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Soirées De Paris


So, we're well out of it.
Schopenhauer (on a loose sheet, before dying)

24 AUGUST 1979

Last night.) At the Flore where I read Le Monde (no news), beside me two boys (I know one of them by sight and we even nod to each other; nice looking, regular features, but coarse fingernails) have a long argument about telephone wake-up service: it rings twice, but if you don't wake up by then, you're out of luck; all this now by computer, etc. In the Métro, quite full, it seemed to me, of young foreigners (perhaps from the Gare du Nord and the Gare de l'Est), a guitarist (American folk songs) passing the hat in one car; I carefully chose the next car, but at Odéon he changed cars and got in mine (he probably works the whole train); seeing which, I got right off and returned to the car he had just left (passing the hat always embarrasses me as a form of hysteria and blackmail, and an arrogance as well, as if it was self-evident that such music or any music always gives me pleasure). I got off at Strasbourg-Saint-Denis, the station echoing to a saxophone solo; at the bend of a corridor I noticed a thin young black producing this enormous, "inconsiderate" noise. Run-down character of the neighbor-


hood. I took the Rue d'Aboukir, thinking of Charlus, who mentions it; I didn't know it came out so close to the Boulevards. It was not yet eight-thirty; I delayed a little so as not to turn up exactly on time at 104, where Patricia L. would have to come down to let me in. The neighborhood was deserted, dirty, a strong wind was blowing, raising huge piles of papers and empty boxes, the detritus of the factories of this neighborhood; I discovered a tiny triangular square (Rue d'Alexandrie, I think); it was charming and sordid, three old plane trees (I sympathized with their lack of air), some oddly shaped benches that looked like tubs, and along one side a low, bright-painted building—I thought it might be a tiny, very shabby music hall but no, it was another box factory; beside it, on a patch of wall, a huge movie poster (Peter Ustinov flanked by two young women); I went on to the Rue Saint-Denis; but there were so many prostitutes you couldn't really "stroll" here without seeming to be doing something else; I retraced my steps, it was boring, no shop windows to look at, and I sat down for a minute on one of the benches of the little square; some kids were playing football and shouting; others were flinging themselves on top of huge piles of paper that the wind was beginning to scatter. I thought: how much like a movie! I ought to shoot this to get it into a film; I fantasized a little, imagining one technique that would allow me to film the scene immediately (a perfect camera where my second shirtbutton is), and another that would make this square with the wind blowing through it a setting where you could put a character after the fact. Finally I went to 104, still musing, alarmed by the grim power of this corner of Paris, passing in front of the hotel Royal-Aboukir (what a name!). All this was like some dis-


inherited New York neighborhood, on the smaller Parisian scale. At dinner (a good risotto, but the beef, of course, not cooked at all), I felt comfortable with friends: A. C., Philippe Roger, Patricia, and a young woman, Frédérique, who was wearing a rather formal gown, its unusual shade of blue soothing; she didn't say much, but she was there , and I thought that such attentive and marginal presences were necessary to the good economy of a party (André T. exaggerates, though). They talked about what they called "shaggy-dog stories" ("At Victoria Station, in England, I met a Spanish girl who spoke French"), arguing excitedly over the definition of the concept; and about Khomeini (I said how much I regretted having only news bulletins these days, never analyses; no one tells us, for instance, what's happening to the class conflict in Iran, missing, on this point, Marx), then about Napoleon (because I happen to be reading Chateaubriand). I left first, around eleven-thirty, very eager to take a piss and, afraid I'd never find a taxi and would have to take the Métro, I went into a Boulevard bistro opposite the Porte Saint-Denis; in a corner, huddled near the toilet door which I could scarcely open, three indefinable creatures (half-pimps, half-queens) talking about a whore from Marseille (as far as I could make out); a handsome tattooed Asian (I saw the blue-green tattoos below the short sleeves of his T-shirt) was standing at the pinball machine with a friend. The barman and the proprietress, vulgar, tired, kindly: I thought, what a job! The taxi stank of dirt and some sort of pharmaceutical smell—yet the no-smoking sign was explicit. In bed, while Germaine Tailleferre eagerly propounded her platitudes and vanities in a voice and a diction I love, waiting impatiently for the Stravinsky and Satie rec-


ords to end so that I could hear more of her—in bed, then, I glanced at the first pages of a text M/S , just published by Seuil (F.W. had told me about it), wondering what I could say and finding—though it was nicely written and sympathetic—no more than "yeah, yeah," then I continued, fascinated, with the history of Napoleon in Mémoires d'outretombe . After turning out the light, I went back to the radio for a while: a sour, fragile soprano doing an insipid classical aria (something like Campra, they're all alike), I turned it off.

