mercredi 7 novembre 2012

The Pretty Boys and Dirty Deals of Henry Willson

His business card read: "If you're interested in getting into the movies, I can help you. Henry Willson. Agent." And he could. He steered actresses through Hollywood's career hoops, like Lana Turner, Rhonda Fleming, and Gena Rowlands, but Willson earned his sobriquet of "fairy godfather of Hollywood" through his single-minded focus on newly arrived young hunks on the Sunset Strip, with whispered enticements like, "You could be a star... You're better looking than any movie actor here." Moving closer, to advance the intimacy, he would confide: "You are a star. Now it's up to me to let Hollywood know." What red-blooded college quarterback or figure skater or sailor on leave could resist such a pitch? Willson was for a time one of the most powerful agents in Hollywood. He rechristened handsome, strapping young men, with some preposterously butch moniker. Few exemples ? When he came out of the navy in 1946, Roy Scherer was taken up by talent scout Henry Willson and offered to David Selznick. Selznick saw only a truck-driver hunk with the unlikely new name of Rock Hudson (1925-1985) - a combination of the Rock of Gibraltar and Hudson River.

Arthur Andrew Kelm joined the Coast Guard at the age of fifteen by lying about his age. After his service, the extraordinarily handsome found an agent who "tabbed" him to be an actor, and changed his name to Tab Hunter (b. 1931) when he signed a contract with Warner Brothers Studios. Ex-telephone lineman Robert Moseley became Guy Madison (1922-1996). He was serving his country in the Navy at the time he made his screen debut as an extra, and inspired a journalist to coin the term "beefcake". Born Merle Johnson Jr., Troy Donahue (1936-2001) was initially a journalism student at Columbia University. Willson saw Carmine Orrico 's picture on the cover of a detective magazine and immediately contacted the 16-year-old boy's family in Brooklyn, bringing him to Hollywood and renamed him John Saxon (b. 1936). Francis Durgin (he was born McGown but used the name of his stepfather when his mother remarried) was discovered at a party; christened in Rory Calhoun (1922-1999), he made his first appearance in the film capital as Lana Turner's escort to the premiere of Alfred Hitchcock's Spellbound (1945). Willson even renamed a pair of twins, discovered when they were still children by Loretta Young, Dirk (1941-1967) and Dack Rambo (1941-1994).

Acting ability wasn't required, conventional good looks were a must and willingness to have sex with the ferret-faced Willson. Some of the would-be actors Willson represented were heterosexual, among others Robert Wagner (b. 1930), but a disproportionate number were homosexual, bisexual , or "cooperated" with Willson "to get gigs," in the observation of Natalie Wood's costar Bobby Hyatt... If a young, handsome actor had Henry Willson for an agent, "it was almost assumed he was gay, like it was written across his forehead," recalls Ann Doran, one of Willson's few female clients. The man was the face of a cynical system, supported by an unseen infrastructure of fixers and studio connections who enabled the mythmaking. Manufacturing male pin-ups was part of a fresh marketing opportunity, an attempt to rescue the business by selling to the newly identified youth market, first called "bobbysoxers," then "teentimers," and finally "teenagers."The studios constructed an American mythology that modeled tamed young adult males - the "good boys".

These Adonises were "free, white, and 21," Typically stragglers from the postwar parade of homecoming GIs, the ones who didn't care to return to the farm or the family hardware store. Henry Willson made himself a key player by implementing the business model of agent and career coach, investing thousands in living expenses, cosmetic makeovers, fashion guidance, and acting lessons for his hopeful wannabes. Willson, who made a point of never living with another man, was strict in enforcing the same rule with his clients. He was known to drive past a young actor's house in the dead of night to make sure another man's car wasn't parked out front. Those who disobeyed soon saw their acting roles dry up; Willson didn't want to invest too much effort in a wannabe star who wouldn't play by the rules. Although he regularly took specimens from his stable of pretty boys to clubs and restaurants, he was never seen with less than two at a time. As he saw it "three men always translated as a night out with the boys, two men read as a date."

Rock Hudson was anything but discreet. A source remembers meeting the star at L.A.'s Farmer's Market at 2 a.m., openly cruising for men. "Henry had his standards," said Willson's assistant, "but Rock would sleep with anyone." Hudson seems to have tried to accomplish just that, demanding sexual favors from Willson clients who had landed minor roles in his films, and turning up in search of fresh "talent" for threesomes at Willson's infamously frisky pool parties during the late '50s and early '60s. "Rock's sex drive was enormous." As a result, Willson had his hands full fending off blackmailers and spurned lovers once Hudson became a big name. The "dirty deals" of Hofler's title for the most part all trace back to Rock's high jinks. There are the off-duty Los Angeles Police Department officers whom Willson and his on-retainer private detectives hired to rough up the guy with the photos of Hudson in flagrante delicto and the boyfriend who threatened to go public unless he was allowed to sit next to Hudson at events. Yet another client insists that he heard Willson call in a bunch of favors from the Mob (he'd provided stars for the opening nights of Las Vegas clubs) to get two of Hudson's blackmailers "rubbed out." The granddaddy of tell-all tabloids, Confidential magazine constituted the biggest threat to the dreamboat myth. Although Robert Mitchum's 1949 arrest and jail time for marijuana possession had prophesied the end of his nascent film career, his unflappable public response ("Booze, broads, it's all true... Make up more if you want") actually increased his popularity, but no one was willing to risk revelations of man-on-man activity.

Confidential had a standing offer for dirt on Hudson, and two of the star's ex-lovers had turned down $10,000 offers to tell their stories. It was only a matter of time until the magazine got something juicy on Hudson. With its gaudy yellow, blue, and red covers, Confidential was the scourge of Hollywood. For years the motion-picture industry had controlled the flow of information about the stars by officially accrediting journalists. Confidential challenged all that. Bearing a tantalizing subtitle ("Tells the Facts and Names the Names"), Confidential specialized in Hollywood peccadilloes-in promiscuity, in bad behavior, in miscegenation (at a time when that was considered taboo), and, perhaps above all, in outing homosexual stars decades before there was even such a term as "outing." "Confidential really started a reign of terror," Leo Guild, a press agent at the time, once claimed. Rock Hudson best friend, actor George Nader (1921-2002), confessed that "every month when Confidential came out, our stomachs began to turn. Which of us would be in it?"

