Get a Head of Steam for Your Self-Esteem

by Sam Lipsyte


Write a note of affirmation with a good fountain pen and thick creamy paper and put it in your purse, wallet or lunch, or else simply text the message. The example below is one I use for myself, but you may use it as a model, substituting details as needed.

Dear Me,

Look, man, I don’t know how to say this any other way: I love you. I love everything about you, from your bald head and soft hairy breasts to those leathery patches inside your flabby thighs to the horned yellow nails that curl from your toes like the brittle claws of some fat, emphysemic dragon. Some people dig other kinds of bodies, but I guess you’re just my type. Still, I must confess, my worship of your physique is just a minor aspect of my total love for you, and total love is not a concept I take lightly. I believe in it the way General Ludendorff believed in Total War. That is, totally. So, I may crave a gander at those wavelets of black fur beneath your shoulder blades as you (or we) turn in the mirror after a shower, but those shiny back locks aren’t the sole source of my adoration. It’s everything, everything you think and feel and say, from the vaguest itch or grunt to the exquisitely textured and utterly unfounded attacks you launch at your friends in their absence, or the clever ruses you concoct to avoid spending time with your family. My love extends also to the things you never quite say, the erections that never quite reach their apogee, the character actor whose name won’t make the leap from the tip of your tongue. I love your ill-informed political opinions, your incessant moral waffling. What was that wonderful thing you said the other day about the situation in the Middle East? Something about how there won’t be peace until…oh, I can’t remember it now. I’m too drunk.  But I do recall that it was very witty! More witty than anything our best friend V______ has ever managed to say in his whole miserable goddamned life, no matter his affectations, his sad grasps for power and influence in our edge city’s salons. Not to mention profoundly true. Really, though, it’s all the small ways we’ve shared our lives together that make me love you the most. I cherish the thousands of hours we’ve spent snacking in the kitchen, or rubbing ourselves in a straight-backed chair, or how, reclining on the sofa, watching television, all digestive inhibitions banished, neither of us feels the need to talk (unlike some people with whom we share our life). You really are my best friend, and we are going to get laid very soon, I promise.

So screw everybody, and have a fantastic day, my sweet. You deserve it.

Love, Me