25 AUGUST 1979

At the Flore with Eric M., we order soft-boiled eggs and sausages, and a glass of bordeaux. No one to look at. A gray-haired, bearded Argentinian comes to my table and renews an invitation he says he has already made to come, all expenses paid, to his Communications Institute; since I am evasive, he suddenly adds something like: "We are politically quite independent" (I wasn't thinking of that, but rather of the boredom of having to get through several dinners with him in Buenos Aires—we had to communicate in English). A young boy came in and sat down alone; impossible to determine his nationality (only the almond-shaped eyes are foreign); his close-fitting jacket is dark, formal, his collar rumpled over a thin tightly knotted tie, the outfit finished off (or begun?) by peculiar red buckskin shoes. The vendor of Charlie-Hebdo passes through; on the cover, in the stupid taste of that paper, a basket of greenish heads like lettuces: "2 Francs a Cambodian Head"; and just then a


young Cambodian bustles into the café, sees the drawing, evidently shocked, disturbed, buys the paper: Cambodian heads! During all this, Eric and I discuss the question of diaries; I tell him I want to dedicate to him the text I have just written for Tel Quel , and his spontaneous pleasure touches me (the evening's recompense). He walks me home through the Rue de Rennes, amazed at the density of the hustlers, their beauty (I have more reservations), tells me he was hurt by Y., who has told him that P. put him down (a network incident, in Y.'s manipulative manner). In bed, to the music of the Nutcracker (broadcast to illustrate the notion of "musical fantasy"!), I read a little more of the latest Yves Navarre (better than the others) and M/S ("yeah, yeah"); but these seem like chores and as soon as some of my obligations are fulfilled I put them aside and turn with relief to Chateaubriand, the real book. Always this notion: suppose the Moderns were wrong? What if they had no talent?

26 AUGUST 1979

At the Bonaparte, where I am to meet Claude J. for dinner, Gérard L. finds me (I loathe these impromptu meetings, I prefer being alone in a café to look around, to think about my work, etc.): he is more down-and-out than ever; incoherent, gabbling, smiling gently under his curly hair and his blue eyes (either myopic or astonished behind his round spectacles), he reports that he has given up his room to share the apartment of this guy , in hopes of having a place to paint while the École des Beaux-Arts is closed (for the summer);


now it appears that this guy is crazy, making life impossible for both of them. How old is this guy? Twenty-four, a painter. Does he cruise you? No, that's just it (as if that was what was bothering G.L.), he's crazy, etc. I feel he is so absolutely incoherent, so absolutely and unconditionally needy, that it's exciting, like having a slave at one's disposal, and such confusion touches me, realizing what joy, what relief he would have if I were suddenly to say to him: all right, then, come to my place. I do nothing of the kind, it would be crazy. — Claude J. arrives, wearing a sweater; it is raining hard now, and cold. We hesitate over the restaurant, interminably; he generously offers me the choice of where to go, but such freedom is like an overwhelming present, I don't know what to do with it; he mentions a "meat place" near the Collège de France; even though the notion revolts me and I'm afraid it will be packed (which I loathe in restaurants), I'm so tired of walking in the rain that I prefer a restaurant some distance away (so we'll have to take his car); luckily the meat place is closed, so there's no choice but to go to Bofinger (which is really what I wanted to do from the start, being quite taken these days with this brasserie, which is excellent but expensive). The headwaiter calls me by my name, which I find flattering and embarrassing; the watercress salad is excellent and there is (something I've come to love, since my first trips to Italy) steamed fish and vegetables which I sprinkle with vinaigrette. Claude J. tells me about his trip to Turkey with his friend J.-P. It sounds like night after night in the car, arriving in unknown towns at one in the morning, 11,000 kilometers in twenty days, all of which I would find impossible. At first I feel like talking about my work problems, but as always when I anticipate