At one point Confidential began preparing a story about a wild party at the home of Rock Hudson's agent, Henry Willson-who happened to be gay. Because the piece was going to implicate Hudson as a guest, both the agent and the star went to see Hollywood attorney Jerry Giesler to try to stop it. Giesler said there was nothing he could do until publication. Not long after that, Hudson headed off the story, in part, by marrying Willson's unwitting secretary, Phyllis Gates, though Hudson would tell her that he had quashed it by hiring a gangster and having him threaten Confidential's editor.

But one of the dirtiest deals of Willson's career happened soon after in 1955 : In a bargain move to save Rock Hudson from new predations of Confidential, he exposed Rory Calhoun as a veteran of stints in several federal pens, including maximum security at San Quentin (his background included armed robberies when he was thirteen years old). The disclosure had no negative effect on Calhoun's career and only served to solidify his bad boy image. Confidential revealed that Tab Hunter, whom Willson had never forgiven for firing him and signing on with his archirival (agent Dick Clayton), was arrested when police raided an all-male party in 1950.

As a result of a similar deal, Confidential agreed to ruin George Nader's career by outing his homosexuality. Despite the fact that Nader was forced to sacrifice his career for the sake of Rock Hudson, the two remained great friends and, in fact, Nader's lifelong companion, Mark Miller, was Hudson's private secretary. Such was the bond between the two beefcakes that Nader was mentioned in Hudson's will. In his later years, the fairy godfather lost his footing and slid downhill from a drunk driving arrest to electroshock treatment in a psych ward. He struggled with drug addiction, alcoholism, paranoia, and weight problems. Because his own homosexuality had become public knowledge, many of his clients, both gay and straight (including Robert Wagner), distanced themselves from him for fear of being branded the same. In 1974, the unemployed and destitute agent entered the Motion Picture Country Home as a charity case, where cirrhosis of the liver finally finished him off in 1978. At the funeral, Rory Calhoun served as a pallbearer, but Rock only sent flowers and Tab Hunter skipped the event. He was interred in an unmarked grave, in Valhalla Memorial Park Cemetery, in North Hollywood.

source :

samedi 28 juillet 2012

The secret life of Kertbeny

Károly Mária Kertbeny (1824-1882), born as Karl Maria Benkert in Vienna, wrote anonymously two pamphlets calling for legal emancipation of homosexuals entitled "§ 143 of the Prussian penal code of 14 April 1851 and its retention as § 152 in the draft of a penal code for the North German Confederation" and "The general harmfulness of § 143 of the Prussian penal code of 14 April 1851 and its necessary cancellation as § 152 in the draft of a penal code for the North German Confederation". The word Homosexualität [homosexuality] was first openly used in the first pamphlet.

Before Kertbeny's invention, the German jurist Karl Heinrich Ulrichs (1825-1895) tried to popularise his own coinage, inspired by Plato's Symposium : the Urning. According to Ulrichs' theory innate impulses driving men to love other men are associated with a certain kind of femininity of the soul, thus men loving other men must belong to a transitional third sex or gender. Ulrichs' starting point was therefore innateness when striving for the emancipation of people with same-sex desire. It is important to note that for Kertbeny - who was in correspondence and was exchanging ideas with Ulrichs for years (certainly between 1864 and 1868) - "to prove the innate nature [of homosexuality] is not at all useful, especially not quickly, what's more it cuts both ways, let it be a very interesting riddle of nature from the anthropological point of view. The legislation does not examine whether this inclination is innate or not, it merely focuses on the personal and social dangers of it, on its relation to society. There are, for example, people who are bloodthirsty, pyromaniac, monomaniacal etc. from birth, but they are not allowed to act out their inclinations, even if these are medically proven ones [...], they are still isolated, and in this way their extremes are isolated from society. Thus we wouldn't win anything by proving innateness. Rather we should convince our opponents that exactly according to their legal notions they do not have anything to do with this inclination, let it be innate or voluntary, because the state does not have the right to intervene in what is happening between two consenting people aged over 14, excluding publicity, not hurting the rights of any third party". (sketch letter from May 1868 written by Kertbeny to most probably Ulrichs).

Considering the secretly cultivated homosexological activities, a question can be posed about Kertbeny which was posed by himself too : "How did I, normally sexed individual, ever stumble onto the existence of homosexualism and its slaves, who, up to that point, I had no idea were present in human society?". Kertebeny himself gave a story that through a blackmailed friend he got into touch with the [homosexual] "sect" and he also referred to his "instinctive drive to take issue with every injustice". However, more detailed investigation of Kertbeny's diaries can provide us with evidence which places the above explanation in another light, revealing at least some parts of his hidden life. In these diaries Kertbeny wrote short notes almost every day, about what time he got up; what the weather was like that day in the given city; how much money he had and to whom he owed money; what he had to leave at the pawnshop; whom he met; where he went; to whom he wrote letters and from whom he received or was waiting for letters; and at the end of the day the time he got home. From the period between 1864 and 1868 we can also find evidence of the regular correspondance between Kertbeny and Karl Heinrich Ulrichs. The first of seventeen volumes was written in Brussels, while the last one was written in Budapest in 1881. From the year 1870 there are no notes as he was unable to write in that year because of his illness. Kertbeny preferred to write his personal notes in Brussels in German, and after arriving at the German speaking places he preferred to change the language of his diaries into Hungarian. This differential language use in his diaries could serve the purpose of secrecy.

From the very beginning, notes about his private intimate life including references to his acquaintances with other men are very frequent in the period when Kertbeny was 40 to 45 years of age, before his serious illness in 1870. In connection with this topic - especially from 1865 to 1868 - subsequent patches of self-censoring crossing and blotting out became very frequent, under some of which the original words can still be made out. Kertbeny's references to other men are noteworthy not only because of the amount of blotting out associated with them, but also because they are relatively common, while references to women are very rare. The first of these kind of Hungarian notes can be found in the volume of 1864: "2fr. handsome guy"; "beautiful lad"; or "Hubert, some beautiful boy". At the beginning of 1865 he mentions a man called Hubert several times. For example: "Hubert is not here for three days now"; or "Hubert didn't come again!". There are other references without names, too: "Beautiful boy, but not.."; "with that boy that thing is true"; "I had a look at that beautiful boy". At the end of the year he complains about gonorrhoea: "then horror! The clap again!". In 1866 still in Brussels he refers to a "beautiful Berliner", but the end of the sentence is rendered illegible by crossing out (January 30). In February when Kertbeny is already in German-speaking area, first in Düsseldorf, then in Cologne, the crossed out parts become relatively frequent but there are some readible notes, too: "young barber lad"; "beautiful barber"; "very much in love with the lad... [crossed out]" - and above it visibly: "I have done it"; "the barber would go but I didn't want it". Then he continues: "That clap completely obviously"; "Still that clap"; "At the hairdresser's the boy seduced! What will come of it?"; "Lajos came, we did it. 1 taller"; "Lajos did not come".

