Moronic Ox Literary Journal - Escape Media Publishers / Open Books
Moronic Ox Literary and Cultural Journal - Escape Media Publishers / Open Books                Advertise your book, CD, or cause in the 'Ox'
Novel Excerpts, Short Stories, Poetry, Multimedia, Current Affairs, Book Reviews, Photo Essays, Visual Arts                Submissions
New generation Kindle
is available in UK!

Buy your Kindle via this link
to help support Moronic Ox.
Professional Boyfriend
From the book
Curtain Call: A Metaphorical Memoir
Alan Ramon Clinton

I was out running the other day, in the colonies of apartments that surround many college campuses, when I realized it would be one of the last times I would enjoy running in the fading daylight of the time change.  It won't be long before I  have to work long hours that extend into the dark evening and sap my strength, so that I can possess the sort of home for which these colonies, with their cosmetic shutters and hollow columns, are communal simulations.  Still, I made a good run of it, in my brief stint as a professional boyfriend.  Now, what exactly is a professional boyfriend, you may ask.  Your very ignorance is a condemnation of society.
For hundreds of years, more or less formally, women have been taught skills that would allow them to function, even thrive, in a world that did not grant them traditional employment.  Most of these skills, whether they were playing the piano, French, or French lace, were centered around the idea of attracting members of the opposite sex who would provide them with a life of relative ease.  More ambitious women could even use their newfound solvency to pursue more creative ends, such as Gothic novels, virtually inconceivable in the mercantile world.  Though Virginia Woolf may not have formulated it quite in this manner, the key to truly utilizing a room of one's own is securing someone else's funds to maintain it.
Yet, until relatively recently, with the changes in the labor force brought on by WWII and the advent of feminism, these opportunities have not been available to men.  Men have been slow to realize that the popularization of the feminist movement holds as much potential benefit for them as for the female gender.  This is primarily due to their insistence on clinging to a mercantile definition of masculinity.  But in reality, the opportunities for alternative forms of male labor have never been greater.  It is with this state of things in mind that I have decided to write this ‘users manual’ to performing the role of the professional boyfriend, une mode d'emploi as the French call it.  My goal is that it will inspire the young men who, finding themselves in the shiftless state that often accompanies youth, would like to mobilize this shiftlessness towards profitable ends.