talking about something, I become self-conscious and say nothing. Finally I dispose of the matter (which should have constituted a whole conversation) in a sentence. In comes a group of men, two of whom are bearded fifty-year-olds, twins from the look of them, Nature making a second attempt at what she botched the first time; one of them waves to me—the Argentinian from yesterday (at the Flore); the other, I have some vague recollection, is an art critic. At another table, beyond them, we are amazed to see two boys eating together: they look poor, badly dressed, sickly, one seems to be North African, the other, wearing dark glasses, has the coarse, dirty hands of a laborer. What are they doing here? Two men who work together, splurging?

I am glad that all I have to do is get home and climb into bed. On the radio, a reedy woman's voice without vibrato, boring and "retarded," connects a Beethoven sonata (but it is played by the jailed Argentinian: a touch of demagogy) to an endless recording of some Japanese speaker, then, no less endless, the harsh voice of an Indian singer. All this as if it were perfectly natural: crazy, boring programs, with obscure transitions. I continue with pleasure the Mémoires d'outre-tombe , in which I have reached the "Hundred Days."

27 AUGUST 1979

(change to perfect tense)

I wait for Philippe S. at the Select (the Coupole is closed for August); the terrace is crowded, I find the café unpleasant—perhaps because it isn't one of my haunts; a woman by herself—a pickup? No, she leaves without saying a word. Be-


hind me, a nicely pitched woman's voice, speaking to a guy who must be making a pass; something about a horoscope; they are looking for the right signs to match Sagittarius, which must be the guy's sign; comically, they all match, "even Taurus." The waiter is talking with a customer, his attention is not to be attracted until he has carefully finished his sentence, the way one folds one's napkin (Proustian scene: the customer's bell ringing in the kitchen). We go to the Rotonde for dinner, in a booth; next to us, a very excited little old fellow is making (another) pass at a younger woman, missing a few teeth. Philippe and I talk about Chateaubriand, about French literature, then about Éditions du Seuil. With him, I always feel euphoric, full of ideas, confidence, and excitement about work; he encourages my old notion of writing a history of French literature (according to Desire). I make the mistake—a bizarre, uncustomary idea—of ordering a pear brandy with a second cigar and extending the evening; whence a rather intense stomachache. I walked home alone. Everything deserted this August Sunday at eleven at night. Rue Vavin, I passed a young, lovely, elegant, elaborately made-up woman walking her dog; she left a delicate scent of lily of the valley behind her. I skirted the Luxembourg, the Rue Guynemer empty as far as I could see. On a kiosk, a huge poster for a film; the actors' names (Jane Birkin, Catherine Spaak) printed in huge letters—as if they were incontestable attractions (but what do I care about Catherine Spaak, do you think I would cross the street to see Catherine Spaak, etc.). In front of 46 Rue de Vaugirard (a sort of general headquarters of Protestant activities), an attractive boy, who goes in before I can get much of a look at him. In bed, without forcing myself to


read the contemporary chores, I get on with Chateaubriand right away: amazing passage about the exhumation of Napoléon on Saint Helena.

28 AUGUST 1979

Always this difficulty about working in the afternoon. I went out at around six-thirty, for no good reason; in the Rue de Rennes noticed a new hustler, hair in his eyes, a tiny earring; since the Rue Bernard-Palissy was completely deserted, we discussed terms; his name was François; but the hotel was full; I gave him some money, he promised to be at the rendezvous an hour later, and of course never showed. I asked myself if I was really so mistaken (the received wisdom about giving money to a hustler in advance! ), and concluded that since I really didn't want him all that much (nor even to make love), the result was the same: sex or no sex, at eight o'clock I would find myself back at the same point in my life; and since mere eye contact and an exchange of words eroticizes me, it was that pleasure I paid for. Later in the evening, at the Flore, not far from our table, another hustler, angelic with his long hair falling on either side of a part down the middle of his head; now and again he glances at me; I am attracted by the way his white shirt opens down his chest; he is reading Le Monde and drinking a Ricard, I think; he doesn't leave, finally smiles at me; he has coarse hands, which belie the sweetness and delicacy of the rest; it is from his hands that I deduce his hustlerdom (he ends up by leaving before we do; I stop him, because he smiles, and make a vague rendezvous). Down the street, a whole noisy


