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Dear Ms. Beasley,

One of my higher-ups alerted me to your valedictory XX Files column in yesterday’s Washington Post Magazine. Imagine my surprise to discover that it was all about me!

Surprise and chagrin, to be honest. Because your column paints a horrifying picture of post-college male decadence, including but not limited to 1.) gluttony 2.) a dependency on beer and 3.) suggestively redacted Tenacious D lyrics.

The backstory, for the eavesdroppers: last summer, I was out on the town with a number of visiting friends (also recovering college a cappella types). On our way to the Russia House, a female companion begged us to sing a thing or two; we obliged with a swingin’ Jimmy Reed medley. Drawn to our unusual music, unknown women appeared on a balcony, offering beer and pie in exchange for ascent and song.

Free pie? We accepted.

What ensued was no more—I thought at the time—than a few nice songs and some light banter. Little did I know that we’d left an indelible impression on the lady of the house. Who, over a year later, would use the evening to bolster a coming-of-age narrative in the paper of record!

Now, I understand the nature of a column—you have to take your audience from point A to point B, creating symmetry and closure that may not have inhered in the events in question. So I thank you for calling us “college Romeos in shaggy haircuts” even as I forgive you for bemoaning the “salacious, operatic note[s]” of “Fuck Her Gently,” which we sang with no shortage of grace or obscenity for you and your charming guests. So you employ a sly, extended Shakespearean analogy in which—over the course of two songs!—a rapt, girlish Juliet becomes a stiff, scolding Lady Capulet. Which, you know, good for you—but it does makes us sound like scallawags.

What you must understand, Sandra—may I call you Sandra?—is that I was a different man back then. Hell, the scene in question went down last June (2008—the year of the rat, remember?), which is why I was initially puzzled at its inclusion in a September, 2009 column. I’m 24 now, Sandra*, and I’m trying to think ahead. No more beer pong parties. Time to buy two sets of guest towels. Maybe vacate that air mattress on my buddy’s floor.

So, apologies for the gross indecency. But thanks for the pie.

Yours immaculately,

Ted Scheinman

*As of two days ago, but who’s counting?