Friday, October 23, 2015

Tomor the Mongolian Shaman of Paris

Paris, July 1999

I spent the summer of 1999 in Paris, ostensibly researching French social thought, but really just...well, being in Paris. Every day I took the metro to the National Library to do research for a few hours.  In the afternoon I visited the parks, churches, and museusm, and in the evening, just after work, I dropped by a gay bar or bath house.  The Parisians were very friendly, very willing to talk. More often than not, they invited me out to dinner.

The tourists were not so friendly -- they came to Paris to meet Parisians, not Canadians with bad accents (I always claimed to be Canadian to avoid the hostility).  So one night at the Duplex Bar, , when I saw an Asian guy holding the wall up, I kept my distance.

He was cute though, slim, hard-torsoed, golden -skinned, with dark eyes and a beard and moustache.  And there weren't a lot of Asians in Paris.  So eventually I thought "What's the worst that can happen?" and approached.

"Bonjour.  Je suis Boomer, dans Toronto," I began.  

"Tomor.  Dans Mongolia."

"Mongolia!"  I repeated, thinking of all that I had heard about Silk Road, the empire of Genghis Khan, the stately pleasure dome of Kublai Khan, the semi-nude wrestling competitions; the penis statues. the men.

"I'm not Khalka, I'm Baad," he said in fluent French.. "From the Uvs Province, near the Russian border."

"Ok, ok.  My friend Yuri is Russian.  He loves Mongolian guys.  Especially if they have a lied grand."  Yuri had never expressed a particular interest in Asian men, but he was into super-sized lieds.

"Et moi aussi."  

Tomor told me that he had come to Paris to study history at the Sorbonne, and to get away from the homophobia at home.  It was the Khalkha, the ruling tribe of Mongolia, that instituted homophobia, he said.  And the Buddhists and the Communists.  In the early days, before the Buddhists came, same-sex relations were honored.  They made warriors brave.

"Wait -- the Buddhists?" I asked.  "Aren't most Mongolians Buddhists?"

"Most, maybe.  Not me.  I worship the old gods.  Tengri the Sky Father.  We journey in spirit to the other worlds."

With a start I realized that it was 8:00 pm, early for dinner for most Parisians, but late for me.  We walked down the street to a Vietnamese restaurant near the Rambuteau Station, and then took the Metro to Tomor's apartment, which he shared with another Mongolian

"Is he Tengrin, also?" I asked.

"Oh, no, Buddhist.  I'm not out to him.  Well, I'm out as gay, but not as Tegrin."

In his bedroom, instead of a statue of the Buddha, he had a photograph of a mountain he called Burkhan Khaldun.

I thought of Ibn Khaldun, the famous Medieval explorer, but Tomor said there was no relation.

Tomor said that the shamans of his religion were all bisexual, because they could look beyond the physical gender to the beauty of the soul.  During their spirit journeys, they usually changed gender, men becoming women, women becoming men.

Then he showed me a mask called a Tsam, a demon who could scare off the forces of darkness, including the force of homophobia.

I could use one of those back in my apartment in New York.

Suddenly I looked at the time.  It was 11:00!  I had been so busy talking that I forgot about our hookup!

"My apologies!" I exclaimed.  "I'm sure that you did not invite me here to talk about your religion!"

"But I did," Tomor said.  "Every guy wants sex, but nobody wants to hear about what is really important, the world of the spirits.  But what good is a physical act without the spiritual?"

"Sorry, I don't understand."

He touched my shoulder.  "Sex is one of the gate to the other world.  Your lover takes on the spirit and becomes your guide.  Otherwise it's just recreation, like going to a movie."

This sounded a lot like Tantric Buddhism, in which sexual acts of various sorts lead to enlightenment.  But I wasn't going to tell Tomor that, and offend him with more Buddhist contamination of the old religion.  I wanted some enlightenment.

He had a nice physique, and a surprising Bratwurst+ beneath the belt.  But the activity itself was unconfortable, a lot of jabbing and twisting, and weird pretzel positions.

Still, how many guys can say that they've been with a Mongolian shaman?

See also: The Ten-Foot Penis of Mongolia; 20 Preachers, Priests, and Religious Guys on My Dating List.


  1. Don't be too surprised. The difference between an average black guy and an average Asian guy is 0.44 mm. So, yeah, a big Asian guy should surprise no one.

    In premodern times, same-sex relations were common among Central Asia's equestrians. (And not just equestrians: Berdache comes from Persia.) Actually, one downside of taking out the Taliban has been the return of boy prostitution.



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