family: three or four children, all hysterical (always, in France): they wore me out, even at a distance.—Back home, on the radio, I heard about the IRA attack on Lord Mountbatten. Everyone is outraged, but no one mentions the death of his grandson, a boy of fifteen.

Urt, 31 AUGUST 1979

Wedged into the wicker armchair, smoking my cigar, watching TV . . . Rachel and M., who had gone out for an afterdinner stroll, have come back to take me with them, the evening is apparently so lovely. At first I was annoyed: what, not a minute without someone asking me for something, even if it was for my own good! Then I went with them, regretting my irritable impulse, especially since M. is so affectionate and so naive, so sensitive to anything lovely, as Mam used to be. The late twilight was of an extraordinary beauty, almost strange in its perfection: a fleecy pale gray, not at all melancholy, banks of mist on the other side of the Adour, the road lined with tranquil houses and flowers, a golden half-moon, crickets chirping, as in the old days : nobility, peace. My heart filled with sadness, almost with despair; I thought of Mam, of the cemetery where she was, quite close by, of "Life." I felt that romantic impulse as a certain value, and I was sad at never being able to say so, "always worth more than what I write" (theme of the course); in despair too at not feeling at home either in Paris or here or traveling: no real refuge.


Paris , 2 SEPTEMBER 1979

Back from Urt yesterday afternoon; plane crammed with a stupid public: kids, families, a woman next to me vomiting in a paper bag, an adolescent bringing back a pelota racket. Slumped down in the seat, without even loosening my safety belt or making a single move for over an hour, I read some of Pascal's Pensées , recognizing in "man's miseries" all my sadness, my heavy heart at U. without Mam (all this really impossible to write: when I think of Pascal's dryness and tension). Landing in Paris, everything was heavy, gray. Dinner that evening with J.-L. (Y. not there): he had made a roast (overcooked), there were avocados with a very black vinaigrette, French and Spanish melons, bread from Monoprix in a plastic bag, and wine in a carafe. Darlame talked a lot (very fast, a little drunk on the wine); I realized after a while that this was more or less for my benefit (to seduce me); for a long while there has been some sort of dispute between us, and now, for the first time, there was a positive act of speech on his part; but I was embarrassed by the presence of Eric M. and J.-L. P. When I left, early, he wanted to leave with me; in the elevator, I kissed him, rested my head on his shoulder; but whether this wasn't his sort of thing, or because of some other reticence, he responded only vaguely. I accompanied him in the taxi, he holding my hand, as far as Clichy (crossing Paris). At table, we had talked "about women." That evening, exhausted and enervated, in bed (radio impossible: ultramodern music, sounds like rabbit turds) I read the personals in Libération and the Nouvel Observateur : nothing interesting, nothing for "old hands."



The Deux Magots having reopened, there are fewer people at the Flore; almost empty inside. I read, looking up often, but still getting something out of Pascal's Pensées . Nearby, an excited group (I've seen them before): fashion queens and in the middle a tiny hysterical girl (she is showing them pictures, talking, buttering toast, all her fingers high in the air). To a newcomer, a pretty boy, peacocking: "You have such big feet" (I could look at nothing else, in white socks). Renaud C. passes, all in blue, eyes, shirt, everything; I've never known anyone less metaphysical, that is, more "ironic" (with the slightly disagreeable quality this implies); also François Flahault and Madeleine with her huge eyes; embraces coming and going; she must think this a bit much. Jean-Louis P. doesn't want to eat at the Flore (no doubt he resists being seen there with me, that is, passing for "kept," given the difference in our ages). We dined, uncomfortably, at La Malène. I know that André telephoned him from Hyères and that what he really wants is to join him there, leaving tonight, in fact; out of generosity, perversity, fatalism, seigneurial swagger, I convince him to go. He leaves at nine, and I am alone, quite sad—determined to give up (but how to tell him? wouldn't it be shameful to stop seeing him, on the excuse that . . .? but that is what I'd like, eager to clear my life of all these messes). I went back to the Flore to continue my Pascal with a cigar. A tall dark hustler I know by sight came over to say hello, sat down, ordered a lemon juice and water; his name is Dany, he's from Marseille; very low class, has difficulty expressing himself. I feel he is depressed; he's just out of the army, waiting to begin training