From the end of August the crossed out parts are becoming increasingly frequent and - from this time on until the end of the year - almost every day there is reference to a certain János and later to a man called Jancsi, possibly the nickname of the same János : "János is not in a good mood"; "János is here but it doesn't work"; "János showed his..."; "János did it for me". From the middle of October the name Jancsi is not rendered illegible in a lot of places which are otherwise crossed out: "Jancsi did it for me"; "Jancsi did not come, what is the matter? What will come of it? He came only at around 10". During November and December there is mention of Jancsi almost every day: "Jancsi played for me. Great fear that my neighbour, a lieutenant, noticed my morning games"; "Jancsi did it for me"; "Jancsi [unreadable crossing out] It is a very dangerous situation, because you can hear everything from one room to the other." In the first half of 1867 in Cologne Kertbeny refers to several problems in his diaries. In January he keeps mentioning Jancsi's clap almost every day: "[crossing out] horror, yes [crossing out] the poor boy is ill. What will be the end of it?".

However, at the beginning of February another thing starts to worry him a lot: "Awful news! Numa was caught and was forced to do everything. What will come of it?! Great fear!"; "Awful days! [...] Horrible nightmares. I have burnt all the dangerous letters"; "Awful days! Impossible that it wouldn't turn out!". It seems that Kertbeny was very much afraid that in connection to Ulrichs' arrest something would turn out that could affect him, too. From this time on for several months almost every day he mentions how much he is afraid and the unreadible crossed out parts are becoming more and more frequent in his diary. On the 16th of April he complains in the following way: "[unreadable] is lost, and has spoken of me in a bad way! My god, what will come of it? I am devastated" (16 April). The missing name in this note is most probably Ulrichs' as he was arrested the second time in 1867 at around the date of this note. Kertbeny mentions in his diary that Ulrichs was released on the 13th of July after "almost eighty-six days" which makes the 18th of April an estimate for Ulrichs' arrest, though as we will see at the beginning of 1868, Kertbeny gives the 23rd of April as the date of Ulrichs' arrest. April 1867 was also the time when Ulrichs' house in Burgdorf was searched by the police and certain interesting material was found there, including "everything relating to 'Uramsmus ... his correspondence, and a list of Urnings (which included 150 names in Berlin)... [which] were sent to the Ministry of the Exterior in Berlin". At the end of April Kertbeny refers to Ulrichs' arrest : "Numa is caught again. Now I am devastated." (27 April). Three days later there is again a nervous reference most probably to Ulrichs and the result of searching his house: "This mad man brings on me the most horrible danger. All the papers are found" (30 April). The 1868 volume of Kertbeny's diaries starts with a short review of what were probably the most important events of the previous year. Here we can find the following notes: "February 4 - Numa is caught again; [February] 5. - I burnt my writings; [April] 18. - I saw [Jancsi] Groonen last time; [April] 23 - Numa is arested again. I wrote to Numa! ; [April] 27. -Beginning of the horrible days until the 28th of May; May 1. - Most horrible bad time and fear."

On the 1st of May, 1867 Kertbeny describes his situation in a very negative way; "This is probably the most horrible May in my whole life - losing the home country, Mother good reputation, my life, the fruits of twenty years of work. And as an innocent one, only because of his bad crazy one! Awful, awful!". Here it should be noted that "losing [...] Mother" does not mean the mother's death, but it can refer to her illness. Kertbeny's mother died in a year time: on the 7th of May, 1868. According to Kertbeny's notes it was the "most tragic day in my life! This morning my mother died in Vienna in her 68th year." Later in May 1867 he is expecting a letter from Vienna that doesn't want to arrive, and in the meanwhile he keeps worrying: "Awful days! [...] Are they already keeping back my mail? Awful!"; "Horrible days!"; "Nightmarish days". Finally on the 25th he seems to be a bit more relaxed : "Maybe today it will turn out. It turned out! Not! At noon the answer came. It seems that from this great suffering good luck will come out. The writer of the letters is Steinmann, the Prussian royal police chief. Out to him to Hannover. I am going there." Unfortunately, it is not really clear from Kertbeny's notes what exactly worried him so much in connection to Ulrich's arrests and the confiscated "Uranismus - and Urning - files". It is not perfectly clear either why Kertbeny described the month between the end of April and the end of May, 1867 as a horrible, nightmare-like period: perhaps he was being blackmailed or simply afraid of having another case with me police. However, the above detailed notes with references to "dangerous letters", "found papers" and burning of his own writings can reveal Kertbeny's personal involvement in "the Urning matters".

Interestingly, in June, 1867 the diary with its usual style and topics reflects a much more relaxed state of Kertbeny's mind in comparison to the previous months : "Lajos Showed it whole. Beautiful." (8 June); "It doesn't go such... We should take carer (9 June); "Lajko. Kissing." (15 June); "... but the lad didn't want it" (27 July); "Lajko I played." (3 August); "Lajkó did not come!" (11 August); "Lajkó has the clap. What will come of it?" (17 August); "Lajkó. Beautiful." (7 September). It is only in the middle of September when Kertbeny seems to worry again: "... a police soldier was here. What will come of it? Maybe something worrisome!" (17 September) - but after this until December only the regular references to Lajkó go on. In December Kertbeny follows the lawsuit of Friedrich Carl Feldtmann, theater director in Bremen with attention. Feldtmann was already arrested in October "along with three nineteen-year-old men with whom he was alleged to have practiced 'sexual crimes against nature'". One of the three men tried to blackmail him, and finally denounced him to the police. Kertbeny's comments on the case were the following: "Today poor Feldtmann was sentenced, one year in prison, the impertinent bastard got four weeks, the other two could walk free" (20 December); "Today is the horrible day when poor Feldtmann is being sentenced in Bremen, at least for a year! Unless some other lousy trick won't come of it!"(21 December).