The first thing a professional boyfriend will need is plenty of time to operate.  Unlike traditional courtship rituals, which involve a coincidental (or surgical) resemblance to current film stars and the majority of time spent working towards an attractive economic profile, pro-boyism is more like producing a Hollywood film itself.  This means spending massive amounts of time and energy behind the scenes so as to create the illusion of a seamless, effortless reality.  The options for freeing up this space of time are, in this day and age, somewhat limited.  If you are independently wealthy, chances are you'll have no interest in this line of work and may in fact be pursued by a number of professional girlfriends.  So, though there may be other ways, I recommend graduate school, preferably in the humanities, as a way of setting aside sufficient time and funds to pursue pro-boyism.  Yes, it will take a little bit of money to pursue this line of work, but any profitable scheme requires an initial investment.
I was well set up to begin my base of operations.  Early May, I had just completed my coursework for the Ph.D. in Film Studies and was looking forward to a wide expanse of aimless searching for a dissertation topic.  This search was not made any easier by the director of Film Studies, who had somewhere along the line fallen in love with the European avant-garde and consequently had us all write essays composed of fragments, forcing us to completely change topic every half page or so.  A group of us who had taken his spring course were sitting in a local bar which has since been paved over to build a new Chamber of Commerce, apparently much larger and more functional (if less historic) than the one down the street.  But fear not, I think the bar's owner has purchased the old Chamber of Commerce in order to make a civic-themed nightclub.  My colleagues and I were discussing the alphabetic essays we had just turned in, which, as one may imagine, quickly degenerated into comparing notes as to what topics we had chosen for each letter.  What was your ‘C’?  What was his ‘R’?  Then, when all gazes were turned toward me, I realized that I might have forgotten ‘X’.  But I wasn't sure.  One would think that, X being a minor letter, completely forgetting it would be a rather minor infraction.  But in Professor Dorian's universe, it might be tantamount to a breach in the very fabric of The Rules of the Game, which happened to be his favorite film.  Would it cause him to, when reading my paper, scatter the proverbial chessboard?  The only way to probe the depths of these questions was to continue drinking Newcastle until I made a moat around the fortress of my chair and was escorted out of the building.
Two days later, the only conclusion I had come to was that I never wanted to drink again.  That did not mean, however, that I wasn't up for my Sunday ritual of lifting weights for two hours (including bench press sets of two-fifty) and concluding with ten McDonalds cheeseburgers.  My lifting partner and I are convinced that we are the sole reason that McDonalds put the ten cheeseburger cap on their original thirty-nine cent Sunday cheeseburgers.  We simply averted that Draconian measure by sending him inside for ten while I ordered my ten via the drive-thru.  Perhaps it was the tenth cheeseburger clouding my mind, fear of the dreams I would be subject to if I went to sleep immediately, or the vow of paginated silence I had taken with respect to my dissertation, but somehow I was convinced to attend an end of the year party at my lifting partner's house.  It was being thrown by his roommate "Moose" who, though he didn't attend college, enjoyed throwing parties.  I had never really liked Moose much, not because I have anything personally against people who weigh over four hundred pounds, but mainly due to his misplaced sense of militarism.  Once, going to pick up my partner for a lifting session, I made the mistake of opening the screen door to step inside and call his name.  Although Moose was sitting there on a couch (and two or three ottomans) watching a football game with the door wide open for ventilation, he turned to me and said, "I wouldn't open that door again without knocking.  There're guns in this house and nobody's afraid to use them."  While I was trying to formulate an answer concerning the accoustic difficulties of fist-against-screen, Jason rescued me by surfacing from the bowels of the compound.  My feelings about Moose, however, never improved.  Still, I agreed to attend the celebration if we stopped at my place so I could get my latest painting, which I would work on when things got boring.  Given the conversations that were going to occur between Jason's friends (the demolition of history by Walter Benjamin) and Moose's buddies (who they had to demolish in their bouncing jobs), I knew it probably wouldn't take long.


In addition to the time required to perfect the role, one needs a suitable place to debut as a professional boyfriend.  Since the first hallucinatory hours are critical, it is important that this debut occur at a place where large amounts of alcohol are served.  Think about the shadows and light of Hollywood's Classic era.  At one point in time, they mesmerized half of the American population on a weekly basis.  Since, today, we see in color and stock our houses with arsenals of portable ideology devices, it is critical to isolate someone's attention in a malleable state.  But not too malleable.  Harder drugs tend to be detrimental to romantic legerdemain because they, in their own wonder, ultimately exact the user's attention.


This latter word combines the space and time categories in the previous two topics.  An ‘event’ is a temporary intersection of time and space that grants it a certain mystical quality.  It is necessary for a pro-boy to debut at an event because the proper patron has most likely developed habitual patterns of observation in other places she attends regularly.  These patterns may prevent her from noticing how special you appear to be.  The event's anomalous status with respect to quotidian space-time also foregrounds, albeit unconsciously, the issue of waste.  Although most of us, having come to the conclusion that life itself is a waste, are content for our daily activities to ultimately be classified as a ‘waste of time’, the event is submitted to a more restrictive set of codes.  Presumably, since the patron has made a special effort to attend an event, which can be as simple as changing her weekly schedule, she will be dissatisfied if she leaves the event without obtaining something.  Don't let that something be a mere impression or experience.  That something, my friends, must ultimately be you.


