The threat of the Dalinan moustache
Someone asked me: “If you could go back in time and meet one person or relive one event, what or who would it be, and why?”
To be perfectly honest, the past isn’t terribly tempting for me, except maybe Gertrude Stein’s Saturday evening salon meetings in her apartment in Paris. Alice B. Toklas, her life partner, was renown for haschich brownies, so a great reason to go. Wine aplenty, I imagine, because this is Paris. And so many people to meet, besides Gertrude Stein herself who sounds like someone I’d just adore.
Here’s how I envision it would go, more or less:
GERTRUDE: What are you? A painter or a writer?
ME: I write erotica.
GERTRUDE: Commendable. Literature unconcerned with sex is inconceivable.
ME: Well, what I write is not exactly literature…
GERTRUDE: Hemingway, there you are! Here’s another American. You two might have a lot in common.
HEMINGWAY: Do you like to go to the zoo?
HEMINGWAY: I love to go to the zoo. But not on Sunday. I don’t like to see people making fun of the animals when it should be the other way around.
ME: I like to see animals making fun and having fun, but not in a zoo.
HEMINGWAY: A piece of advice. Writing and travel broaden your ass if not your mind, and I like to write standing up.
ME: I write so I can travel, and when I travel I do a lot of walking. It tightens the ass.
(Salvador Dali approaches.)
HEMINGWAY: Here comes that madman. I need a drink.
DALI: The only difference between me and a madman is that I’m not mad.
ME: I’ve never thought you were. Just the most surrealist of the surrealists.
DALI: At six I wanted to be a cook. At seven I wanted to be Napoleon. And my ambition has been growing steadily ever since.
ME: At six I wanted to be a tiger. At ten an astronaut. Now I reinvent myself in fictitious dialogues. Fabulous moustache, by the way. I’ve always envied it. No one can wear it like you do.
DALI: You should consider getting one. You’ll never go unnoticed.
ME: I have considered it and I was about to get one when my face ran away. Now everyone asks why I don’t show my face and I don’t know what to say. Everyone will think I’m a mad woman if I say: it was the threat of the dalinan moustache.
Some of those are actual quotes, by the way.