for industrial design; he has no place to live and complains constantly; moves from one friend to the other, picks people up in the station or at friends', etc.; if only he had a studio; in short, he's in deep shit. For the rest, typical hustler's language: that is, rather chaste, in which the thing itself is never mentioned. Each time I insist, in order to make him say he's ready to go to bed with me, he answers: "I'm free." I wake up in the middle of the night—five o'clock; I think bitterly and sadly of my relation with J.-L. P.


Tired of working, I go out earlier than usual; not wanting to go to the Flore, where I have a date at eight o'clock with F.W. and Severo, I went to the terrace of the Royal-Opéra to read Le Monde ; the cars are back, the evening no longer has the August emptiness I so enjoyed. Alone, upset, a hustler I know named José, a pale long-limbed boy with light blue eyes; I avoid him, for once again I have forgotten to bring him the signed book he asked me for (I can't imagine who told him that I wrote), and each time he insists; besides, I want to read my paper; I end up by talking to him; now he's working at the Continental; I ask him: "Is it good there?" thinking of the clientele; he answers that when it's no longer dark (thereby telling me that because of his situation he knows a few secrets), it's not very clean, despite the modernistic look of things. With F.W. and Severo, dinner at Bofinger. Leaving the restaurant and walking toward the car parked at the base of the statue of Beaumarchais (Severo keeps saying that he wants to live here), F.W., in


one of his occasional fits of solemnity and affection (I am always in dread of them, knowing he is going to talk to me about myself with all the interest of a fond Judge, and I immediately feel myself becoming an evasive child, changing my body), using for transition my comment about that book M/S , about which I had said—and what else could I have said—that this universe was absolutely inaccessible to me—F.W. announces that one of these days I'll have to explain myself about the rejected aspects of my sexuality (in this case, sadomasochism), about which I never speak; I feel a certain irritation at this: first of all, quite logically, how could I explain myself about what does not exist? All I can do is report ; and then, it's so discouraging, this fashion—this doxa—of constituting sadomasochism as a norm, as normal, so that any failure to acknowledge it has to be explained—accounted for. —From the beginning of the evening, Severo was obsessed with checking out a bar he had heard about in the Rue Keller, near the Bastille—a leather bar. Since he never lets go of such notions, we walk there, F.W. and I secretly hoping that we find nothing at all; in the Rue Keller, discovered after we come upon a charming perspective of apartment buildings, a round steeple (Notre-Dame d'Espérance?), an orange window, a real piece of Italy, the bar is garishly lit, nothing clandestine about it, shouts can be heard coming out of the open door, the place is filled with blacks, one of whom is gesticulating and threatening the manager, also black. Relieved, we give up. The night is mild. Back to the car, the neighborhood full of young men. I feel like walking but my stomach is bothering me a little (though I had talked up Bofinger, generalizing the necessity of going to good restaurants so to avoid being sick), and I don't want


them to stop the car in front of my house—for with F.W. and Severo I never do, and habit is like a minor superego. Coming home alone, I climb the stairs and pass my own floor without realizing it, as if I were returning to our apartment on the fifth floor, as if it were the old days and Mam were there waiting for me. An exceptional oversight that disturbs me. Read in bed the statements by Khomeini: dumbfounded! It's so "scandalous" that I don't dare be outraged: there must be a rational explanation for this anachronistic madness; it would be too easy just to laugh at it, etc. In short, Paradox calls.


