In this new collection of fiction, a porn star turns up pouring cocktails in a small town’s only gay bar, as the queens gape and gossip and the local auto mechanic lures the bartender into elaborate rituals of tough love and rough sex. Two old friends take turns telling the tale. But what is it really about-the bartender and the mechanic and their parody of a classic porn storyline…or the very nature of gay friendship? A fearful nerd takes home a black bodybuilder for a date that spirals dangerously out of control even as the nerd seems to do everything he can to stimulate the danger. A big blond cop and a sophisticated journalist move in together: handsome, sexy, hungry…and straight. As time passes, they become trapped in each other’s emotional lives in a symbiotic friendship, symbolized in a model train set they are building. The cop grows intense and possessive till, one night, on the edge of violence, the two men must confront the nature of their relationship. These are three of the drivelines in Ethan Mordden’s The Passionate Attention of an Interesting Man, all of new and not available elsewhere. The collection includes a new Buddies story, using Dennis Savage, Bud, Cosgrove, and more of Mordden’s familiar characters, in a look at a romantic-lead actor caught between playing the man in charge and actually being the man under siege. Ethan Mordden’s work has appeared in The New Yorker, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal. Mordden’s non-fiction includes books on New York cultural history, opera, Hollywood, and Broadway, including a six-volume history of the American musical. He lives in New York.