27 June 2023
By Chris Chi
Sharing stories about us
Hello beautiful people!
First, let’s start with the bad news. My instagram account got suspended again a few days ago. If you are wondering where taleofmen is gone, you can find me back as taleofmenproject.
I am thrilled that the 2nd Tale of Men Newsletter is out! June is probably my favorite month as the summer is approaching. The days are getting longer and brighter. The holiday mode is in the air. This month, I visited Berlin and Athens. Besides meeting and photography boys, I had time to visit the Tiergarten in Berlin and the Mavro Litharis Beach in Athens. This is also the first time that I used my newly acquired Yashica T5 for the entire trip. This little camera turned out to be a power house creating sharp images with beautiful colors. I am super happy about it.
(Shane in Boston, 2002)
I was visiting my cousin who had just started working in Boston. His studio was situated on the 5th floor in this huge complex. There are hundreds of people living inside, students, working class people, young families… I asked my cousin why he chose a facing the highway with constant traffic noise in the background. He said he wanted a view and it’s too expensive to rent something decent in the city of Boston itself. That’s his way of compromise.
Shane sent me a message on Grindr. He lived in a few studios further down the corridor on the same floor. I think he’s from Jamaica and I think he really wanted to have sex that day. I agreed to meet him at the studio where he shared a room with his African friends when he was alone. He opened the door, looking nervous, and his voice was soft. Apparently meeting a stranger at a shared studio was not something he had done often.
I remember that it was very hot in his room. The airco was broken, he said, or at least not working properly. Someone had asked it to be checked. We closed the door to his room and he sat on his bed and me on the chair. He was wearing a plain yellow t-shirt and a pair of sweatpants, or maybe jeans. Anyway he was careful with his words as if afraid of saying something wrong. We started to talk.
He was working as a swimming guard somewhere far. The bus took hours to get there. He told me how difficult it is to have intimate moments with another man in his country. He wanted to stay in the States but after a few months he had to return. I felt genuinely sad. Everything that most of us living in Europe has taken for granted seems like a luxury for some other people including Shane. I hated the fact he was not unable to get what he deserved.
I didn’t know what to say as the topic got heavier. He still sat there, in his single bed next to the window. The light was actually very beautiful. I wanted to capture this moment, him, and this melancholic sentiment. He was still nervous but he started to undress. He was beautiful. His skin was smooth and shiny under the sunlight. For this time, I felt like I had a mission, a mission to capture the essence of his vulnerability and transform it to something large.
FKK IN BERLIN
It’s hard not to love Berlin. After a wild Easter week, I went back to Berlin again. A friend of mine said he could imagine me living in Berlin, hanging out with friends and meeting new people. When I told another friend that I was truely happy in Berlin, he said he could tell that from my instagram stories. Everytime when I am in Berlin, I always make sure to spend some time in one of the FKK areas, like Grunewald, Hassenheid or Tiergarten. Sometimes, I relax with friends, catching up with each other, or I do photoshoots, walking around the bushes. FKK has an important impact on my acceptance of my own body. It’s a safe place to be free and be who you are. I remember the astonishment I felt the first time when I came to the Tufelsee and saw hundreds of naked body spreaded all over the area. It’s surreal, a little unsetteling but soon became something beautiful. Now it’s almost a ritual, to revisit those places.
LINK: Best FKK spots in Berlin
ATHENS & BEACHES
I saw Antreas again, at the shopping Mall, where he works. I saw him from a distance, attending a customer with calmness. He has a lot of white hair now, unfitting for his age, but making him look even sexier. He turned around and saw me. Surprised but with a huge smile, he hugged me. The joy that I felt was so real that it hit me like a wave.
We met again after his work to have dinner. Walking around the center of Athens, everything felt familiar. We keep doing this routine for years. I have a mixed feeling about Athens. It’s chaotic and messy, but underneath, it’s herotic and grand. We found a pizza restaurant and sit on the table outside. Flooded by the traffic noise and the heat, we devoured the pizza and tried to tell each other about our feelings and lives.
I had a to-do list on this trip, like any other trips. I put things I absolutely wanted to do, such as having souvalaki at Elvis, walking in the Plaka area. On top of the list, it’s to visit Limanakia, the famous nudist beach close to Athens. Actually there are at least three nudist beaches, Limanakia, Mavro Litharis and Kape. If you know the right places to go, you might find isolated beaches and caves to strip naked and for skin dipping.
I did two photoshoots in two different locations. Both shoots were amazing. The water was cystal clear. The rock formation setting was marvalous. The last day before I left Athens. I drove to Mavro Litharis, a beach mentioned by a friend on instagram. He told me that it’s his favourite one, comparing to Limanakia. After I arrived at the main beach, I was not sure where to find the nudist beach. I followed the little path leading to a hill. There, the rocks extend into the sea. Soon I was walking on top of the rocks and underneath was this little sandy beach. It’s intimate and hidden. The boys there told me that I had to climb down. When I asked them if it’s a nudist beach, they grinned and said, “yes, but don’t feel oblidged to be naked!”
The rocks provided perfect shadow for people like me who is afraid of sun burn. I settled down and got naked. For the first time of the year, I swam in the sea. The feeling was awesome. It’s strange to be alone at this spot as usually I am busy with photographing people. I took out my camera and asked the boys if I could snap some photos. They said yes. I was happy as they looked super cute together.
LET’S TALK ABOUT SEX
(Panos from Athens)
I still remember the first time we used sex toys. The truth is that I was afraid of them, for some reason. Maybe I thought anything kinky was lewd or wrong? Who knows! And especially when you have in front of you a black inflatable cock. I think that’s where I got rid of all the taboos I had. And a lot of liquids too, lol.
I also remember, the first time, we had sex with another guy. Another taboo but also a fantasy. It was a small hotel – a sex hotel – with black light inside the room, somewhere in the center of Athens. It was awkward for me. It wasn’t his first time, so he tried to make me feel comfortable. When the third person came in, all of a sudden, everything was so easy. The three bodies became one. Asses, cocks, hands, and mouths. Like water flowing in a pipeline. Mindblowing.
But I think the biggest change was in the way I thought. Do not be influenced, psychologically, by the opinion of others. Their critique of what I do or how I do it. I remember a lot of incidents where I followed my friend’s opinion or choices even on a night out because I didn’t want to disagree with them. “They are not going to like my idea” a little voice in my head always saying. But all this change, came through many discussions with that little man, always true and straightforward. This is what he did so well, he was not afraid to tell me what I was doing wrong. It wasn’t that easy for me to hear someone, even if it was my boyfriend, telling me that my choices were not right. About choices that made me sad, in the end.
FEATURED ARTIST: Hugo Duquette
“Memories of Mexico” is an analog melancholy of 10 days traveling unknowned territories, picturing different states of water. Swimming through waves of emotions and watching the sun set on our warm bodies. We lay down everyday on a different beach while kissing the same lips.
Let me know that everyday is okay.
—- photo & text by Hugo Duquette
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