Though I am not averse to red herrings, the previous reference to my latest painting was not a superfluous one.  There is simply no better way to attract the fascination of a patron than through art.  Having already given up on attracting the masses with the usual combination of looks and money, an artistic persona will be your new best friend.  A hundred years ago, adopting such a persona would have been next to impossible.  The sheer amount of talent required to break into any of the arts was so great, it required a fulltime effort to even be recognizable as an artist.  This, of course, would leave someone in the same boat (little spare time or energy) as the mercantile man, except broke.  With the advent of various modernisms that have permeated almost every medium, however, little talent at all is required to be recognized as an artist.  Instead, one's greatest assets are a certain incoherence and predilection for randomness.  This puts the unmotivated and shiftless in the driver's seat.
Still, I don't mean to imply that all arts are now equal, especially when it comes to attaining the gaze of the patron.  I find painting to be superior to the other arts in this regard, even if it appears an unlikely choice at first glance.  Mainly, I find the eyes of the bourgeoisie have absorbed visual incoherence more than any other kind.  Many who would recoil in disgust and/or boredom at atonal music or Dadaist poetry are easily beguiled by the work of Jackson Pollock or Robert Rauschenberg.  I have many theories as to why this may be, but they mostly boil down to the fact that painting (or the plastic art in general) is perhaps the only art form that does not incorporate the element of time.  Unlike music or literature, a painting is instantly absorbed within the gaze.  While one may or may not obtain a deeper level of understanding with more time spent gazing at the picture, there is no question of not having ‘taken it all in at a glance’ as it were.  This is why I paint, for the patron is not so much interested in what my art is, but merely that I have one which makes me intriguing, but not in an annoying way.  Thus, when I slipped away from the party on this particular Sunday, it was not with any idea of progressing from a less finished toward a more finished state, but simply in order to be caught in the act of painting.


After my patron caught me in the act, after we had talked and she decided that I was the Rocketman in this party's haystack, after our first fumbling attempts at the first kiss (which always must occur at the event itself, and not at some later date), there was one more thing left to seal the deal—the sacrifice.  If you think you can get by without this step, I advise you to check with Levi-Strauss and all the other structuralist philosophers.  I think you'll find that from the first volcano-tossed virgin to the latter day father who wastes his days working for his son's Sega system, the notions of sacrifice and of authenticity are inextricable.  This is not to say that one can't simulate a relatively painless sacrifice, and I wouldn't recommend anything less to a prospective pro-boy.  For reasons that will soon be obvious, I recommend jewelry.
A few months before I began my patron search, a metal spike was driven through my tongue.  But don't be alarmed, it was 100% sterile—at least that's what the sign said.  No doubt you have stumbled upon the seething underworld of linguistic weightlifters that wear barbells on their tongues.  This falsified return to a tribal past has its own symbolic benefits when it comes to your time of sacrifice.  But, the thematics of the pierced tongue extend far beyond the archetypal, for if you have chosen your patron wisely, she will be nonplussed by the presence of this hardware.  Before she has a chance to say anything, pretend to read the request in her eyes.  Step back, unscrew the barbell, and toss it across the street.  "Once, I pierced my tongue to remind me of the pain of human communication," you recite, "but now I have no more need of this symbol."  Those are the magic words that will seal your fate as a professional boyfriend.


For Godsakes, make sure your patron has money!  After all, you're not a real professional if you're not getting paid.  If you haven't done your research beforehand, and find out within a day or two that your chickadee isn't the cash cow you thought, by all means make a graceful exit, rent a metal detector, and get your linguistic barbell back.  Then, while having your hair cut, let the barbell soak in blue liquid for a while, put it back in your mouth, and start all over again.  Be prepared for this to happen once or twice, as it is hard to get a distinct impression of a patron's assets until you've seen where she lives, what she drives, and what she does for a living.  An ideal patron will be a recently graduated subaltern in the medical industry, live by herself with one or two pets, and have insurance money from her parents' unexpected and tragic double-suicide.


For somewhat obvious reasons, a double-suicide can be extremely valuable in securing the devotion of a patron.  Simply stated, the fewer people she has caring for her, the more she will want to take care of you—creating a surrogate family of her own even in the early stages of the relationship.  This can be especially valuable if you are running low on funds from two or three false starts.  Statistically speaking, there are one or two survivors of double-suicides per town.  If you become aware of more than two professional boyfriends in your area, I recommend relocating.  I think you'll find the benefits of working with the child of a double-suicide to far outweigh the costs and trouble of moving.