Finally here is his last note of the year (this is the full note that can well illustrate Kertbeny's diary writing style): "Sunny morning. I got up at 9. Troubled days again - fearful, what will come of this Bremen courtcase. Lajkó didn't come again! The tailor Heller sent trousers and leibli. 11 1/2 I took a coach to the Roman bath. I was well scrubbed. To hairdresser and barber. At 1 in the Rhéna yard. In the Borsenklub there is nothing yet from Bremen. Home At 7 to the theatre, Rulf as Robert. I didn't really like it... [unreadible]" (22 December). According to the notes of 1868, Kertbeny frequently exchanged letters with "N.N." - i.e. Ulrichs -, to whom his last letter was sent on the 21st of October After this the correspondence seems to be broken off. The last reference to "N.N." can be found among Kertbeny's 1869 notes in connection with the Zastrow case, most probably - i. e. the case of Carl Ernst Wilhelm von Zastrow, painter and former militia lieutenant who 'was arrested and charged with unnatural rape and attempted murder of a five-year-old boy on the 17 of January, 1869 in Berlin. However Kertbeny's notes reflect a somewhat distorted crime story: "I read the horror that was committed on Saturday. The father with his own nine-year-old son." (19 January); "It is a month ago now that that awful crime was committed with his own son" (17 February). A few days later Kertbeny again anounces in his diary that "I burn the papers" (23 January). Finally, at the beginning of February he refers to Ulrichs: "In the paper N.N. is finally brought into this scandal" (6 February).

During 1868 Kertbeny is in frequent correspondence with Hermann Serbe, a publisher in Leipzig with whom Kertbeny wanted to publish his "Sexualitätsstudien", i.e. studies on sexuality. This book has never been published and was probably not even finished. Though Kertbeny's later notes indicate that he was at least entertaining himself with the idea of this work for years: "I was writing The Monosexualism and Homosexualism I." (8 May 1871); "I started to write for the sexual studies" (15 January 1874). It can be also known from a letter of Serbe written to Kertbeny on the 5th of July 1868 that Serbe waited in vain for the following parts, after receiving a certain "historical introduction". It is possible that Kertbeny should have been more motivated financially by Serbe: on the 8th of July, 1868 Kertbeny writes the following angry note: "Nice letter from Serbe! He sends shit, not money! And someone peeped in through the window while L. was here!". Kertbeny also visited Serbe in Leipzig on the 4-5th of August, 1868 but he left with disappointment: "With this impertinent guy nothing can be done!" (5 August).

In 1868 Kertbeny also mentions several times a certain "GJ", most probably the abbriviation of the name of Gustav Jäger (1832-1917), professor of zoology from Stuttgart: "the pamphlet from GJ" (1 April 1868); "... said Something about the pamphlet I wrote for GJ" (7 April); "letter from GJ, very boring commission" (11 April); "No money, no prospect, and this fatal task from GJ" (12 April). Unfortunatelly, it does turn out from the notes what this pamphlet was or what "fatal task" he was commissioned to do by GJ. Later between 1879 and 1882 there was intensive correspondence between Kertbeny and Jäger in connection with the publication of Kertbeny's sexual studies manuscript, which was in parts inserted into Jäger's book, The Discovery of the Soul. According to a letter of Jäger written to Kertbeny on the 28th of August, 1879 the chapter on homosexuality had to be left out from the book because of the publisher's rejection. Still, The Discovery of the Soul includes several parts of Kertbeny's manuscript as "expert opinion of a mysterious Dr. M." In the meanwhile the notes are full of male names. Until the end of July 1868 almost every day there is reference to "L.". Between the beginning of August - when Kertbeny moves to Berlin - and October, "L." is temporarily replaced by a certain "Pali" or "Palkó" (Paul) but afterwards the notes with "Lajkó" are back. At the same time there are also references to other men, for example: "having lunch at the garden of Zenning where the waiter is beautiful but the food is bad"; "to Zenning, to watch the beautiful boy"; "on foot to the swimming pool. There a beautiful Englishman".

On the basis of Kertbeny's private notes it can be assumed that there is a certain level of practical involvement in the background of his theoretical interest in homosexuality. His interest in men seemed to exceed platonic attraction in the line of close bodily contact. Many of the notes written about men were tried to be rendered illegibile: this self-censorship can also indicate that Kertbeny did not want to leave any trace which could expose his close interest in men publicly, but especially not in front of the police. This intention of Kertbeny is understandable in view of the increasing hostility of his social environment: the unification of the German empire in 1871 also meant the introduction of a stricter legal punishment of sexual relationships between men.

In the second half of the 1860s there was regular correspondence between Kertbeny and Karl Henrich Ulrichs, who became famous - and infamous - for his public struggle for the rights of men who love men. When Ulrichs is arrested, Kertbeny becomes very worried: during these "days of horror" he acts like someone who is afraid of exposure. In a letter sketch of 6 May 1868, Kertbeny writes most probably to Ulrichs the following: "Only because of being personally threatened I became obligeded to occupy myself with elementary legal studies as well". It should also be noted that Kertbeny in his non-literary publications often stood up for issues that concerned him personally. For example, he proposed the abolition of passports as well as that of the debtor's prisons as he kept having problems with authorities of many countries because of his debt-management and - the lack of - his passport. Thus we can also assume that in these cases personal involvement made his "instinctive drive to take issue with every injustice" even stronger and more active. Probably we can fit his writings on homosexuality also into this line though he has never published anything in connection with "sexual studies" under his own name. He tried to avoid leaving any public traces about his authorship - a strikingly "modest" attitude of a person who tended to overvalue his own talents, roles and achievements in almost every aspect of his life. Manfred Herzer concluded about Kertbeny that "it appears unlikely that a sexually normal man would write such an unconditional defense of homosexuality at that time, and the assertion of his own sexual normality without giving up the protection of anonymity speaks rather for its personal relevance to him than for a purely disinterested love of justice." However Kertbeny defined himself as sexually normal - by adding that this concept of normality must have included not only the love of justice but also the love of men.

From The Double Life of Kertbeny by Judit Takacs, G. Hekma (ed.) Past and Present of Radical Sexual Politics, UvA – Mosse Foundation, Amsterdam, 2004.

source :

Alfred Courmes, le cantique de la réclame

Surnommé "l'ange du mauvais goût", le peintre Alfred Courmes (1898-1993) se passionne pour le détournement humoristique et généralement sexuel. Il emprunte une partie de ses sujets à la à l'imagerie populaire (la bicyclette est un "révélateur" de chair musclée et prélude à d'autres chevauchées) et "sensationnelle" - une manière de "cantique de la racaille": le bel Etrangleur à la casquette rose devant laquelle la victime tire la langue côtoie un Homme blessé cousin de certain Dormeur célébré avec non moins d'ambiguïté par Rimbaud.

