EXCLUSIVE

The tricks list

19 minutes

On the examined sex life: a meticulous chronicle of desire and self-knowledge

Deftly crafted, frank and frequently funny, The Tricks List by the US director Brian Bolster chronicles some of the myriad sexual encounters of a gay New York City-based professional. Obsessed with list-keeping, the man keeps track of all the countries he has visited, all the Shakespeare productions he has seen, all the books people have recommend to him – and every sexual partner he has ever had. Now middle-aged, his tally is nearing 800 across a list that spans a notebook, many Post-its and a BlackBerry file, which is where he continues to add new entries. Thumbing through the list, he recounts several highlights, including a daredevilish rendezvous hanging out of a high Empire State Building window, and an unusual hook-up with a recovering sex addict. But the list is not merely about exploits or raunchy anecdotes: citing Socrates’s dictum that the unexamined life is not worth living, the man explains that memorialising each partner through his list brings dignity to his sexual proclivities. Offering an unexpected, personal perspective on our data-obsessed times, Bolster’s film is a warm-hearted portrait of a life lived without compromise, with a surprisingly touching, universal message at its centre.

Director: Brian Bolster

Executive Producer: Thomas Harrington

Editor: Anthony Sherin

Get Aeon straight
to your inbox
Join our newsletter Sign up
Follow us on
Facebook
Like

‘Aeon is what readers and writers dream about. It is wide in scope, without ever being shallow. It offers stimulating issues, yet never seeking to be tantalising.

Publishing at its best. I love it.’

Professor Luciano Floridi, University of Oxford

‘Aeon is hands down my favourite publication to write for. Deadlines long enough to do the work justice, the best editorial input I’ve encountered and compensation which is respectful of writers’ time.’

Antonia Malchik, essayist and editor

‘I read one article and decided that I wanted to support an organisation that promotes critical thinking around ideas that affect our everyday lives.’

John T, Canada, Friend of Aeon

‘I believe it’s increasingly important to support accessible scholarship and aspirational ideas.

Thinking people can no longer afford to be alone.’

Christine T, USA, Friend of Aeon

‘Aeon, for me, continues to be one of the best places to spend a quiet afternoon, in the company of some of the most brilliant minds around.’

Shivam C, India, Friend of Aeon

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge. Our mission is to create a sanctuary online for serious thinking.
But we can’t do it without you.

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview.
But we can’t do it without you.

Essay/
Mood & Emotion
The myth of ‘mad’ genius

The Romantic stereotype that creativity is enhanced by a mood disorder is dangerous, and dissolves under careful scrutiny

Christa L Taylor

Essay/
Cognition & Intelligence
Gesture talks

Across vast cultural divides people can understand one another through gesture. Does that make it a universal language?

Kensy Cooperrider