To keep your patron from feeling like a complete and tragic anomaly (and this is the mistake that others have made in the past—trying to bring a strength and stability in some parodic emotional charity) who can only express her love in terms of emotional neediness, you must reciprocate by alluding to emotional scarring that, if not equivalent to hers, is at least in the ballpark.  But here is the problem.  It is almost impossible to narrate something as good as a double-suicide, and if you do, the absurdity of the attempt will cause you to burst out laughing.  The trick, then, is to narrate through silence.  Answer all questions about your family as you normally would, perhaps even taking care to create a rosier picture than really exists.  This approach will teach your patron that you love to talk about your past as long as the news is pleasant.  But, when your patron asks about past love relationships, be as vague as possible.  Say you don't really like talking about it.  Practice blushing in the mirror.  These tactics will set your patron's wheels turning.  She may be the child of a double-suicide, but at least she can talk about it.  Your past attempts at love must have been even more horrible.  Maybe a girlfriend beat you mercilessly, or maybe you're just so sensitive and fragile that a single rejection sent you into hiding.  Whatever she comes up with, it will be something that makes her think you need her even more than she needs you.  And, in a way, you do.


I've gone on and on about the road to becoming a professional boyfriend, and I haven't said a thing about the rate of pay.  I have made some allusions as to the sort of assets you might expect from a patron, but said nothing as to how you will acquire them.  Well, if it isn't clear at this point that your rate of pay will not be regular, you just don't have what it takes to be a pro-boy, poor boy.  Unlike most jobs, where so-called fringe benefits truly do constitute the minority of one's remuneration, the professional boyfriend collects his entire salary as benefits.
Made properly aware of your fragile, passionate artistic state, the patron will soon begin to make her room and board available to you.  Happy to have you around for love, companionship, and dog walking, she will not begrudge you eating the food that usually goes bad in her fridge anyway.  Key to expanding upon these benefits (such as being asked to move in permanently, having her take you on vacations, and not being pressured to obtain more orthodox employment) is once again based on your art work.  You must develop many projects in various media—as a sign of your seething genius—but you are allowed to finish nothing.  The effect you are going for is that of a shattered genius that, with a little nurturing from the patron, will suddenly burst into fruition.  Thus, you must show promise, but not enough to justify an immediate reprieve from your state of helplessness.


Although the primary virtues of pro-boyism center around minimal personal effort, the one thing you can not shirk on is your affectionate companionship.  The ability to adore the patron (at least when she is around) is a professional boyfriend's bread and butter.  It's what separates him from more legitimate, and consequently less attentive, suitors.  Yet, this adoration is most easily achieved—and here is where the ephemeral nature of the professional boyfriend is revealed—by erasing one's memories of the machinations that have resulted in your position and actually falling in love with the patron.  This is also the point where, to paraphrase Dickens, all your troubles begin.  While in this semi-conscious state, record the time, date, and nature of everything you do.  Every note, every flower, every caress.  This information will be invaluable if and when you fall out of the initial delirium, guiding you as to the type and frequencies of the attentions that gain the most favorable responses.      


As the relationship with your patron progresses, she will probably want to consummate it by hopping on the nearest U-boat and taking a trip with you.  This is because, with sexual intercourse being such a staple in the early stages of a relationship, it is generally assumed that you can best get to know someone by isolating yourself with him or her in a completely foreign culture.  Perhaps, without the viable possibility of ‘renting’ children for months at a time, the vacation takes on the role of a boot camp for the nuclear family. Regardless of the unconscious symbolism involved, you are likely to respond favorably to this suggestion, as one soon becomes bored with producing unfinished works of art.  But it is important to keep up your guard.  A vacation is the last time you will want to slack off on your pro-boy readiness.
The main problem you will encounter on your first trip will be reconciling your different attitudes toward uncertainty, for you two won't be participating in any readymade vacation.  No, romance requires adventure, and adventure always involves discomfort.  This won't be anything new to you.  As a creative young man with no will to do anything useful, you are no doubt used to life in hostile environments.  But do your best to make your look of sangfroid seem like the silent face of fear.  It may be all right to wander randomly through Kiev and see what there is to see, laughing at all the women whose nipples show through newly liberated, bra-less shirts, but you'll look like a HUAC Communist if you suggest it.  Whether you like it or not, you'll have to sit on cobblestone steps with a map of the city, slowly convert Cyrillic letters into Roman ones, check with the phonetic dictionary, and decide whether this is a landmark worth trying to find.  Always appear more disoriented than your patron. 


