Friday, March 25, 2016


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.

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