These Men (Le Marais)

Le Marais is about the sensuality of the performance once intended for creation, appropriated into a vertical courtship ritual that lacks subtley, but gains in this, a divine intensity. It is a region of circumstantial fortune – where a night lives and dies by the people met and the bedrooms visited and the alleyways navigated.

A grand slice (both in size and wonder) of Le Marais is completely defined by gay culture. Drag queens gyrate and shimmy to remixed American pop music and Madonna dominates the pipes, as I am invited to stroke the perspirated skin of the locals.


We perspire together in those halls of dance and sex and a thousand petit deaths. The music is as orgasmic as the fucking that occupies the bathrooms; it is an arousing prelude.

Amphetamine-cocktail-princes and boozy Mojito-brides adorn themselves with glitter and feathers or simply tight jeans, and at once become part of the frenetic landscape. Hard cocks and tense mucular arms assault revelers from screens on every wall.

They titillate, but the real action is downstairs.

A chess player from Nancy, a Swedish blogger and a young Australian traveller find home in the smokey bowels of an establishment, aptly named ‘Scream’. Cigarettes and spirits will be in our hair tonight.

The cum is in the walls and on the carpet and on the men.

It smells like Paris should.

In another part of the city within a city, Franco-African culture re-germinates under just-dim lights and fast salsa beats. Tall men with glistening black skin seek women to spin and to dip.

The women ragdoll along in the skillful arms of those modern Sinatras.

The suits are black, the wine is deep. It is impossible to conceive of sleep under the navy night.

Minds are returned slowly to cognition by the hours. Stumbling home up a thousand stairs, hallucination over fleeting summer nights takes over. But it’s not hallucination. The men are fucking real.

Symonne Torpy

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