The world is out to get your patron.  If she is crowded on the only couch of the club because she has drunkenly sprained her ankle, someone next to her will begin to unknowingly flick his ashes on her dress. If the world were not out to get your patron, she would politely tell the guy to please be more careful.  As it stands, however, she might as well go ahead and pour her glass of water on him.  As part of the conspiracy, the guy is a friend of the owner of the club, who is with the Cuban mafia.  This means that several bouncers will toss your patron, sprained ankle and all, into the street.  Don't try to defend her by fighting half a dozen Cubans in the street.  Don't toss garbage cans into the street in front of the club.  You're liable to get arrested, or killed.  The world is out to get your patron, and the only thing you can do is listen.


Even though your patron may say otherwise, it is important that you look good.  Throughout history, outer beauty has been equated with inner virtue, and our time is no different.  If you have put off removing your wisdom teeth too long, your patron will view it as a moral deficiency.  If you're a bit overweight, do some sit ups.  If you've got a problem with your nose, then get some work done.  They don't call it rhinoplasty for nothing.


At times, given your wealth of duties, you may feel like a bird living behind glass at a nursing home.  You jump from limb to limb with no other purpose than to look pretty for the blind residents.  If a young woman comes in to visit her grandfather, and she looks so much more exotic than your hardworking patron, should you sing like Patsy Cline and have her break the glass with one piercing glance?  This will be an option more often than you might realize, for in preparing yourself to be the one and only for your patron, you have made yourself an icon to many.  So yes, you can fly through the shattering, but the nursing home staff feeds you every day.


Ivy is the counterpart to the Hutch.  It corresponds not to a woman from your future, but to someone trailing from your past.  While one ultimately has no control over revenants, and some have said they are the last line of defense against the amorality of pro-boyism, there are things you can do to minimize their numbers.  For instance, if you have a quick separation from a potential patron, don't be so Junior High as to start interviewing her companions.  This latter move is known as pro-boy incest, and its ramifications extend far beyond the superficial horrors of genetics.  The other major sources of deadly rhizomes are old friends and family who have a strange desire to, in a misguided sense of good will, reveal unexpected tidbits of your past in order to vouchsafe your value to the patron.  This sort of information is doubly dangerous, what I call ‘poison ivy’.  First of all, the revelation almost always breaches the vow of silence you have taken with respect to past relationships.
Secondly, you have no idea exactly what has been revealed, and so information that does not immediately contradict things you have already said may sit, invisibly, waiting for you.  It is almost as if what remains of your conscience is secretly transmitting distress signals directly to your patron.  You must, at all costs, maintain control over your personal information, although the only defense against the poison ivy effect is thorough coaching of your prospective visitors.  Tell them several times, with grave looks, that you really care about your patron and don't want to scare her off with knowledge of your past.  Your friends and family will not be able to remember exactly what you're talking about—which is nothing—and will therefore completely revert to meaningless pleasantries for fear of saying anything that might remotely hint at your relationship's time-bomb.


You may have wandered underneath the magical redwoods, sipped Bailey's and coffee on a second-story patio while watching the mist of the Golden Gate Bridge, taken photos of sea-lions, walked the curviest street in America, played Mister Rogers on the trolley cars, and walked down the Haight all the way into the ocean, but you have not yet visited Alcatraz.  As you wander the streets of Chinatown, searching each and every vendor for the right shade of jade, don't think there is any shortening of your sentence.  Suggestions that each vendor seems to have the same selection—or that you have seen better offerings on the Internet—are only requests for the death penalty.  You must proceed, day by day—take a picture of her next to that amour fou dog—confident in the knowledge that every city has its own character, and every part of town has a treasure waiting for you if you only have the persistence to discover it.