At the Flore where, exhausted, I argue painfully, parsimoniously—perhaps because neither the text nor the boy, very tense though good-looking, attracts me—with Jean G. about his novel (I offer a few comments to show that I am cooperative, but I have the impression he takes them "personally" and closes up), an old Moroccan hustler (Alami? Alaoui?), whom I knew at least ten years back and who since then, each time he sees me, tells me the story of his life and hits me for money, appears, begins telling me some grim tale about an inheritance (a woman who was in love with him has died, leaving him a villa in Cannes, but there are problems, the police suspect him of being a pimp, etc.), and actually sits down at our table to tell the details in greater comfort. I refuse (his rudeness gives me the energy to refuse); he makes an angry gesture and knocks over chairs in his abrupt departure. That evening we go to the little


Chinese restaurant in the Rue de Tournon with Bernard G. and his (new Italian friend, Ricardo; at first nothing much, but gradually he appeals to me because of a kind of bodily freshness (hands, chest in the unbuttoned white shirt): the trio of Desire inevitably forms, B. G. having, by his choice, designated whom I should desire. I envy their being together and going to Vienna tomorrow. I leave them tenderly—but a little bitterly, as far as I'm concerned, since they're going away for a long time, and besides, in any case . . .


Last night, dinner at La Palette with Violette. At the next table, a black man eating alone: sober, silent, discreet; a civil servant? To end his meal he orders a yoghurt and tea. The evening is warm, the street full of people and cars (monstrous procession of motorcycles). I extend it by heading around eleven for the Flore, unprofitable; a rather wretched type sits down beside me and immediately begins talking to me. Annoyed, I bury myself in my paper. Very difficult to read one's paper in peace.


Evening: not much to tell: at Restaurant 7 with friends; a good moment, despite the stupid environment: heavily made-up old women, gaudy clientele showing off. But earlier in the afternoon of this Saturday, a kind of insatiable cruising: first of all at the Bain V, nothing: none of the Arabs


I know, no one interesting, a lot of nervous Europeans; the only exception, an Arab, not young but not bad, interested in Europeans. Apparently without asking for money, he touches each one's cock, then moves on to the next; who knows what he wants? Pure paradox: an Arab for whom someone else's cock exists and not only his own (which is his ego). Interminable, prolix monologue (not a conversation at all) of the owner, who describes his disappointments in a Tunisian hotel (wretched food and all the young Tunisians impudently cruising him, he explains, hypocritically disapproving). It occurred to me to go looking for a hustler in Montmartre; which is perhaps why, in bad faith, I found nothing at Voltaire. Very stormy sky, heavy raindrops, a lot of cars. At La Nuit, absolutely nothing (exploding the rumor that it's hot at five in the afternoon). Then appears a tall dark fellow with a rather strange, somewhat delicate countenance; his French is coarse, I take him for a Breton; no, his mother is Hungarian, his father a White Russian (?), in short a Yugoslav (very mild, very simple). Mme Madeleine, whom I had been told was very sick (an infarct), appears, huge and limping out of her kitchen, where an eggplant is lying on the table; she introduces a handsome Moroccan who is quite willing to make contact and gives me a long stare; he will wait in the dining room until I come back down, seems disappointed that I don't take him right away (vague date for tomorrow). I leave light-headed, physically at ease; still following my notion of a diet, I buy a loaf of very crusty bread (a sober but not a self-denying diet) and nibble at the heel; the crust crumbles in the Métro, while I make complicated transfers—but I persist, determined to find out the barometric pressure, Avenue Rapp, in order to regulate my new


barometer. In the taxi on the way home, storm and heavy rain. I hang around the house (eating some toast and feta), then, telling myself I must lose the habit of calculating my pleasures (or my deflections), I leave the house again and go see the new porno film at Le Dragon: as always—and perhaps even more so than usual—dreadful. I dare not cruise my neighbor, though I probably could (idiotic fear of being rejected). Downstairs into the back room; I always regret this sordid episode afterward, each time suffering the same sense of abandonment.


