Of course, I know I’m no Adonis: flabby in some places, bony in others, and gangly or ungainly throughout like a scarecrow built around a potbelly stove. I’ve got the pasty, translucent complexion only millennia of evolution in the damp Irish climate could perfect, and still blessed with bountiful harvests of acne well into my third decade even as time has brought most of my pizzaface compatriots of yore a measure of relief. Add to that the hunched posture common to Quasimodo and heavy computer users, and you’ve gone a long way to understanding why I’ve never had to live in a duplex.

But I’ve seen enough repulsive specimens of manhood strolling around campus with their hands in the pockets of someone with a good three to five points on them by the traditional metric scale to think that there must be more to it than that. My friends say it’s confidence, bravado, something you can fake until you make. But I’ve learned the hard way that it’s one thing to pretend you know what you’re doing when staring at a crowd of impressionable students and another entirely when you’re eying someone through the haze of a bad college party.

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