The Kind of Man

Christmas, 2007 / No. 19

What’s he like?

Hard to describe.


He has a face.


With eyes in it. Nose, mouth, brows; all positioned correctly.

What else?

Skin. The customary organs, limbs, and appendages. He drives a car sometimes.

But what’s he about? What’s he really all about? Really?



Well, I guess you could say he’s the kind of man who knows a lot about art, but doesn’t know what he likes.


The kind who would dance on your grave, but in a good way.

Would you say he’s the kind of man who would buzz you five or six times a day just to say “onomatopoeia”?

I would say he’s the kind who could make the tow-truck driver lie down with the organic-pillow salesman.

Can he cook?

He can cook.


Grilled apple.

Is he the kind of man who would sleep on the fire escape in the middle of the summer in the middle of the fire?

Yes. The kind whose toes range from large to small. The kind of man who would shave again and again for years and years, and then one day, just stop. The kind who would trade life’s little luxuries for life’s big ones.

He sounds like the kind of man who would attract the kind of woman who would spin at a spin class and then drink a foamy coffee.

No. But he’s the kind, for sure, to raise ire, eyebrow, and skirt.

Is he the kind of man who would massage your fiction, and then request a fondle?

Let’s just say he’s the kind who used to be good at things, and is now very good at things. The kind who likes to smell the smell of Elmer’s glue. The kind who would dig deep into the pumpkin with both hands. The kind, of whom it is said: “There goes the man with the smile that launched thirteen hundred other smiles—twelve hundred and eleven of them genuine.”

Is he clean?

He is clean. Except for the mouth.

Will he give you a trinket?

He will not give you a trinket.

Is he the kind of man who would look in three directions at the four-way stop?

No. But he’s the kind who could make a molehill out of a mountebank. The kind who would allow the tuba to play play play him. The kind who would take a shining to a magpie, or forget entirely about East Anglia.

I don’t suppose he’s the kind of man who has an outer child, but believes it to be inner?

He’s the kind who would perform a Gesamtkunstwerk in the neighbour’s garage, with the blessing of the neighbour while the neighbour was in Florida.

Would he jump out of an aircraft?

He would not jump out of an aircraft. But he would eat soft cheeses, unpasteurized, from Quebec.

Would he call his dog: Rufus, Dylan, Octavio, or Snuffy?

He would not have a dog. He would not call it Shadow.

Elyse Friedman lives near Allenby. She is the author of two novels, Then Again (Random House, 1999) and Waking Beauty (Three Rivers, 2004), and the poetry collection Know Your Monkey (ECW, 2003). Her most recent book is the collection Long Story Short (Anansi, 2007). Her story “Lost Kitten,” from Taddle Creek’s Christmas, 2005, issue, was nominated for a National Magazine Award. Last updated Christmas, 2007.