David Sedaris is on the hunt for a specific type of shirt. “I’m old now and can’t wear anything too thin,” he explains to a store clerk. “It accentuates my man-breasts.”
Sedaris has led me to 45R, a Japanese boutique he first shopped at in Tokyo before discovering a stateside outpost here on Mercer Street in New York City. The front of the store smells like soothing incense, but toward the back there’s a statue of a naked child clutching a piece of fruit in one hand while throwing the other hand victoriously into the air. It’s just the kind of playfully bizarre decoration that Sedaris loves.
“Is your father still alive?” Sedaris asks the young clerk. Yes, the clerk says. He just turned 58.
“So he has breasts, doesn’t he?” asks the writer. The clerk nods and laughs.
When Sedaris, 61, shares intimate details of his life, he forges a bond with millions of readers and audience members, including now this clerk who busies himself finding a flattering shirt. In his early essay collections, Sedaris wrote about the homophobic speech therapy he was forced to endure as a child, his experimentation with drugs and his stint working as a Santaland elf at Macy’s. He recorded his unusual obsessions with taxidermied owls and foreign swear words. He always carries a notebook with him, and scribbles down observations that he later crafts into humorous stories. (He even tests out the notebook in various shirt pockets during our shopping trip to make sure it will fit.)
Sedaris has mined his past for eight memoirs’ worth of material, including a collection of old diary entries published last year under the title Theft by Finding. But in his newest essay collection, Calypso, out now, he looks to the present and the future. “Though there’s an industry built on telling you otherwise, there are few real joys to middle age,” the book begins. He has found some perks: he spent his 20s broke but now lives in the English countryside with his boyfriend Hugh, in a house with a guest room, the kind Sedaris fantasized about as a younger man.
The couple also recently purchased a cottage by the seaside in North Carolina and named it the Sea Section. Much of Calypso takes place in this new beach home. There, he and his siblings clash with their father over politics, and at one point Sedaris …
Source:: Time – Entertainment