Welcome to Scribd. Sign in or start your free trial to enjoy unlimited e-books, audiobooks & documents.Find out more
Standard view
Full view
of .
Look up keyword
Like this
0 of .
Results for:
No results containing your search query
P. 1
The Handsome Man

The Handsome Man

|Views: 129|Likes:
Published by joshuamalbin
If one wanted to be uncharitable to me, one might suggest that I made up an extreme version of a type who annoys me, and then made him suffer.
If one wanted to be uncharitable to me, one might suggest that I made up an extreme version of a type who annoys me, and then made him suffer.

More info:

Published by: joshuamalbin on Jan 08, 2010
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved


Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as RTF, PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less





Joshua MalbinThe Handsome ManThe handsome man took stock of his life on his thirtieth birthday and, while he’d been successful in his career and assembled a wide circle of friends, he was dissatisfied.He’d made it all the way to this age without ever sustaining a romantic relationship for longer than a few weeks—a month and a half at most—and he was lonely.He knew his problem: he was a compulsive talker. When a silence between him andanother person reached a few seconds, he began to feel uncomfortable. It was like an itchin his brain that got worse and worse until, before the 10-second mark, he could stand itno longer and spoke.This presented no social barrier on most occasions. People liked having him at parties, in fact. He chatted with everyone. And he did all right on first and even seconddates, when a constant flow of conversation was expected. But after a few dates mostwomen wanted him to be able to sit quietly sometimes without filling the air with chatter.After sex, for example. He was incapable of it.There was also the fact that like anyone, he had only a limited store of interestingthings to talk about on any given day, and once he ran through those he was reduced to banalities. So that the more time a woman spent alone with him, the duller he seemed. Now and then he’d meet an unusually extroverted, ebullient woman and she’d hangon longer. That was how he’d gotten to six weeks a couple of times. Eventually, though,even those women wanted to have the big talk about where their relationship was going,and without deep, meaningful pauses to signify reflection, he couldn’t seem to make1
them believe he took them seriously.He didn’t know what had made him that way. His mother, father, and two sisterswere all laconic, and while they loved him and tolerated him, they had no insight to offer on the subject either.He made a thirtieth birthday resolution to do something about it, and decided to trytherapy. But when he went, the therapist kept asking him, “What would happen if youstayed quiet? What are you afraid would happen?” He tried to explain that he wasn’tafraid of anything, sitting in silence just made him itchy. The therapist said that theremust be
fear lurking behind that itch, and they spent six months trying to uncover it.Finally the therapist declared he didn’t believe there were making any progress: all thehandsome man did in their sessions was babble. He still believed the handsome man wasusing his logorrhea to mask some other, deeper problem, but unless the handsome manwas willing to dig into what that might be and do much more serious work thanheretofore, he thought they were wasting each other’s time.Since the handsome man thought the therapist’s premise was all wrong—hislogorrhea, as the therapist called it, was itself the problem, not a mask for something else —he declined to do the much more serious work and left therapy.He went then to a psychiatrist, who said he supposed his compulsion could be an oddform of anxiety disorder and tried a few anxiolytics on him, one after another. Theydidn’t work.
Joshua MalbinAt last he visited a hypnotist.“I can’t fix it,” the hypnotist told him, “but I can overpower it. I can make it so thatevery time you want to talk, you have to stop and repeat in your head what you’re aboutto say. That way at least you have a filter, so the first dumb thing that pops into your mind doesn’t immediately come out your mouth.”The handsome man sat in a comfortable, deep leather armchair while the hypnotistsat in another armchair and spoke to him soothingly. The first couple of sessions nothingseemed to happen and he felt rather silly, but the hypnotist told him it took as much work on his part to be hypnotized as it did the hypnotist’s to put him under. It was onlynormal, the hypnotist said, for him to need several tries before he learned to reach asuggestible state.The third time he did seem to fall into hypnotic sleep for a little while. He began asnormal, trying to follow the hypnotist’s instructions and focus all his attention on the card printed with concentric circles that he’d been given to hold, and muscles he’d never  before sensed began to relax: along his perineum, around his eyes, down the tops of hisshins, and inside his throat, two inches below his jaw. The hypnotist’s words driftedthrough him; he heard them but they held no meaning. Some time later he became awareof his weight sinking into the chair’s padding and the hypnotist counting down from tento pull him back from his trance.After that it got easier and easier, and soon he was going under within minutes. He began to notice the change in himself. It wasn’t pleasant. He had the same itch to speak whenever a silence persisted too long, only now he couldn’t scratch it. He’d be about tosay something and first hear it echo inside him, inevitably sounding foolish.3

Activity (3)

You've already reviewed this. Edit your review.
1 thousand reads
1 hundred reads
FakehaN liked this

You're Reading a Free Preview

/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->