Rosso Fiorentino, “Portrait of Giovinetto," c. 1528
If Diaghilev had seen him, he might have thrown Nijinsky over, overnight. Two years out of beauty school, long copper hair woven in a thick French braid, shampooing the clients out and wiping off stray bits of dye with a washcloth, just the way a cat licks her kittens clean. His name? “Adam.” He told me how much he liked wearing his hair long. I see, I said, my gaze skimming from his flattened aquiline nose to celadon eyes—Asiatic, feline, an ensorcelled prince from a forgotten Russian fairy- tale. To explain away my inability to look away, I should have said I was an artist; he reminded me of Fiorentino’s “Giovinetto.” But my discomfort at stopping, trying not to stare, wasn’t his. His slight smile back took my look at face value, for what it was: an homage, a clumsy worship of male grace.