Kyrie Eleison

Having been forced to endure Catholic school (after the double-suicide) during her youth, your patron has decided that a similar inoculation is the best way to keep her future children from becoming religious fanatics.
Besides, the basic moral guidelines of Christianity are generally good for everyone, despite the religion's history of segregation and violent public relations.  Get over your feelings that you don't want to live in a world where moral values can only be injected through a religious needle.  You're going to have to come to terms with the fact that, despite what your patron says and thinks, she still believes in God.  This whole notion of childhood inoculation is a subconscious insurance policy.  But really, it's not that bad.  You wouldn't want your patron to be an existentialist for real.  If she were, she would see right through you in a heartbeat.  


There is a card that can open any door, but you can only use it once: "There was this literature professor who, in the 1950s, wanted to meet Samuel Beckett.  He was traveling to Paris soon, but there was only one problem.
Beckett had not answered his mail in two years.  Still, the professor knew there must be a way.  Putting his literary knowledge to work, he decided he could find the answer to the problem by reading a hardboiled detective novel set in Paris.  Somewhere over the Atlantic, he came across his solution.  Apparently, there was a mail system that ran through the Parisian sewers itself.  Your letter was placed in a waterproof tube, sent off on its merry way, and picked up somewhere down the line by a runner.  The boy was then required to take the letter to its destination, knock on the door, and wait for a signed response.  The young professor, knowing that such novels are more realistic than reality itself, decided to give it a try.  He had an appointment with Beckett the very next day.  And baby, I wish there were some secret way to get to you, to make you answer my pleas for forgiveness.  Until then, I'll be lurking in the used-book shops all over the Eastern seaboard, looking for the hardboiled fiction that has a map through the sewers of your heart.  When I find it, there will be a two-foot stack of letters there just like on Beckett's own desk.  When I ask why you stopped answering them, you both will say, 'I just got behind, and at some point the stack became too daunting to approach—but I am pleased to meet you.'"


When you are out with your patron and her friends, always remember that you are an underling.  This means that you cannot be more attractive than the players on the field, of whom your patron is the quarterback.  Look presentable, be pleasant, but be careful not to dazzle or intimidate anyone.  At the end of the evening these friends will remember you as something of a dud.  Consequently, they are more likely to attribute your appeal to some inner qualities that are expressed only when you are alone with your patron.  Simultaneously frustrated and tantalized by the mystery, they are all the more likely to comment on what a great guy you are to the patron, hoping for some elaboration which will solve the mystery for them.  When the patron says, "I know," but really doesn't, the looks of pride and envy will tell you that you've scored on two fronts at once.  Now hurry up and get their drinks—you weren't supposed to hear that.  


You simply cannot keep in touch with former patrons.  If you failed with someone, resist the urge to keep accosting her, i.e. searching for the flaws in your approach.  Whatever the method of contact—letter, e-mail, phone—it is traceable.  You may get away with it the first time, but once you've fed this backward looking obsession, you won't be able to stop.  And you'll get less careful.  When you get caught, the end result is always the same: a hasty attempt to repair the relationship in a peach-colored hotel.  You'll register with the best of intentions, but the flickering bulb in the hallway and gray dead trees the city hasn't gotten around to removing, these are undeniable markers of hopelessness.  It will be the longest forty-eight hours of your life.


No matter what happens in your sojourn as a Professional Boyfriend, you'll be able to look at the whole experience as an amazing trip.  Even when your patron called a good friend of yours and told her she should find another prick to tease, you watched her do it with a certain curiosity not unlike feelings Camus's stranger entertained concerning the difference between a real gallows and the ones he'd always imagined.  And, when she told all her friends how you'd never make a proper father because your actions were so unpredictable, or because you'd never make a decent living doing the things you do, it made you feel a little more edgy, even avant-garde, without lifting a finger.  The time she showed up at your house in the middle of the night, shaking and bawling like her very organs were melting: you try not to think about that very much.

