Michael Cunningham (q.v.), in his Mrs. Dalloway manqué By Nightfall (pp. 200–201):

Peter and Mizzy sit side by side on the sofa. Mizzy puts a comradely arm around Peter’s shoulders.

“Hey,” he says.

“Love that movie,” Peter says.

“Do you love me?”


“Just nod, then.”

Peter hesitates, nods.

Mizzy whispers, “You’re a beautiful dude.”

A beautiful dude? What kind of word is dude for a boy like Mizzy to be using?

Answer: It’s a young word, it’s a young-man word, and for a moment Peter can see how they’d be together – teasing, knowing, fractious in a (mostly) good-natured way, a wised-up and roughhousing pair out of some romantic and implausible ancient Greece. Mizzy is heedless, unashamed about declaring his love on his sister’s sofa. Could they be happy together? It’s not out of the question.

Peter says, softly, “I am not a dude.”

“OK, you’re just beautiful.”

Peter is, to his embarrassment, happy to be told he’s beautiful.

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2011.01.05 14:41. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:

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