Today, we are excited to share with you Hayley Boyd’s magnificently unsettling “The Men.” Undiagnosable illness, a doctor not-so-subtly harassing her patient, a deep and unending longing for another’s touch. It’s all here in the incomparable “The Men.”
I practiced a steady gaze in public and at home I kept my hands busy and my eyes off my hands. One day I was staring down a man walking in my direction towards his car in the parking lot of an adult video store, the last one still open in the city. He had promising, unfriendly eyes and a halting, harried stride, like he was holding a lot inside that threatened leaking or bursting.
The doctor told me I needed to lose weight, but not too much weight, just a few grams at the base of the fingers, because my fingers were tapered if you were being generous, or you could say, like my doctor said, that they were like lumpy triangles, with the fleshy base and dainty red nails at the end. She is always going after me in this way. Next week it will be about my genitals, some cosmetic complaint plainly invented to vex the patient. When I got home (I still live at home, meaning with my dad, a big problem) I called Frank and he said never mind about that, tell me about your sex life. I tried to remember the last time I came, but all I could think about was my fingers and my genitals, their coming together doubly offensive. Actually, I said, I don’t do that anymore. Imagine someone else’s hands and genitals, he said, or better yet, use someone else’s hands and genitals.
He was onto something.