D'autres personnages sont empruntés à la mythologie : Holopherne "perdant la tête" pour Judith, le Minotaure terrassé par Thésée (où l'homme hésite à anéantir la bête qui sommeille en lui), et surtout Oedipe - en tenue d'Adam ou de scout - face à la Sphinge - toute poitrine dehors, image de la femme dévoreuse d'hommes. Il met en scène de savoureux anachronismes, illustre des préoccupations politiques animées par un esprit plutôt virulent, et joue presque partout sur les mots ou les slogans, ayant alors valeur de rébus, et qu'il inscrit parfois à l'intérieur de la toile.

Son pinceau emprunte ainsi à l'imaginaire des musées et des églises, mais aussi à celui des journaux, des paquets de lessives, des étiquettes de camembert et des affiches, ces "tableaux" modernes qui tapissent les murs : décliné à l'envi, de dos ou de face, Saint Sébastien porte un costume de matelot et exhibe son anatomie et ses fixe-chaussettes, ailleurs il est "soigné" par une Sainte Irène à la main baladeuse qu'incarne la petite fille du Chocolat Menier (dont on reconnaît également le parapluie).

On retrouve la fillette dans la même posture entrain de tâter les parties génitales du Rédempteur. L'évocation de Saint Antoine est prétexte à un strip tease d'un "genre" particulier tandis que la Vierge Marie est flanquée du Bébé Cadum ou du Bibendum Michelin. Si l'association d'idées entre l'Enfant Jésus et le poupon à la peau douce est assez évidente, l'irruption du héros pneumatique dans une toile ayant pour thème l'Annonciation l'est peut être moins de prime abord.

Et pourtant tout dans la composition du tableau, intitulé La Pneumatique Salutation d’Angélique, fait sens : le "souffle divin" (pneuma en grec) y est matérialisé par un pneu géant, l'effigie publicitaire de Michelin prêtant ses traits à l'Archange Gabriel. La Vierge est incarnée par une pin-up impassible... Derrière sa tête, les pages du Livre d'Isaïe sont... blanches, attendant d'être écrites, l'ensemble étant une publicité non pour Schweeps, mais pour Ave Maria, une autre boisson gazeuse. Bref : l'artiste considère l'histoire de la naissance miraculeuse du Christ comme « gonflante ».

Apparaît également dans ce décorum la figure de Saint Roch touché par la peste, à moins qu'il s'agisse chez Courmes d'une maladie vénérienne. Cette représentation symbolique devient alors le corollaire d'une autre toile intitulée Ulysse ou - et c'est là où nous voulons en venir - J'ai mal occu... j'ai mal occupé ma jeunesse. On retrouve la sphinge mangeuse d'hommes, comme l'oiseau-rebelle-sirène-roucouleuse distrayant sur une plage (où rôdent de vieux messieursbien élégants) un adolescent en culottes courtes...

Bill Miller the Heartbreaker

"The most beautiful person I ever saw. It was instant." Otis Bigelow met Bill Miller (1921-1995) at a party, and fifty years later he still remembered the moment. "A Frank Sinatra recording of I'll Be Seeing You was playing on the phonograph. We went out and had dinner. So I was in love, and he was in love. He was stationed at the Brooklyn Navy Yard and we kind of spent that month together." Bill Miller is also famous among his contemporaries as one of the most gorgeous men in the 1940s. He knew and frequently slept with the rich, the famous and the brilliant. While the rest of the world struggled through World War II and its aftermath, Bill Miller tasted the cream of Manhattan gay life, his life centering around parties, yachts and grand hotels. His social circle in New York (and later Europe) included Dorothy Parker, Christopher Isherwood, W. H. Auden, Jean Genet, Jean Cocteau, George Cukor and many other figures from litterature, the visual arts and cafe society. Surprisingly, Miller was never a professional model. Paul Cadmus draw him, George Platt Lynes photographed him, and everyone wanted him. Miller was by far the most powerful attraction Bigelow had ever felt. "We were at the Waldorf Astoria in the suite of some wealthy man who invited us to stay over in the spare bedroom", Bigelow remembered. "We were in bed. I looked at Bill, and I thought 'I can't live without him.' And that was that." Bigelow finally admitted to himself that he really was gay. "I had to face the fact that I had changed."

Bigelow's life was complicated somewhat by the fact that he had met a man named George Gallowhur (1905-1974) earlier in the summer, [...] a dashing thirty-seven-year-old industrialist with a slightly higher public profile [...]. Paul Cadmus remembered [him] as someone who "gave the appearance of being very, very businesslike and a straight American", but who actually "loved to go in for sailors and things like that." Gallowhur fell madly in love with Bigelow, who found him "stunning", but did not reciprocate his feelings. To entice the young undergraduate, Gallowhur made the young man an extraordinary offer. Bigelow was about to enter his final year in the Naval Reserve Officer Training program at Hamilton. If the student would live with him, Gallowhur had the power to keep his promise, and to specify that Bigelow could not be sent to the Pacific. Bigelow was still seeing Gallowhur when he met Bill Miller, "so I had to tell George I couldn't see him anymore." Gallowhur begged him to reconsider. "Let me give a dinner party for six people", the industrialist suggested. Bigelow could bring Bill, who would sit next to Gallowhur at dinner ; afterward Bigelow could choose between them. "Give me a chance!" Gallowhur pleaded. Bigelow agreed and brought Miller to Turtel Bay. After coffee had been served, Gallowhur took Bigelow aside. "Have you made your choice?" he inquired. "Yes", said Bigelow. "It's Bill." Bigelow and Miller had only one more week together before Bigelow had to go back to college. "We were so happy", Bigelow remembered. "I went back to school and he went back into the Coast Guard." The sailor wrote Bigelow a single letter : he said he was "dead" without him, and Bigelow believed that Miller was shipping out. In november, Bigelow returned to New York for Thanksgiving. He was glum, thinking that Miller might have already perished at sea.

In Manhattan, he stayed with George Hoyningen-Huene (1900-1968), a famous fashion photographer for Vogue and Harper's Bazaar. Hoyningen-Huene had been born in St Petersburg at the turn of the century ; his parents were a Baltic nobleman and the daughter of the American minister to the court of the czar. The photographer was forty-two when Bigelow met him, and he kept himself fit with regular visits to the gym - a custom that would become almost universal among a certain class of gay men three decades later. After Bigelow had done some modeling for his host, Hoyningen-Huene tried to coax him into bed. When Bigelow refused him, Hoyningen-Huene became furious, and started to shout : "You're doing all this moping around about that sailor Bill! Did you know that Bill has been living in Turtle Bay with George Gallowhur since about three days after you left?" Bigelow was stunned. It was the "cruelest thing" he had ever experienced. It was also his awakening.

