Personal Diary, Kissing Brazilian Boys.

photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong

     “So what’s this place called again?” I ask.
     “Praça Pôr do Sol. Sunset Park.”
     I look around. It’s quiet. That’s what I notice first, not sight but sound. Not what I see, but what I hear. Or don’t hear. Quiet is lack of sound, right? Lack of car horns and crowds and Portuguese and clinks and clanks and city. I hear the quiet of a park nestled inside the quite of a neighborhood, nestled in the nook of a city, comforted by the quiet of the late, late afternoon sun. They’re good lovers.
     “You can see all of São Paulo from here,” he continues. “It’s the best place to see the sunset. When it goes down everyone claps.”
     I let my line of sight sweep the cityscape. Visually, it’s great. Anytime you’re on a hilltop looking down at a sprawl of metropolis from within that metropolis–the visuals are going to be great. Something about being far removed and simultaneously confined within a concrete mass creates a sense of balance. At least to me.
     “I like it up here. It’s really beautiful.” I say. “It feels weird to be here.”
     “And why is that?” he asks.
     “Because I wanted to be here.”
     He looks at me. Maybe the simplicity of the statement is lost in translation. Or maybe what I said doesn’t make sense.
     “Last spring, when I was in New York,” I continue, “I wanted to go to Brazil. And now I’m here. To have something that you want can be a weird feeling sometimes, no matter how big or small. A lot of wishes in life go unfulfilled.”
     “Well, welcome to São Paulo,” he smiles. “What do you want to do while here?”
     My answer is quick. “I want to kiss a Brazilian boy, that’s my only goal.”
     “Should not be a problem,” he replies. “With your project, you will meet lots of Brazilian boys.”
     I laugh. “I don’t hook up with any of the guys I photograph.”
     I look to him and smile. “I’m too shy.”
     “No, I don’t believe it.”
     “Really, I am,” I continue. I look past him and point in a direction. “That’s where we were earlier?”
     He looks in the direction of my finger. “No, São Paulo is big and sprawled. We were over in that direction.” He gestures. “So you never have hooked up with a boy you photographed?”
     I laugh again. “Honestly, I am shy, but more so, I want to maintain some type of integrity to this work. It’s not a sexy project, you know? Besides, the world is small, and the gay world is even smaller. I photographed a guy in Paris who knew a guy I photographed in San Francisco. I photographed a guy in Ho Chi Minh City who knew a guy I went to high school with. I don’t want to develop a reputation as that American photographer that gave a great blow job when he took my picture.”
     He laughs. “So you’ve never hooked up with one of the guys. How many have you photographed?”
     “Over three hundred and fifty.”
     “And none of them?” he continues.
     “A gentleman never tells.”
     “Ok, ok,” he smiles. “But surely you’ve liked some of the guys you’ve photographed?”
     “Of course.”
     “Which ones?”
     “It’s a secret.”
     “Boring answer,” he says.
     I look at him and smile. “I will say this. One of the guys I photographed, I went home that day, to my friends place where I was staying, and I told her, ‘I just met the guy I’m going to marry.”
     He laughs. “And?”
     “And what?” I ask.
     “What happened?”
     “She laughed.” I say.
     “No, what happened with this boy you’re going to marry?”
     “Nothing, he’s my good friend now.”
     “And why nothing?” he asks.
     I think about it. “Because like I said, a lot of wishes in life go unfulfilled.”
     He looks at me and smiles. “Ok, well we’ll make sure and find you a Brazilian boy to kiss. Then you can at least have that wish and this trip will have been a success.”
     I look at him and extend my hand, and we shake. “Ok it’s a deal.”


  1. Jem

    When you finish this project or maybe before that, you should give some more thought to writing. Your sharing on these posts is so good. This one was very teasing and very evocative. You built the situation well, and left us hanging wondering who is the lucky Brazilian who gets to kiss you: maybe the guy who is showing you around, maybe someone else. It’s very intriguing. Thanks for sharing.

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