A cynical columnist needs to rediscover what’s the true worth of his column – and his life
Alex Palmer writes the “Dear Alex” Agony Uncle column for Meant for Men – a magazine aimed at gay men’s life and issues. What started as a genuine and ground-breaking feature has become a snark fest, due to Alex’s boredom and personal cynicism. His respect for the correspondents has dwindled away in direct relation to his own self-respect as a journalist.
He no longer believes in his readers’ search for a soulmate, or in his own column’s headline: “Is He Really the One?” In the early days, Robbie Cooke was Alex’s co-presenter on the magazine. They’d been lovers, too. But unlike Alex, Robbie still sees the anguish and need behind the letters they receive. He wants to help the writers, rather than turn their situations into journalistic entertainment. He and Alex may still have to work together, but their fundamental disagreement on how to run the column tore them apart as romantic partners.
Excess drinking and a succession of casual lovers is wearing Alex out, yet he’s in denial. He’s convinced he doesn’t need “Dear Alex” to set him straight about what’s wrong with his life. But when he’s alerted to the fact that Robbie may be in danger, he realises that what he’s really missing is his ex-lover’s care, compassion and love. The problem is, by the time Alex is desperate to make amends, Robbie may have already moved on.