(from The Gay Metropolis by Charles Kaiser)

vendredi 11 mai 2012

Besoins pressants

En 1834, le préfet de la Seine, le comte Claude-Philibert de Rambuteau décide l'installation de 478 édicules sur la voie publique destinés à satisfaire les besoins naturels des passants. Pour couper court aux railleries de l'opposition, qui a bien vite baptisé l’édicule "colonne Rambuteau", le préfet lance l’expression "colonne vespasienne", en référence à l’empereur Vespasien, à qui on a attribué l’établissement d’urinoirs publics payants, à Rome. Les sobriquets se multiplient. "urinoirs", "water-closets", "pissotières"... Ce dernier terme, en référence au "trou dans la muraille d'un navire pour laisser s'écouler l'eau de surface", est resté et on en trouve la trace, évidemment, chez Marcel Proust : " M. de Charlus portait à ce moment-là - car il changeait beaucoup - des pantalons fort clairs et reconnaissables entre mille. Or notre maître d’hôtel, qui croyait que le mot « pissotière » (le mot désignant ce que M. de Rambuteau avait été si fâché d’entendre le duc de Guermantes appeler un édicule Rambuteau) était « pistière », n’entendit jamais dans toute sa vie une seule personne dire « pissotière », bien que bien souvent on prononçât ainsi devant lui. Mais l’erreur est plus entêtée que la foi et n’examine pas ses croyances. Constamment le maître d’hôtel disait : « Certainement M. le baron de Charlus a pris une maladie pour rester si longtemps dans une pistière. Voilà ce que c’est que d’être un vieux coureur de femmes. Il en a les pantalons. Ce matin, madame m’a envoyé faire une course à Neuilly. À la pistière de la rue de Bourgogne j’ai vu entrer M. le baron de Charlus. En revenant de Neuilly, bien une heure après, j’ai vu ses pantalons jaunes dans la même pistière, à la même place, au milieu, où il se met toujours pour qu’on ne le voie pas. » ". A cette époque, des homosexuels du 16e arrondissement de Paris les appellent "baies", plus convenable que "tasses" (plus argotique). Dans les milieux plus populaires, on les avait baptisées "Ginette".

Ces urinoirs publics sont en effet des lieux très courus par les homosexuels et les prostitués. Le 6 décembre 1876, le comte Eugène de Germiny, trente-cinq ans, avocat à la Cour d’appel, leader du parti catholique et conseiller municipal de Paris, est surpris dans un urinoir public des Champs-Elysées en compagnie d'un jeune ouvrier, Pierre Chouard, âgé de dix-huit ans. Lors du procès qui s'ensuit, le comte nie les faits pourtant décrits par les différents agents témoins de la scène : "Le 6 décembre dernier, entre dix heures et demie et onze heures du soir, étant en surveillance dans les contre-allées des Champs-Elysées, j'ai dû me préoccuper des allures d'un personnage dont j'ignorais alors le nom et la situation, et que j'ai su plus tard être M. le comte de Germiny. Il allait, il venait, pénétrant dans les urinoires, en sortant, y retournant, regardant autour de lui. Il échangea des signes avec un autre individu, le nommé Chouard, qui alla s'asseoir sur un banc. Chouard semblait attendre. Germiny s'avança vers le banc et s'y assit. Puis tous deux se dirigèrent vers un des abris disposés pour les besoins des passants. Là, un rapprochement s'opéra entre eux. [...] M. de Germiny a imprimé à M. Chouard une secousse qui a fait celui-ci se retourner, et alors ils ont pratiqué l'un sur l'autre des familiarités choquantes, au cours desquelles nous les avons surpris. [...] La situation physique des deux individus ne laissait pas la plus petite place au doute" (Le Petit Journal, 25 décembre 1876). Le comte "allègue en vain, pour atténuer sa faute, qu'un sentiment de blâmable curiosité l'aurait poussé à observer par lui-même, certains actes de honteuse débauche dont l'opinion publique s'était récemment émue", il est condamné "à deux, mois de prison et deux cents francs d'amende, Chouard à quinze jours de prison [...]. Chouard seul, amené à l'audience entre deux gardes de Paris, a entendu la lecture de cette sentence. [...] Quant au principal condamné, il était absent. On le dit en fuite" (Le Petit Journal, 1er janvier 1877). C'est au Brésil, où il a trouvé refuge, que Germiny serait mort un an plus tard. L'accident excitera la verve des chansonniers, comme on en jugera par ces quelques vers de Victor Mabille : "Un pissoir est un ciel pour qui ne vit qu'en rêve,/Au délire d'amour, eh ! qu'importe les lieux !/Viens, laisse-moi, devant que la nuit ne s'achève ;/Aux Champs-Elysées palper tes charmes nus,/Et goûter avec toi des plaisirs inconnus!"

Un article du Tintamare (1er juillet 1877) faisant état de certaines modifications dans la conception des urinoirs, attribue même cette nouvelle préoccupation des édiles parisiens aux déboires de leur infortuné collègue : "L'administration de la ville se livre depuis quelque temps sur la voie publique à des essais d'urinoirs nouveaux aussi nombreux que variés. On fait une véritable orgie de ces monuments d'utilité; on s'attache à y placer plusieurs compartiments et surtout à bien cacher les visiteurs qui s'y rencontrent. Il en existe en forme de mosquées, de temples égyptiens, de kiosques chinois, etc., etc. D'où vient ce goût pour les pissotières aux formes nouvelles ? Pourquoi la simple rambuteau ne suffit-elle pas ? Avons-nous plus de pudeur que nos pères? Que signifie cette façon de cacher soigneusement les passants qui accomplissent un besoin si naturel ? Sur tous les coins de Paris on construit des bastions, sortes de monuments blindés, ornés de mâchicoulis et de pointes de fer afin que nul ne pénètre autrement que par la porte, et que nul du dehors ne puisse soupçonner les actes auxquels on se livre à l'intérieur. Quelle religieuse pudeur s'empare donc de l'ordre moral ? Son aveuglement pour le maintien des bonnes moeurs le conduit à élever des monuments où l'on ne s'aventure pas sans scrupule depuis l'affaire Germiny.
C'est à se demander si l'on ne doit pas ces modèles extravagants de vespasiennes à la haute influence de ce comte. Si l'on persiste à entourer les pissotières de fossés et d'autres fortifications destinés à masquer les regards des passants, nous préférerons, au risque d'une amende, nous tourner contre le premier mur venu! Il devient dangereux de pénétrer dans ces sanctuaires étranges aux labyrinthes suspects qui font sûrement la joie des chevaliers de l'urinoir, mais non pas des hommes qui se contentaient de l'ancien modèle. Si ce sont des souricières de la police (ce qu'on finit par supposer) c'est à coup sûr une invention utile aux agents, mais absolument embêtante pour les gens honnêtes qui ne croient pas faire un crime d'être aperçu de dos quand ils urinent!"

