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Written Up with Paul: Date Yourself

Editor’s Note: Paul Rowley ’16 will be joining The Hub as a columnist this year, aside from his regular contributions as a staff writer. Below is the first installment of “Written Up with Paul.”

I wish my Okcupid profile and biography read something like this:

About me: Hi! My name is Paul, and I’m a twenty year old college English major in Boston. Thanks for checking this out. I love to read and play Xbox. Spicy food is my favorite: buffalo chicken pizza is bae. My astrological sign is Aries, and although I don’t have much stock in the zodiac, I think it’s interesting.

I try to keep mildly active and was a practicing vegetarian some years ago. As a result my body has changed shapes a lot and today I think about my midsection like how you measure tides. I’m leanest in the morning but by midday I’ve filled back in, and if you ask I’ll tell you that my abs have gone out to sea. I don’t know if it’s the way I stand but my lower back arches more than I think it should. This design flaw is offset by my flat feet, which my father glowingly once described as the flattest feet he had ever seen. He rigidly believes I would never pass an army inspection in the event I ever decided to join, like I would be restricted from entering the state of California since I’m not built to possibly withstand an earthquake.

On longer days, my mind goes blank mid-conversation. Irritated, I stumble over words trying to find my way along, a quirk that family members have decided best not to acknowledge like the gaps in my teeth. (I wish I could say it’s their fault my teeth are so crooked, since they refused my adolescent pleas for braces to correct my deformity.) On these nights we sit at the table while I try to intercept more of these booby trapped thoughts. Meanwhile, my mother rolls on with another frightening story from her work.

It was she and my younger brother who I revealed my gayness to, in the car on the way to Walgreens for school supplies. (It felt like parody of the 127 Hours movie: in the most conventional place on Earth I was hacking a piece of myself away. James Franco did not make an appearance.) The summer before college was immediately overseen by a very different kind of orientation than the one I had been invited to join, but both felt equally impending and optimistic. I’ve been extremely fortunate to have received my family’s brand of support and also frequently ungrateful.

I spend my afternoons and nights seated at desks with my ankles locked together like boxcars towed behind a freight train, but my other habits and qualities aren’t quite as endearing. I bite my nails! Viciously, I do. I’m very impulsive and occasionally thoughtless of others. (I will, however, never be considerate of obnoxious couples in love because you all make me sick and a little jealous. PDA is more of a nuisance than smoking ever was on campus.) I’ve been accused of insincerity and being a phony (how Holden Caulfield-esque of me) and to a certain extent it’s true. My benevolence is inconsistent, limited and easily frustrated, much like it is throughout my species – I’ll never be a Sister of Notre Dame. Draw your own conclusions about the authenticity of others.

I’m private and an impersonal roommate. I don’t pause to censor myself when I should. I screen the world for unfamiliar consonants and fresh, high-grade vocabulary as discriminating as the TSA in your city’s airport to set myself apart. Like Nicki Minaj says in Super Bass, “he never fly coach,” and even though I’m more Greyhound bus than pirate ship, someday I will stop trying so hard to mack them dudes up. Not everyone needs to like me.

Paul Rowley ’16 is a staff writer and columnist for The Hub. Follow him on twitter @almanacalism.

Posted by on September 15, 2014. Filed under Opinions & Editorials,Written Up with Paul. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.