Yesterday, late in the afternoon at the Flore, I was reading the Pensées ; at the next table, a thin boy with a very pale, glabrous face, good-looking and strange, unsensual (fake leather trousers), busy copying phrases and diagrams from a notebook onto loose sheets; couldn't tell if it was poetry or mathematics. The hustler Dany, black eyebrows and red sweater, came over and sat down beside me, drank a lemon juice and water, he says his stomach is bothering him, eating too much fast-food—and sometimes not eating at all, during the whole day; he still has no place to live; his heavy hands are moist. Outside the sky is stormy, there are drops of rain—and no taxi, of course. With Saul T., not at all eccentric tonight, a grey suit, a red shirt, we decide against Bofinger and go to the little Chinese restaurant in the Rue de Tournon. Saul seems depressed and the evening lags, I'm bored enough to be interested in our neighbors: an opulent black girl at whom the little Vietnamese waiter makes an


abrupt pass, two Frenchmen, one of whom is quite handsome; he has set his wallet and keys down on the table beside him; the other man goes downstairs to the toilet twice; they talk about tennis, pronouncing with a strong French accent the words Flushing Meadows, Wimbledon , and are drinking rosé. Yet it was the evening when the proposition made in July was to be settled, Saul was to give me his answer. But I no longer desired him, I was tired, without even the energy to finish the matter. I said nothing about it, as did he, of course. After all, that's what a double answer is. Excellent method to erase desire: a long-term contract; it drops of its own accord. In bed, finished Renucci's Dante ; awful! I got nothing out of it.


At the American cocktail party for Richard Sennett (admirable: a whole sociology in the fact that he cannot express himself in another's presence, as if expression were a self-evident higher value), where I find Edgar Morin, Foucault, and Touraine, trapped (we were told it was a cocktail party, it was a debate), I was thinking of nothing but my date with Olivier G. We went to Bofinger for dinner, but it seemed not so good this time, and not so pleasant, more expensive, too many people, the champagne not chilled enough, etc. Afterward we walked slowly down the Rue Saint-Antoine and the Rue de Rivoli, it was mild, a little misty, deserted (these are daytime neighborhoods). I was faintly apprehensive about how we would say goodnight (still hesitating about the management of Desire), but at the same time feel-


ing relaxed. We had been having a good conversation, and Olivier seemed comfortable (what fine eyes he has!). We took a cup of tea in a café on the Place du Châtelet; it was a bit odd. The separation went easily enough; O. didn't want to come back to the house—which I had anticipated, and I was afraid of that anyway (because of my desire and because I was sleepy); we made a date for Sunday lunch and separated in the Place du Châtelet; he didn't kiss me, but I wasn't hurt by that as would once have been the case. I walked home, taking the Boulevard Saint-Michel and the Rue Saint-André-des-Arts; tired as I was, I still wanted to see boys' faces; but so many were so young that I began to feel depressed. Le Dauphin was empty except, at the end of the terrace, for one black boy, with long, delicate hands, in a red jacket.


Futile Evening. Stormy and not at all warm: rainy, hostile wind; I didn't know how to dress for such weather; finally I put on a blue windbreaker, bought in New York, practically brand-new (I have replaced the zip-in lining); it fits badly, the sleeves are too long and there is no inside pocket, so I feel crammed with objects, at risk of losing them—the way I lost my cigar case from this same jacket; already I am not comfortable this Evening. At the Museum of Modern Art (a grim neighborhood), there is an opening of Pleynet's painters; I am surprised to find the pictures absolutely splendid, radiant, full of color; the ones that bore me are the ones I know, the theoreticians, the sad ones (Devade, Cane, De-


