Hello, Dirty Old Men, Pretty Young Girls, and anybody reading this who may be neither. (Dirty Old Girls? Pretty Young Men?)
Well, the summer of '97 has been record-setting here in Denmark as in much of the rest of the planet. The year will probably set heat-record as a whole, and August has. Never in recorded history was there a hotter August in Denmark.
I don't have to tell you that this is DOM high times. Even those Pretty Young Girls who are normally too bashful are forced to strip some of the clothes to bear it. Beautiful legs and shoulders are abundant. Then of course it is hot work running after them, so here it is an advantage to be the kind of DOM whose main pleasure is in the looking. Like me, I haven't had sex for years, and I seldom miss it.
One day at the beach, I was snorkel diving. The water was beautiful and clear, and the sun was hot on my back. There were many little fishies, and many big jellyfish.
I think I must have gotten too caught up and excited, and forgot to breathe. Because I woke up flat on the beach with someone blowing air into me.
For a moment I didn't know what was happening. Then I realized that I had almost lost the body, and felt happiness and relief at the solidity around me, and the feeling of breathing.
Then I was looking up into the deepest brown eyes I have ever seen. This serious-faced, freckled young lady had apparently saved my life when she saw me floating motionlessly face down in the water. Now she smiled, something that made her face even prettier, even though there seemed to be something perpetually sad about her eyes.
I could feel the wind blowing between the legs of the people standing around me, and seldom did I feel anything better. I moved, and the girl put a finger on my lips. "Take it easy," she said. I turned my head and threw up some water. Very salty. I felt a lot better.
Well, after a few minutes it was clear that I hadn't suffered any damage, and I refused to go with the ambulance they had fetched for me. I just went home to rest, and the next day I invited the young lady to lunch.
She was named Matlan, and she studied to become an architect. Very nice, very thoughtful young lady. She was looking at me over the silly little umbrella in her juice drink, when she asked me what I was doing in life. "Oh lord, here we go," I thought. "Well," I said, unwillingly, "different stuff. I run a club. I photograph. I write."
"How interesting," she said. "What kind of club?"
"How would you like another drink, Dear? Was that one good?"
"No thanks, I'm fine," she said smiling. "What kind of club are you running?"
I hesitated, trying to find a politically correct approach, and failed. "It's called the Dirty Old Men's Association International," I said.
She laughed. Deep and long. It sounded nice on her. Then she said: "That's funny. And what's it really called?"
Uncomfortable, I said: "That's it. I guess it takes explaining."
She got serious and then smiled again. "Really?" she said. "This is getting interesting. Do tell."
So I told her about DOMAI. How it is and how it was. The continuing struggle to keep aesthetics separate from sexuality when regarding the female body, both in my own mind, and especially in the public mind. How I felt that I really had nothing to be ashamed of, and that people who thought otherwise even after knowing better were looking at their own thoughts rather than mine. I told her how I photographed girls, often nude, but that the composition, the light, and the general aesthetics always was primary to me, and the sexual entirely secondary. She listened to me intently, apparently quite amused by the whole thing.
"So," she said finally. "Do you think I could be a model?"
I was surprised. "No," I said, "I wouldn't, I mean, would you... I mean, you are certainly pretty enough, but why would you... I mean..."
She laughed again. "Are you sure it is you who are the founder of this club? You don't sound particularly comfortable about it."
"Yes. I mean no. I mean, I am just surprised... I mean why would you want..."
"I want to contribute," she said. "I think the Dirty Old Men's Association is a brilliant idea. Besides, I have always wanted to model nude. But I also had this subconscious idea that it was somehow a sexual thing. Your philosophy regarding it is excellent, I think. Why would this seem surprising to you?"
"Good question," I smiled at her. "It shouldn't, of course. I guess I just have collided with one wall of bourgeois small-mindedness too many. But now that I think about it, it does seem to be opening up somewhat again.
"And I haven't been looking for models recently. But..." I looked at her. She was really nice. "I would love to work with you."
I didn't have a camera around, and she was leaving in two days, but we made an appointment to talk later, and I took a walk to the far end of the beach in high spirits. There, walking along the edge of a sheer cliff, looking out over the far reaches of the sea, anything seemed possible again. I realized that I had slowly been losing sight of my purposes, and working mechanically without the spiritual intention that is the thing that makes things happen.
DOMAI was going to be great again, and much, much greater than ever.