Giton from Fellini's Satyricon
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I don’t believe in fate, synchronicity or that ‘things happen for a reason.’ Still I had to smile at the coincidental arrival of Fellini’s Satyricon in the shop while I’m obsessively trying to finish with the births of my sexualities.*
I opened the book at seventeen. If asked I guess I’d have said I was heterosexual. Not that I’d ever used any word of sexual orientation. The unexamined sense of conventionality doesn’t lead to any thinking.
Some of the pictures were pretty exciting. Not that I knew why I kept looking at them or even that I was. I never forgot them.
My first glimpse of a boy in makeup. To you perhaps a goofy looking kid with too much eyeliner. I’m giddy with surprise at my rediscovery.
I bought the book. Never read it just looked at a few pictures. Nietzsche cited Petronius as an exemplar of mental health. I read the Satyricon not long after I came out. The novel is very funny, wholly free of the antisensibility, cant and smugness that we label Puritanism (looking at synonyms for puritan I find “nice Nelly”).
Fellini’s movie came to Savannah but I was too young to see it. It was being shown at the old Avon that used to be on Broughton Street. They covered the front windows with brown wrapping paper. Possibly more an attempt to profit from the “banned in Boston” effect than cater to censors. (Back in the early part of the century books that were considered too salacious for Bostonians enjoyed huge sales in the rest of the county.) The Avon was two buildings. You bought your ticket in one, passed through a building with the snack confession, passed out a door and through an alley to get to the theater. One sheets and stills were outside the front building.
I never saw Satyricon. By the time I was old enough and living in big cities where it was regularly shown my Fellini fan friends assured me it was boring. A fear of being disappointed probably held me back as well. My main memory of Italian art movies is of good-looking people (seemed to be de rigueur in Italian movies, even the men and women in cheap space operas were nicer looking that similar junk from other countries). Then there was Visconti’s Death in Venice, I all but cried watching Dirk Bogarde’s longing for Bjorn Andresen..
It would’ve been about this time that I became unable to fantasize about girls without including boys.
Giton again, merely sweet looking.
Just about everybody wore makeup.
Rather creepy looking little bitches, er, boys aren’t they. Still, I was quite mesmerized.
Earlier there was Jeff.
* I know using the plural sounds pretentious, it is my affectation du jour.