zeuze); there are a lot of people, the usual vernissage conversations. ("There's a lot of shit on the walls, but not all," remarks one gentleman in glasses, scribbling something in a notebook: an answer, probably timid and insincere, to two beefy fellows who prowl through the show with a provocative hostility.) I see Sollers, Pleynet, then sneak off, never able to look at an exhibition long. I walk a while toward the Pont de l'Alma with Lucien Naise: very nice, but I can't manage to enjoy his remarks (though flattering, unconditionally so—or because of that? for this compels me to squeeze up, and I don't like the feeling that my answers are curbed), or (especially) his body, a little sweaty, not very sensual. I am already paralyzed by the boredom of having to attend the opening of Pinter's No Man's Land —perhaps because of my windbreaker; I hesitate. I'd like some champagne, which I stop and order at the bar of Chez Francis; this is a restaurant, and the bar is just for the waiters, who add up their bills and count out their bank notes. I take the Métro, as though on my way to a chore. Boulevard Bonne-Nouvelle, everything is grim; the weather is cold now, humanity depressed, the neighborhood full of pretentious and sordid little restaurants (with overdecorated chairs), as well as third-run or porno movie houses. Since I was fifteen minutes early, dismayed at the idea of waiting in a first-night audience, with my jacket, not knowing what to do, figuring that a cup of coffee wouldn't take me fifteen minutes (in cafés as grim as these), I walked down the Boulevard; which was fatal to Pinter, for I decided not to retrace my steps (actually: no consequence ); I wanted to go to the Flore, but it was too early and would have made too long an evening; I looked for a movie: nothing appealed, or else the film had already begun; then I


found one theater where they were showing Pialat's film about kids passing their baccalauréat (J.-L. had said it was wonderful, in his way, of course, which means aside from any esthetic criterion, and according to affective-intellectual impressions that concern himself exclusively). The film, though perfect and justifying all the praise it had received, was instantly painful to me: I don't at all enjoy realistic descriptions of social "milieu"; there was a sort of "youth" racism (one felt absolutely excluded), it was abusively hetero, and I don't like that very contemporary sort of message in which you have to sympathize with down-and-outers (limited horizon of the young, etc.), and where the whole universe is idiotic: the arrogance of the derelict, so much for our times. Leaving the theater and heading toward the Opéra, groups of young people; a girl says something just like what I had been hearing in the film. The film is "true," since it continues in the street. Arriving at Saint-Germain, just above Le Drugstore, a very handsome white hustler stops me; I am stunned by his beauty, the delicacy of his hands, but, intimidated and exhausted, I claim I have an appointment. At the Flore, beside me, two Laotians, one too effeminate, the other attractive in his boyish way: some friendly conversation, but what use is it? (Still exhausted, I want to read the paper.) They leave. Painfully I make my way home, dazed by a migraine, and continue Dante, after taking an Optalidon.


Yesterday, Sunday, Olivier G. came for lunch; waiting for him, welcoming him, I had manifested the solicitude that


usually indicates that I am in love. But as soon as lunch began, his timidity or his remoteness intimidated me; no euphoria of relation—far from it. I asked him to come and sit beside me on the bed during my nap; he came willingly enough, sat on the edge of the bed, looked at an art book; his body was very far away—if I stretched out an arm toward him, he didn't move, uncommunicative: no obligingness; moreover he soon went into the other room. A sort of despair overcame me, I felt like crying. How clearly I saw that I would have to give up boys, because none of them felt any desire for me, and I was either too scrupulous or too clumsy to impose my desire on them; that this is an unavoidable fact, averred by all my efforts at flirting, that I have a melancholy life, that, finally, I'm bored to death by it, and that I must divest my life of this interest, or this hope. (If I consider my friends one by one—except for those who are no longer young—it has been a failure each time: A., R., J.-L. P., Saul T., Michel D.—R. L., too brief, B. M. and B. H., no desire, etc.) Nothing will be left for me but hustlers. (But then what would I do when I go out? I keep noticing young men, immediately wanting to be in love with them. What will the spectacle of my world come to be?)—I played the piano a little for O., after he asked me to, knowing at that very moment that I had given him up; how lovely his eyes were then, and his gentle face, made gentler by his long hair: a delicate but inaccessible and enigmatic creature, sweet-natured yet remote. Then I sent him away, saying I had work to do, knowing it was over, and that more than Olivier was over: the love of one boy.


Designer: Sandy Drooker

Compositor: Wilsted & Taylor

Text: 11/13.5 Fournier

Display: Fournier

Printer: Malloy Lithographing

Binder: Malloy Lithographing

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