Page 16 - Vladimir Bartol catalogue, 2019
P. 16

16sharp features, struck me as anything but attractive, and least of all to women. He even had a slight limp, the result of his Siberian exile, when his toes had been frostbitten. Without showing the slightest modesty, he undressed right in front of us, talking continuously, as his lively gray eyes glinted under their upward arching eyebrows and darted glances  rst at one of us, then the other. As he pulled his tattered shoes o , a shock of blond, slicked hair fell over his brazen forehead.“You do realize, gentlemen,” he resumed his monologue (because the three of us only listened), “that I  nd it especially gratifying whenever I can bring two ladies to my room.... But don’t assume that I’m a common womanizer. Nothing could be further from the truth.... I divide admirers of women into three fundamentally di erent categories, the lowest of which consists of those solely intent on  eshly delights.  ey are the largest category and they have my profoundest, most heartfelt scorn....“ e second, but also quite numerous type is the one I call the ‘category of decorative epicureans.’ ese are creatures who can only enjoy a woman in a particular setting where everything around them has to be tastefully, beautifully appointed, with every detail striking a gracious note. I also have nothing but disdain for them. But then there are those – quite few in number, and I count myself one of them – whose enjoyment derives from a combination of intellectual circumstances, who are not really in it for the woman at all, or for the ambient dŽcor, but who seek their pleasure in something far more exquisite....” By this point he was removing his last rags. I had to look away so he wouldn’t feel embarrassed with me watching. But it became obvious that he had read my thoughts, because he laughed at me so scornfully that I instantly changed my mind and de antly  xed my eyes on his stockings, which had undergone countless darnings yet were now again as riddled with holes as a sieve. In the process our eyes met again, and because I refused to look away, he twisted his mouth into a superior smirk, as though meaning to convey to me that, despite my neatly trimmed sideburns, in comparison with him I was just a devil of a lower order.  e whole time he continued speaking without a pause.“... for when I bring two ladies home, gentlemen, my pleasure is not even about to begin when I snu  out the light.  at’s just a necessary step, a means, so to speak, that leads me to my real, purely intellectual pleasure. And the essence of that resides in my educated estimate of how things will align, certain probabilistic calculations that have to do with the sequencing of objects, their alignment each time, and so on.... So, as you see, it’s a purely intellectual pleasure....’Once again he gu awed, and I noticed that his sharp, white teeth curved slightly back, giving him the look of a yawning panther I had once seen in some zoo. He stood beforeus as naked as Adam before he gained knowledge. He stretched his muscular limbs until the bones popped in their joints.  en he turned on the faucet and started washing himself under it, gasping loudly and spattering water all around.  en he vigorously dried himself o  with a towel.When he  nished this chore, he stretched again. He paced the room with his slightly

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