One in 2000: Isaac Constantine

Don’t revert to sexual vulgarity unless we’re really lagging.

Sex sells, Isaac, I want more readers for this column. Okay, tell me about your time in India.

It was a crazy place. What left the deepest impression on me, regarding India, was the feeling of being conspicuous all the time, being very noticeable and looked at with a bunch of preconceptions based on your skin color. The assumption that you’re either from Europe or the United States.

Which happens to be true 90 percent of the time.

Yes. And I think I have natural tendencies to be oversensitive of, um, public approval to begin with.

So what was your interest in going to India?

I went without any real concept of why I wanted to go. It was my third choice. I wanted to go to Tibet, and then Nepal, because I thought those two were naturally more . . . exotic.

Exotic, you say? Could you be a little less Heart of Darkness, please?

Oh, well by exotic I just mean obscure by virtue of my ignorance of world geography.

Free Tibet seems to be a very popular humanitarian cause these days, are you on that bandwagon?

I definitely lean in that direction, but the more I hear about it, the more complicated it seems. I think many nations in the world would be hypocrites to take Tibet away from China. You know, we’re not giving entire states back to the Native Americans.

Here’s a question: in China, which is a very large country, when it is 8 a.m. in the westernmost part, what time is it on the easternmost part?

It’s the same time.

That is correct! How did you know that? Most people don’t know that.

I’m not sure where I heard that, but I thought it was quite humorous. It seems a lot of the eastern countries are engaging in this time game with one another. For instance, I visited Nepal after I was in India and I discovered there is a fifteen-minute time difference. I guess it’s just their way of making clear that they are separate from India. I think Canada plays a similar role to the United States. There are certain tensions. . .


Right, there’s a certain bitterness. Canadians have many stereotypes about Americans and vice versa.

Like they all ride moose to school.

I haven’t heard that one, but I could imagine.

Changing gears, I hear that you are an avid fan of Broadway musicals.

It’s definitely a repressed indulgence of mine.

If you could star in any musical, who would you be?

That’s a tough one. I think I would be Mr. Mephistopheles in Cats. Mistofeles. That, or the caboose in Starlight Express.

I hate Cats with a passion unmatched. It’s kind of funny because you definitely do not give off a theatrical vibe.

Well, like spirituality for many people, passion for musicals is kind of an internal comfort. A sanctuary in the privacy of your own being. So when you meet that special person you can walk down Route 2 singing a Broadway tune.

Is there a special person in your life, Mr. Isaac?

There’s this cute Chinese boy with glasses. . .

Ho ho! You just turned that question around on me! Okay, I will not ask you about your marathon freaky sex habits. We’ll come back to it later. You have a younger sibling on campus?

That’s right, my dear sister Sarah.

Do you feel she has some kind of Constantine standard of excellence to live up to?

Well, she will have to work very hard to do as poorly as I did my freshman year.

Word is she has a thing for Asian guys. Myself being half-Chinese, would this therefore give me half a chance with your sister?

It would probably be 60-40. You look pretty Chinese.

Great! Do you have any pets at home?

I have a 13-year old sister named Elizabeth. She goes into chatrooms. She talks to her friends online. That’s her raison d’etre.

Would you say 70, 80 or 90 percent of the people she’s met in chatrooms are actually creepy middle-aged men?

I would say somewhere between 85 and 86 percent.

Could you compose an impromptu poem right now? An ode, say, to a bottle of massage oil?

“Dripping from the ethereal fingers of the night,

The undulating oil seeks to rediscover its sanctuary: The bottle from which it was spawned.

Les etoiles

Bon chance”

That’s in memory of Proust.

Ah. Okay, let’s up the stakes. Tell me about where you go shop for pants.

Some of my favorite boutiques in NYC are Rubber Soul on Astor Place, Canal Jeans, and a place called Yellow Rat Bastard. I know of that place because a friend worked there for six hours.

Which brings me to the recent 40s ban on campus, along with beer pong. How does this make you feel?

I think it’s a ridiculous rule, and I don’t think people will follow it. The school will not be able to enforce it.

Would you be in support of a “Bring a 40 to Class Day” in protest of the legislation?


What are some of your favorite books?

I loved A Hundred Years of Solitude. I also read the complete stories of Flannery O’Connor.

Didn’t she write, “A Hard Man is Good to Find?”

Yes, she did.

What are you going to do when you graduate?

I would like to be a writer, and I probably want a Ph.D. somewhere down the road, but I don’t know yet.

Doesn’t Iowa have the best writing program in the country? They also have the fattest people in the country per capita. Do you think there is some correlation between writing well and eating a lot?

I don’t know, but I’ll have to try it.

Okay, it’s time for free association. Osteoporosis.

Old women. Wait, that’s more than one word.

I’ll hyphenate it. Fruit.

Of the Loom.


Stick. Tick.



Okay, that’s enough. Maybe you could give a little advice to the freshmen to wrap up.

I learned it wasn’t a good idea to wake up at four in the afternoon. And it’s a bad thing if your professors don’t know your face by the final examination.

Okay, hypothetically: your mother calls you on the phone and tells you that you have two new little brothers. After rushing home, you discover that your “two new little brothers” are actually pigeons your mother has been raising so that she can later eat them in a stew. How do you react?

I would try to be as supportive as possible.

Where is the strangest place you’ve ever had sex?

The bathroom stall in East 3.

How on earth?

I was confused.

To wrap up, the ladies want to know, what is it that sparks your interest in the opposite sex?

I like anyone who’s nice. Wink wink.

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