Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Caloub as Alain Delon

Caloub as Alain Delon

My lovely young nephew—my charming French boyfriend. He reminded me of Alain Delon—in Purple Noon (1960).

Playing Tom Ripley the talented counterfeiter, the cute mimic, the marvelous moocher, the moody forger and simply shameless improviser. Caloub was all these things—and even more.

Patrician Highsmith and René Clément would probably have been shocked by the uncanny resemblance. I know I was there in that New Orleans movie house—watching the film twice.

I couldn’t help it—what a déjà vu sensation. To see my young nephew up on the screen—doing the Purple Noon forbidden things I was doing with my young nephew.

After that I worshipped Alain Delon, of course—L’Eclisse, The Leopard, The Yellow Rolls-Royce, Le Samourai, Spirits of the Dead, Borsalino, The Assassination of Trotsky, Un Flic, Scorpio and especially Swan in Love as Baron de Charlus…

I was Swan, of course, just as I was the wretched Baron de Charlus. I repulsed myself, of course, and yet it was the Baron de Charlus that introduced me to Caloub as Odette among other male beauties.

I thought Caloub had a certain young male beauty—but a beauty to which I was indifferent. In a way it even repulsed me. He was as handsome as a chicken Alain Delon—and yet slutty like any typical Greyhound Bus Station hustler.

“Are you still seeing him?” the Baron asks me.

“I haven’t for ages,” I reply, lying to him.

“Does he write to you?” Baron de Charlus asks.

“Sometimes,” I say nonchalantly.

As we ascend the stairs, Alain Delon cruises a young dark-haired footman, turning his head to view the young male beauty, hardly any differently than Lot’s wife cruising a youth from Sodom before turning rudely into a shabby pillar of quivering salt. But, of course, this doesn’t happen to Delon—who has other actresses, directors and audiences to please later on in his exquisite career.

“Baron de Charlus. Monsieur Charles Swann,” their presence is announced. The Baron cruising yet another handsome young courtesan, standing erect at the base of a palatial staircase going upward.

“I hardly enjoy being in bed with him now,” I say. “It’s strange. Sometimes I even find her ugly.”

“But last night he was ravishing.”

“Did you get my letter?” the Baron asks a cute boy in uniform at the head of the stairs. “Without even looking at the youth, he says more than asks “Will you come?”

“You saw Caloub last night?” I asked.

“Of course. We dined at Prunier. Then we went to the Black Cat.”

“The Black Cat? That must have been his idea.”

“No, it was mine.”

“Really, how queer.”

“Well, that’s not such a bad idea.”

“I’m sure he knew a lot of people there.”

“No, he spoke to no one.”

“How extraordinary.”

“So the two of you just sat there alone?”

“We did.”

“That’s very kind of you, Baron. Thank you for taking such good care of Caloub.”

“Of course, my dear Denise.”

“Tell me, Baron. Have you been to bed with Caloub yet?”

“Not that I know of,” the Baron said, smirking.

“Some people say Monsieur Denise Swann is the sort one can’t receive at home, my dear,” one of the ladies at the recital says to another, leaning over the petite table.

“Is that true?” the other lady asks.

Another lady, Odette, says “You should know, my dear. You’ve invited him 50 times, and he’s never come.”

“My dear Charles,” Odette says, swishing into the waiting room. “My boredom ends only when I’m with you.”

“Why not spend a few days with us at Guermantes?”

“Marquise de Balleroy, Madame d’Arpajon, Princess Sherbatov, Monsieur de Narpois…” the introductions during the séance intermission continue…

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