Brief Interviews With Hideous Men, A Wholly Indiscreet Experiment in the Manner of David Foster Wallace

To wit: DFW’s Brief Interviews With Hideous Men are included in a paperback collection of that name, interspersed among a dozen or so short stories of which your correspondent thoroughly recommends a good sit-down read. They – the fictional interviews – are presented in transcripts of conversations conducted with usually complexly contemptible male subjects.

Your narrator and evidently discreet host thought it apt to transcribe actual words that came out of six different men’s mouths during actual real life dates &c. Your narrator’s own side, if any, of the exchanges are presented merely as Q. and nothing else – your imagination, patience, and willingness to read the original ripped-off source material are wholly encouraged, nay vital. Also, it is excellent.

B.I. #01 03-10
Red Lion, Islington

‘And so I’ve had a couple of pints now and you’ll have to excuse me because I didn’t used to be such a lightweight. Really! No, it’s just when I moved down from Leeds, I – [the subject takes a sip of what your narrator knows to be light beer]I just walk everywhere and forget to eat. I fainted on a date the other night, actually. I walk because I need to get a sense of the city, you know? And it helps when I’m just thinking about a song or something, the poetry, the poetry of the song – it really comes a lot easier.’
Q.
‘Corinne Bailey Rae. Rhythm guitar. Oh yeah, really taking off, it really is. I mean, she hasn’t called me back since I got here but, you know, that’s probably like agents or whatever blocking her phone.’
Q.
‘Uh, selling broadband. Internet. But you know, rhythm guitar. Anyway, so I wanted to talk about you, because – ‘
Q.
‘Yes, about you. Ssssip! [subject #1 takes another loud sip of, again, light beer] Ahhh. I feel sorry for you. I really do. You’re sitting there with your half pint of beer probably trying to I don’t know, watch your weight or something, but it’s all pointless because no one will ever love you anyway.’
Q.
‘Stop interrupting me. See? So you’re here, you’re on this date which I think is going swimmingly but you do have a gob on you and I wish you’d be quiet for a second while I explain this. I think you’re actually quite beautiful, I really do, and that’s why I feel sorry for you. My aunt worked in a mental home all her life and she knows better than anyone else who’s likely to end up mad. This mental home was full of ex-models and beautiful women who never became models and this missed opportunity drove them insane, in the end, when they lost their looks and it was too late or their jobs started drying up and no one was interested in them. Their looks were gone. And of course while they still had their looks – sssip! – Ahhh… while they still had their looks of course no one wanted to talk to them or couldn’t, more to the point, because their appearance made everybody nervous. They thought they were too out of their league, these soon-to-be ex-models. So these women lived alone all their lives, totally lonely, had loads of cats and then eventually went mad and ended up in a mental home being looked after by my aunt.’
Q.
‘Well, obviously I’m not saying it’s definitely going to happen but it’s likely.’
Q.
‘Quavers.’

ANY CHARACTER HERE
ANY CHARACTER HERE

B.I. #02 06-11
Comic shop, Bloomsbury

‘Reasonably attractive, considering.’

ANY CHARACTER HERE
ANY CHARACTER HERE

B.I. #03 02-10
Soho

‘The gossip section of The Sun, Bizarre. Don’t pretend you don’t read it, darling. If you’ve got any scoops for me I can text them in right now.’
Q.
‘Well, I don’t make them up but that’s not to say they’re true. F’rinstance, you could tell me a story about the new Doctor Who and I’d believe you. Well maybe not the new Doctor Who, since I’ve met him. I’m mostly responsible for his entire outfit and character, actually. The bow-tie was totally my idea and he fucking loved it. We were there until like 4am just like, chatting, just me and him.’
Q.
‘A lock-in at the bar in Camden. He literally cornered me, would not let me leave, until I told him everything I knew about Doctor Who. [subject #3 laughs, audible sigh]’
Q.
‘I’ve never seen Karate Kid. What?’
Q.
‘No, why would you say that?’
Q.
‘Oh hardly. And it was your idea to meet in the theatre bar.’
Q.
‘[Laughter] Mmmph, meow. Maybe it was. But I assure you it’s not because I’m gay.’
Q.
‘Well for starters, I don’t like cock.’

ANY CHARACTER HERE
ANY CHARACTER HERE

B.I. #04 11-11
Islington

Q.
‘It’s a good job you’re pretty, because you’re horrendous.

ANY CHARACTER HERE
ANY CHARACTER HERE

B.I. #05 02-08
Oxford Street

‘Excuse me, are you Australian?’
Q.
‘You were at a talk I gave on the tourism industry. You work for QANTAS, yes?’
Q.
‘Yes you do. You were sitting down the front. Don’t you remember? You asked a question I couldn’t answer and made me look like an ass.’
Q.
‘Look, can I buy you a drink? I have an idea I want to run by you. I’m sure you work for QANTAS. Are you sure you don’t work for QANTAS?’
Q.
‘I want you to be my assistant and travel with me to Paris, Zurich, Tokyo, that sort of thing. You’ll have all your accommodation paid for and get £400 a week.’
Q.
‘Oh, uh, Travel Systems. You would have heard about us if you’d come to the talk today. But listen: we need to do something about how to dress and how you talk. It just won’t do for the position, you’re sending off the wrong vibes. I’m going to make you my own personal Eliza Dobson. I have no idea what your accent is. You don’t sound Australian after all, I think you’re lying.’
Q.
‘Doolittle, whatever. I think it’s entirely possible you may fall in love with me.’

ANY CHARACTER HERE
ANY CHARACTER HERE

B.I. #06 06-11
Stoke Newington

‘Well, you missed a treat. I totally shaved my balls.’
Q.
‘Like half an hour.’

[Part II]

This entry was posted in Essays. Bookmark the permalink.