INTIMACY IDIOT by Isaac Oliver


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A gay writer reflects on his life as a single man on the prowl for sex and connection in New York City.

Oliver first moved to the city to attend college. But it wasn’t until after he graduated that he “started hooking up” with the colorful strangers he describes in this offbeat collection of wickedly humorous essays, sketches, and poems about urban life and love. Intimacy typically came in the form of one-night stands with men he found on Internet websites like Manhunt or mobile apps like “Grindr, Scruff, and Tindr.” The men—like the married lawyer from Connecticut, the “Broadway understudy under whom [he] studied for a night,” or the Australian flight attendant with a fetish for dressing up as a dolphin—were as unique as they were transient. When Oliver wasn’t scoring dates or sexting with men online or handing out his telephone number to the “bartenders, waiters and merchandise managers at Broadway musicals,” he was busy fantasizing about hot men on the subway. Hit-and-run as his relationships were, Oliver did occasionally think about marriage. Yet when he or his sex partners tried to communicate a desire for closeness, neither side could respond with complete acceptance. When the author tried to kiss a neighborhood hookup, the man “pulled away [and] smiled politely.” When a hockey player began calling Oliver out of loneliness and despair over being diagnosed with Huntington’s disease, Oliver could only listen and offer no comfort. Only after a sexless encounter with another gay writer at an artists’ colony in New Hampshire did the author finally find an unacknowledged mirror for himself and his actions. The writer had plenty of opportunities for sex but not “plenty of people to confide in, people to feel close to”—just like Oliver himself, who was caught in the ceaselessly carnival-esque flow of big-city life.

In-your-face funny but with surprisingly moving moments.

Pub Date: June 2nd, 2015
ISBN: 978-1-4767-4666-1
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Scribner
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 2015


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