Quonset Hut

Your patron's sleeping habits are prefabricated, readymade, and inoperable.  You may perform all kinds of unspeakable acts on the bed, but when it comes to nodding off to sleep, the sheet cannot have a single crumb on it.  This means that no matter how comfortable you are, or how cold the room may be, you will have to awake from your doze, completely clear the bed except for the bottom sheet, and help shake it like an elementary school P.E. class trying to keep tennis balls on a parachute.  There is one pillow, named ‘Little Pillow’, that you must never touch, lest your blockish head permanently disfigure it.  So, when wandering in for an innocent afternoon nap, you must maintain enough presence of mind to check all four pillows, weighing them in your hands, round-robin style, like the scales of justice.  Finally, you must be flexible enough to sleep in between the patron's animals, which can weigh up to one hundred forty pounds each (replacement humans) and always gather on ‘your’ side of the bed.  This is the most permanent sacrifice one can make as a professional boyfriend.  I've seen pro-boys who've been retired for years, twisted on a completely empty bed like a gerrymandered electoral district, making room for phantom animals.


Our Patron Saint is Cain, who led a far more blessed life than Abel.  Think how much more regular he was consuming vegetables rather than veal.  And, since vegetables feel no pain, they did not scream when cut from the stock or desecrated in prophesies of Onan.  The same cannot be said for Abel's lambs.  So Cain performed a violent, jealous act when his offerings were rejected.  At least he did not violate the bleating thousands.


If the sustained effort of preparing a face to meet the patron has left you with chronic exhaustion, and this feeling has resulted in vague fears of your entire life being exhausted, it is best not to share these things with your patron.  Despite its metaphorical allure, you have probably not contracted blood poisoning, which will soon spread to your brain.  You probably haven't contracted encephalitis or Lyme's disease from contact with insects either.  Going water-skiing with a hangnail has not resulted in a deadly form of spinal meningitis.  Your stiff neck is exactly that, probably resulting from the strange sleeping positions resorted to in order to keep the animals happy.  No, you probably don't have any of these things, and until you have cold hard proof that you do, it's best to keep your mouth shut. 

Yom Kippur

Don't give your patron flowers as a form of apology for having a fight.  This habit reveals what you don't want your patron to know, that buying flowers does not result from some spontaneous romantic impulse to express the beauty of your love for her.  But, of course, you must somehow achieve the appearance of spontaneity.
This is one situation when I can recommend the avant-garde without hesitation, as spontaneity and randomness look exactly alike to an uninformed observer.  Perhaps, in the mode of John Cage, you could toss the I-Ching for flower days.


Are the Polish Beatles as good as the original Beatles?  The answer to this question can never be known and thus, Auguste Comte would say, is of no interest to Positivist philosophy.  Similarly, I think the ultimate moral ramifications of pro-boyism are indeterminate.  While I'm sure that most people would find the idea of such a profession abhorrent, I will not counter this feeling by attempting to levy a response based on moral systems, which are of no interest to me.  While I am extremely happy (and perhaps even nostalgic) with my brief career as a professional boyfriend, whether or not others attempt a similar lifestyle will not really affect me one way or the other.  I have done nothing other than delineate a mode of life as it could be lived.  In turn, it is the duty of the reader not to decide whether this mode is acceptable to an abstract tribunal of some sort, but only to decide whether the guidelines herein may be of practical individual use.

Now available from
Open Books
Curtain Call:
A Metaphorical Memoir
Alan Ramon Clinton
About the author...
Alan Ramón Clinton currently lectures at Santa Clara University in California and is the author of a scholarly monograph, Mechanical Occult: Automatism, Modernism, and the Specter of Politics (Peter Lang: 2004) and a volume of poetry, Horatio Alger’s Keys (BlazeVox: 2008). This fall he will appear as guest editor for a volume of 2nd Ave Poetry entitled New Poetics of Magic.Click here to add text.