Ainsi dénombre-t-on plus de 3500 urinoirs en 1893 et presque 4000 en 1904. Parfaitement adaptés aux relations sexuelles immédiates, ils présentent en outre de nombreux avantages qui expliquent leur forte fréquentation, compte tenu de l'impossibilité de recevoir chez soi pour beaucoup d'homosexuels ou de se rendre dans un garni sans éveiller les soupçons du logeur. D'abord ils sont disséminés un peu partout dans Paris ; ensuite leur accès est gratuit ; ce sont par ailleurs des lieux non-mixtes qui offrent un cadre public mais clos - notamment lorsque l'urinoir est doté de cabines individuelles, ce qui permet de limiter le risque de flagrant délit d'outrage public à la pudeur - ; et enfin, ils fournissent en cas de contrôle de police une excuse valable pour y justifier leur présence, comme en témoigne cette main courante de 1917 : "Goujard et Huguenin sont arrêtés le 7 octobre à 11 heures Bd Poissonnières en face du n°11 par le gardien de la paix Sclafert (Noël) du 2e arrondissement qui déclare avoir été prévenu par une dame que deux individus se masturbaient dans l'urinoir édifié en face l'adresse précitée. Il s'est retourné et a aperçu le geste obscène du caporal [...] qui masturbait le nommé Goujard [...] soldat au 39e régiment d'Infanterie [...] tenant la verge de celui-ci avec sa main gauche [...]. Ils reconnaissent tous les deux qu'ils se trouvaient dans l'urinoir, l'un à côté de l'autre, mais déclarent ne pas se connaître et ne s'être livré à aucun des faits obscènes mentionnés par le gardien. Confrontés, chacun persiste."

Dans ses Etudes de pathologie sociale : les deux prostitutions (1887), Félix Carlier écrit : "Cet acharnement à choisir des water-closets comme point de rendez-vous paraîtrait incroyable, si nous ne disions tout de suite que l'odeur qu'exhalent ces sortes d'endroits est une des conditions recherchées par une catégorie fort nombreuse de pédérastes, aux plaisirs desquels elle est indispensable. On verra plus loin que tous les water-closets publics, notamment ceux construits sur les bords de la Seine, que tous les recoins malpropres et puants, servent spécialement de lieux de rendez-vous. Ceux que leurs goûts pervertis poussent à rechercher cette singulière condition de bien-être - et ils sont très nombreux - forment la classe des renifleurs. L'ironie se devine." Dans les années 1870, 13% des arrestations sont réalisés aux urinoirs de la Bourse, très fréquentés en raison sans doute du calme qui règne la nuit dans ce quartier d'affaires qui, au surplus, est très central. D'ailleurs, ils sont toujours signalés dans les années 1880 et à la Belle Epoque. Il est également fait mention des urinoirs des Champs-Elysées qui constituent 10% des arrestations dans les années 1870. Certains urinoirs de Paris sont particulièrement signalés comme étant des lieux de "consommation sexuelle" et/ou de prostitution, notamment ceux des bords de Seine - près des Tuileries, près du Pont-Neuf, sur les places Saint-Gervais et du Châtelet, sur les quais Saint-Michel, de la Mégisserie, de Montebello et des Grands Augustins - et ceux des quartiers de Pigalle et Montmartre, et plus globalement tous ceux du 18e arrondissement au début du XXe siècle, autour des boulevards de Rochechouart et de Clichy, des places Blanche, Pigalle et de Clichy, en particulier autour de l'hippodrome (à l'angle de la rue Caulaincourt et de la rue Forest), de la rue de La Chapelle qui compte de très nombreux urinoirs fréquentés jour et nuit à la fin des années 1910.

Il en existe également dans des lieux plus inattendus, comme sur l'avenue de Villiers pendant la Première Guerre mondiale, servant de lieu occasionnel de prostitution. Les urinoirs des gares sont également très courus : gare d'Austerlitz à la Belle Epoque, gare de l'Est et de Strasbourg, gare de Vincennes sur la place de la Bastille dans les années 1870-1880 (elle relie à moindre coût Paris à la partie Est du département de la Seine, notamment les bords de Marne, devenus très populaires en raison des guinguettes qui y sont organisées). La gare Saint-Lazare est également mentionnée et constitue 2% des arrestations dans les années 1870. Il faut également signaler quelques urinoirs situés dans les 2e et 9e arrondissements - les deux arrondissements "les plus homosexuels" des débuts de la Troisième République à la Première Guerre mondiale : près de la basilique Notre-Dame des Victoires (à quelques pas du Palais Royal) dans les années 1870-1880, sur le boulevard Poissonnières à la Belle Epoque, et autour du Grand Hôtel sur le boulevard des Capucines, fréquenté par de riches touristes étrangers "qui veulent visiter les dessous de Paris". D'une manière globale, les prostitués "errent" fréquemment du côté des grands hôtels à la Belle Epoque, période durant laquelle Paris est clairement la ville la plus cosmopolite du monde.

