Why Do Something If It Can Be Done: Quoting Gertrude Stein # 15

Rose tattoo109A rose is a rose by any other name… When I researched Stein photographs and texts for my photobiography I happened upon the man who created this amazing rose tattoo — an homage to Gertrude Stein. He turned out to be not only a tattoo artist but a writer, had worked with Kinsey on his sexual studies, and… been an intimate friend of Gertrude and Alice. So intimate that he was invited to summer with them at their country house in Bilignin. Samuel M. Steward, author of “Dear Sammy: Letters From Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas”, happened to live in Berkeley not far from where I lived myself. He became a friend who not only gave me permission to use his snapshots, but also told me revealing stories about the two women he adored. He explained to me, in fresh color, why Gertrude and Alice were so fond of the company of gay men — particularly, I want to add, of young, beautiful, sexy gay men. ( Sam was one of them. He looked like a sailor-boy from a movie by Kenneth Anger back then, in the late thirties.) Gertrude and Alice loved the sexual banter, the bawdy stories and repart√©es and dirty jokes they would exchange. Now I ask you: two “Victorian” ladies, in their sixties, keen on dirty jokes? How does that fit into the scholarly image of “frigidity” √† la Ulla Dydo or Janet Malcolm? Rhetorical question!
Stay tuned.

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One Response to Why Do Something If It Can Be Done: Quoting Gertrude Stein # 15

  1. Pingback: Why Do Something If It Can Be Done: Quoting Gertrude Stein # 59 | Quoting Gertrude Stein

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