I'm in Paris for the first time in eight years, visiting my old haunts and catching up with old friends. Farshad, the French Moroccan on my Sausage List, and his roommate Michel have me over for dinner.
Farshad is 38 years old, dark-skinned, bearded, with a hairy chest and a gigantic cut Mortadella+. More importantly, he's one of the founders of the first gay Muslim organization in France and a member of a gay-friendly masjid. Michel is a second-generation French Tunisian in his 20s, short, slim, with a smooth chest and a thick uncut Bratwurst. .
The French are not as star-struck as Americans, so celebrity hookups are not a common dinner-party topic of conversation, but I mention my relationship with Jimmy the Boy Toy, how my real-life celebrity boyfriend was not famous enough, so I invented a hookup with Gregg Sulkin of the Wizards of Waverly Place.
"Why didn't you tell him Leonardo DiCaprio?" Farshad asks. "He's more famous, and more believable. Tout le monde a été dans son lit. [Everyone has been in his bed.] Even me."
I nod knowingly. Leonardo DiCaprio is not only immensely talented, a humanitarian, and a strong ally of the gay community, he's very, very busy. He has been involved in passionate romances with female supermodels from three continents, yet he still has the time and energy to rack up up gay rumors. Nearly every guy I know claims to have been with him, or at least to have seen him kissing a bloke at a nightclub.
But Michel is impressed. "You and the star of Titanic!" he exclaims. "I never knew that. Did you say 'I'm king of the world!' when tu l'baisé? [when you topped him]"
Farshad was 18 years old, a new graduate from a lycee in Lille in northeastern France, planning to study languages at the university. He had just figured out that he was gay, not just using garz as a substitute for girls, as many of his friends did, but interested in dating and romance.
But where did a conservative Muslim boy from conservative Lille, whose parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, and two brothers were members of the Ligue Islamique du Nord, go to meet boys? And avoid running into anyone he knew?
To Belgium, of course.
One weekend he took the train 1 1/2 hours to Brussels, got a dorm room in a youth hostel, and set about exploring the gay nightlife.
He found a club on the Rue du Lombard that had a bar and disco in the front and a darkroom in the back, and saw a blond minet on the dance floor, shirtless, gyrating vigorously, almost obsessively. Sweat glistened on his slim, smooth chest, rolled down his perfect belly. He had long arms and shoulders, dirty blond hair, a beautiful angelic face.
Trop chaud! Farshad thought. Too hot for me. I have no chance.
But he underestimated his Mediterranean charms. Soon the garz sat down at the bar next to him and ordered an Orangina and asked "Que tu veux boire? [What would you like to drink?] with a strong American accent.
Surprised and excited, Farshad stammered "Um...quoi... an Orangina, too, please."
"You speak English? Excellent!"
"English, Italian, Arabic, and a little Tamazight, the native language of Morocco," Farshad said, hoping to impress him.
He introduced himself as Leo. He was an actor, in Belgium making a movie about Arthur Rimbaud, the famous boy genius who wrote startling poetry and had an affair with the middle aged, established poet Paul Verlaine.
"Was he gay?" Farshad asked.
"Gay? No. He was gay, straight, bisexual, and everything else. He loved men, he loved women, he loved words and language, he loved beauty. He found desire everywhere, even in the slightest touch on the wrist."
Leo touched Farshad's wrist. He immediately became aroused.
"I've never been with a garz before," Farshad admitted. "Except for fooling around with my friends, fondling through their clothes, wanking them, that sort of thing. Nothing romantic. Nothing passionate."
"Well, it's about time you started," Leo said, moving in for a kiss.
Farshad awoke to the sound of the shower running. Soon Leo emerged from the bathroom, toweling off.
"What do you want to do today?" Farshad asked. "Have you seen the Musees Royaux des Beaux Arts?"
"Actually, I have to be on the set in an hour."
"Ok, then...dinner later?"
"I'll be going back to America soon. And you have to be getting back to Lille."
Leo sat on the bed. "The world is full of hot guys, Farshad. Not just one, not ten, not a hundred -- thousands. They'll come and go, but there will always be more. Your job on this planet is to experience as much beauty as you can before it all fades away."
They didn't exchange telephone numbers. They never saw each other again.
Paris, June 2015
"That's rather a sad story," I say.
"Sad!" Farshad exclaims. "I see only happiness. I spent the night with a man who has a beautiful body and a beautiful soul. Can you expect more of life?"
"You shall certainly travel from stage to stage," Michel says, quoting the Qur'an. "Nothing lasts forever. What counts is the beauty in front of me at this moment." He puts his arm around me and leans in for a kiss.
There's going to be some sharing tonight.
Was Farshad Telling the Truth?
Leonardo DiCaprio was filming Total Eclipse in 1995, and several scenes were shot in Brussels. But his conversation seems too intellectual, even cerebral. DiCaprio is more of a plain talker.
DiCaprio doesn't have blond hair, and is smaller beneath the belt than Farshad said.
The bedroom activity Farshad describes doesn't mesh with the descriptions of DiCaprio's bedroom activity from some of the women in his life, but that could be merely a matter of performing differently with men and women.
DiCaprio is a strong supporter of the gay community who has played gay or bisexual characters several times. You'd think that if he was bisexual, he wouldn't keep it a secret.
But the gay rumors continue to rack up.
See also: Nude Photos of Leonardo DiCaprio; The French Moroccan on My Sausage List; My Date with a Star of "The Wizards of Waverly Place"