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The Art of Faking It: David Foster Wallace

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Photo: Barbara Kruger’s exhibition at L&M Arts, via This Isn’t Happiness

David Foster Wallace, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men (1999):

“Sweetie, we need to talk. We’ve needed to for a while. I have I mean. I feel like. Can you sit?”

[…]

“Well, I’d rather almost anything, but I care about you, and I’d rather anything than you getting hurt. That concerns me a lot, believe me.”

[…]

“Because I care. Because I love you. Enough to really be honest.”

[…]

“That sometimes I worry you’re going to get hurt. And that you don’t deserve it. To get hurt I mean.”

[…]

“Because, to be honest, my record is not good. Almost every intimate relationship I get into with women seems to end up with them getting hurt, somehow. To be honest, sometimes I worry I might be one of those guys who uses people, women. I worry about it somet—no, damn it, I’m going to be honest with you because I care about you and you deserve it. Sweetie, my relationship record indicates a guy who’s bad news. And more and more now lately I’ve been afraid that you’re going to get hurt, that I might hurt you the way I seem to have hurt others who—”

[…]

“That I have a history, a pattern so to speak, of, for instance, coming on very fast and hard in the beginning of a relationship and pursuing very hard and very intensely and wooing very intensely and being head over heels in love right from the very start, of saying I Love You very early on in the relationship, of starting to talk future-tense right from the outset, of having nothing be too much to say or do to show how much I care, which all of course has the effect, naturally of seeming to make them truly believe I really am in love—which I am—which then, I think, seems to make them feel loved enough and so to speak safe enough to start letting them say I Love You back and acknowledging that they’re in love with me, too. And it’s not—let me stress this because it’s the God’s honest truth—it’s not that I don’t mean it when I say it.”

[…]

“Well, it’s not as if how many them I’ve said it to isn’t an understandable question or concern but if it’s alright it’s just that it’s not what I’m trying to talk to you about, so if it’s alright I want to hold off on things like numbers or names and try to just be totally honest with you about what my concerns are, because I care. I care about you a lot, sweetie. A whole lot. I know it’s insecure, but it’s very important to me that you believe this and hang on to it all through our talk here, that what I’m saying or what I’m afraid I might do to in any way end up hurting you doesn’t in any way lessen or mean that I don’t care or that I have not meant it absolutely every time I’ve told you I love you. Every time. I hope you believe that. You deserve to. Plus it’s true.”

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