Par ailleurs, les urinoirs des Halles, notamment du côté de la rue des Prouvaires, de la rue de la Tonnellerie et face à l'église Saint-Eustache (1er arrondissement) font l'objet de multiples rapports de police. "Les water-closets des Halles, explique Félix Carlier, furent, a une certaine époque, un rendez-vous auquel on venait le soir de tous les quartiers de Paris. C'est par centaines qu'on pouvait compter les gens qui venaient la pour chercher aventure. La police avait opéré, en moins d'un mois, plus de deux.cents arrestations pour outrages publics à la pudeur; toutes avaient été suivies de condamnations. Loin de tenir mystérieuses ces arrestations, de vouloir établir une souricière dans cet endroit, l'administration, dans le but d'effrayer ceux qu'une espèce de folie érotique ramenait chaque soir au même endroit, au grand scandale des passants, leur donnait la plus grande publicité possible. Les arrestations commençaient chaque soir à 9 heures, et duraient jusqu'à minuit. A minuit, les pédérastes étaient aussi nombreux qu'à 9 heures du soir. C'était à désespérer de pouvoir jamais débarrasser le quartier de cette tourbe hideuse. Les forts de la Halle se mirent bientôt de la partie. Chaque soir, vers minuit, à l'heure où ils venaient prendre leur travail, ils donnaient la chasse à ces êtres immondes, distribuant de gauche et de droite des horions dont ils ne mesuraient pas toujours la gravité. Arrestations, et horions, rien n'y faisait. Le lendemain, tous ceux qui n'avaient point été arrêtés la veille revenaient avec de nouvelles recrues, de telle sorte que la foule était toujours aussi nombreuse. [...] Ceux qui, condamnés, avaient subi leur peine, revenaient, le soir même du jour de leur mise en liberté plus enragés que jamais. Cela devenait intolérable, il fallait aviser. Les water-closets, qui existaient à deux des angles de l'ancien pavillon de la boucherie, étaient, par leur disposition intérieure, la cause de tout ce désordre. Ils avaient été construits sur le même plan. Un vestibule donnait accès dans trois loges, séparées les unes des autres par de minces cloisons en briques et fermées par des portes pleines munies d'un crochet intérieur. Lorsque les pédérastes eurent pris cet endroit pour lieu de rendez-vous, ils percèrent chacune de ces cloisons de petits trous, qui permettaient aux deux voisins de cellules de commettre entre eux, à travers cette cloison, des outrages publics à la pudeur. Chaque jour, les maçons de la ville bouchaient ces trous ; chaque soir, ces trous étaient percés à nouveau. L'administration prit un pari qu'elle crut héroïque ; elle remplaça les cloisons par des plaques de blindage en fonte. Le premier soir, ce fut une désolation. Ceux qui constatèrent ce changement sortirent de là la figure hébétée [...]. Quinze jours plus tard, les plaques de métal avaient été taraudées, les trous existaient à nouveau, et la cohue antiphysique y venait plus nombreuse que jamais. La fermeture de ces water-closets fut seule capable de mettre fin à ces scandales."

Ces ouvertures pratiquées dans les cloisons des latrines publiques sont également l'objet d'un rapport du commissariat de police du quartier des Champs-Elysées en 1862, au sujet des urinoirs du pont de la Concorde : "Une de ces ouvertures existant dans le mur de refends des latrines de la berge du pont de la Concorde m'ayant été signalée, j'ai immédiatement envoyé mon garçon de bureau et un de mes inspecteurs pour en opérer le bouchement, qui a été fait avec du plâtre et du ciment, et ne manquera pas de solidité." Permettant masturbation, fellation et sodomie, le trou par lequel l'un des partenaires glisse son pénis et auquel l'autre colle son anus ou sa bouche, est ici clairement utilisé pour échapper à un éventuel flagrant délit d'outrage public à la pudeur, caractérisé si des homosexuels étaient surpris ensemble dans une même cabine. Cette "manœuvre" représente clairement une résistance à la répression décrite par Félix Carlier dans les années 1850 à 1870. L’écrivain Lucien Descaves rédigera un violent article dans Le Journal (2 mars 1910), pour dénoncer les actes de débauche homosexuels qui ont fréquemment lieu dans les urinoirs de la capitale...

Mais la police n'est pas le seul danger que l'on rencontre dans les pissotières, il y a les maîtres-chanteurs. Dans Mes lundis en prison (1889), Gustave Macé décrit leur manière de procéder : "Bec-de-Gaz [...] exploite surtout des passants inoffensifs qui s'arrêtent dans les urinoirs. Il organise, dresse des plans, place ses associés et fait sa spécialité d'éteindre les lumières aux endroits où il opère. De là est sorti le sobriquet de Bec-de-Gaz. [Avec] son petit Jésus (un jeune et joli garçon dressé au vol et à la débauche), [il a] tiré profit de l'imprudence commise par un père de famille qui a lié conversation avec ledit Jésus dans les latrines des Halles. A l'entrée des cabinets, voyant debout un jeune homme à la mise convenable, porteur d'un mouchoir blanc placé dans la poche de devant de sa jaquette, il lui fit remarquer combien sa tenue contrastait avec ce milieu malpropre. La réponse affirmative fut prononcée d'un ton gracieux. A sa sortie, le petit drôle l'interpella d'une tout autre manière, et, se tournant vers Bec-de-Gaz, à l'affût du vilain coup qu'ils avaient préparé, il lui dit : - Croyez-vous, monsieur, que ce c... se propose de m'entretenir. - Je le connais, répondit le complice, je suis inspecteur des moeurs, on le surveille, depuis longtemps, et nous allons le conduire au commissariat de police. Surpris, ému, l'homme incriminé resta muet. -Vous êtes marié, père de famille ? lui dit brutalement le faux agent. Et, comme le malheureux fit un mouvement de tête confirmant la question, il ajouta : - Croyez à mon expérience, arrangez la chose chez le commissaire. Avec cent francs, vous en serez quitte et vous n'aurez qu'un dossier à la Préfecture de police. -En vous remettant cette somme, me laisseriez-vous libre ? demanda la victime. - Cela regarde le plaignant, je vais le consulter. Après quelques minutes d'entretien, Bec-de-Gaz et son complice exigèrent deux cents francs, et l'exploité conduisit ses exploiteurs à une grande librairie, où son frère était caissier. Celui-ci remit aux deux misérables le prix convenu.
[...] Chez les pédérastes, le mouchoir joue le rôle principal. C'est leur signe caractéristique, et tout de suite ils se reconnaissent ; sur le devant des effets il indique les actifs ; et lorsqu'il ressort des poches placées derrière le vêtement, il désigne les passifs. Il y a donc lieu de se méfier des jeunes gens qui mettent leur mouchoir trop en évidence, tant pis pour les amateurs de cette mode. Pendant la nuit, il est aussi dangereux de fréquenter les endroits sombres et déserts que de s'arrêter à certains buen retiro établis aux Champs-Elysées, à l'Esplanade des Invalides, au boulevard Bourdon et derrière les églises. Même pour satisfaire un pressant besoin, ne pénétrez pas dans les cabinets d'aisances des berges de la Seine, et si, aux cloisons des vespasiennes et des water-closets, vous apercevez des trous, disparaissez au plus vite, n'attendez pas qu'un de vos voisins de cellule vous passe, par ces étroites et rondes ouvertures, sa singulière carte d'invitation. Enfin pour éviter les vis-à-vis désagréables, les mauvaises rencontres, l'approche des sodomites et la visite des pickpockets, attendez, dans les urinoirs municipaux, la vacance des premières cases placées près des entrées. -Je constate avec regret, dit le Préfet, que Bec-de-Gaz et ses congénères ont à peine vingt ans..."

D'après Homosexualité et prostitution masculines à Paris : 1870-1918 par Régis Revenin