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Dreaming of France: 29 Avenue Rapp

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Scrolling through my Instagram& finding this image, I’m surprised I haven’t shared this particular French door for Dreaming of France before. 29 Avenue Rapp boasts what might be the most famous door in Paris. It’s definitely one of the most beautiful.



Designed by Jules Lavirotte in 1901 it’s a striking example of Art Nouveau architecture and features the very risque sculpted Adam and Eve above the door. I first saw the building in the movie Gigi as the building where Gigi's Aunt Alicia lives and where Gigi goes for her lessons in how to catch the right man. Preferably someone rich like Gaston.

Naturally when Mark and I visited Paris, we had to pay the building a visit. What struck us about 29 Avenue Rapp was how many people just walk on by, as if were nothing special, just another old stone edifice, the door, just another entry. I think even if I lived on the block, even if I saw the building and its door every single day, I would still have to pause and take it in. Not a whole …

Dirt, sex and Dr. Zhivago [memoir]

Dirty girl 
I was twelve and despite finding some rain-drenched girlie magazines in the basement of a house being built in our development, I knew little about sex. If the magazines, their pages stuck together by water or who knew what else, defined sex, then sex must be dirty, just as dirty as the foundation floor where they'd lain strewn, where you could smell urine and feces and something else, an organic moldiness that filled every corner. Something barely touchable and yet, strangely; new, modern houses were being built over these dank, dark, dirty places. Could those homes — bright, shiny split-levels in the mid-60's sun — ever be really clean with such foul foundations?
That was my mindset, a grimy, murky kernel held close, when my mother allowed me to go with her to see Dr. Zhivago. I wish she hadn't. I was so excited, not just to see the movie, but because our neighbor Sylvia was going too. Sylvia was a decade younger than my mother; she and her husband Don were just getting ready to start their family and the round the clock conversation was having babies. "Think Pink" Don would say as my sister and I hammed it up, blushing at his applause. Don, tan in his capri shorts and golf shirts, and Sylvia, with crop tops and frosted hair, were everything I thought a married couple should be. That was love, "thinking" pink; sex was different, sex was that dirty stack of magazines.
We went to the drive in; I sat in the backseat. I was swept away by the breathtaking beauty of Julie Christie, the exotic, mysterious charm of Omar Shariff's Dr. Zhivago, the gorgeous Lara's theme 'Somewhere my love, there will be songs to sing'. But mostly I was traumatized by Rod Steiger as Komarovsky and his rape of Lara. That heavyset bearded brute pushing himself up against her, pressing the breath out of her, overpowering her, raping her. I could feel her complete helplessness, the same futility I felt when David, the little boy next door, pushed me up against the wall when I was six, and kissed me, whether I wanted him to or not, his breath as fetid as that foundation. Making me feel so dirty I dare not tell my mother. Was that sex? I wanted no part of it.



Comments

  1. Brand new follower here, dropping by from A to Z.

    Nice to meet you, Sim!

    2015 A to Z Challenge Co-Host
    Matthew MacNish from The QQQE

    ReplyDelete

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