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December 2, 2023
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I Know I Wasn’t Supposed to Tell Hannibal Lecter About My Personal Life, but I’m Not Used to Men Being Such Good Listeners

O.K., I’ve got egg on my face. I’m aware that when I arrived at the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane, I was specifically instructed not to tell the cannibalistic serial killer Hannibal Lecter anything about my personal life, so that he wouldn’t be able to get inside my head and use it against me, coaxing me into reliving my worst traumas for his own sick satisfaction. I get that now.

But you have to understand, most guys I meet are straight-up terrible listeners. I’m, like, “I work for the F.B.I.” And they’re, like, “That’s nice, let me tell you about my vinyl collection.” And I’m, like, “I don’t care about your vinyl collection, dude. I work for the F.B.I.! I hunt down serial killers with my wits and my notepad and my gun.”

But I don’t think Dr. Lecter would ever steamroll me with vinyl talk. He’d consider it gauche. And I don’t think Dr. Lecter has ever seen a Martin Scorsese film, so he certainly wouldn’t be interested in giving me an unsolicited walk-through of the director’s career. I just don’t get that energy from him. Maybe, like, Verdi, or someone, but I don’t know if I’d mind that. Verdi seems interesting!

I’m not saying the guy’s without faults or anything, I’m just saying that when I casually mention that my father was murdered when I was ten, and Dr. Lecter slowly turns his face to look at me all creepy, and murmurs, “Tell me more about your childhood, Clarice,” part of me is a little freaked out, but another, bigger part of me is, like, “First of all, thank you!” So, yeah, I told him about the lambs. Most guys wouldn’t even bother to ask.

Here are some other areas in which Dr. Lecter has been more of a gentleman than the fuckboys I meet at the academy:

• He was standing when I walked into the room. (Chivalry isn’t dead!)
• He likes to draw. (Sensitive side!)
• When I had semen flicked at me by another insane criminal, I have to say, Dr. Lecter was a real ally. (#NotAllMen)

I know that I shouldn’t be giving Dr. Lecter so many points for his gentility and savoir-faire given that the first thing I learned about him was that he likes to murder people and eat their organs. But honestly, when I’m trying to tell my boss about a hunch I have for the Buffalo Bill case, and he’s, like, “That’s nice, let me tell you about my vinyl collection,” it’s almost as if he’s killing and eating the good vibes in the room, which is not illegal in the same way that actual cannibalism is, but maybe it should be?

So, here I am, having told Hannibal Lecter all about the lambs before he tore a guy’s face off and escaped from prison. He’s out there somewhere, in a white linen suit and a panama hat (which he pulls off, and not in a fedora-bro way). Is he currently murdering and eating people? You know, I don’t think that’s for me to say. But wherever he is, I am a hundred-per-cent certain that he’s nodding, smiling, maintaining eye contact, and asking follow-up questions at appropriate intervals to demonstrate his engagement.

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