Read Nude Men Online

Authors: Amanda Filipacchi

Nude Men

BOOK: Nude Men
5.49Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

PENGUIN BOOKS

 

NUDE MEN

 

Amanda Filipacchi was born in Paris in 1967 and moved to America when she was seventeen. She went to Hamilton College, and got her M.F.A. from the Columbia Writing Program. This is her first novel. She lives in Manhattan and is working on her next book.

 

 

PENGUIN BOOKS

Published by the Penguin Group

Penguin Books USA Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, U.S.A.

Penguin Books Ltd, 27 Wrights Lane, London W8 5TZ, England

Penguin Books Australia Ltd, Ringwood, Victoria, Australia

Penguin Books Canada Ltd, 10 Alcorn Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4V 3B2

Penguin Books (N.Z.) Ltd, 182-190 Wairau Road, Auckland 10, New Zealand

Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices: Harmondsworth, Middlesex, England

 

First published in the United States of America by Viking Penguin,

a division of Penguin Books USA Inc., 1993

 Published in Penguin Books 1994

 

3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2

 

Copyright © Amanda Filipacchi, 1993

All rights reserved

 

PUBLISHER’S NOTE

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

 

Grateful acknowledgment is made for permission to reprint excerpts from “Tonight” and “I Feel Pretty” from
West Side Story,
music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Copyright © 1957 (renewed) Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim. Jalni Publications, Inc., U.S. and Canada; G. Schirmer, Inc., worldwide print rights and publisher for the rest of the world. International copyright secured. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

 

THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS HAS CATALOGUED THE HARDCOVER AS FOLLOWS:

Filipacchi, Amanda.

Nude men/Amanda Filipacchi.

p. cm.

ISBN 0-670-84785-2 (he)

ISBN 014 01.7892 9 (pbk.)

I. Title.

PS3556.I428N83 1993

813'.54—dc20 92-32338

 

Printed in the United States of America

Set in Bodoni

Designed by Michael Ian Kaye

 

Except in the United States of America, this book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, re-sold, hired out, or otherwise circulated without the publisher’s prior consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For my parents
,
Sondra and Daniel

 

O thou, that from eleven to ninety reign'st in mortol bosoms…

 

 

—Palamon’s speech to Venus,

Two Noble Kinsmen,

attributed to William Shakespeare

 

acknowledgments

F
or their advice and enthusiasm, I am very grateful to Sondra Peterson, Nan Graham, Melanie Jackson, and Alice Quinn.

I would also like to thank Courtney Hodell, Giancarlo Bonacina, Hal Fessenden, Edmond Levy, Frederic Tuten, Richard Locke, Robert Towers, Peter J. Smith, Michael Kaye, and all my other friends.

Et surtout Minou.

 

 

 

 

 

 

nude
men

 

chapter
one

 

I
am a man without many pleasures in life, a man whose few pleasures are small, but a man whose small pleasures are very important to him. One of them is eating. One reading. Another reading while eating.

I work at
Screen,
a magazine on movies and celebrities, here in Manhattan. For lunch I go to a little coffee shop that is farther away than the other standard lunch places. It is also more expensive, less good, and less exciting, but it has one tremendous advantage. No one I know goes there.

Recently I discovered another coffee shop. It is even farther away, but the lighting is better for my reading. And no one I know goes there even less. Or more. Or whatever. You know what I mean.

This morning was exhausting at work. I sense that I will get one of my headaches this afternoon. I am hungry for food and literature. As I leave the office building for lunch, I try to decide if I have the strength to walk the extra distance to my new, well-lit coffee shop or if I will settle for the closer one with inferior lighting. I opt for light. After such a morning, I deserve to have a perfect, intensely pleasurable meal. On top of it, I want to see very clearly what will happen to Lily Bart in
The House of Mirth.

The restaurant is called Grandma Julie’s, and it’s as cozy as its name. I’m sure everyone feels a little embarrassed walking into a place called Grandma anything, but once you’re inside... the warmth, the neatness, the sheer professionalism, make you forget your shame.

Today the place is full. I ask the waitress how long it will take to get a table. She says two minutes. I wait, thinking my lunch might not be ruined if I truly get a table in two minutes. A woman enters the coffee shop and waits in line behind me. She’s in her late thirties and looks perfectly nice, normal. Two minutes later, the waitress tells me there’s a table.

The woman behind me touches me and asks, “Are you alone?”

“Yes,” I say.

“Would you mind if we shared the table?”

