.
The first things people usually notice about me
At a distance: the sheer quantity of dork on these two legs.

Up close: this beard's beardly majesty, the brownness of these eyes.
Favorite books, movies, shows, music, and food

Madame Bovary, Middlemarch, Kafka's stories, all of Joyce and Woolf, The Big Sleep, At Swim-Two-Birds, Pnin, Hope Against Hope, The Ponder Heart, Paterson, The Earl of Louisiana, Lucky Jim, Mumbo Jumbo, The White Album, Stoner, Edwin Mullhouse, Lucinella, From the Fifteenth District and Home Truths, all of Alice Munro, Small World, The Counterlife, Lydia Davis's stories, All Souls and Dark Back of Time, Never Let Me Go, the Patrick Melrose novels, The Line of Beauty, Fun Home, Home Land, George Sprott, Skippy Dies, Pulphead, How Should a Person Be?, The Atlas of Remote Islands. Poetry books by Emily Dickinson, WB Yeats, Mina Loy, Marianne Moore, Wallace Stevens, Frank O'Hara, Philip Larkin, Elizabeth Bishop, Ken Koch. Books of essays by Walter Benjamin, Woolf, Joan Didion, Guy Davenport, Stanley Cavell, Eliot Weinberger, Geoff Dyer, Rebecca Solnit. Gossipy books about pop music and electoral politics. David Thomson's Biographical Dictionary of Film for the bathroom.


The Marx Brothers in their glory, Bringing Up Baby and The Philadelphia Story, Rules of the Game, His Girl Friday, all of Preston Sturges, The Third Man, The Night of the Hunter, A Christmas Carol with Alastair Sim (though I also like Bill Murray and the Muppets), Nights of Cabiria, all of Truffaut (except the ones nobody likes), A Hard Day's Night, Chimes at Midnight, The Young Girls of Rochefort, Portrait of Jason, Killer of Sheep, Stop Making Sense, Sherman's March, Flirting, Heavenly Creatures, The Big Lebowski and A Serious Man, Rushmore and Moonrise Kingdom, anything by Guy Maddin, Wonder Boys, Grizzly Man, Superbad, Sugar, Mutual Appreciation, Museum Hours.


The Simpsons in its salad days, Newsradio, Fry and Laurie as Jeeves and Wooster, Twitch City, The West Wing, Freaks and Geeks, Undeclared, Arrested Development, The Wire, 30 Rock, Parks and Rec, Community, Bored to Death, Bob's Burgers, Louie, Girls, The Chris Gethard Show, Last Week Tonight, Broad City, Steven Universe.

And also: As It Happens, This American Life, Fresh Air, The Great Eastern, WTF, The Savage Lovecast, Serial, and Mystery Show.


Stranger, I made you a mix:


I didn't know anything about collard greens before I moved here. Now there isn't anything I don't want to know about collard greens.
The six things I could never do without
For which, I think it goes without saying, read: "Six things I like to keep around."

1. My murse, Murse Cunningham, containing:

2. at least one good book,

3. at least one reliable pen (or, lately, one of those Czech mechanical pencils with the thick lead),

4. a not-too-expensive notebook (if the notebook costs too much, I won't want to befoul it with what my high school principal once described as the very worst handwriting in Eastern Canada),

5. yes, yes, my phone that has e-mail,

and, not in a germophobic way, or only in a very mildly germophobic way, 6. one of those little things of hand sanitizer.
I spend a lot of time thinking about
I'm going to use this section to complain about, and clarify my entries in, the "My Details" box:

First, there's no option to list my body type as "fat." The choices given are "a little extra," "overweight," "curvy," and "full figured." I try to maintain a not-overdoing-it, young-Orson-Welles style of fatness, but to describe my weight as "a little extra" would be a laughable abuse of the ambiguity in "little." "Overweight" is too negative and clinical. It connotes self-pity, sham liquid diets, sweat clothes stained with frosting and tears. And while I think it's important for cis/straight men to subvert gender norms, I will not be doing that today by describing myself as "curvy." The same goes for "full figured." I've left the field blank.

Second, the "Religion" field should include a "lapsed Catholic" option. I don't believe in God, and I've said so, but public declarations of atheism seem to me inseparable from a confrontational pose I'm not interested in striking. Also, doctrinally speaking, once you've been baptised, only the church can say you're not a Catholic.

Third, under "Income," read: "I do okay."
On a typical Friday night I am
doing something fun deep into the small hours. Often that thing is reading, but not always.
You should message me if
- You're serious and funny.
- Growing up, you identified intensely with Lisa Simpson, Elizabeth Bennett, Rory Gilmore, or Harriet the Spy.
- You're somebody's feminist cool big sister. (Or you would make a good one.)
- You like your masculinity with a side order of effete weirdness.
- You have ever, as one of my favourite Internet dates, now one of my best friends, once did, Googled to see whether Zach Galifinakis has a girlfriend.
- You see something of yourself in this video: or this one: or this one:
- Your historical reenactment group needs a Herman Melville or a Henry VIII.
- The fancy takes you.