I was paying my lunch bill at the counter of a restaurant today, too impatient for this leisurely European way of eating and waiting half an hour to get a check. It was while doing this that I paused, was forced to slow down and to marvel that such beauty exists in this world, and to marvel that for reasons beyond my comprehension such beauty exists in such great numbers here.
One of the guys working behind the counter, a guy busy helping some old lady box up her order of cookies, was the type of beauty that puts you in check. Your hurry to get out of there and do some sightseeing is thrown out the window. You even consider ordering some cookies as well just to continue to be able to look at this man. You are completely blown away, standing upright by the tiniest thread of habit, ready to collapse.
It's the type of beauty, so extraordinary, that lifts your mood, adds a certain poetry to the world for a while, reminds you that there are people in this world who can do this to you, that the sight of something can inspire such a physical reaction.
I have always had a thing for Mediterranean guys. I don't know where this originated - maybe by being a young closeted fag and getting thrills from looking through fashion magazines and seeing the ads for Italian designers - Versace, Dolce and Gabanna - with beautiful near-naked models. It could be from that or there might actually be some objective ideal of beauty that some Italian men come very close to meeting, though I doubt that. I know there are all sorts of problems with eroticizing particular nationalities. Yes, I am aware of this, and still, still, this knowledge does nothing for me when I lose my breath when I pass by a sexy Italian man on the street.
This city has so many beautiful men. It's too bad that they don't seem to go to the gay bars I went to last night. I went to Hangar first which was half-filled with lots of creepy guys wearing their cologne of desperation. Because of this though, I loved the bar. It had the seediness and loneliness that I like when I am by myself drinking at a gay bar. Some guy started sucking my dick at the urinal. I asked him to stop. He kept on doing it, holding on tight with his mouth while I tried to pull away. It was at this point that I left, thought I would check out Coming Out.
This bar was at the opposite of the gay spectrum: young, lots of seemingly teenage girls, a sense of happiness, groups talking to each other. I stayed for a drink but it was a bit much to take by myself.
My friend David arrives tomorrow and I am really excited. Traveling by myself is starting to lose its appeal.
I walk around a lot and look at men and look at couples, of which there are a lot here, happy pairings everywhere you look, making out at this fountain, at this cafe, at this ruin. It does stir thoughts I don't really want to stir.
I saw these two beautiful Caravaggio paintings today in a little church off the Piazza del Popolo. They sit there in a dark corner of the church until someone puts a euro into a machine that turns on the lights for a minute and you see these amazingly crisp paintings full of pain, painted with amazing technique, and again, like you have been so many times in this city, you are wowed, momentarily thrown off your rhythm by the presence of such incredible beauty. Put the coin in the machine and enjoy that minute; believe in the present.