There are a few things funnier than this. Nude models in art class. Male nude models in art class. Male nude models in art class if you too are male. Male nude models in art class if you are a heterosexual male. Male nude models in art class if you are a heterosexual male who is also homophobic.
He dropped his pants and the absence of gasps and snickers filled the room.
Then we all jumped in and got our hands dirty. Feet and hands; foreshortening and perspective. Dimples and tattoos. I learned his name and he spoke to me.
Both intimacies I hadn’t counted on. He had two first names and they sounded Catholic and saintly; at the same time like a porn star.
So there he stood, on the art school desktop, with the art school fabric folded beneath him - a cross between David and a cigar store Indian. A broad sloped nose, tobacco skin, a scar for an appendix, and not so recently shaved down there. I couldn’t not look. And the Greek Indian held council with a stick in his hand and two tattoos wrapped around his arm inside a brick and glass tower with busses, trains and cars following each other down the street outside, six stories below.
From the window you could see men playing baseball on a gigantic-screen TV that’s been erected for fans at Fenway Park. A blimp floated by at eye level.
One thing funnier than male nude models is going into the men’s room directly after wrestling with the male nude model’s figure for over two hours. Charcoal is dirty. Burnt wood and chocolate. So we we’re all there, the men of the class, in the bathroom. Boys.
Another loud silence. Then, ‘That was so gay!’, one said. I give him the benefit of the doubt and laugh because it is funny to say that. But then, ‘In a couple of weeks we get a girl!’, laughing like a sly dog. Now I act like I’m laughing, and wonder if this is what passes for locker room talk at art schools.
And I’m sort of wishing I had a towel to snap his bottom with. Then he pretends to be worried and bends over peering under stall doors. He pretends to find the Greek Indian’s legs with his pants around his ankles. The funny one’s fairly hysterical now. He doesn’t find the model or his pants.
I ask the funny one where he lives; then for a ride to a club, There’s music, Did you want to go? Can’t. He doesn’t balk on the ride, though I think he might. We talk work, not sports. We’re both laid off. I learn that he’s the master of an almost-porn sight; of the ‘odd things in vaginas variety’, but that he doesn’t see himself as the Porn Guy or anything. His web site has gotten over some-odd million hits and he’d have to pay more money to maintain this kind of traffic, and even though he has a fat severance package from being laid off, he doesn’t want to pay. He also gets paid $20 for every time someone clicks on a particular ad that’s running on his web site. And he only pays $300 rent because his fiancé’s father just died so they get the fat house and only have to pay property taxes.
He’s optimistic, and not funny anymore, and I want to sexually harass him. But instead, I tell him I like to write, maybe I can write for his new web site.
He drops me off at the club, which has an upstairs and a downstairs stage. I know where to go because the people in line for the downstairs stage don’t look like me. And the ticket taker says she hasn’t misread one yet. I meet the woman I love and will have children with. We can’t hear each other so we mouth words re-enacting a conversation one might have with another. I mouth a ‘So a guy walks into a bar . . .’
joke. I watch one boy caress another’s nipple. The rock and roll singer caresses himself and cries out.