… and Alyx Dellamonica found this fellow at the Westminster Pier Park offical opening.
He looks ready to open many things, among them the door to the playhouse and the adventurous heart. And the stilts just make it that much more delightful. [Photo courtesy Alyx Dellamonica.]
What with the war on and the tulle in shreds, a floozy – or a patron – seeks refreshment, solace, and a little something to please the palate once s/he slips under that black flower sign. So Under the Poppy needs a signature drink.
But what should it be?
The desperate gentility of china in a whorehouse.
A mask that means Yes, we see you.
The smoke of a hand-rolled cigarette, the careless fall of ash on bricks.
Trinkets. A certain hilarity. A certain smell.
Outside it’s dark. Inside, why, here you are.
In three days, dear patrons, we will open the doors.
Technically it’s “Vintage Gay Men,” and NSFW, no minors allowed, all the disclaimers in place. So without further ado … [Image from Vintage Gay Men.]
And, just because it’s such a marvelous read and resource, do check out Graham Robb’s Strangers: Homosexual Love in the 19th Century. And think about Walt Whitman and Peter Doyle, and be glad.
The fox and the wolf, the other children call them. They share everything, these feral boys. The fox and the wolf, the totem animals, say, the familiars of the men of the Poppy, Istvan and Rupert. The wolf, the “lone wolf,” is truly an animal who lives in, hunts in, and prefers packs; the fox is solitary. Though “The dominant male and female fox form a pair that may last for life . . . The pair travel, hunt and feed independently but occasionally meet, either briefly or for longer periods during which they play or groom each other.”
Here’s the inside of the card: “Sexomania”, published inÂ Punch,Â 27 April 1895:
And here’s the outside:
And there are candles blazing on the cake and Champagne ready for the toast: and we owe so much to you, dear Oscar, for the gentleness of your wit and the relentless courage of your heart. Happy birthday! You will always have a table of honor at the Poppy, the Mercury, and any other place a mec may play.
(Note: you can see lots more at Fuckyeahwildeboys, so please do.)
The erotic reminiscences of the best known courtesan of the Second Empire, revealing the most intimate secrets of lovers from every level of society-even, she claims, Napoleon III himself . . . Cora Pearl discusses in the most graphic detail the sexual prowess and predilections of lovers famous and humble; tells of her erotic exploits on horseback; invents, then ignores, the motto “jamais avec les domestiques”; and describes her presentation at dinner, cream-decked, as an exquisite final dish.
Whoa. The folk at the Poppy have never even considered taking part in such a repast, which demonstrates their charming innocence if you ask me. It also demonstrates that, no matter what you make up, it still turns out to be true and then some.
On other matters prostitutical, if that’s a word: proper costuming is essential. One cannot just throw on a frilly corset and call it a day, or a night. Female or male, what matters in matters of desire is rousing the senses of the client, whether that be with feathers, flowers, masks, certain scents (pine, oddly, is considered an aphrodisiac), certain textures – not only silk or satin or rough leather – it’s a very tricky science, desire. Having recently finished a story about a decidedly fierce young prostitute (“La Reine D’Enfer,” to appear next year in Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells, edited by Datlow & Windling), wherein that science was considered darkly and anew, one must remember that the surroundings of the brothel can be as powerful an enticement as the young gents and ladies themselves, if you trick it out just right.