Monday, April 25, 2011

guys I have loved

I have an essay devoted to dear Earl Rich, who died in 1997, but while I was spring cleaning today I found this photo of him. I actually scanned it before - it's on his essay page, but I figured I would take a photo too.

I took a whole bunch of pictures of him during our lunch break from work one day in Valley Forge park, which was nearby where we worked in King of Prussia. Photos never did Earl justice - his charm was ineffable. It wasn't just that he was beautiful, he was sweet too, and a bit of a flirt. Almost everybody who knew him was crazy about him. If he had lived to see Facebook I'm sure he'd have many thousand friends.

(And yet, as I mentioned in the essay, he still wasn't the sexiest man I've ever known - that distinction goes to another guy I worked with a couple of years before I met Earl, named Christopher. When I knew him, when he was in his mid-20s, he looked like a cross between a young Harrison Ford and Michaelangelo's David and had a John Goodman-esque personality. Chris is on Facebook and has exactly 9 friends. Well, maybe his wife is paranoid and won't let him be friends with too many women, who have a habit of jumping on him. I once was at a party thrown by his company and while his wife (fiancee at the time) was standing nearby one of the guests on greeting him grabbed him by the face and gave him an on-the-mouth kiss like she was trying to resuscitate him.)

Earl was apparently quite well endowed, as if he wasn't a big enough sex bomb. I know this because his wife told me - we had a brief email correspondence a few years after he died. And actually, he told me himself one day at work. But I was already as attracted to him as I could possibly be, so this news actually had no effect on me. Looking back now it is pretty surprising how casually he told me and how casually I received the information, considering we were coworkers and in the office. Those were strange times.

My ex-boyfriend John had a different kind of charm - nobody would say he was beautiful but he was incredibly sharp and funny - he was the funniest person I have ever personally known. His wit was lighting-fast, which is a big reason I stayed with him in spite of many other things. And when we were solidly together, for a period of eleven years or so (we were on and off for another six years after that) I absolutely worshipped him.

This drawing was done during that time - April 1985 according to the signature, so he would have been 25 at the time. I feel bad I haven't taken better care of the drawing, it's quite good and I let it get stained and frayed around the edges.

John was a good model - he could hold still for hours - and except for my daughter he was my most frequent model. I have dozens of drawings and several paintings of him.

In spite of his intelligence he was a total Luddite, so I doubt he'll ever find out I posted this drawing.

You can see the nice pencil work, if I do say so myself, in this enlarged version.