I visualize my lunch spent sitting in front of a stranger. It would be hell. Her eyes would be resting on me while I read. She might even want to talk: “What are you reading? Do you work around here? It’s unusually cold today, but they say it’ll get warmer by evening. There’s so much noise in this place. I asked for tuna salad, not egg salad. I can’t eat this, I have high cholesterol.”

My first impulse is to mumble, “It doesn’t matter,” and rush out the door to my old coffee shop.

What I do answer, very distinctly, but with a slight grimace to soften the blow, is “I’d rather not.”

The woman and the waitress stare at me with more surprise than I expected. I try to think of a justification for my response and come up with “I...
have
to eat alone. But you go ahead if you want.” I gesture toward the empty table.

“No, no, you go ahead,” she says, touching my arm with more familiarity than I like.

I sit down, making sure my back is turned to the woman I have just rejected so that she won’t be able to observe me. She has ruined my lunch. Even though I’m alone, I won’t be able to concentrate on my novel because I feel like a villain. I have never done anything like this before in my life. I eat my grilled cheese sandwich, unable to read, furious, not making eye contact with anyone. How dare the woman do that! I order Jell-O to cheer me up.

I glance furtively at the customers around the room. I’m curious to know where the woman ended up. I look at the people seated at the counter. They all have their backs to me except for one, at the end. She is turned in my direction, her legs are crossed, her elbow is resting on the counter, and she is looking at me fixedly, with a slight smile. At first I think she is my rejected woman, but when I look again I see that she clearly is not. This woman is beautiful, sexy, late twenties. She has a very thick upper lip, which gives her a pouting, capricious look, an air I simply adore in women. Like the actress Isabelle Adjani, my fantasy woman.

She seems like the feminine type, the romantic type, the Sleeping Beauty type, blond hair, the type my girlfriend would perversely say looks jaded because she happens to have a charming face and laugh lines on either side of her mouth.

I am not absolutely certain that she is looking at me. I don’t have terrifically good eyesight, so although I was able to notice her plump upper lip, I might be mistaken as to where her pupils are directed. She could be staring out the window next to which I am sitting. Or she could be looking at the businessman at the table in front of me, or at the secretary behind me.

I decide to take a risk anyway. I don’t know why. It’s not like me. Perhaps because after having bluntly rejected a woman for the first time in my life, I need to bluntly accept one too. I gather every ounce of courage in my body and smile at her, sort of unconsciously sticking out my upper lip so we have something in common.

She pays her bill and walks over to me. Her stomach softly hits the edge of my table as she slides into the opposite seat, making my three cubes of green Jell-O jiggle.

I am racking my brain for something to say, when she says, “I like your mouth.”

“The feeling is mutual,” I answer with a James Bond tone. I am amazed at the good fortune that made her mention my mouth, giving me the opportunity to come up with this ultimately seductive answer, which surpasses any I have ever heard in movies.

To my great chagrin, she seems annoyed by my response. “I didn’t mean it that way,” she says. “I study people’s features, and your mouth is simply aesthetically satisfactory.”

“The feeling is mutual,” I want to repeat, but don’t dare. “Thank you,” I say instead.

With my spoon I scoop up a big green cube of Jell-O, but it jiggles so much from the shaking of my hand that, halfway to my mouth, it plops back down into the dish.

“You should have cut it in two,” says the woman. “It’s too big.”

I try to figure out if there’s an erotic insinuation in that comment, but I’m not sure.

“Yes, I should have,” I say, and put down my spoon.

For the first time since she sat down, she smiles. She points to the book lying next to my elbow and asks, “What are you reading?”

“The House of Mirth.”

“Is it good?”

“Yes, it’s great. Have you read it?”

She shakes her head and asks, “Do you work around here?”

“Yes, not too far away. Do you?”

“Sort of. What work do you do?” she asks.

“I’m afraid it’s not very interesting. I work at
Screen
magazine. I’m a fact checker.”

“I know
Screen.
I’ve bought it a few times. It’s a lot of fun.”

“Thank you. I guess that’s what I should say. What work do
you
do?”

BOOK: Nude Men
5.49Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

Run to Him by Nadine Dorries
The Mamacita Murders by Debra Mares
6:59 by Nonye Acholonu, Kelechi Acholonu
Ellena by Dixie Lynn Dwyer
Lord Nick's Folly by Emily Hendrickson
American Icon by Bryce G. Hoffman
The Storm Murders by John Farrow
The Complete Enderby by Anthony Burgess